We know it’s a stressful moment when you find out that you have pleural thickening that is caused by exposure to harmful asbestos.
You have been totally unaware of that for many years and suddenly come to this point. But since many times have already passed, you may think that you don’t have anything to do now. Well, that’s not true!
If this condition happens due to negligence, you will be able to claim compensation for it. You can seek the help of a professional lawyer who can help you in this difficult situation.
But before taking your next step, you have to know about this disease in detail, right? So, go through the things you should know about beforehand.
Table of Contents
What is Pleural Thickening?
Pleural thickening or Diffuse Pleural Thickening (DPT) is a type of lung disease that thickens the pleural or lung membrane lining. The most common cause of this illness is inhaling asbestos fibres. The other causes of DPT include-
- Chronic pneumonia
- Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery
- Radiation exposure
What Are The Symptoms of Pleural Thickening?
At an early stage, pleural thickening doesn’t show any symptoms – this is the very reason why the illness is discovered many years later.
Anyway, as the disease develops, a patient experiences breathlessness, chest pain when drawing a deep breath, pain with coughing, etc. And over time, the gap between the pleura closes off. Because of this, the lungs can’t function properly, which results in death.
If the illness is discovered at an early stage, doctors suggest doing respiratory physiotherapy and oxygen therapy—this helps to ease the symptoms and stop worsening the situation. Unfortunately, this is an incurable illness, but it can be under control with the right treatment.
How Is Pleural Thickening Diagnosed?
Normally, pleural thickening is diagnosed by imaging studies. Different imaging scans techniques are used to detect this illness.
X-ray Imaging Scans
Pleural thickening is usually spotted through a chest X-ray. In an X-ray plate, the thickening part appears as a shadow of the pleura.
Computed tomography (CT Scan) helps to detect irregularity of the pleura. It can detect the early stage of pleural thickening when the scar is about 1-2 mm.
PET and MRI Scans
Although PET is rarely used, pleural thickening also appears on PET scans. On the other hand, MRI is used for detecting any pleural malignancy.
Is Pleural Thickening Serious?
As you have seen, pleural thickening is serious when it reaches the advanced stages. Besides, although not all pleural thickening conditions transform into a form of cancer, there is a high risk of it.
Since the individuals have been exposed to asbestos for a very long time, there is a chance that they will suffer from lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis in future.
So, in a word, pleural thickening is indeed a serious condition. You should seek the help of a doctor as soon as possible.
Professions That Are at The Highest Risk of Developing This Illness
Generally, construction workers are at a high risk of exposure to asbestos if proper measurement is not taken. So, people who are working in the following fields possess the danger of developing the condition.
- Construction sites
- Power stations
If you were in any of these fields or currently doing jobs, you should be careful from now on.
When Can You Make A Claim?
After being diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening, be sure what causes the illness. If you can prove that it has been caused because of your workplace, you can demand compensation for your situation.
You know, maintaining working safety is the responsibility of employers, and they are also legally bound to do it.
The court will decide the employer’s negligence if the following things have happened.
- They did not warn you about the harmful after-effects of asbestos.
- They did not provide you with enough safety equipment like respiratory protection.
- The company did not take proper measurements while disposing of asbestos waste.
If any of these happen and you are exposed to dangerous elements, you have the full right to claim.
How do You Make A Pleural Thickening Claim?
To sue your company for your illness, you have to be fully prepared from your side. So, come up with a plan with your lawyer and gather the following documents.
- Documents of all medical records
- Statements of the people at the workplace and medical professionals
- Evidence of employer’s negligence
- Clear record of your financial suffer
After arranging all these things, claim a lawsuit against your company.
What If The Company does Not Exist Anymore?
Unfortunately, asbestos diseases take a very long time – at least 20 years or more – to reveal. This is the reason why many patients are still found with this illness even if the use of asbestos was banned before this century.
Anyways, while it comes to filing a complaint that you worked for decades ago, it’s possible that it no longer exists or the owner and the name both change. So what can you do in this situation?
