deceased pleural plaques appeal judgement upholds 10k award

Emma Wightman

02 June 2015

The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland has brought clarity to the value of pleural plaques cases in Northern Ireland.

Last year, the Northern Ireland High Court awarded the sum of £10,000 to a widow whose husband had been diagnosed with pleural plaques before he died.  The damages were for the physical presence of asbestos plaques on his lungs and the worry and concern that the deceased had prior to his death. 

The Defendants, Harland and Wolff plc and Royal Mail Group Limited appealed the Judgment on the basis that the award was too high.  The Appeal was heard recently in the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal and the judgment was delivered last week. 

In the Judgement, Lord Justice Girvan confirmed that this was first occasion in Northern Ireland to offer guidance as to the proper measure of damages since the enactment of Damages (Asbestos Related Conditions) Act (NI) 2011 which made pleural plaques compensatable again. 

The Court of Appeal confirmed that when an individual has been diagnosed with pleural plaques and experiences distress, anxiety and alarm this will be taken into consideration when determining the value of these claims.  The Court of Appeal upheld the original High Court ruling of £10,000 which was paid to Mrs McCauley in respect of her late husband’s condition.  This was to reflect the psychological harm the deceased had suffered upon diagnosis as well as the physical harm of developing pleural plaques.

Our Mr Martin Hanna says, “This Appeal Judgement is extremely important for victims of pleural plaques and for us as lawyers dealing with these difficult claims as it now greatly assists in determining the value of these claims; since the passing of Damages (Asbestos Related Conditions) Act (NI) 2011, the value of these claims has been uncertain."

If a loved one who has passed away was diagnosed with pleural plaques, this Judgment confirms that deceased victims are also entitled to compensation.  If you or a family member or friend has been diagnosed as suffering from pleural plaques or any other asbestos related condition please contact us immediately for advice on 028 9024 3901 or contact us online using the contact us form.