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Pleural Thickening

What is pleural thickening?

The Pleura or lining of the lung can become scarred or thickened. This causes restriction to breathing because the lungs cannot expand fully against this thickened lining. The condition is often progressive and causes shortness of breath.

How is pleural thickening caused?

Pleural thickening is caused when asbestos fibres breathed in penetrate the lining, or pleura, of the lungs.

Who is at risk of pleural thickening?

The disease is not thought to be dose related and every exposure to asbestos will contribute to the risk and to any disability.

What pleural thickening treatment is available?

Your medical team will provide advice on the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation: A programme of exercises and advice on muscle strengthening and general fitness designed to manage symptoms of breathlessness
  • Oxygen Therapy: can provide you with oxygen rich air from a machine or tank to help with breathing difficulty

What patient support is available?

Local support groups can provide help and advice to those suffering from asbestos related diseases and their families. The London Asbestos Support Awareness Group (LASAG) is a charity that operates across London and the South East. Their advisors can help by visiting at home and can be contacted by telephone. Their services are free.

London Asbestos Support Awareness Group: Freephone: 0808 278 251

Are financial benefits available?

You may be eligible for benefits, these include:

  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB): If you were exposed to asbestos during your employed work and suffer one of a number of certain asbestos related conditions, including pleural thickening, you can claim a weekly pension.
  • Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979: This scheme makes a lump sum payment that you may be entitled to if you are awarded IIDB.
  • War Pensions Scheme: If you were exposed to asbestos during service there are payments available depending on your circumstances.

You may also be entitled to claim other state benefits if you have difficulty walking or need help looking after yourself, for example:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP): a benefit for people aged under 65
  • Attendance Allowance: a benefit for people aged 65 or older.
  • Carer’s Allowance: a benefit for a carer looking after a disabled person.
  • Blue Badge Scheme: Disabled parking badge.

Industrial injury benefits are not means-tested. They could, however, have an effect on other means-tested benefits you may receive.

Can I claim compensation?

It is possible to claim civil compensation for pleural thickening. You will need to be able to prove that your employers or occupier negligently exposed you to asbestos at a time when they knew or should have known that such exposure was liable to cause injury.

You will need to have a clear diagnosis of the condition so that the link to the disease and your exposure to asbestos can be made.

Pleural thickening is not thought to be dose related but the condition is known as a divisible injury, which means that every exposure to asbestos contributes to the overall extent of disability.

How much is my claim worth?

Each claim is individual and the value depends upon a range of circumstances such as age, length of time suffering from symptoms, extent of care needs past and future, and possible losses of earnings or pension.

We visit our clients at home to personally assess the needs of you and your family.

What are the time limits to bring a claim?

An injured person has three years from the date of knowledge of injury to issue court proceedings. This period is not always the date of diagnosis and runs from the date they knew or “should have known” that their injury was related to exposure to asbestos. This “should have known” issue can cause difficulties in disease cases.

The three year limitation will run from the date that the sufferer is aware of any injury caused by asbestos. You can only bring one claim for all asbestos injury.

Although it is possible to seek discretion to bring a late claim a lot depends on the circumstances and it will not always be given.

If someone dies of asbestos disease then their partner or next of kin can bring a claim and the time limit will start to run again from the date of death, providing the original three years has not expired.

Download our Asbestos Related Disease guide

Our Industrial Disease Solicitors are backed by four decades of experience. Our legal practice and team of London Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving favourable client outcomes. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0800 437 0322 today.

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