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Pleural Thickening Compensation Claims

If you have developed pleural thickening as a result of being exposed to asbestos at work, you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim against your employer. Pleural thickening is a form of industrial disease that is caused due to the exposure to asbestos over a prolonged period of time. Those who have worked in environments where asbestos has been used may be at a risk of developing pleural thickening at some stage in their life. With this condition, the lining of the lungs become scarred and as a result, the person may experience difficulty in breathing.

When asbestos fibres are inhaled into the lungs, the membrane surrounding the lungs may become affected causing it to thicken. When this happens, scarring takes place and the person starts experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, dry coughs and wheezing. In most cases, pleural thickening affects both of the lungs, and once scarring has taken place over a wide area around the lungs, the condition is regarded as pleural thickening.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in the building and mining industries prior to 1999 when it was banned. Although this substance has a number of wonderful characteristics, prolonged exposure can cause serious diseases including pleural thickening.

Asbestos fibers are so small that they can easily pass through the filtration system of the lungs and get into the lungs. After the asbestos dust particles have entered the lungs, they can become embedded in the lining of the lungs and cause scarring and inflammation. The lining of the lungs, known as the pleura consists of thin membranes which provide protection for the lungs.

However, as a result of inflammation, the linings of the lungs can start becoming thick. Thickening of the pleura is an early warning sign that the person may be at a risk of developing other forms of asbestos-related diseases including asbestosis and mesothelioma. Pleural thickening can be harmless in some cases and is not as serious as mesothelioma. However, it can affect the lungs functioning abilities and can also cause shortness of breath.

It is not predictable whether or not a person diagnosed with pleural thickening may develop lung cancer. Pleural thickening indicates that a person has been exposed to asbestos and may be at a risk of developing any other form of serious asbestos-related disease.

What is pleural thickening?

There are two types of pleural thickening. Diffuse pleural thickening is widespread and affects the pleura of the lung and focal pleural thickening or pleural plaques which affect a single area.

The pleural membrane is tissue that protects the inside of the chest cavity and the outside of the lungs and is thin and moist. The pleural membrane is made up of two layers. The inner layer visceral pleura and the outer parietal pleura. In between the two layers, a fluid serves to lubricate and allow movement during breathing.

Pleural thickening can occur as a result of scarring, thickening or calcification of the pleura. The condition can cause severe discomfort and lead to more serious diseases and so swift diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

How does exposure to asbestos cause pleural thickening?

Pleural thickening often occurs when a person has suffered exposure to asbestos over a prolonged period of time, often within the workplace.

The respiratory system tackles dust inhalation daily, and large particles are caught in the nasal passages. Some smaller particles however can get through the larynx and are able to enter the main airways. Some of these smaller particles are removed naturally by the body but some particles, including asbestos fibres, are able to bypass these natural defences and enter the lungs. The body is not able to expel tiny asbestos fibres, and so they can journey deep into the lungs during inhalation.

The tiny asbestos particles, once they have been inhaled, are capable of journeying throughout the respiratory system to the alveoli. Here, the particles can pierce the cell walls and enter into the pleura and lodge themselves here. This results in the mesothelial cells and sub-pleural fibroblasts producing scar tissue and deposits of collagen which lead to pleural thickening.

Asbestos does not lead to immediate pleural thickening, and it can often take anywhere between 20 to 40 years from the time of first exposure before conditions begin to show.

Symptoms of pleural thickening

Symptoms of pleural thickening usually appear several years after exposure and can take decades to become apparent. There are not always obvious symptoms of pleural thickening, though some people who suffer from the disease report symptoms that ever don’t improve over time or progressively get worse, such as:

  • Ongoing breathlessness
  • Restricted movement in the chest
  • Pains in the chest
  • Persistent cough
  • Poor lung functioning which leads to fatigue, discomfort and restricted activity levels.

A person who suffers from pleural thickening is at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Ongoing symptoms such as those above should therefore be quickly assessed by a doctor so that treatment can be arranged as soon as possible.

Claiming compensation for pleural thickening

If you are suffering from pleural thickening, and you believe the company you work for may have been at fault, you may be eligible to claim compensation.

Personal injury compensation is awarded in two parts. Firstly, you may be able to receive compensation for the pain and suffering that you have gone through as a result of your injury.

Secondly, compensation can also be awarded for any financial losses you have suffered as a direct result of suffering from pleural thickening. This could include any medical bills, prescription costs, travel expenses and other expenses. If you have taken time of work due to your illness, or if you are no longer able to work, you would also be entitled to claim compensation for loss of wages and for loss of future earnings.

Making a personal injury claim

At InjuryClaims.co.uk, we work in partnership with specialist industrial disease claim solicitors who can help to assess your claim during a free consultation. Your solicitor will work on a risk free No Win No Fee service, which means that you can start a claim without worrying about any upfront legal fees.

When you choose a solicitor to handle your claim, they will not just take the risk out of making a claim, but will also make sure that you receive maximum compensation for your injury to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. If your pleural thickening claim is not successful, you will not be left with any legal bills to pay due to the no win no fee guarantee.

To get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer, simply request a call back using the contact form below or call free on 0800 678 1410. A friendly solicitor will assess your claim without any cost to you, and if you have a valid claim they will be happy to help you every step of the way.