I was recently diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening which is due to exposure to asbestos. I am worried that my condition may deteriorate into mesothelioma cancer and want to know if it is possible to include future illnesses in pleural thickening compensation claims.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

I was recently diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening which is due to exposure to asbestos. I am worried that my condition may deteriorate into mesothelioma cancer and want to know if it is possible to include future illnesses in pleural thickening compensation claims.

Answer:

Pleural thickening compensation claims can only be made for the injury you have sustained at present and not for any potential future deterioration of your condition which may – or may not – occur. Your fears of diffuse pleural thickening developing into mesothelioma cancer may be well-founded, but until such time as you are diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, it will only be possible to claim compensation for pleural thickening in relation to the symptoms you are displaying at this time.

Even though how much compensation for pleural thickening you receive may not be sufficient to pay for future care requirements (a separate claim for mesothelioma cancer would be made at a later date should your condition deteriorate), you will be able to claim “expected” further medical expenses provided they can be justified – and not assumed – on the application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland and there are other advantages to making pleural thickening compensation claims as soon as possible.

A successful claim for pleural thickening compensation now will establish liability for your present injury and speed up the future claims process should your condition deteriorate. You will also be able to identify how your quality of life has already deteriorated due to your diffuse pleural thickening illness and monitor your health and your ability to complete day-to-day tasks more accurately (a diary is recommended for this). You will also be able to forecast ahead to establish exactly what medical care you may require in the future.

In terms of what may or may not happen in the future, in it not recommended that you delay any pleural thicken compensation claims waiting for your condition to deteriorate. Should a period of two years elapse from the time you were diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening without a claim for pleural thickening compensation being made, you could lose your entitlement to compensation for this element of your injury.

Furthermore, should your condition develop into cancer at a later stage, you will have to go through the lengthy and tiresome procedures of making a claim from scratch – time which will be saved by claiming compensation for pleural thickening now and time which you may not have much of in the future. You should be advised that if a claim for mesothelioma cancer is not resolved before your death, your estate will not be able to claim for the pain and suffering you experience due to your former employer´s negligence and only be able to recover the financial costs of your illness.

Therefore it is in your best interests to make a claim for pleural thickening compensation at the earliest possible opportunity and engage the service of a solicitor to ensure that your pleural thickening compensation claim accounts for every aspect of your present illness and how it affects your quality of life at this time.

See also: mesothelioma compensation, lung cancer compensation.