Pleural thickening can be caused by inhaling asbestos dust and fibres and indicates high levels of exposure to asbestos. Symptoms can include persistent chest infections, increasing breathlessness, coughing up bloodstained phlegm and weight loss, which can develop after about 20 years or more.
Employers have a duty to protect their workers from hazardous substances and if you have developed pleural thickening as a result of your working conditions, then you may have a claim for compensation.
The asbestos fibres can be inhaled through the mouth or nose into the lungs and find their way to the membrane surrounding the lungs. This can cause scarring and thickening of the lining of the lung (the pleura). If these areas of thickening become widespread or cover large areas, it can to cause respiratory difficulties the condition is generally known as diffuse pleural thickening.
Pleural thickening can affect one or both lungs and prevents the lungs from expanding normally, making the sufferer feel breathless. In some cases pleural thickening can be a painful and disabling condition by itself but it can also increase the chances of developing a more serious condition in later life. The level of compensation is assessed on the level of disability and pain and suffering and can be affected by other conditions you are suffering from at the same time.
For example, if you are diagnosed with lung cancer at a later stage and have been exposed to a heavy dose of asbestos dust but smoke cigarettes, the Court is likely to conclude that the lung cancer has been caused by the combined effect of the two substances. This means that you will recover compensation for your disease, although the Court may well reduce the compensation to reflect the fact that your smoking has also played a part in causing the condition.
If you have already been diagnosed with pleural thickening, there is a good chance that your condition will not deteriorate into something more serious. However, if it does deteriorate and you develop an even more serious asbestos-related condition such as Asbestosis, lung cancer or Mesothelioma then it is possible to return to court for a further compensation award (the first award for pleural thickening is known as provisional damages).
If you have been diagnosed with pleural thickening as a result of working with asbestos, complete our Online Enquiry Form and one of our lawyers will contact you to discuss how you can make a claim for your injuries.