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Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is the most well known of the diseases caused by asbestos. Unlike other asbestos diseases, mesothelioma can be caused by very small exposures to asbestos dust. It generally takes 20-30 years after the exposure to asbestos to develop mesothelioma. There are about 700 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed annually in Australia. Almost all people who contract mesothelioma are able to obtain compensation for their condition.
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What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelial lining, a thin layer of membrane that covers many organs in the human body. Mesothelioma can occur in a number of different parts of the human body. By far the most common site is the pleural cavity, the membrane around the lungs. This is known as pleural mesothelioma. Less common is peritoneal mesothelioma which occurs in the peritoneum, the membrane that covers the abdominal organs.

What causes Mesothelioma?

The only known cause of mesothelioma in Australia is inhalation of asbestos fibres. Mesothelioma generally develops between 20 and 30 years after exposure, although it can be as little as seven years and as long as 50 years. Up until the mid 1980’s asbestos was used in an extremely wide variety of products. People in many industries (everything from brewers to waterside workers) were routinely exposed to asbestos, often without being aware. There are several different types of asbestos fibre. Common names for the types of asbestos fibres are blue asbestos, brown asbestos and white asbestos. While blue and brown asbestos are more likely to cause mesothelioma, any form of asbestos can cause the disease. There is no known level of exposure to asbestos at which there is no risk of developing mesothelioma. However, the greater the exposure the greater the risk.

Common Law Claims for Compensation

If you have mesothelioma, your primary claim for compensation in a court is known as a common law claim for damages. A common law claim may be brought against your former employer, or against a manufacturers of the asbestos products, such as James Hardie or Wunderlich, you were exposed to. If your former employer no longer exists,  their workers’ compensation insurer  will be liable.  Claims can also be brought against others who owed you a duty of care, such as the occupier or a property in which you were exposed. You do not need to sue in relation to all of your exposure to asbestos as long as the exposure you sue on is not trivial. You are entitled to damages, even if part of your exposure occurred overseas. We will sit with you at your home, in hospital or at our offices and take a detailed history in relation to your work and exposure to asbestos to determine who you should sue. The court will do everything possible to finish your mesothelioma claim in your lifetime. However, if you do die before your claim is finalised then (provided the claim was filed in court in your lifetime) your estate can continue your claim.

How much are common law claims worth?

If you are successful in your claim you will be awarded lump sum payout.  The lump sum is comprised of various “heads of damage”.  Heads of damage for which people with mesothelioma are typically compensated include:
  • damages for pain and suffering and loss of expectation of life;
  • an amount for the commercial cost of care provided by your friends and family,
  • damages for ‘out of pocket expenses’ – medical and other expenses that you incur as a result of the disease (this head may not be payable if these expenses are paid by the Dust Diseases Authority).
  • depending on your circumstances, an amount for the commercial cost of replacing services you provided to a dependant such as young children or a sick or elderly child, spouse or parent.
  • loss of earnings and superannuation if the disease stopped you working.
Most common law mesothelioma claims resolve for between $250,000 and $500,000 clear in your hand (after all costs and disbursements are paid) plus any amounts for medical expenses, economic loss and replacement services.

How long do claims take?

A common law claim for a person suffering from mesothelioma usually takes between 2 to 6 months to finalise. Claims can run quicker if necessary and have on occasions been completed in as little as a few days.  All courts that deal with mesothelioma claims have special processes and procedures that promote early settlement, and the quick resolution of mesothelioma matters. In mesothelioma claims, we act on a full no win no fee basis which means we will not be paid unless you win your claim. More information about our fees is set out on our fee policy page.

Other Forms of Compensation for Mesothelioma

Depending on how and where you were exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to compensation in addition to a common law claim.  In some states, the rights to common law compensation has been limited or replaced with a statutory scheme. If you were exposed in more than one State, you are entitled to obtain compensation in the most beneficial way possible. Segelov Taylor can ensure you make the correct application, and maximise the compensation paid. The main other forms for compensation are set out below.

