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Asbestosis Claims Solicitors

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease that leads to long-term breathing complications. The disease does not have a cure. It is caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos but may not be diagnosed until decades after the exposure occurred.

What is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis Compensation Claim Guide Coleman Legal LLP

Asbestos is a group of minerals with thin microscopic fibres. These fibres are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. These desirable properties made asbestos a very widely used material, and its use continued to grow throughout most of the 20th century until the carcinogenic effects of asbestos dust caused its effective demise as a mainstream construction and fireproofing material in most countries.

It should be noted that you can no longer buy, use or re-use asbestos products in Ireland, i.e., under EU legislation, there is now a ban on asbestos and asbestos-containing products being placed on the market.

Types of asbestos disease asbestosis claims solicitors types Coleman Legal LLP

Asbestos exposure becomes an issue if asbestos-containing materials become airborne – if products containing asbestos are disturbed, the tiny fibres are released into the air. When they are breathed in, they can become trapped in the lungs and stay there for many years. Over time these fibers can accumulate and lead to serious health problems.

  • Asbestosis:  an inflammatory condition of the lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and eventually scarring of the lungs that make it hard to breathe.
  • Mesothelioma: rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, chest cavity, or abdomen.
  • Pleural plaques: One of the most common indicators of significant exposure to asbestos. Characterised by areas of fibrous thickening on the lining of the lungs (pleura) or diaphragm, the condition typically arises 20 to 30 years after asbestos exposure. The plaques can calcify over time, but they do not cause long-term health problems. Pleural plaques are always benign and will never become cancerous but scientific evidence suggests that the presence of pleural plaques increases the risk of developing mesothelioma.
  • Lung cancer
  • Other lung problems

Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of asbestosis

Asbestos-related diseases take many years to develop. The average interval between inhaling asbestos fibers and the onset of symptoms is around 35 years and can be as long as 50 years or more. The shortest latency period is between 10 to 15 years. If you worked with asbestos, even if it was many years ago you may be affected. The asbestos-related diseases also occur among the wives and children of those who come into contact with the relative’s overalls worn whilst working with asbestos.

There are many different types of asbestos-related conditions and they each vary in severity. The conditions include Pleural Plaques, Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, and Asbestosis. Asbestosis is often misused as a term for any asbestos-related disease. If you have developed an asbestos-related condition (with the exception of pleural plaques) and, if it can be proven that you were exposed to the asbestos due to someone else’s fault then you would be entitled to bring in a workplace injury or asbestosis claims for compensation.

The chance of developing an asbestos-related illness from a one-off incident of low-level exposure is not impossible but very unlikely. One point to remember is that the earlier an asbestos-related disease is diagnosed, the better the condition can be monitored or treated. X-rays, scans, and lung-function tests can diagnose an asbestos-related disease and monitor its progression.

Information about pleural plaques

What are pleural plaques?

Pleural plaques are a form of scarring of the outer lining of the lung. Although pleural plaques do not normally cause any symptoms they are an indication of previous exposure to asbestos.

People diagnosed with pleural plaques, often become anxious about whether they will develop a fatal asbestos-related illness in the future, such as mesothelioma

What is pleural thickening?

Pleural Thickening or diffuse pleural thickening can be caused by exposure to asbestos.  The asbestos fibres which are inhaled through the nose or mouth into the lungs, can make their way out to the pleura (the two-layered membrane surrounding the lungs) and cause scarring and thickening.

If the areas of thickening are not widespread and are isolated to small areas they do not generally cause any symptoms and are known as pleural plaques; however if they cover a large area where they may make breathing difficult, they are known as diffuse pleural thickening. Pleural Thickening can develop on one lung or on both lungs and causes the tissue to harden, which in turn prevents the lungs from working correctly, making the sufferer feel breathless.

Pleural Thickening can be a disabling condition by itself; however, it also proves that the sufferer has been exposed to asbestos in the past which puts them at risk of developing other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. If you have been diagnosed with pleural thickening, you may be able to make a claim for pleural thickening compensation.

Identifying asbestos product

Many products that contain asbestos state the fact on the label. However, if you are unsure as to whether a product contains asbestos, you can contact the manufacturer or supplier directly to find out if asbestos is contained in the product. If you are still unsure, you should contact a competent person or consultant who will identify if the product is asbestos-containing and will assess the risk associated with the material. The advice can be obtained from the asbestos removals contractors, asbestos consultants, the Department of the Environment, and the Local Government. Where concerns relate to the workplace or work activities, the Health and Safety Authority can also give advice.

