Calum Fife | Senior Associate

Elaine Crozier or Veale and Others v Scottish Power [Inner House] 2024 CSIH 14

Unsuccessful appeal in mesothelioma case

The Pursuer in this case raised a claim for pleural plaques associated with historic exposure to asbestos.  He went on to develop asbestosis and ultimately died due to mesothelioma.

Mr Crozier raised a claim against his former employers shortly before he died.  He claimed damages for pleural plaques and settled his claim with the Defenders prior to going to Court.

An order of Court was granted as part of the settlement, absolving (drawing a line under) his claim. Ordinarily this would mark the end of his claim and extinguish any claims from relatives that were associated with his illness.

However in this case, the relatives of Mr Crozier argued that they were entitled to damages for loss of society for their grief and distress associated with his death from mesothelioma.  The original Court decision was in their favour, but the Defenders appealed that decision.

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease associated with exposure to asbestos. 

From date of diagnosis sufferers often only have between 6 and 18 month survival rates.  Mr Crozier died very shortly after diagnosis.

The law in Scotland has been amended to accept the reality of that particular outcome for mesothelioma sufferers.  S 5 (1) of the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 specifically addresses the unique realities that mesothelioma patients have to confront in handling their affairs whilst battling a terrible and terminal illness.

In this decision by the Inner House, the Court has reaffirmed that families will not be left without access to justice where their loved one, and often main earner for the family, has been let down by their former employers. The full decision can be found here.

The Court has set out that bereft families affected by mesothelioma will still have the right to compensation, for what is one of the most devastating industrial diseases.

This case underlines that even where a Pursuer has raised an action for pleural plaques, and settled that action prior to death, his loved ones will not be precluded from pursuing a claim for damages where, ordinarily, they could not continue a claim on their behalf.

If you or your loved ones have been affected by asbestos exposure, please get in touch with our expert lawyers.  We have a long history of successfully pursuing cases of this nature, and have access to skilled experts in this field.  We are sympathetic and keen to assist with what is always a devastating diagnosis.

Calum Fife

Calum Fife

Personal Injury Team

"The most enjoyable part about my job is the sense of being able to make a genuine difference to clients’ lives, by securing their compensation"

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