Dust Diseases Authority

The Dust Diseases Authority (the DDA) is a NSW government body that provides compensation if you  develop a dust disease, including mesothelioma, as a consequence of employment in NSW.  Payments by the DDA are in addition to amounts recoverable under a common law claim for compensation.  The DDA will pay you (and after your death, any surviving dependant) a pension, and will cover all medical and other reasonable expenses.  They also pay any dependant a lump sum on death as well as pay your estate funeral expenses of up to $15,000.00.

Workcover Queensland

Workcover Queensland is a Queensland government body that provides compensation if you  develop a dust disease, including mesothelioma, as a consequence of employment in Queensland.  Where mesothelioma arises from exposure to asbestos in employment in Queensland, such an application is required before a  a common law claim for compensation can be made.  Workcover Queensland makes payment on a scale set by law.  The amount payable reduces as the claimant becomes older.

Worksafe Tasmania

Worksafe Tasmania  is a Tasmanian government body that provides compensation if you  develop a dust disease, including mesothelioma, as a consequence of employment in Tasmania.  Where mesothelioma arises from exposure to asbestos in employment in Tasmania, no common law claim for compensation can be made and the only compensation is that paid by Worksafe.   It is important to note that if you have exposure while employed in a different state as well as Tasmania, or have exposure not as a result of employment (such as home renovation) a Common Law claim may be available in addition to the Worksafe amount.

Comcare / Department of Veteran’s Affairs

If you were exposed to asbestos as a Commonwealth employee, or as a member of the armed services you can make an application for compensation through Comcare or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.  This compensation is sought as an alternative to a common law claim, and means that a common law claim cannot be pursued.  Generally the amount paid by Comcare or the Department of Veteran’s Affair’s is less than amount that would be obtained in a common law claim. It is important to obtain legal advice before making the election between Comcare/DVA and a common law claim. If you make a common law claim a dependant may be able to make a “Dependency Claim” on Comcare/DVA after your death.

Accident Compensation Act – New Zealand

If your only exposure to asbestos was in New Zealand, the only compensation available is under the Accident Compensation Act which abolished common law claims for New Zealand exposures.  However a common law claim will still be available to New Zealanders (and others) who were exposed to asbestos in Australia even if they now live in New Zealand, or were also exposed in New Zealand.

Our expertise

Segelov Taylor is a specialist firm in acting for people with mesothelioma.

Our principal, Tanya Segelov, has more than 25 years experience in mesothelioma claims and is responsible for many of the developments in the law around Australia. We act for people with mesothelioma is all states of Australia, as well as people overseas who were exposed to asbestos in Australia.

In mesothelioma claims, we act on a full no win no fee basis which means we will not be paid unless you win your claim. More information about our fees is set out on our fee policy page.

Common Questions

Exposure to asbestos can have occurred in a wide variety of settings – both at work and outside work.  We are expert at working with a client to identify possible sources of exposure, and then locating witnesses and other evidence that can confirm and corroborate exposure. In order to bring a claim you must be able to identify a source of exposure to asbestos that caused or contributed to the mesothelioma.  On many occasions we have been able to locate and prove exposure to asbestos that caused disease notwithstanding the client’s initial instructions that they could not recall any exposure. For more information see our article Working out where you were exposed to asbestos
Your entitlement to bring a claim arises from where you were exposed to asbestos, not where you now live. We have acted for many clients who have moved from Australia and have lived in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Greece and other countries when they have developed mesothelioma. We maintain relationships with lawyers in many countries which enables us to effectively represent overseas based clients.

A common law claim is a claim in a court for lump sum compensation. A claim is normally brought against a former employer, occupier of a building or manufacturer of asbestos products. For a person suffering from mesothelioma or lung cancer a claim usually takes 3 to 6 months to complete but can proceed more quickly if required. 

