House of Lords rules against claimants with pleural plaques

Before they get mesothelioma or asbestosis, patients typically have pleural plaques. Sometimes those patients develop mesothelioma, but often they do not. Pleural plaques are caused by inhalation of asbestos. A big case in the United Kingdom has revolved around whether the workers who developed pleural plaques on the job should get money.

The House of Lords decided that the workers did not have a claim for money because these plaques have no visible symptoms.

Insurance companies are expected to save 1.5 billion pounds (about USD $3 billion) because of the ruling. The Court of Appeal had ruled the same way in January 2006. The House of Lords is the highest court in the UK. The British press is calling this a landmark ruling. The case was Rothwell v Chemical Insulation & Co where 10 men sought payment for plaques.

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