MESOTHELIOMA SOLICITORS - ASBESTOS INJURY COMPENSATION

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 352 100

Are you suffering from an asbestos related disease?
 
Are you unsure whether you can make a damages claim?
 
Are you looking for a mesothelioma compensation solicitor?
 

Our mesothelioma compensation solicitors use the no win no fee scheme and compensation is paid in full. If you would like advice with no further obligation from a mesothelioma compensation solicitor on asbestos related disease just use the helpline or complete and send the contact form.

Mesothelioma - Asbestos Related Disease

This condition is a cancer and it does not show up as a health problem for between 30 years and 50 years after exposure to asbestos fibres. Most people who suffer from it have been directly involved in the manufacture or use of asbestos and its products however there is a significant and alarming percentage of victims who have had no obvious exposure. Asbestos fibres are almost always present in the atmosphere but usually in low level concentrations that do not seem to present a health risk. Whilst just a short period of exposure can cause this condition it is most likely to affect those who have had significant exposure often on numerous occasions over a long period of time. The condition appears more often in men than in women and is more prevalent in the elderly. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest pain, weight loss, abdominal pain, bowel obstruction, anaemia and fever.

When considering your condition a doctor will initially review your medical records after a detailed physical examination and will arrange for X-rays, CT scans and an MRI scan. Diagnosis of an asbestos related disease is ultimately carried out by use of a biopsy which involves the removal of a tissue sample from the affected area and subsequent examination under a microscope.

The condition is a rare form of cancer in which cancerous cells are found in the mesothelium which is a membrane (protective sac) that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. Workers who develop this illness are those who have inhaled asbestos particles and about 75 percent of all cases occur in people who report a history of exposure at work. Those most at risk have included people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products and workers in the heating and construction industries. Most victims are entitled to make a mesothelioma claim for compensation often against a former employer for failing to protect their employees healthy in accordance with the law.

The risk of developing most asbestos-related disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time however it does only take a brief exposure to develop which causes cells to become abnormal and divide out of control. As the cells continue to divide, the cancer may spread to nearby tissues and organs. Initially there is shortness of breath and chest pain due to fluid build-up in the pleura (pleural mesothelioma) and there may also be weight loss, abdominal pain, bowel obstruction, anaemia and fever. This particular illness occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but the disease can appear at any age.

Symptoms of disease may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Claims for personal injury must normally be started within three years of the event giving rise to the injury however in the case of a mesothelioma claim the three year period does not start to run until the condition has been confirmed by a medical practitioner.

Diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease begins with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. A doctor will examine you physically and order chest x-rays or abdomen x-rays and lung function tests. A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease. In a biopsy, a sample of tissue is removed for examination by a pathologist.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Exposure to asbestos fibres is known to cause a number of asbestos related diseases some of which are inevitably fatal. Evidence of the connection between asbestos and these diseases comes from epidemiologic studies as well as numerous studies of workers exposed to asbestos in a variety of occupational settings.

Mesothelioma treatment depends on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease (whether the cancer has spread to other organs) and the patient's age. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Sometimes a combination of these methods is necessary. When surgery is required, the doctor may remove part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it. For cancer of the pleura a lung may be removed. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed. Surgery can provide relief from symptoms and sometimes the bulk of the tumour can be removed. Surgery is often used in combination with other treatments, but its value is very limited if the tumour is near any vital organs.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) involves the use of radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy affects the cancer cells only in the treated area. This is the least invasive method of mesothelioma treatment. Usually, it is not a primary treatment but is used in conjunction with other therapies such as surgical resection and chemotherapy. It is generally used to reduce the size of the symptomatic tumour and help relieve symptoms like pain and shortness of breath.

Chemotherapy is the use of potent anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Often, it is offered as an additional therapy alongside radical surgery and/or in combination with radiation therapy or immunotherapy, particularly when the cancer has spread beyond an operable area. Most drugs used to treat this condition are given by an intravenous injection or intrapleurally (in the pleural cavity itself).

Doctors specialising in mesothelioma treatment frequently treat a patient with a combination of therapies. Due to the relative lack of effectiveness of using one type of treatment only, the multimodal combination of treatments holds more promise for survival of malignant cancer patients. If there is fluid build-up in the chest or abdomen, the doctor may use a needle or a thin tube to drain fluid that has built up. This may provide some pain relief.

Mesothelioma Compensation

The amount of the award in a mesothelioma compensation claim will depend on the extent of your injuries and disabilities and is comprised of different categories as follows:

    General Damages

      General damages cover items which are mostly estimated and cannot be calculated precisely and includes compensation for pain and suffering; loss of amenities of life; loss of life expectancy.

    Special Damages

      Income Loss - includes past and future income and loss of pension entitlements.

      Gratuitous domestic care provided to you by family members or friends as a result of your illness, injuries and disabilities. This includes household chores that you were previously able to do, but are no longer able to carry-out because of your disabilities and symptoms.

      Out-of-pocket expenses - includes medical treatment expenses; pharmaceutical expenses; equipment aids; rehabilitation services; cost of travelling to and from medical appointments to receive medical treatment.

Time Limits

There are time limits in regards to settling personal injury claims and in general terms a mesothelima compensation solicitor must either settle the claim or proceedings must have been issued in a court of law within three years of the event that caused the injury however there are a number of exceptions to this general rule and the court does have a discretion to extend time limits. In the case of claims for an asbestos related disease which does not show itself for decades there is a 'latency period' of up to 50 years. In these cases a mesothelioma compensation solicitor can rely on the 'date of knowledge' and the three year time limit does not start to run until the condition has been confirmed by a medical practitioner.

Mesothelioma Compensation Solicitors

In order for a mesothelioma compensation solicitor to succeed, it must be proved that there was fault and blame (negligence) on the part of another person (employer, manufacturer etc). This occurs when there is a breach in duty of care by another person towards you and that breach results in illness. The court will look at all the evidence (factual, circumstantial, medical, including the opinions of your treating doctors and expert witnesses) to determine whether you are entitled to be compensated for having contracted an asbestos related disease.

There are about 250 cases of this illness in Australia every year and it is known that the rate will increase annually and peak in the year 2020. The time between diagnosis and initial occupational exposure to asbestos commonly has been 30 years or more. Early identification and treatment of any cancer can increase an individuals quality of life and survival. If you have been damaged by someone else's negligent conduct, you should seek legal advice from a mesothelioma compensation solicitor who can advise you of your rights, help determine the chances of winning your case and the value of your entitlements. By using our service, you will be accessing the very best solicitors with extensive experience in all aspects of personal injury law including:

  • access to the very best asbestos related disease expert witnesses
  • outstanding alternative dispute resolution and advocacy skills
  • drafting comprehensive and plain English written legal advice
  • excellent communication, interviewing and listening skills
  • preparing technically accurate court documents
  • investigation and research of medical, legal and factual issues
  • calculating quantum (damages)

Your mesothelioma compensation solicitor will be able to explain to you what is involved in making a claim, how to prove your case for negligence and what is involved in taking a case to court, or settling a claim without needing to resort to litigation. If you are able to establish (through factual and medical evidence) that your illness was caused by somebody else's negligence (for example, your employer, or a manufacturer) then you will be entitled to compensation. You will receive damages for your injuries and disabilities, pain and suffering, loss of earnings and all other general expenses.

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 352 100