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Personal Injury Claims: The Difference Between Pleural Thickening And Pleural Plaques

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Pleural Thickening is one of several specialist personal injury claims that can be brought, but it must be done so with an experienced solicitor. Tilly Bailey & Irvine's personal injury solicitors in Hartlepool explain more....

TBI had a surprising discussion with a client recently who attended its Hartlepool offices with an enquiry as to whether or not compensation could be recovered for the condition pleural thickening.

The matter was referred to solicitor Mark Ellis, a specialist in industrial injury claims at the firm with experience dating back 30 years.

The client had come having been advised by another firm of local solicitors that pleural thickening was a non-compensatable asbestos injury and a claim could not be pursued. This was wrong. It is indeed eligible for compensation.

Upon further investigation it became apparent that the previous firm had wrongly advised the individual and mistaken the condition for pleural plaques. Both of these are asbestos related injuries but one is compensatable and the other is not so. This demonstrated the need to seek specialist advice and in this case, the earlier solicitor did not have the requisite specialist knowledge for these claims.

The Difference Between Pleural Plaques And Thickening

Pleural plaques are a distinct thickening of the lung membrane (the pleura) and do not usually cause any harm to the sufferer. However, they are still a cause for concern and if a person has developed pleural plaques then it is an indication that they have been exposed to asbestos and there is a greater chance that they could go on to develop a more serious condition.

We at Tilly Bailey & Irvine have a register of pleural sufferers who can refer matters back to us should they develop a more serious condition.

Pleural thickening develops when extensive scarring occurs to the pleural membrane lining the lungs and the chest wall. Asbestos exposure is not the only cause; others can include infection, inflammatory disease and non-malignant pleural effusion, i.e. fluid around the lungs. Symptoms often mean the lungs cannot expand sufficiently and the victim may suffer breathlessness. A specialist diagnosis is needed and pleural thickening is compensatable.

It would appear that there are some solicitors without sufficient expertise to know this distinction. It is important that anybody with concerns regarding asbestos exposure or lung damage should seek expert legal or medical advice.

Claiming Compensation

Claiming compensation for asbestos related injuries can be complicated and it is vital that victims of exposure understand their rights, including when they can and cannot claim compensation. This is true especially of pleural plaques sufferers and those who have conditions other than pleural plaques, i.e. pleural thickening, lung cancer, mesothelioma, etc.

Pleural plaques sufferers were able to recover compensation in the past; however, the Law changed following a House of Lords decision in 2007 that ended the right to claim for compensation (it is still possible to claim in Scotland).

You cannot claim compensation if you have developed pleural plaques following asbestos exposure in England and Wales; however, if you develop a different condition such as those mentioned above, you may be able to claim damages.

We at Tilly Bailey & Irvine have a wealth of experience dealing with such claims both locally and nationally. If you have any concerns or queries, please contact our Hartlepool or Stockton offices on 0333 444 4422 and we will discuss and assist your claim.