Legal action - Pleural plaques compensation
A 55 year old woman from Retford, Nottinghamshire, whose father and 2 brothers died from asbestos related diseases, is taking legal action against a number of asbestos insulation companies after discovering she has the illness pleural plaques, associated with asbestos exposure.
However, her case has been delayed, since January 2006, whilst complex legal argument takes place. A 5 day hearing starting on the 25th June 2007, in the country's highest court, the House of Lords, will hear arguments from both sufferers of Pleural Plaques and the insurance companies who claim that, as the disease is benign, they should not have to compensate those affected as a consequence of negligent exposure to asbestos.
Valerie Pask, 55, was diagnosed with pleural plaques in April 2006. Pleural plaques are areas of thick scar tissue, which form in the chest lining and diaphragm. Over time, this thickening of the pleural membrane, lining the lungs, can make breathing difficult and there is a risk of going on to develop more serious respiratory diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Whilst pleural plaques are benign, their presence indicates exposure to the deadly asbestos dust and fibres, which frequently cause cancer, and lawyers for sufferers say the anxiety caused by knowing a malignant condition could well develop, in the future, is very real.
Mrs Pask's father, William Arthur Shippey, worked for a number of asbestos insulation companies at various power stations in England including: Drax, High Marnham, and West Burton.
One of Mrs Pask's household chores, as a child, was to help her mother do the washing. She would take her fathers work clothes and shake them out before her mother washed them. Her mother died, at the age of 42, of a respiratory illness.
Mrs Pask's father died from heart failure related to asbestosis. Her brothers, Brian and Michael Shippey, both died from mesothelioma at the ages of 50 and 45 respectively. Mrs Pasks brother-in-law, who also worked in power stations, died of lung cancer. Mrs Pasks sister, Barbara Turner, has also contracted pleural plaques, as has Mrs Pasks niece, Michelle Morris.
Risk of developing pleural plaques due to exposure to asbestos
Mrs Pask said I know now there is a real risk that I may develop a much more serious asbestos disease just like the rest of my family. I have seen, firsthand, how awful these diseases are and I am terrified that the asbestos I have been exposed to through no fault of my own will kill me. I was always a very outgoing person, but now that I have developed extensive pleural plaques I feel depressed all the time, thinking about my brothers and my father and what they went through gives me nightmares.
Adrian Budgen, head of the asbestos disease litigation unit at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Mrs Pask said: Mrs Pask is acutely aware that there is a risk that she may develop a more serious asbestos-related disease in the future and she has seen, at close quarters, the painful consequences for her if that were to happen.
Claim pleural plaques compensation
If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.