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Boyes Turner were instructed by Mr N who had been diagnosed by his hospital as suffering from Diffuse Pleural Thickening (“DPT”).  

Diffuse Pleural Thickening

DPT is an asbestos related disease that causes symptoms of breathlessness, chest pain and sometimes the build-up of fluid in the pleura.

Mr N was suffering breathlessness as a result of his DPT.

Discussions with Mr N had revealed that he had a been exposed to heavy asbestos exposure whilst working in the building trade.

Boyes Turner were instructed by Mr N to pursue his former employers for compensation.

Boyes Turner instructed a specialist medico-legal expert to confirm Mr N’s diagnosis of DPT and to comment on the effects it was having on his day-today life, his need for care and assistance and whether Mr N would suffer from a reduced life expectancy as a result of his DPT. 

The medical expert confirmed that Mr N was in fact suffering from DPT, though the degree of DPT only just satisfied the Lynch criteria, an important threshold to be passed for DPT compensation claims to succeed. 

Pleural Plaques

Mr N was also told by the medico-legal expert that he was suffering from pleural plaques (“PP”), another asbestos related disease.  PP is an asbestos related condition generally thought to be asymptomatic and one which is not compensatable in England and Wales due to its non-injurious nature.

Mr N’s claim

On sending a detailed letter of claim to the defendant’s, liability was denied. 

The defendants also denied that Mr N was in fact suffering from DPT or any other form of asbestos related disease. 

Due to the defendant’s defensive attitude to Mr N’s claim a settlement could not be reached and proceedings were issued in the Royal Courts of Justice on behalf by Mr N.

On issuing proceedings the defendants obtained their own medical evidence in an attempt to find fault in Mr N’s diagnosis. The defendant’s medical expert initially stated that our client was suffering from pleural plaques only which were not causing any symptoms and they refused again to enter in to settlement negotiations with Mr N.

After holding lengthy discussions and compiling a joint statement setting out areas of agreement and disagreement, the medical experts for the claimant and the defendant agreed that Mr N was not suffering from DPT that satisfied the Lynch criteria. 

The experts did come to an agreement however that Mr N was suffering from PP that were causing him to suffer a respiratory disability.  In effect it was agreed that our client was suffering an injury as a result of PP a rare finding for such a diagnosis.

The defendants however continued to deny liability for Mr N’s PP and the case proceeded to trial at the High Court before a specialist asbestos judge.

At trial the defendant was held liable for our client’s injuries and ordered to pay compensation to his Estate, our client having passed away before the trial was heard.

Mr N’s widow’s comments

The judgement came as welcome news to Mr N’s widow who stated that she had never set out to obtain compensation, she simply wanted justice for Mr N one who had suffered the effects of an asbestos related disease due to no fault of his own. 

Boyes Turner were proud to fight this claim for Mr N and his Estate eventually obtaining the justice Mr N deserved.  Asbestos related diseases are too often suffered by innocent hard working people who simply tried to earn a day’s wages, and end up paying for it with their lives due to their employers negligence.  The ongoing fight for justice for Mr N was backed by Boyes Turner’s ethos of fighting for asbestos victims.

Our advice

Whilst PP claims rarely cause respiratory disability and are rarely compensated in England or Wales, we would remind asbestos victims suffering from PP that claims can be pursued in England and Wales where special circumstances exist.  The special circumstances that need to be satisfied are: 

  1. A formal diagnosis of pleural plaques must be confirmed by radiological imaging.
  2. The patient must be suffering from respiratory symptoms.
  3. The patient must have a known asbestos exposure history which he can account for.
  4. There must be no other known cause of the respiratory disability such as asthma, COPD or emphysema etc.

If these circumstances are satisfied then a pleural plaques victim could potentially obtain compensation for his condition.  Boyes Turner would be happy to discuss potential PP claims free of charge to answer any queries you may have in relation to this condition.