Pleural Plaques – what causes them?
The formation of pleural plaques is considered by the medical profession to be primarily the result of workplace exposure to asbestos. Now, that sounds pretty scary; after all exposure to asbestos is usually associated with much nastier conditions such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. However, unless a person has developed bilateral (in both lungs) pleural plaques, sufficiently extension enough to result in a restricted lung function, the condition will usually be symptom free, making it something of a statistically hidden condition, i.e. you won’t know you’ve got it unless you have an unrelated chest x-ray which discovers its existence. It also commonly only develops twenty to thirty years after exposure to the asbestos has taken place.
Developing Pleural Plaques – what does that mean for me?
Pleural plaques have been identified as a non-malignant disease of the pleura (outer lining) of the lungs which results in the formation of small, discreet, symmetrical areas of scarring. This disease has not been shown to be associated with any long term health problems which could lead to more serious conditions developing and it does not appear to increase the percentage chance of developing the more serious asbestos related conditions. What pleural plaques do signify is that the person has very probably been exposed to asbestos. Those most at risk of contracting pleural plaques usually are or have been employed as electricians, plumbers, builders, gas fitters or woodworkers.
Developed pleural plaques? Can I claim compensation?
Sadly the answer is no – even if your employer was negligent in failing to protect you from that exposure to asbestos.
Since 2007, personal injury compensation can no longer be claimed through the courts in England and Wales against a former employer/ for pleural plaques alone. However as pleural plaques are evidence of exposure to asbestos exposure, they can show that the sufferer be at risk of going on to develop one of a range of more serious medical conditions which have been linked to exposure to asbestos – including asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer – for which personal injury compensation claims are still possible.
Thinking of claiming compensation for an asbestos-related disease? Contact us today.
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