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Pleural Thickening Claims

Pleural Thickening

Thompson & Co. have acted for clients in many Pleural Thickening Claims over the years.

Pleural Thickening is sometimes referred to as “pleural fibrosis”. Either term may be combined with the word “diffuse” (e.g. “diffuse pleural fibrosis”). This simply means that the area affected is widespread.

What Causes Pleural Thickening?

When microscopic asbestos fibres become lodged in the lungs they can cause inflammation of the “pleura” (i.e. the thin, transparent membrane that covers the lungs and lines the inside of the chest walls). Even with long-standing or severe inflammation, often only a slight amount of scar tissue remains after complete healing. However the lung occasionally becomes encased in a thick fibrous layer that limits chest wall motion and impairs the function of the lungs.

Pleural Thickening – Symptoms

You can become breathless and suffer pain as a result of this condition. It might deteriorate over time.

Pleural Thickening can affect one lung or both lungs, and can result in significant disability if it is extensive. It will generally take 10 years after first exposure to asbestos to develop. Alternatively it may not prove disabling or produce significant physical symptoms but is the cause of great anxiety.

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Pleural Thickening – Diagnosis/Treatment

Pleural thickening can be detected by chest x-rays, ultrasound and a special scan called a CAT or CT scan.

The presence of pleural thickening can indicate that you are at risk of developing a more serious asbestos related disease such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer.

Pleural Thickening – State Benefits/Compensation

Provided your job involved working with asbestos or being exposed to asbestos after 4 July 1948 then Department for Work and Pensions (“DWP”) Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit can be claimed.

Department for Work & Pensions

Provisional Damages

You have two options in relation to any compensation that may be recovered should your claim be successful:-

1. You can seek a Provisional Award of compensation.

This is an award now for the injury you currently have. You would then reserve the right to return to court at a later date for further compensation in the event you develop asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer or an increase in disability due to diffuse pleural thickening.

Your family would also be able to return for further compensation if you were to die of an asbestos related illness. They may also be able to recover funeral costs.

2. You can seek a Full and Final award now.

Such an award will include an extra amount to reflect the risk that the future conditions (mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, progression of pleural thickening) may develop. This extra amount will usually not be significant as the risks of future injury are usually low. The additional compensation from seeking a final award tends to be as little as ÂŁ3,000 to ÂŁ5,000. This is because any compensation likely to be due to mesothelioma, lung cancer etc must be discounted to reflect the chance that you will not develop these problems in the future.

If you settle the claim on a full and final basis then you would not be able to return in the future for any further compensation even if your illness worsened or you were to develop a fatal asbestos related condition such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.  It would also prevent your family from pursuing a claim for asbestos related illness if you were to die of an asbestos related illness.

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Compensation Claims

We can help you recover compensation by suing your previous employer/s or other person or company who exposed you to asbestos. Awards of compensation will vary, depending on the degree of disability you suffer and whether you settle your claim on a full and final or provisional basis.

What if my Opponent no Longer Exists?

If you are unable to sue your former employer because, for example, they have ceased to trade(and you are unable to trace their insurers), then you still may be able to claim under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 which provides a scheme under which qualifying employees are entitled to a one-off lump sum payment.