If you or someone you care about has received a medical diagnosis of asbestosis and/or mesothelioma in Australia, there is a possibility of personal injury compensation. These two illnesses are almost invariably caused by exposure to hazardous levels of asbestos, either in the working environment or while at home. There are several legal routes which can be pursued in order to obtain the compensation that’s owed, which are briefly detailed below.
Common law mesothelioma and asbestosis claims
To successfully pursue a claim using common law, there needs to be evidence not only that asbestos exposure took place, resulting in current illness, but that there was negligence on the part of an employer or manufacturer in not providing sufficient protection from exposure. Frequently, common law claims are settled through a fast track process, usually during mediation and the pre-trial conference. Should the mesothelioma or asbestosis sufferer die before the claim is resolved, any compensation will be passed on to their dependents.
Many states provide statutory benefits upon the diagnosis of asbestos-related illness. States that do this include New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania. The criteria vary slightly between states – it’s best to obtain professional advice on how to access these initiatives as soon as possible following diagnosis, as some have time limits.
Complex mesothelioma and asbestosis cases
Although some mesothelioma sufferers clearly remember the circumstances which led to them being exposed to asbestos, this isn’t always initially the case. Due to the significant time lag between exposure and disease development (which can be 40 or 50 years later), it can take skilled questioning to establish when the asbestos was inhaled. In such cases it’s wise to use a skilled legal expert that has plenty of experience in dealing with asbestos claims, as they will be able vigorously pursue a claim while also providing appropriate compassionate support for the client, who is frequently extremely ill.
The life limiting nature of mesothelioma is such that commencing claim proceedings as soon as possible after diagnosis is important. Don’t delay in seeking the necessary legal advice and guidance that’s needed to maximise the chances of receiving the highest level of compensation to which you’re entitled.