Widow fights for compensation after husband dies of asbestosis

Date: May 26, 2017

A woman whose husband developed asbestosis and lung cancer as a result of inhaling asbestos during his employment as a boilermaker in NSW is continuing to fight for compensation in the wake of her spouse's death.

Her husband died in 2015 aged 79, and the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Authority acknowledged that a Medical Assessment Panel had ruled his death as likely due to occupational exposure to asbestos.

Asbestosis compensation in NSW

Asbestos can cause a range of fatal lung diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestosis. In 2015 alone, there were 650 Australians newly diagnosed with mesothelioma, while 626 people who had the disease died during the year.

Those who develop dust diseases through their job are entitled to compensation. Sadly, many individuals die soon after diagnosis because these illnesses are usually symptomless until they've reached an advanced stage.

However, loved ones of the deceased can also seek compensation, including spouses who were partly or wholly dependent on the person who died.

Widow's compensation appeal

The widow whose husband died in this particular case received an original lump sum of $99,855, which is in accordance with a payment table that the Authority has approved.

She was also awarded a fortnightly payment of $553 from October 1 2015. This was the maximum allowed, while the lump sum was 30 per cent of the total possible compensation she could have received.

However, the original trial judge decided that the woman was only partly dependent on her husband immediately prior to his death. This was due to the fact she was in receipt of the age pension, which entitled her to $425.70 every two weeks.

The woman launched an appeal and was successful, finding that she was wholly dependent on the deceased. The Authority has since filed another appeal disputing the decision, which appellate judges have also allowed.

Finding the best legal help

It is not yet clear whether the plaintiff will succeed in her claim for further dust diseases compensation.

Nevertheless, the case highlights the difficulties that people can face when trying to obtain benefits following the death of a loved one from asbestosis and other similar occupational illnesses.

This is why it's crucial to find the best lawyers for compensation claims. Experienced professionals with a comprehensive knowledge of the relevant legislation can help you navigate the complex proceedings that can sometimes follow a claim.

Please contact the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for more information.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.