Scotland has a long, proud industrial history: our shipyards, coal mines and steel works have shaped our nation's economy and society over the years.
Unfortunately for the people of Scotland, much of that industry has gone and left behind a legacy of asbestos-related disease. Even more unfortunate is that the most common asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma, is particularly aggressive, difficult to detect and doesn't receive anywhere near as much research funding or attention as some other types of cancer.
The dangers of asbestos were previously unknown, since effects or symptoms of asbestos-related disease often don't appear until decades after exposure to the deadly dust. As a result, Scotland is now experiencing an asbestos epidemic.
Britain has the highest rate of mesothelioma seen throughout the entire world, with West Dunbartonshire in Scotland having the highest rate of any local council.
People suffering from mesothelioma are often faced with a short life expectancy - less than 10 per cent of patients live for more than three years after diagnosis. It has been predicted that around 60,000 people living in the UK will die in the next 30 years if new treatments cannot be found.
The Scottish Government has ensured over the years that people affected by asbestos exposure will receive financial compensation, and as a result, the insurance industry has had to pay out millions. It has also been estimated that the future cost of claims could far exceed £11 billion.
Just this week, record damages were awarded to a former Clyde shipyard worker's family, who died aged 69 in November 2009, just months after being told he had malignant mesothelioma. The deceased, John McCarn, had worked for Scott's Shipbuilding and Engineering in Greenock for only five years after starting work as an apprentice aged 14.
All five children of the deceased received £35,000, making a total of £175,000 compensation.
The case involved a five-year legal battle against the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, seeking an admission of liability and his legally responsibility for the rights and responsibilities of former British shipbuilders.
Lord Bannatyne at the Court of Session ruled that to assess compensation, life expectancy was a "significant factor".
This case could mark a significant change for future mesothelioma claims. It goes without saying that no amount of money could ever make up for the loss of a loved one, but more compensation can only be regarded as a good thing by those living with the disease and their families.
Asbestosis & Mesothelioma Compensation Lawyers in Scotland
If you have, or a loved one has, been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as Asbestosis or Mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out more, please contact our specialist personal injury claims solicitors based across Scotland. To get in touch, please call us on 0131 516 9180 or complete our online form.