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Justice campaign for Welsh asbestos victims launched

A leading Welsh law firm has launched a campaign in Wales to lobby the Government into passing legislation for the return of compensation for victims of the asbestos disease of pleural plaques. Fighting for the rights of thousands of Welsh sufferers who due to Wales' industrial heritage may have contracted the illness, campaign organisers are attempting to get a Law Lords ruling overturned. The launch of this campaign follows a decision in October 2007, bringing to an end a right that had existed for over 20 years, where the House of Lords ruled that compensation is no longer available to people with pleural plaques, a scarring of the lining lungs caused by exposure to asbestos, as it is not a 'disease' in its own right. Although the scarring and damage to the body is regarded as "symptomless", there is overwhelming evidence that those people who have been exposed to asbestos, of which pleural plaques are a sign, are at risk of developing mesothelioma.

More than 350 people in the Wales died from mesothelioma between 1981 and 2000, and the number diagnosed with the disease is expected to rise annually until 2015. The campaign organisers state: "We're launching this campaign on Action Mesothelioma Day to highlight the real injustice of this decision and the need to overturn it. Pleural plaques are not just a bit of scarring on the lungs, this is the calling card. "Before this decision, not only could we successfully obtain damages on behalf of victims with pleural plaques, but we also had the reservation that if they got the horrible disease of mesothelioma, they could come back in the future to quickly gets their compensation. "We have several clients who have pleural plaques and are living with the fear that it could develop into fatal conditions like mesothelioma.

They deserve compensation for the extreme worry and anxiety of living with pleural plaques, and the right to return to seek further compensation if they develop a more serious form of asbestos related disease like mesothelioma." It is hoped that we can build on the impetus of the Scottish Cabinet's decision to introduce a Bill to reverse the ruling, by embarking on an online petition fighting for Welsh sufferers to be given the same rights as their Scottish counterparts. "We have been particularly spurred on by the Scottish parliament's decision and are fighting for Welsh sufferers to be offered the same compensation available to the Scots." "The GMB believes the judgement in the courts needs to be overturned by Parliament.

Pleural plaques are described by medical textbooks as a disease. The law has always accepted that scar tissue on the outside of the body is an injury so we believe that scar tissue on the inside of the body should be deemed the same. Scarring is an injury wherever it occurs". "People with pleural plaques suffer with stress and the fear of death all their lives. Fear of contracting the future illness is so serious that compensation should be paid." Heavily influenced by the big insurance companies who could save as much as £1.

4 billion as a result of this decision "This decision was heavily influenced by the big insurance companies who are the only winners in this case expecting to save as much as £1.4 billion as a result. We really would urge all those who want to see justice restored to sign this petition so that we can forcefully campaign to get this decision reversed.".

For further information, or to sign the petition please visit the following website- http://www.leoabse.com



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