Did you know you can claim workers compensation for silicosis? Contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.
For those working in dusty conditions, especially with sandstone, you may be at risk of contracting silicosis. Silicosis is a lung disease that arises as a result of long-term exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust. Over 500,000 Australians are exposed to respirable crystalline silica annually, and unfortunately the number of cases of silicosis is on the rise.
Exposure to dust containing silica causes gradual damage to the lungs. After many years of exposure to construction dust, especially sandstone, or lesser periods of exposure to some synthetic stone materials, scarring of the lungs can occur (called ‘fibrosis’). The illness associated with silica exposure is called silicosis.
The scarring prevents the lung from functioning and tends to worsen over time, even after exposure has stopped. Unfortunately, silicosis symptoms can take a long time to develop and they are commonly not apparent until years or decades after you stop working with silica dust.
If you work in industries that are at risk of silica exposure, such as sandstone cutting, tunnelling, stone-top bench installation, or even construction or demolition work, you should ensure you understand the silica content of the materials you are working with and use fully-respirated masks where appropriate.
If you have history of exposure to dusts which may have contained silica, be aware of the symptoms of silicosis. Early detection of silicosis provides opportunities for intervention and treatment and also enables investigation of workplace protocols. A personal injury lawyer will be able to assist you in making a workers compensation claim to ensure you are able to look after yourself financially.
The most common silicosis symptoms are:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Constant tiredness
If you are finding the most simple activities like walking up stairs difficult, you should visit your doctor at the earliest opportunity.
Other industries that are at risk of respirable crystalline silica dust exposure include:
- Denim blasting
- Pottery, ceramics and glass manufacturing
- Worktop manufacturing and fitting
- Coal mining
How to make a personal injury claim for silicosis
Silicosis is a serious disease and can greatly affect your ability to work and life expectancy. If you have been been diagnosed with silicosis, you will likely have a claim for workers compensation.
As with any claim, documentation and evidence is critical. Ensure you see your doctor and discuss your symptoms and mention your history of possible exposure so they can record it in their notes.
To make a personal injury claim for silicosis, you have two options:
- Statutory workers compensation
- Common law negligence claim against your employer (or their insurer)
In NSW for instance, iCare Dust Diseases Care looks after claims for dust diseases and provides support for medical treatment and other services like walking aids and at-home care. To make a claim, you will need to lodge your paperwork with iCare. They will conduct a detailed investigation.
However, it’s important to remember compensation via iCare is only limited to statutory provisions – you may have significant further entitlements by bringing a claim at common law.
To determine the best compensation option for you, a specialist compensation lawyer will be able to assess your situation and ensure you lodge a comprehensive personal injury claim.
If there is a claim for negligence against your employer, a compensation lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and assist in collating the relevant paperwork.
Chat to our expert compensation lawyers
If you are experiencing silicosis symptoms and have a history of exposure to dust, you may be entitled to a personal injury claim. The personal injury specialists at Masselos & Co can provide you with the expertise to lodge a comprehensive claim that will ensure your financial security. Contact us today and book your free consultation.
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