There are a number of conditions that are caused by exposure to asbestos and for which compensation can be claimed pleural thickening, asbestosis, asbestos lung cancer and mesothelioma. Another condition which is caused by exposure to asbestos is pleural plaques.
Pleural plaques are scarring to the lungs caused by asbestos exposure. In most cases, pleural plaques do not cause symptoms, however, they do show that someone has been exposed to asbestos and that they are at risk of developing a more serious asbestos related condition.
Claiming compensation for pleural plaques has been under much discussion in recent years and whether someone can claim compensation now depends on where in the UK they live.
The arguments about claiming compensation for pleural plaques centre around the symptoms. Most people diagnosed with pleural plaques do not suffer with any symptoms. However, those who want pleural plaques to be a compensatable condition argue that the presence of plaques is an indicator that someone has been exposed to asbestos and is therefore at an increased risk of developing a more serious condition and this can lead to psychological problems for the sufferer.
In 2011 insurance companies appealed against legislation in Scotland which enabled those suffering with asbestos related to claim compensation from former employers.
Similar legislation has also been going through in Northern Ireland. This was put on hold whilst the Scottish appeal was done but not, the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 has been passed. This means that as of 14th December 2011, anyone in Northern Ireland who is diagnosed with pleural plaques can pursue a claim for compensation.
Unfortunately, the same opportunity is not open to those in living in England and Wales. In 2007 the House of Lords ruled that compensation would no longer be available for those suffering with pleural plaques. For a short period following the ruling, anyone who had already begun a claim for compensation for pleural plaques was able to claim through a limited compensation scheme set up by the Government, however this has now closed.