Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that has been used widely in many industries because it is resistant to heat, fire and chemicals and does not conduct electricity. It is also deadly.

Asbestos was commonly used in the building and construction industries for strengthening cement and plastics as well as for insulation, roofing, fireproofing and sound absorption.

The shipbuilding industry used it to insulate boilers, steam pipes, and hot water pipes. The automotive industry still uses asbestos in vehicle brake shoes and clutch pads.

It was also used in ceiling and floor tiles, paints, coatings, adhesives and plastics. In addition, asbestos has been found in vermiculite-containing garden products and some talc-containing crayons. Exposure to asbestos can occur in many ways.

Types of Asbestos Exposure

Pleural Plaque

Pleural plaques do not generally cause any symptoms, they are scarring to the lung tissues which can be seen on an X-ray of the lung.

A diagnosis of pleural plaques does usually indicate that the sufferer has been exposed to asbestos and that asbestos fibres have been inhaled. Therefore, the sufferer of the condition is at risk of contracting one of the other more serious conditions associated with asbestos exposure which can cause them concern, although it does not necessarily mean that they will.

As they are not thought to cause any symptoms they do not attract an award of compensation if the sufferer was exposed to asbestos in England or Wales.

If the person was exposed to asbestos in Scotland or Northern Ireland they may be able to claim for the condition.

Pleural Thickening

Pleural thickening, or diffuse pleural thickening (DPT), is a lung disease that can be caused by asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one suffers from this condition, We can help you make a compensation claim.

Pleural thickening is the term used to describe a scarring of the membrane (the pleura) that covers the lung. There may be no initial symptoms but as the condition progresses the sufferer will begin to experience chest pain or tightness, a persistent cough and reduced breathing function that gets worse over time.

Victims are likely to have been exposed to asbestos. When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can damage local lung cells, gradually building up and causing scar tissue which cannot expand or contract like healthy lung tissue, resulting in reduced breathing function.

Although the condition is not generally fatal it can become more debilitating over the space of several years. Those most at risk are people who handled, used or came into contact with asbestos during their daily work. That could include people such as carpenters or electricians, miners, labourers working on building sites, merchant mariners and railway workers.

Your employer has a duty to protect your health and safety at work. If they have failed in that duty, you are well within your rights to bring a claim for compensation against them. You may be able to claim compensation from your employer who was negligently responsible for exposing you to asbestos.

You could have a case for claiming compensation even if the company (or their insurer) is no longer in business. As a rule, you usually should start a claim within three years of when you knew you were suffering from an illness caused by asbestos exposure. This is usually taken to mean the date of diagnosis or the first ‘date of knowledge’ and does not mean three years from the time of asbestos exposure.