All States have developed specialised processes to deal with dust diseases claims. In Victoria and South Australia there are special lists of the Supreme and District Court to ensure they are dealt with expeditiously.  In New South Wales, a specialist court known as the Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales has special rules of evidence and procedure to expedite mesothelioma and other dust disease claims. 

If you were exposed to asbestos as a worker in New South Wales and you develop mesothelioma you may also have a right to claim a pension and have all your medical, hospital, pharmaceutical, nursing and nursing aids and equipment costs paid. The DDA will also pay for travel expenses and assistance required around your home and garden.  You do not need to live in New South Wales at the time you develop mesothelioma in order to make an application. An application to the DDA is in addition to your common law claim for damages.  You can (and most people do) do both. An application to the DDA is an administrative process.  If your application is approved the CEO will grant you a fortnightly pension. The pension is not means tested. Your pension will be backdated to the date when the disease developed. It generally takes 4 to 6 weeks for your application to be processed. Once approved the DDA will pay all of your related expenses and refund any expenses paid by you in the past. For more information about the DDA, follow this link.

Courts in all states in Australia generally expedite all mesothelioma claims. 

The claims can be completed very quickly, particularly when the plaintiff is very sick.  In some cases, claims have been started and finished within a week. 

When normal expedition applies, claims usually take between three and six months to complete after the claim is filed. 

As apart of a common law claim a court will award reasonable medical expenses. A recent decision in a Segelov Taylor matter in the Supreme Court of Western Australia confirmed that new forms of treatment for mesothelioma as prescribed by the treating oncologist were reasonable and the defendant was order to pay for the cost of the treatment which amounted to $60,000.00. For people with mesothelioma whose claim on the Dust Diseases Authority is accepted are able to claim the cost of treatments recommended by a treating oncologist.

Information Videos

More Information

Most people with mesothelioma can make a claim at common law. A common law claim is a claim in court for lump sum compensation. A claim is commenced by filing a Statement of Claim in court.

All States have developed specialised processes to deal with mesothelioma claims. In New South Wales claims are filed in the Dust Diseases Tribunal, a specialist court which has special rules of evidence and procedure to expedite claims. In other States, claims are brought in special lists in the Supreme Court or District Court to ensure that the needs of people with mesothelioma are addressed.

Most claims are brought against a former employer, manufacturer of asbestos products or an occupier of a building. If the employer no longer exists a claim can be made against the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.

In all States matters proceed to a pre-trial or court appointed settlement conference or a mediation to see if the matter can be resolved prior to the hearing.

Most claims settle at mediation or after mediation but before the trial. If a matter proceeds to hearing, then in most jurisdictions evidence in chief can be given by way of Affidavit. If you are not well enough to travel, then your evidence will be taken at your home or hospital.

The courts will do everything possible to finish a claim in your lifetime. However, if you die before your claim is finished then provided the claim was filed in court in your lifetime, the claim can be continued by your estate at full value.

If you were exposed to asbestos during the course of employment in New South Wales, then you can make a claim at common law as well as receive a pension and have your medical and other expenses paid by the Dust Diseases Authority.

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Book a Free Case Assessment

Start the compensation process by arranging a free case assessment.

In the free initial case assessment we will obtain general information and provide preliminary advice on whether we believe you are likely to have a claim for compensation, the value of any claim and our costs in the event you were to instruct us.

The case assessment is usually via phone (we will call you at the arranged time) or by video conference (such as Zoom or Teams).

There is no cost associated with this case assessment, nor any obligation to instruct us in your matter.

Date and Time for Case assessment.

Compensation Information Kit

Segelov Taylor Lawyers provides an  information kit about compensation options for people with mesothelioma.

The kit contains information about the processes for obtaining compensation, likely costs and the amount of compensation available.  As the law chnages depending on which state a person was exposed to asbestos in, information about every state is provided.   The kit also provides information about how to work out where a person may have been exposed to asbestos.

