Change location v

Mesothelioma Compensation in New South Wales

The U.K. has the most mesothelioma cases per capita but Australia is right behind them. The number of new diagnoses each year keeps pace with the number of deaths and as more working Australians age into the window when asbestos damage manifests, thousands more will be diagnosed and lose their battle against insidious disease.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that develops in the membranous lining that covers the outer surface of many organs. Typically, mesothelioma starts in the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), although 1 out of 10 cases begins in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), and occasionally a victim will suffer mesothelioma growths around their heart or reproductive organs.

Mesothelioma facts

  • Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos and is called a “dust disease”
  • Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 60 to 80 (although exposure happened decades before)
  • Men are affected more commonly than women (due to worksite exposure in traditionally male-dominated jobs)
  • Mesothelioma is incurable although symptoms may be treatable for a time; life expectancy is short
  • The five-year survival rate for mesothelioma patients post-diagnosis is only 6%; only half of patient survive one year past diagnosis

Symptoms of mesothelioma

Symptoms of mesothelioma typically don’t appear until several decades after exposure to asbestos, and then appear slowly over time, leading to delays in diagnosis.

If you have knowledge that you were exposed to asbestos, you and your doctor can be on the watch for symptoms that could indicate mesothelioma.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating combined with a high temperature at night
  • A persistent cough
  • Loss of appetite/weight loss
  • Clubbed fingertips

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Loss of appetite /weight loss
  • Diarrhea or constipation

Diagnosing mesothelioma

If your physician suspects you have mesothelioma, they’ll refer you to a hospital specialist. They may perform the following tests:

  • An X-ray or CT scan of your chest or abdomen depending on your symptoms
  • Fluid drainage if needed and testing the drained fluid
  • A thoracoscopy or laparoscopy to examine the mesothelial lining, and possibly do a biopsy

Treatments for mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage and treatment is focused on controlling symptoms and prolonging life with palliative or supportive care.

Depending on how advanced your disease is, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery plus medications to keep you more comfortable and control individual symptoms. They may also recommend procedures to prevent fluid build-up in your lungs, or drain fluid that keeps collecting in your lungs so you can breathe more freely.

The difference between mesothelioma and asbestosis

Asbestosis is another asbestos disease, manifesting as a serious lung condition that is caused by long-term asbestos exposures. It may show up before mesothelioma does or it may be a stand-alone condition. Symptoms of asbestosis are related to scarring in the lungs and are similar to those of mesothelioma.

Like mesothelioma, asbestosis can take decades after exposure before symptoms appear. There is no way to reverse damage to the lungs from asbestosis once it has developed, but some treatments can help with symptoms:

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Using an inhaler to ease breathing (if your symptoms are mild)

You should also make the following lifestyle choices to prevent more damage and potentially extend your lifespan:

  • Stop smoking if you smoke
  • Get your flu vaccination and pneumococcal vaccination
 

If you have asbestosis you have a higher risk of developing another asbestos related disease, such as pleural disease, lung cancer, or mesothelioma.

What are the avenues for mesothelioma compensation?

If you receive a mesothelioma diagnosis, you are almost certainly owed compensation, and you have several different ways to file a claim. If you were exposed to asbestos through your employment, you can typically file a claim against a government-run statutory scheme, which grants compensation from funds set aside for this purpose.

In New South Wales, a primary fund is the Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW, which is contributed to by James Hardie Industries, a company that ran mining and manufacturing operations for decades and knew asbestos was dangerous for fifty years yet did not inform or warn employees.

You may be able to file a common law claim, whether you qualify for a statutory scheme. Your mesothelioma attorney can help you file your claim, gather the evidence to support your case, and negotiate your settlement or represent you in court.

Mesothelioma compensation is typically based on a variety of factors, including how much it shortened your life, what is required to support any dependants you leave behind, and what you are expected to own in past and future medical bills. In most cases, you’ll be offered a lump sum, although there may also be repeating smaller payments for support of dependants.

You need to file a common law claim or for compensation against a statutory scheme as soon as possible after diagnosis, as some states and territories have a six to 12-month window to file after you are diagnosed.

It doesn’t matter when your exposure to asbestos dust was, or if you even know when it occurred. If you have mesothelioma, it means you are an asbestos victim, and you are entitled to compensation. A lawyer experienced in dealing with asbestos can help you prepare and file your claim.

Explore

Our Case Summaries

© 2021 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

Website Design by MediaSmiths

Your location is currently: