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What is an asbestos disease?

The term ‘asbestos disease’ covers a number of conditions caused by long-term asbestos exposure. This includes:

  • Pleural plaques
  • Larynx cancer
  • Oesophageal cancer

Before its ban in 2003, asbestos was extensively used in Australia for insulation, construction materials, and roofing. Unfortunately, this ban came too late for many individuals who were exposed to asbestos in their living and working environments.

If you’re living with an asbestos-related disease, pursuing a compensation claim can offer crucial financial assistance for you and your family. You may be entitled to a significant lump sum settlement to help cover lost income, medical expenses, and other related costs.

Can I make a compensation claim for asbestos disease?

If you’ve developed a condition due to asbestos exposure, you may be eligible for compensation. It doesn’t matter if:

  • You’re a contractor.
  • You're self-employed.
  • Your employer no longer exists.
  • You no longer work at the place of exposure.
  • You’re a smoker.
  • The asbestos has been removed.
  • The exposure was not work-related.
  • Your exposure was second-hand i.e. you were in close contact with someone exposed to asbestos.

This is by no means a complete list — if you’ve been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may have a claim.

Unsure how or when you were exposed? We can investigate.

If you're uncertain about the details of your asbestos exposure, our expert lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf. Drawing on our extensive experience in asbestos-related claims, we'll gather information from you and trace the source of your exposure, whether it's from a workplace, building, or product.

Get in touch today to discuss tracing your asbestos exposure history.

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What types of asbestos disease claims can I make?

There are two main asbestos disease claims you can make: a ‘statutory claim’ and a ‘common law damages claim’.

Statutory compensation claims

If you were exposed to asbestos at work, you may have a statutory compensation claim.

Each state in Australia has its own compensation scheme for asbestos diseases. For instance, in Victoria and Queensland, you can typically file an asbestos disease claim through the regular workers compensation scheme. However, in states like NSW, you must apply through a specialised dust diseases body.

The only exception is if you were working for the commonwealth or certain private companies (like Telstra or Australia Post) at the time of your exposure. In these cases, you may have a claim under the Comcare scheme instead.

How much compensation can I get?

While most injured workers receive weekly payments, those with asbestos diseases may qualify for a lump sum settlement instead.

The amount you receive depends on factors like your age, life expectancy, and the degree of impairment.

Keep in mind that your compensation may be capped by your state’s ‘maximum compensation’ limit, which is the highest amount you can be awarded for a single claim. This limit varies between states and is adjusted annually for inflation.

For example, in Queensland, the current maximum compensation limit is $380,580.00. While in Tasmania, it stands at $362,077.20.

Common law damages claims

While statutory claims offer basic compensation, common law damages claims can provide significant lump sum payouts for those affected by asbestos diseases.

Your eligibility depends on the circumstances of your case and the state where you were exposed.

StateEligibility
NSW, VIC, QLD, WAYou can claim common law damages in addition to your statutory compensation claim. Depending on your state, you may need to apply to the court or fulfil other criteria before starting your claim.
TASNo common law damages available unless the exposure occurred outside Tasmania or not as a result of employment.
ComcareYou must choose between a common law damages or a statutory compensation claim.

How to make a common law damages claim

To successfully pursue an asbestos disease claim, you need to meet four key criteria:

  1. Diagnosis: a qualified medical professional must diagnose you with an asbestos-related disease.
  2. Asbestos exposure: you must have a documented history of exposure to asbestos, whether at work, home, or elsewhere.
  3. Traceable source: you must be able to identify specific employers or manufacturers responsible for the asbestos exposure.
  4. Causation: your asbestos disease must be significantly caused by the exposure to asbestos.

In Western Australia, you may also need to meet a minimum percentage of impairment before making a claim.

How much compensation can I get?

You’ll receive a lump sum payout to cover:

  • Pain and suffering (how the condition has impacted your life).
  • Loss of expectation of life.
  • Care and support provided by loved ones.
  • Cost of professional care.
  • Loss of ability to care for a child or dependent.
  • Lost income and superannuation (if you can't work).
  • 'Out of pocket expenses' such as hospital fees, treatment costs, and other expenses directly resulting from your condition.

Can I claim for a loved one who died from an asbestos disease?

Many states allow ‘dependency claims’, meaning that after a person passes away from an asbestos-related condition, their financial dependents may be entitled to compensation.

To succeed in a dependency claim, you generally need to prove two things:

  1. If the deceased were alive, they would still be entitled to compensation.
  2. You’re a ‘dependent’, such as a spouse or child.

A successful claim can result in:

  • A lump sum payment.
  • Weekly payments for dependent children.
  • Funeral expenses.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you may be eligible for multiple claims for the same condition. Your exact entitlements depend on your state, the type of asbestos disease you have, and your capacity to work.

In NSW and Victoria, if you’ve developed a non-cancerous asbestos condition like a pleural disorder or asbestosis, you’re able to settle your claim on a ‘provisional basis’. This means you can sue again if you later develop mesothelioma or another asbestos-related cancer.

Additionally, if your condition prevents you from returning to work, you may have a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) claim. As part of our comprehensive service, we assess the circumstances of your case and identify all potential claims. These additional claims can often be worth significantly more than your asbestos disease claim alone.

In most states, there are no time limits for asbestos disease claims, meaning you can claim compensation no matter when the exposure occurred. This also applies to commonwealth asbestos disease claims.

Exceptions exist in South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia, where you must claim within three years of realising you have an asbestos disease.

If you’re beyond the time limit, our dedicated asbestos disease lawyers can help. We have over 25 years’ experience handling asbestos-related claims and can apply for an extension on your behalf. Over the years, we’ve successfully resolved many delayed claims.

The duration of your claim depends on various factors, such as the type of condition you have, when you were exposed to asbestos, and how many parties are responsible.

Given the aggressive nature of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and laryngeal cancer, most states have implemented special procedures to expedite claims. This means your claim could be resolved in as little as 2 – 6 months.

In NSW, for example, claims for many asbestos-related diseases follow an accelerated timetable within the Dust Diseases Tribunal. This involves specific forms, early provision of information, and a push for settlement.

If you’re seriously ill, you can request ‘urgent case management’. This moves your claim outside the usual tribunal procedures to ensure a quicker resolution.

How much will my claim cost?

Absolutely nothing. All statutory asbestos disease claims in NSW are government-funded through the Independent Review Office (IRO). That means we can take on your claim at no cost to you.

If you’re making a common law damages or TPD claim, these are not covered by the IRO — however, you’re still protected by our No Win No Fee guarantee. There are no upfront fees and nothing to pay unless we win your claim. If we’re unsuccessful, you will never receive a bill from us.

The claims process

While every asbestos disease claim is different, your claim will likely go through the following steps. At every stage of your claim, you’ll have the support, guidance and experience of our dedicated asbestos claim lawyers.

In a free consultation, you’ll tell one of our lawyers about your situation. We’ll assess your case: outlining potential claims, the compensation you may receive, and the right strategy for maximising your compensation.

If you’re hospitalized or severely ill, our lawyers can visit your bedside to discuss your claim.

To initiate your claim, we’ll inform your state insurer of your intention to file an asbestos-related workers compensation claim. If you qualify for a common law damages claim, we’ll also submit a ‘statement of claim’ to commence court proceedings.

We use our national network of medical and liability experts to compile strong evidence supporting your claim. This evidence is crucial for establishing the circumstances and timing of your exposure, as well as illustrating the impact of your condition on your life.

During this process, you may be required to swear legal documents related to your claim. If travel is difficult for you, we can arrange for these documents to be sworn at your hospital or home.

Armed with all essential evidence, we will file your claim with the relevant insurer or in court.

For workers compensation claims, it’s likely your claim will be approved and you’ll receive your payments soon after. For common law damages claims, you’ll need to attend a pre-court mediation to negotiate the terms of your settlement.

The vast majority of cases (around 97%) are resolved through out-of-court mediation, where your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to achieve the best outcome. In the rare event that mediation does not settle your case, your lawyer will explore alternative options with you.

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Dealing with workers comp issues? Monaco, especially Jamie and her team, can really help you out.

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I am very happy with the service I received from Monaco Solicitors in regards to my worker’s compensation claim. Very professional, kept me up to date throughout my claim, with a great result at the end. I highly recommend them for your workers compensation matters.

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Great communication, empathy and understanding. My case worker Daniella was a saint, understanding and patient and always passing on any updates in record time.

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Monaco Solicitors, I have no hesitation in recommending Daniella Dababneh and her team. After I suffered a serious workplace accident, I was in need of legal help.

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How we can help you

For over 25 years, we’ve helped Australians make successful asbestos disease claims. Our lawyers understand each state’s specific requirements for asbestos-related claims, enabling us to speed up your case and secure your compensation faster.

We use proven legal strategies and a nationwide network of experts to build a solid, evidence-based case. Asbestos disease claims heavily rely on medical evidence and expert reports to establish exposure and identify the people responsible. Without this evidence, you may miss out on the compensation you deserve.

Plus, with our No Win No Fee guarantee, your claim is completely risk-free. There are no upfront costs and absolutely nothing to pay until we win your claim.

Call today for a free consultation on your asbestos disease claim. Our lawyers are ready to discuss your situation.

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