If you have been diagnosed with pleural thickening, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the specialist asbestos claims solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers. We have an excellent record in pursuing compensation in cases of this kind, and most of our claims are dealt with on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us on freephone 0800 884 0275 or fill in our online contact form and we’ll get back to you at a time that’s convenient. Our contact centre is open 24 hours 365 days a year - and we’ll be happy to help you.

What is pleural thickening?

Pleural thickening, also called diffuse pleural thickening, is extensive scarring in the membrane lining of the chest walls and lungs that causes the tissue to thicken. It’s a non-malignant disease that can affect either one or both lungs.

What causes it?

In most cases, pleural thickening is caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. The small dust particles contained within this hazardous insulating material are easily inhaled. Once in the lungs, the tiny particles, which measure only microns in length and diameter, can cause damage to the surrounding cells over time.

It’s important to realise that pleural thickening doesn’t develop immediately after exposure to asbestos. Many people have been exposed to asbestos fibres and dust throughout their working lives or while undertaking renovations in their home, but many don’t realise or understand what the consequences of asbestos exposure could be. Pleural thickening tends to develop between 10 and 20 years after exposure to asbestos fibres.

This disease can be a disabling condition by itself, but because it is an indicator that you have been exposed to asbestos fibres in the past, it can signify that you are at risk of developing other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, asbestos related lung cancer or mesothelioma.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of pleural thickening vary between different people and how extensive the scarring of the tissue is. The main symptom associated with this condition is breathlessness. This occurs because sufferers are more restricted in terms of how far they are able to expand their lungs, meaning they can’t take in as much air. The disease can also cause pain and a feeling of tightness in the chest.

If you’re experiencing symptoms like these, it’s important to book an appointment with your GP. Your GP will conduct an initial assessment, and if they think there is cause for concern, they’ll refer you to a specialist for further tests. You may be given an X-ray, CT scan and lung function test, and in some cases a biopsy is conducted.

Can it be treated?

Unfortunately, because the damage caused by pleural thickening is irreversible, there’s no cure for this condition. However, oxygen therapy or inhalers can be used to help ease the symptoms. Sufferers are also encouraged to stay physically active in order to maintain as much lung function as possible, and smokers are advised to quit.

If you’re diagnosed with this disease, you should also attend regular check-ups at your GP surgery or hospital. By monitoring your condition closely, you can help ensure that any other asbestos diseases such as asbestosis, asbestos related lung cancer or mesothelioma are detected as early as possible.

Who is at risk of pleural thickening?

Anyone who has had prolonged exposure to asbestos is at risk of developing pleural thickening. Those most at risk include:

  • Construction workers
  • Demolition workers
  • Gas fitters
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Insulation workers
  • Shop fitters
  • Heating engineers
  • Cable layers
  • Roofing contractors
  • Joiners

However, this is by no means an exhaustive list of the groups of people who can develop the disease. Anyone who’s been in close proximity to asbestos over a long period of time is at risk. Many of those who develop asbestos-related health conditions aren’t even aware that they came into contact with the material.

Can I claim compensation for pleural thickening?

If you were exposed to asbestos as a result of the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to make a pleural thickening compensation claim. For example, if you were not properly protected from the material while at work, you can take legal action against the employer or employers responsible. Employers have a duty to protect their workers from coming into contact with hazardous substances.

It’s important to be aware that pleural thickening claims must usually be made within three years of the date you were diagnosed with the disease, so it’s essential that you seek legal advice within this time period. If you leave your claim too late, you may find you’re not able to progress with it. People who develop pleural thickening but decide not to make a compensation claim unless their symptoms get worse run the risk that by the time they do decide to make a claim, it will be too late and their case will be struck out. This may happen even if you go on to develop mesothelioma. So the message is straightforward - don’t delay getting expert legal advice if you’re diagnosed with any asbestos-related disease.

It’s sometimes difficult to see what the benefits of making a claim for pleural thickening are. However, compensation can make it easier to provide for any care needs or equipment you may require and provide financial security for you and your family.

If you’re not sure when you were exposed to asbestos, we encourage you to contact our expert personal injury solicitors here at Slater and Gordon. We can help you to identify the point at which you came into contact with the material and support you in making a claim against a current or former employer.

To find out more, simply call us on freephone 0800 884 0275 or fill in our online contact form.

How much compensation can I get?

If we succeed in making a claim against the employer who exposed you to asbestos then the amount of compensation paid will depend on the level of respiratory disability. Once you have provided us with the details surrounding your case, one of our experts will be able to provide an estimate of what you’re likely to receive if your claim is successful.

What is a Provisional Damages Award?

As there is a risk that people with pleural thickening will later develop another asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer or asbestosis, we often advise that you seek a Provisional Damages Award. This type of award means that if you make and settle a pleural thickening claim for compensation, you’ll keep your legal rights open to return to court for further compensation in the event that you develop a further asbestos related condition. Your asbestos claims lawyer at Slater and Gordon will advise you about this.

What if my former employer has gone out of business?

Don’t be put off making a compensation claim if your former employer has gone out of business. Due to the length of time from asbestos exposure to being diagnosed with pleural thickening, employers often go out of business and may no longer exist. However, this doesn’t mean you are prevented from taking legal action. Our solicitors are experts in finding the original employer’s liability insurance company that would pay the compensation to someone diagnosed with pleural thickening.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have a large archive of successful asbestos disease claims with the insurance details of employers across the UK, and this information in the hands of our specialist solicitors will make sure that your pleural thickening claim has the best chance of success.

What is a No Win, No Fee pleural thickening claim?

You don’t have to risk your personal finances in order to make a compensation claim for pleural thickening. By opting for a No Win, No Fee funding solution, you can pursue justice with total peace of mind that you won’t end up counting the cost. The vast majority (98%) of our asbestos compensation claims are funded though No Win, No Fee agreements.

Also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, this type of arrangement between you and your legal team means if your claim isn’t successful, your solicitor isn’t paid for the work they’ve done. If you do succeed in getting compensation, your solicitor is paid a portion of their fees by the other party.

Why choose Slater and Gordon Lawyers?

Slater and Gordon appreciate the devastating impact that developing pleural thickening can have. It may affect your day to day life and give you anxiety about what the future holds in terms of your health. If you come to us for help pursuing compensation, you can rest assured that your case will be handled professionally and sensitively. We’ll give you a realistic assessment of your chances of success and, if you proceed with your claim, we’ll guide you and your family through each step of the process. As well as fighting for compensation on your behalf, our specialist solicitors can help you to access any medical support and rehabilitation you may need.

We have one of the largest and best teams of personal injury lawyers in the country and have extensive experience in asbestos related claims. Our solicitors draw on their extensive knowledge and experience to secure compensation in even the most complex cases.

Many solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers are members of respected bodies such as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the Law Society Personal Injury Panel and the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL).

For more information about our services and to see if you can make a pleural thickening compensation claim, don’t hesitate to call us on freephone 0800 884 0275 or complete our online contact form.

As one of the largest and best known law firms in the UK, we should be perfectly placed to help you. We have offices across the country in locations including Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.