The following is a list of products that are presumed to contain Asbestos**:

  • Sprayed on fireproofing and insulation in buildings
  • Insulation for pipes and boilers
  • Wall and ceiling insulation
  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Cement wall joint compounds and ceiling textures in older buildings
  • Brake linings and clutch pads

(** Note: The following list does not include every product/material that may contain asbestos. It is intended as a general guide to show which types of materials may contain asbestos)

Claim process

Asbestosis is a serious medical condition caused by inhaling asbestos fibres, which can lead to lung damage and other respiratory problems. If you have been diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma and believe that it is the result of exposure to asbestos in the workplace or from another source, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation in Ireland.

The process for making an asbestosis / mesothelioma claim in Ireland will involve the following steps

1. Consult a solicitor

It is recommended that you speak to a solicitor who specializes in asbestos / mesothelioma claims, as they will be able to advise you on the necessary requirements to pursue a claim.

2. Gather evidence

Your Solicitor will assist you in gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim, such as medical records, employment records, and other documentation that shows the extent of your exposure to asbestos and the impact that it has had on your health.

3. Submit your claim

Once the key information has been collated your solicitor will then submit your claim to the PIAB (Personal Injuries Assessment Board) and to the party responsible for your exposure to asbestos.

4. Litigation Process

If a settlement cannot be reached, your case may need to be taken to court. Your solicitor will represent you and present your case to the judge.

It is important to note that the time frame for making an asbestosis claim can vary greatly and may take several months or even years to resolve, therefore it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you believe that you have a claim.

Employer responsibilities

Employers’ responsibilities to workers have evolved over the years in the civil courts, and the employer’s duty of care to each of his employees can be reduced to five headings.

Put simply, the employer must provide

  1. Safe systems of work,
  2. A safe place of work,
  3. Plant and machinery that is safe to use,
  4. Competent supervision and/or suitable training and,
  5. Care in the selection of fellow employees.

All claims involving accidents in the workplace (employer liability cases) must be submitted to Personal Injuries Assessment Board before starting legal proceedings.

Employers must ensure the minimum health and safety standards in order to prevent (as much as possible) their employees from being injured due to an accident at work.

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, employers have a duty to ensure their employee’s safety, health, and welfare at work as far as is reasonably practicable.

In order to prevent workplace injuries and ill health, you are required, among other things, to

  • Provide and maintain a safe workplace, machinery, and equipment
  • Prevent risks from use of any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise, and vibration
  • Prevent any improper conduct or behavior likely to put the safety, health, and welfare of employees at risk (“horseplay” and bullying at work come within these categories)
  • Provide instruction and training to employees on health and safety
  • Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees (at no cost to employees)
  • Appoint a competent person as the organisation’s Safety Officer

Statute of Limitations

Asbestos-related diseases can range from mild and benign to malignant and life-threatening and when it comes to a claim, time is of the essence. At Coleman Legal LLP, we have extensive experience in progressing asbestosis claims within the limited timeframe required to achieve either a judgment or settlement. As experienced asbestosis claim solicitors, our expertise means that we can assess your claim efficiently and in a timely manner. Our Workplace Injury Solicitors and Asbestosis Claim Solicitors are happy to meet with you to explain the legal options available to you.

Our team Our Personal Injury Solicitors

If you have experienced injury or an accident in the workplace and have questions surrounding the incident, please contact our workplace injury solicitors at Coleman Legal LLP to find out if you have a potential legal action against your employer. Our dedicated team has a collective experience of over 30 years, and we are ready to advise and assist you with your asbestosis claim.

If you want to take legal action over an injury, you should consult our accidents in the workplace solicitors, who are members of the Law Society’s injury accreditation scheme and clinical negligence accreditation scheme. Contact Rose Sweeney or Philip Treacy by email or FREE phone us to see how we can help you in relation to your injury or accident in the workplace.

Coleman Legal LLP

84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
D01 YX60

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Clodagh Magennis

Clodagh Magennis

Head of Client Services

[email protected]

”At Coleman Legal, excellence in customer care is paramount. We aim to meet both prospective and existing client’s needs in a professional, engaging, and friendly manner with a clear objective to give quality legal advice and reach a positive outcome.”

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