HUDDERSFIELD asbestos victims could have their compensation hopes dashed this week - depending on the outcome of an appeal.
Eight cases being heard by the Appeal Court in London could see an end to compensation claims for pleural plaques, a condition linked to exposure to asbestos.
The condition causes thick scar tissue to form on the chest lining and diaphragm. The illness, although benign, can eventually make breathing difficult and lead to serious respiratory problems.
This week, insurers will argue that compensation payments for pleural plaques should be stopped because claimants usually have no physical symptoms.
But Adrian Budgen, head of the asbestos diseases litigation unit at Irwin Mitchell solicitors in Leeds, representing the claimants, said: "Pleural plaques are a marker of unprotected exposure to asbestos.
"People with pleural plaques have to live with the fear that they could develop a terminal cancer, such as mesothelioma.
"Claimants have consistently received compensation since 1985 and this should continue.
"If the scarring was on their face, and not their lungs, insurers would not quibble about awarding compensation."
"The availability of compensation in respect of this condition is a basic human right."
Mr Budgen added that he hoped the Appeal Court would force insurance companies to face up to their responsibilities.