We can send the kit by mail or email.  If you have any questions about the kit please contact us on 1800 430 855.

There is no cost for requesting the kit.  All details provided will remain confidential.

 

Please complete the form  to request a Mesothelioma Compensation Information Kit, delivered via email or post.
How would you like the kit sent to you?
Have you or a family member been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos disease?
Address (We will send you the kit in the mail)

Client Testimonials

5/5

There would be little more to say than the professionalism/personal touch and the efficiency in detail within our case, was to say the least, extra ordinary and beyond those high expectations we set.

I say with confidence that the positive outcome Segelov Taylor achieved in my matter, would not have through any another firm, produced a better outcome.

The personal “hands-on” approach by Tanya Segolov and her team made you feel as though your case was the only matter at hand.

Thankyou Tanya, and all, for your truly professional and caring handling that subsequently produced the outcome we achieved.

I have no reservations in recommending the legal firm Segelov Taylor to give anyone requiring legal services and representation in the areas of their expertise.

There were certainly no negatives during my associations, to the contrary, I feel privileged to have been part of their client base, and to have witnessed a positive outcome.

We all approach a legal firm with our own agenda, this company will make your agenda theirs, to the end.

CONGRATULATIONS! On your efforts.

Best regards, BM

BM

Early last year my father was diagnosed with mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos in the workplace over 50 years ago. After conducting thorough internet based research on the various legal firms who specialise in seeking compensation for this condition we made the choice to go with Segelov Taylor Lawyers, being the stand-out law firm. This was the best decision we could have made with a very successful and quick outcome, ideal given my father’s prognosis. He was able to achieve peace of mind in that he could receive any required care and also provide for my mother.
Tanya Segelov and Alex Crisp were able to bring excellent experience to this matter in a compassionate, efficient manner. The effortless way they were able to work with us, while being in another state made the whole process seamless. They were tenacious in securing a fast and just outcome for my father.
I cannot recommend Segelov Taylor Lawyers highly enough. They exceeded all of our expectations in a stress free, compassionate, and professional manner.

AL
28/02/23

AL

Thank you again for your dedication and hard work on this case for us. Because of your experience and wisdom Mum is now able to afford the very best care in the last phase of her life and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

L

My father thanks you a lot and I also thank you for making this process smooth. With your encouragement and trust, you were able to get him much more. He still doesn’t believe it, but hopefully when he sees his balance in his bank account, it will sink in.

Thanks again.

M

Dear Tanya,

We would like to let you know how thankful our family is to have engaged such an experienced & knowledgeable lawyer to represent Leon in his mesothelioma case.

From our very first conversation & throughout the entire process you always treated Leon with the utmost respect & kindness. You kept us informed every step of the way & it was very obvious by the way you handled the final negotiations, that you have had many years of experience.

This is an extremely traumatic & devastating time in our family & as much as is possible, the outcome you achieved has helped ease the financial burden.

We have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending your company to anyone who finds themselves faced with this Asbestos induced tragedy.

C

We contacted Segelov Taylor Lawyers after they were recommended to us as experts in the area of asbestos.

On our first meeting all of my family were very impressed with the professionalism and expertise Tanya showed us. It was obvious from her questions and wisdom in this a particular area that she knew what she was talking about and reassured us that we did in fact have a case.

Throughout the months of research there was constant information and updates and regular emails and phone calls from Segelov Taylor Lawyers which reassured us throughout the whole process that we had employed the right lawyers.

Because of Tanya’s determination, dedication and advise we received a settlement that helped my mother pay for the very best care she needed as her health declined from her asbestos related cancer. My family and I will be forever grateful to Tanya and her team as it meant we could focus on spending time with my mother and organising the best one on one care for her until she passed.

L.F.

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Request Mesothelioma Compensation Information Kit

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Have you or a family member been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos disease?
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