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Asbestos Disease Solicitors - Compensation Claims - Australia

LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 090

Asbestos is a general term that applies to a group of minerals. These minerals include the serpentine minerals chrysotile (white asbestos) and the amphibole minerals crocidolite (blue asbestos), grunerite (amosite), and the fibrous forms of anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite.

Asbestos related diseases have been recognised for more than a century however it is only since 1991 that the use of asbestos and asbestos products has been outlawed in Australia. Due to the long period of time passing (the latency period) between exposure to asbestos fibres and development of obvious symptoms, which can be as long as 50 years after exposure, it is anticipated that new diagnoses of asbestos related diseases will continue to rise until about the year 2020. Our mesothelioma compensation solicitors deal with all types of asbestos related disease including compensation for asbestosis, pleural disease and asbestos lung cancer with a particular specialism in mesothelioma claim settlements. If you believe that you are suffering from an asbestos related disease we are able to arrange for you to be urgently examined by a medical consultant. We are able to provide detailed legal advice and pursue lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural disease and mesothelioma claims on a no win no fee basis. Our asbestos compensation solicitors offer free advice on personal injury claims with no further obligation.

Primary & Secondary Exposure

Asbestos is defined as six minerals including chrysotile, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and amosite otherwise known as ‘blue asbestos’ which occurs abundantly in Australia and was mined across the continent on a vast scale. Asbestos is silicate based and occurs in long, thin, crystalline fibres that lodge in the body following inhalation. Asbestos products were manufactured in abundance from the late 19th century due to their inherent flame retardant and insulation properties ensuring that workers in many occupations were exposed to danger and particularly in Australia this included mine workers involved in extracting the raw material used in the manufacturing process. It is worth noting that the families of workers are also at risk and many of those suffering from secondary exposure have been able to make a lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural disease or mesothelioma claim.

Asbestos Related Diseases

Asbestos related diseases can be divided into four main categories although there are a number of other rare conditions associated with exposure to asbestos fibres. If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions you should take urgent advice from a solicitor to preserve your legal rights to make a lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural disease or mesothelioma claim : -


      This condition is a type of pneumoconiosis the disease that commonly affects coal miners and is caused by the inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibres which irritate and inflame the lungs and restrict the airways causing chronic shortage of breath which may put pressure on the heart causing respiratory failure resulting in the death of the victim.


      This is a form of cancer of the membrane called the mesothelium which lines many of the internal organs of the body. It is most commonly found in the pleura which is the lining of the lungs, in the peritoneum around the abdominal cavity and in the pericardium which protects the heart. The symptoms include shortage of breath and weight loss. Diagnosis is by scans and biopsy and the long term prognosis for those with the disease is poor. This form of asbestos related disease causes the greatest personal and social hardships and as a result our mesothelioma compensation solicitors have a particular interest in dealing with these claims.

    Pleural Disease

      This description can include pleural plaques or diffuse pleural thickening which are areas of scar tissue that develop on the lung as a result of long-term exposure to inhalable asbestos. Pleural disease is often a precursor to asbestosis however those suffering from pleural plaques or diffuse pleural thickening may have no symptoms of any consequence and may nor develop any other more serious asbestos related disease.

    Malignant Lung Cancer

      This carcinoma may be a consequence of being exposed to inhalable asbestos especially amongst those who smoke cigarettes who suffer from a much higher incidence of lung cancer than those who work in the industry who don't smoke or those who smoke and have no contact with asbestos.

Occupations at Risk

We are able to pursue lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural disease and mesothelioma claims on behalf of both workers and their close family members who are also at risk due to secondary exposure. Those most at risk of contracting an asbestos related disease include the following groups :-

    Miners & Mineral Extraction Operatives

      Thousands of miners and their families are at risk due to excessive exposure over long periods especially in former asbestos mining towns some of which have been abandoned due to inherent risk.

      In areas where asbestiform minerals are encountered, airborne asbestos fibres may appear in the dust produced during blasting, crushing and subsequent handling and processing. It is the responsibility of the mine operator to ensure that mining operations are carried out in a safe manner. In Western Australia, asbestos minerals have been found in the 'greenstone belts' which host the State's major gold and nickel deposits, and in the Banded Iron Formations of the Hamersley Basin. Asbestos minerals are also likely to be encountered in the Ord Range, Yilgarn, Pilbara Cratons, Kimberley and Pilbara Regions, Southwest, Ashburton, Gascoyne, Murchison, Warburton, and Goldfields.

      In New South Wales, asbestos has been found at Baryulgil; in the Woods Rheef Mine on the Ironbark Creek; and Jones' Creek near Gundagai.

      In South Australia, crocilodite was mined in Robertstown. The Oraparinna Asbestos Mine is located just off the Enorama Creek.

