This is our guide to dust disease claims. If you or a loved one is suffering from a lung disease caused by inhaling harmful particles you may be entitled to compensation.
This guide has been put together by our expert lawyers. It answers some of the frequently asked questions about dust disease and dust disease claims.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners we have extensive experience of handling and winning dust disease compensation for our clients. We operate on a “no win, no fee” basis (subject to our terms) and offer a 90-day complimentary trial of our legal services.
What is a dust disease?
Dust disease refers to a number of chronic lung conditions caused by harmful dust particles. The most common types of harmful particles include:
Dust disease is rare and just because you have been exposed to harmful particles does not mean you will get sick. However, you may not develop any symptoms until many years after exposure.
Who is most commonly affected?
According to Lung Foundation Australia, an advocacy group, one in three Australians suffer from some form of lung disease. And lung disease is responsible for one in seven deaths in Australia each year.
Not all lung diseases are caused by inhaling harmful dust particles, but it is significant risk factor.
Anyone who worked as a labourer or tradie and may have come into contact with materials we listed above is potentially at risk.
Most claims we handle are on behalf of people who have now retired. This is because there have been significant improvements in health and safety regulations over the past 20 or 30 years. Workers now have much better equipment to protect their lungs and some harmful materials have been restricted or banned outright.
That said, we do still help some younger clients suffering from dust disease. While most workplaces are now safer environments, there is much better knowledge and medical evidence about the link between harmful dust particles and chronic lung disease. People are also more aware of their legal rights.
How do I make a dust disease claim?
Claiming compensation for dust disease is a complex and difficult process.
Your first step should be speaking to an established law firm that specialises in fighting and winning these types of cases. At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we have an excellent track record of helping people with chronic lung disease claim the compensation they are entitled to.
After a consultation and assessment with us, we will sign you up as a client and start investigating your case. We will examine your medical records and may speak directly to your doctors.
Dust disease cases vary enormously. No two cases are ever exactly the same. But with Gerard Malouf & Partners you can be sure that you will have a capable, supportive and compassionate team on your side.
Can I make a dust disease claim if I smoke?
Smoking does not preclude you from claiming compensation for a dust disease.
While smoking also causes damage to your lungs, a proper medical investigation will be able to find the root cause of your chronic lung disease. Smokers have successfully claimed compensation for chronic lung disease caused by inhaling harmful dust particles.
What are the common symptoms of dust disease?
If you worked with or were exposed to harmful dust particles in the past, you should look out for common symptoms of chronic lung disease. These include:
Dust disease is confirmed with a CT scan. But unlike other firms, at Gerard Malouf & Partners we don’t require you to have gathered all of your own medical evidence before speaking to us. If you think you have been adversely affected by inhaling harmful dust particles, contacting us should be your first step.
How long do dust disease claims take?
Dust disease cases vary from one to the next. But generally speaking, they take between 12 and 18 months to resolve.
The courts are aware of the time-sensitive nature of these claims, as they involve deteriorative and sometimes terminal illnesses. Some cases can be fast-tracked through the system as a result.
What type of compensation could I get?
The outcome of your case depends on a number of variables. But typically compensation breaks down into the following four categories.
Claims for compensation can be brought many years after exposure to harmful dust particles. This is because the conditions develop over time and the symptoms don’t show immediately.
Successful cases can lead to compensation paid in a lump sum or a series of payments. Those payments can continue to go to your loved ones in the event of your death.
What do I need to be eligible for compensation?
You will need medical evidence proving that you have a chronic lung disease and that your chronic lung disease was caused by exposure to harmful dust particles.
If you are claiming common law damages you will also need to be able to show that your disease is the result of negligence or failure in duty of care by a third party, such as an employer or property owner.
What would make me ineligible for compensation?
If you have a chronic lung disease but the medical evidence shows it wasn’t caused by dust particles you would obviously not be able to claim compensation – at least not through a dust disease claim.
The same is true if you do have a condition caused by dust particles but it is not considered a dust disease. A common example is pleural plaques.
Pleural plaques is a condition that shows evidence of sustained exposure to harmful dust particles. But it is not in itself a serious health condition. While it shows on a CT scan it often requires no medical treatment.
For free over-the-phone advice or to take advantage of our free face-to-face consultation call our expert public liability lawyers team today on our Free Call Number 1800 004 878.