In the 20th Century, asbestos was widely used in Australia for many industrial and domestic applications. Unfortunately, if microscopic asbestos fibres become airborne and are inhaled, they irritate the lung tissue around them and can cause a number of asbestos related illnesses.
So for those wondering, can I claim compensation for asbestos exposure?, you’ll need to speak to our specialist team of asbestos injury lawyers about your personal injury claim. Owen Hodge Lawyers are experienced in all aspects of asbestos compensation claims and can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Learn more: personal injury claim time limits
Common asbestos related injuries
- Pleural disease
- Lung cancer
Due to their size and shape, asbestos particles can remain airborne for some time and enter even the smallest air passages in the lungs and become embedded in the tissue. Since December 2003, the importation and use of all forms of asbestos (with a very few specialised exceptions) has been prohibited in Australia.
Asbestos injury lawyers can help with disease claims relating to:
Inflammation and irritation of the outer lining of the lung (known as the pleura) can cause it to stiffen and thicken. This thickening of pleura causes respiratory disorder. Pleural disease takes approximately 7 years to develop following exposure to asbestos fibres, and is only evident on chest X-rays.
This is also known as scarring of the lungs. The airways become so inflamed and scarred that oxygen is no longer able to pass from the lungs into the blood. Symptoms include:
- Tightness in the chest
- Dry cough
- And in later stages, a bluish tinge to the skin caused by lack of oxygen.
Asbestosis usually takes around 10 years or more to develop following heavy and prolonged exposure to asbestos. Although it is a chronic disease, at times it can lead to death from other causes such as respiratory or cardiac failure.
People exposed to asbestos fibres have a great risk of developing lung cancer. It can take 20 years or more before the cancer develops and asbestos is only one of many agents linked to its development.
This is a rare form of cancer. It usually takes between 20 to 40 years or more to develop. Symptoms of this disease usually become evident when the disease has progressed to an advanced stage and the treatment is ineffective.
The average survival time after diagnosis is only between 6 to 18 months. Minor exposure to asbestos can also cause this cancer, however only a small percentage of people exposed to asbestos develop mesothelioma. Seek advice from a mesothelioma cancer lawyer if you’re in this position.
Proof for an asbestos compensation claim
If you have been exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease like those listed above, you may be able to make an asbestos exposure claim.
To make a claim:
- You are required to prove in a Court of law that your condition is due to exposure to asbestos. This normally involves obtaining a report from the treating physician.
- The claimant’s lawyer also needs to get an expert report from an independent expert of asbestos-related disease.
To make an asbestos compensation claim, get in touch with our personal injury lawyers.
Landmark judgment in dust disease-related claims
Bernie Banton (Bernie) worked in James Hardie’s (James) Camellia facility between 1968 and 1974. Bernie was involved in the production of various asbestos products. In 1999, Bernie was diagnosed with asbestosis. He was again diagnosed with mesothelioma and pleural disease in 2007.
Bernie sued James for negligence and received approximately $800,000 as compensation. The inquiry is considered to be a landmark since it was the first time in Australian history that a State Government became directly involved in the battle for compensation for workers.
Legislation that may impact your asbestos compensation claim
- Asbestos-related claims (Management of Commonwealth Liabilities) Act 2005;
- Asbestos-related claims (Management of Commonwealth Liabilities) (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) bill 2005;
- Asbestos-related claims (Management of Commonwealth Liabilities) (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2005;
- Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988; and
- Safe Work Australia Act 2008
Safe Work Australia is an agency that was established under the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 to:
- Coordinate and develop national policy and strategies
- Assist with the implementation of model work health and safety legislation
- Reform the legislative framework
- Undertake research and collect, analyse and report data
Safe Work Australia is a national policy body, but does not regulate work health and safety laws. The states and territories retain responsibility for regulating and enforcing work health and safety laws within their own jurisdiction.
Owen Hodge Lawyers are accredited personal injury lawyers and asbestos lawyers with significant experience in asbestos claims. A No Win, No Fee scheme is also available for victims who have been exposed to asbestos fibres. Have further questions about whether you’re eligible to claim or about asbestos related conditions? Contact us today for an obligation free appointment.
Our asbestos injury lawyers also offer free consultations to better understand your case and assist you with the process of submitting an asbestos compensation claim.
Frequently asked questions
We can’t give an exact answer as it depends on case by case basis. However, we do recommend speaking to a personal injury lawyer at Owen Hodge about how much you could expect in an asbestosis compensation claim.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim. Each asbestos claim is unique, so we encourage you to contact us directly on 1800 770 780 to discuss your case.
There are a few signs that indicate you have an asbestos related illness, these include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen fingers
- Dry cough
- Chest tightness or pain
- Loss of appetite