    Asbestos Processors and Factory Operatives

      Those who worked in factories that processed raw asbestos into consumer products may be at high risk of suffering from an asbestos related disease as are many of those who lived in the vicinity of asbestos manufacturing plants where asbestos fibres were released in volume into the atmosphere.

    Boilermakers & Laggers

      Boilers were insulated using asbestos material for decades and these two groups of workers often worked side by side both in manufacture and repair of boilers often in confined spaces.


      An electrician’s job often involved the necessity of working alongside laggers and required high speed drilling through asbestos products thereby releasing inhalable asbestos into the atmosphere.

    Joiners & Builders

      These trade have often found it necessary to saw, cut, drill and fix asbestos cement board used as insulation and for partitioning industrial space thereby becoming exposed to asbestos fibres.

    Motor Mechanics

      Motor vehicles used to use asbestos in brake pads and clutches which produced fine asbestos dust with wear and tear.

    Pipe fitters & Plumbers

      These tradesmen work with laggers installing pipe work that was often required to be insulated using asbestos products. In addition it was often necessary to cut through asbestos cement partitions to allow passage of pipe work thereby releasing dangerous dust and fibres.

Compensation Awards

Damages that can be awarded in lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural disease or mesothelioma claims to either the victim or to the victims family and dependants may include the following items :-

  • pain & suffering
  • loss of past & future wages
  • loss of lifestyle
  • loss of life expectancy
  • loss of pension rights
  • cost of care
  • special equipment
  • general expenses
  • interest

Time Limits

Due to the long latency period between exposure and the development of symptoms, time does not start to run until a positive diagnosis has been made or should have been made had the victim used reasonable diligence. In most circumstances a claim should be made within three years of a positive diagnosis of the condition by a medical practitioner. Failure to either settle the claim or issue proceedings in a court of law within the primary limitation period may mean that the opportunity to claim compensation is lost forever. There are some exceptions to the primary limitation period and the court does have a general discretion to waive the time limitations.

Asbestos Compensation Solicitors

If you have been recently diagnosed as suffering from an asbestos related disease or if you are a close relative or dependent of someone who has died from this disease we are able to offer sympathetic legal advice at a very difficult time. There are time limits and you should not delay taking legal advice or the opportunity to claim compensation may be lost forever. If you would like more information about lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural disease or mesothelioma compensation claims just complete the contact form or email us and an asbestos compensation solicitor will speak to you on the telephone with no charge and no further obligation.

Exposure to Asbestos Overview

Asbestos is a type of fibre used in the heating, air conditioning and insulation industry. For many years, workers were exposed to asbestos and breathed in the thin microscopic fibres which come when the mineral is broken down. It was also used in the automotive industries, naval shipyard industries and construction work. Millions of workers and their families were exposed to the fibre.

By the 1970s, it was found that the fibres become trapped in the workers lungs and cannot be coughed out. In the lungs, inflammation set in and a variety of illnesses evolved out of asbestos exposure. Perhaps the worst was mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer that doesn't show up for many decades after exposure to asbestos but is relatively specific to asbestos exposure.

The major illnesses that come out of asbestos exposure include "asbestosis", which is when the lining and major tissues of the lungs become inflamed so that you become chronically short of breath and have a chronic cough. You can also get mesothelioma, as mentioned above, or other types of lung cancer. Other problems related to exposure to asbestos are "pleural plaques", membrane thickening and fluid around the lungs, called pleural effusions.

Asbestos exposure is something you can get at work, within the community or at home. If you're the wife of a construction worker and he brings home clothing covered in asbestos, you can get asbestosis or other severe disease linked to asbestos inhalation. People living near asbestos mines are more than likely to get an asbestos-related disease. It has been used in mining and in commercial uses since the mid 1800s and, because it was flame-proof, it was used in brake shoes, clutch pads, insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, paints, adhesives, vermiculite and even in some types of crayons.

Interestingly, because the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were built before asbestos was banned for many uses, when they were destroyed, hundreds of tons of asbestos was released into the air and many people and workers were exposed to the mineral. This means that in a few decades, there may be an increase in mesothelioma cases and lung disease in citizens of New York.

When it comes to asbestos exposure, there are a number of factors that play into who gets disease from it and who doesn't. They include:-

  • The length of exposure.
  • The amount of exposure.
  • The size and shape of asbestos fibres.
  • If there are other lung diseases present.
  • If the person was a smoker.

There are two kinds of asbestos fibres that are associated with lung disease. The amphibole fibres are longer and more durable than chrysotile fibres, which are curly. The amphibole fibres are considered worse for the lungs than the curly chrysotile fibres.

Most cases of asbestos-related cancers take years to show up. In fact a minimum of 15 years post-exposure is required in order to expect the possibility of lung disease from asbestos exposure. It takes even longer with asbestos exposure and mesothelioma - about 30 years or more.

LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 090