From 2010/11 to 2014/15, 176 Australians were awarded $85 million in compensation for asbestos-related claims collectively, according to data from Safe Work Australia. With asbestos predominantly affecting those working in the construction industry, and the construction industry one of the highest employing trades in the country (Parliament of Australia data) the number of uncompensated construction workers likely remains high.
Thankfully, in recent months, one ex-construction worker has received significant compensation after being diagnosed with a terminal condition.
Background of the man's condition
The man, who is now 84 years' of age, contracted mesothelioma (a type of cancer typically caused by inhaling asbestos products) when working in the 1970s helping a friend with a renovation project. This work involved the use of materials supplied by a leading international building supplies company. At the time, the man wasn't aware that such materials contained high levels of asbestos.
In December 2018, the man was diagnosed with mesothelioma and now requires 24-hour nursing care. Doctors told him that his condition is deteriorating rapidly and he only has an estimated three months to live.
Background of the court case
The terminally ill man filed a court case against the materials supplier, seeking damages after he contracted the cancer which he believed was caused by the company's products.
Lawyers for the plaintiff wanted the company to pay for the man's medical care and let him to remain in his home and community, but the defendant argued it should only be forced to cover the cheaper option of care in a nursing home.
What did the court decide?
In May 2019, the court ruled in the plaintiff's favour, claiming it was reasonable for him to want to live out the rest of his days in the company of friends and family. Living in a nursing home out of his community would only make the man feel even more uncomfortable.
As such, the defendant was ordered to pay $664,400 in total, taking into account past expenses, care and interest.
Workplace negligence can occur in a number of ways, as the above case demonstrates. If you've sustained injury as a result of an employer's negligent behaviour, it's important to enlist legal help to see if your case stands a strong chance in court. For more information, get in touch with the specialist lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners today/