Sadly, despite a ban on asbestos products, asbestos diseases are still being diagnosed and remain prevalent in Australia. If you have been diagnosed with any asbestos disease, you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
How will I know if I have been exposed to asbestos?
New asbestos products stopped being made in Australia in the 1980s, however the challenges with asbestos diseases continues. Many homes and buildings built prior to 1990 still contain the dangerous fibre. If you are a tradesperson working on an old building, it’s important to stay vigilant to potential asbestos exposure.
Once inhaled, asbestos fibres lodge deep in the lungs and many years later this may lead to life-threatening diseases like asbestosis, pleural disease, lung cancer and mesothelioma – a rare and deadly cancer affecting the lung lining.
The greatest challenge with asbestos illnesses is that symptoms rarely arise until 20 or 30 years after exposure. For someone exposed to asbestos in the past, there is nothing that can be done except monitor for symptoms.
Statistically, workers in construction, plumbing and other home renovating industries are at greater risk of exposure to asbestos, however there are cases where people have been exposed to asbestos second-hand and also suffered an illness.
Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself against asbestos illness:
- Homes and buildings built before 1990. If you are required to undertake work on a home or building built prior to 1990, ensure any asbestos is identified before commencing work.
- Regular health check ups. Especially if you have worked in the building trade, obtaining regular medical check ups and keeping an eye on health can assist in identifying the symptoms of asbestos illness early.
- Symptoms of related diseases. The first signs of asbestos illness are having symptoms of related diseases such as lung disease. A routine X-ray or CT scan may be able to identify any abnormalities early.
What compensation can I claim for an asbestos disease?
The reality is that asbestos is still widespread and the risk of exposure remains. Unfortunately, this means we will continue to see claims for asbestos illness.
If you are suffering from an asbestos disease or were heavily exposed to asbestos in the past, it is best to seek legal advice. The compensation lawyers at Masselos & Co can assist in identifying and compiling the relevant evidence for your claim.
You may be wondering what forms of compensation exist for asbestos diseases. In general, there are two compensation avenues available for asbestos claims:
- Benefits via iCare. In NSW, iCare Dust Diseases Care (formerly the Dust Diseases Board) looks after all asbestos disease claims involving exposure at a NSW workplace. In order to make a claim this way, you need to notify iCare of your injury and they will conduct a thorough investigations. Benefits may take the form of pension-style payment as well as additional medical payments to cover expenses in obtaining treatment.
- Go to the tribunal. You also have the option to bring a claim in NSW’s specialised Dust Diseases Tribunal and sue asbestos manufacturers, past employers, or their insurers. If you decide to take this route, our lawyers can assist and provide you with the representation you require. Most cases settle out of court.
Finding out that you have an asbestos illness can be highly upsetting and confusing. Understanding your options for compensation is an important step in assisting your health going forward. Contact the compassionate and experienced asbestos lawyers at Masselos & Co to seek the answers and support you deserve. Book your free consultation today.
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