Pleural plaques claims
This is another asbestos related disease which occurs due to repeated exposure to asbestos dust or fibres. It is similar to pleural thickening except it does not usually present with any symptoms, is not cancerous and is not an indicator of a lung disease per se.
This is a chronic, incurable condition which persists for many years and increases the risk of other asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma.
Many people who have developed asbestosis also have pleural plaques as do some people with mesothelioma.
This is the name given to a type of scarring within the diaphragm and ribcage which can affect the breathing. These scars –known as fibrosis, are comprised of collagen (protein) fibres which cause inflammation within the chest cavity.
Pleural plaques prognosis
It takes around 20 years for this disease to develop after initial exposure to asbestos. This is similar to other asbestos related illnesses which have a long incubation period.
Issues with compensation for pleural plaques
Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to make a claim for pleural plaques but there is an exception to this (see below). From 17th October 2007 the House of Lords ruled that compensation would no longer be paid to anyone suffering from pleural plaques. They argued that this condition did not warrant compensation and as a result of that decision, payouts would no longer be made.
Prior to that decision, it had been possible to obtain compensation for pleural plaques.
A campaign was launched to challenge this which involved the support of the trade unions and newspapers but was unable to overturn this decision.
However, the government agreed to make one-off payments to people who had been diagnosed with pleural plaques and had started a claim for compensation before October 2007.
So, if you have already embarked upon a claim for compensation for pleural plaques before October 2007 then you may be entitled to this one off payment.
These payments are for £5,000 and are a single payment only.
(Source: Ministry of Justice)
More information can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at www.justice.gov.uk.
Making a claim for compensation for pleural plaques
If you have been diagnosed with pleural plaques and fit the criteria mentioned above then you may be able to claim compensation.
You will need to find a personal injury lawyer or solicitor who has experience in these types of claims. He or she will also have knowledge about the one-off payment scheme to people who have already applied for compensation before October 2007.
You will need to make an application under this government scheme but obtain advice before you do so.
The compensation claims process is discussed in detail in our making a claim for compensation section.
Time limit for claiming compensation for pleural plaques
Most compensation claims have a 3 year time limit which starts from the date of the accident or diagnosis of an illness.
However this differs in claims for an industrial disease due to the length of time between the initial exposure and the onset of the disease.
A personal injury lawyer or solicitor will be able to explain this further to you.
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