Well, you have to contact a legal professional in this case. An experienced lawyer can use their resources to find the insurance company that worked with your workplace. If they can do it successfully, you can still claim the compensation.
The insurance company or their successor is legally bound to face your complaint. At that time, if you can prove your claim, they will pay out the compensation.
Provisional Damages for Pleural Thickening
As you have seen earlier, having pleural thickening also means you may develop advanced asbestos diseases. But if you have already concluded your claim for pleural thickening, you can’t pursue any further compensation in case your situation worsens.
That’s why it’s better to settle down your claim on a provisional basis. This means you can re-apply for more reparation if you, unfortunately, develop another asbestos-related disease.
Are There Any Time Limits For Claiming Pleural Thickening Compensation?
Yes, there is a time limit. You must bring up your claim within three years after becoming aware of your condition. Officially the diagnosis is considered as the starting day.
If a family member has died from this illness, you can claim compensation within three years from the date of death. In case you find out the cause of death later, you may still file a complaint.
How Much Compensation Will You Receive?
The amount of compensation depends on the severity of the illness and personal circumstances. How much impact the condition has on your life is also considered an important variable to calculate the reparation.
The judges take into account factors like loss of income, care costs, etc.
In case your family has died due to this illness, you may demand compensation as a dependent of the deceased. If you are a widow/widower, partner or a child of the dead and your livelihood depends on their income, you can demand compensation. However, first, take advice from a professional to know if you are applicable for it or not.
What does The Compensation Cover?
The compensation usually covers the impact on the lifestyle. It includes the following things-
- Your daily expense/ pocket money
- A fixed amount equal to your earnings
- The expense for treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy sessions
- Cost for the equipment ( if you need any because of the illness)
What If You Die Before Settling Down The Claim?
It’s not easy to think about this matter beforehand. Still, for the sake of your family’s future, you must keep this thing in your mind as it’s a sensitive issue on which your family’s financial security depends.
Anyways, your claim won’t drop after you have died. As mentioned earlier, your successor can claim to compensate for your absence. You just need a passionate lawyer who will take the responsibility till the end.
So, before starting your lawsuit, make sure your lawyer is good enough who will fight for you even after you have gone.
How Long does It Take to Settle Down A Claim?
The time length actually depends on the severity of your case. And since every case is different, there is no surety when the process will end. However, the estimated time is 18 – 24 months. It can be more or less according to the difficulty level.
In any case, the lawsuit indeed takes a lot of time to be solved. So to secure the future of you and your family, you should take your step without any further delay.
Hopefully, you have learned all the required information about pleural thickening and how you can take legal action for that. You see, pleural thickening is indeed a serious issue that every company should accept liability if anything wrong happens.
So, if you are an unfortunate one, don’t wait any longer and bring more misfortune to your family. Hold the hands who are ready to help you willingly and make a plan for your next steps.
Frequently Ask Question (FAQ)
What is pleural plaques?
Pleural plaques can be considered as the early stage of pleural thickening. While pleural thickening is diagnosed if the entire lung is affected, pleural plaques are diagnosed if the scarring and swelling happen in a certain area of the lungs.
Is pleural plaques the same as asbestosis?
Pleural plaques and asbestosis are not the same. And none of them are a form of cancer. So, even if you are diagnosed with any of these, don’t worry and do as your doctor told you to.
Can you get compensation for pleural plaques?
Although the cause of pleural plaques is the same as the pleural thickening, it doesn’t show any symptoms. Therefore, the law doesn’t consider it as an injury or disability. That’s why you can’t get any type of compensation for this. This is very unfortunate, though.
How long can you live with pleural thickening?
Actually, pleural thickening is not a life-threatening issue. But unfortunately, if your illness goes to an advanced level and forms pleural mesothelioma, your life expectancy will be 1-2 years.
However, as medical science is so much developed now, you can expect to live more days with advanced treatments.
Can you get pleural thickening from smoking?
Although there is no direct connection between smoking and pleural thickening, research shows that smokers are more likely to have this illness since smoking harms the overall lungs conditions.