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Ann-Maree Pascoli providing Q & A on the 2GB Deborah Knight Afternoon Show discussing Asbestos

Ann-Maree Pascoli providing Q & A on the 2GB Deborah Knight Afternoon Show discussing "Asbestos" 26 May 2020

Tuesday 26 May 2020 

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DK – Deborah Knight / AP – Ann-Maree Pascoli / C1,2,3, etc – Callers 

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DK      We’re talking today in legal matters about asbestos, which is a major concern for a lot of people. You might have been exposed to it in the work place.  Maybe you’re worried that a loved one might have breathed in those deadly fibres from asbestos. What are your legal rights? If you’ve got a question, give me a call now on 131873. There’s a case in Queensland, a 27 year old woman, she’s terminally ill, she’s a single mum, she’s only been given weeks to live, and she’s suing the Queensland Education Department for alleged asbestos exposure after work was done on a school building, and it happened between 1998 and 2002. There are ways that she can help out her family after she’s gone. And you might have a similar question. Ann-Maree Pascoli is an accredited specialist in asbestos litigation, she’s a partner at Turner Freeman’s Parramatta office, and she’s on the line for us now. Ann-Maree thanks for joining us.

AP       Thanks Deb.

DK      This is such a sad case from Queensland, but it does have ramifications around the country doesn’t it?

AP       Absolutely it does and unfortunately that particular set of circumstances is not isolated. I’ve had quite a few enquiries and a number of cases that we’ve run here in New South Wales for teachers and students who have been exposed to asbestos on school grounds, it’s frightening.

DK      And what could the help that she could get be, in terms of providing a legal case to provide support for her family?

AP       Look, it’s different in every state, I predominantly practice in New South Wales so I don’t want to pretend to be an expert in Queensland law, but certainly in New South Wales if she was exposed during the course of her work she has potential statutory entitlements through the iCare system, and she also has a potential court claim against the school for potentially negligently exposing her to asbestos.

DK      Now, she’s asking for 3.8 million dollars, but what other factors would go into coming up with a particular figure here?

AP       Certainly her age would come into it. I expect that, it sounds like she’s quite young, so certainly she has probably a big economic loss claim available to her for her incapacity to work, there would probably even be a claim for damages for services that she has provided to her children, or to her child, I think she only had one child, so those services are also compensable at law, but in New South Wales, those two factors would probably make up the bulk of her claim.

DK      Alright, you might have a question to do with asbestos and what your legal rights might be, 131873, we’ve got our $100 Westfield voucher to give away to the best call today as well.  Jason is with us, hi Jason.

C1       Hey, how are you Deb?

DK      I’m well. What’s your question for Ann-Maree?

C1       It’s not a question, but I just wanted to say my best friend Adam, they did him on A Current Affair, “Losing Breath”, so if anyone with legal rights, it’s called the Adam Sager story. He was sanding down the walls with his family at age 4 in Townsville, passed away at age 24, so that was six years ago. How it was found was that he was doing a tournament for his talent at martial arts and did a medical, and Julian, part of the Asbestos Board, and yea, so that story is very emotional, but I’ve got a number here and a website as well.

DK      We might look into that Jason, it is illustrating the impact that this has on so many people and asbestos is an ongoing concern, isn’t it Ann-Maree because we are finding with so many buildings, so many public buildings, not just homes but schools and work places potentially having asbestos in them.

AP       Absolutely.  It’s still everywhere Deb. It was used so extensively in so many different places throughout the country in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and unfortunately I think it’s impossible to completely eradicate it, so yea it’s definitely an ongoing problem.

DK      Paul’s on the line with a question for us too, hi Paul

C2       Oh good afternoon Deb. Yes, I’ve had this asbestos plaques in my lungs diagnosed three years ago, and I have never worked in the industry at all, I’ve never had any contact with it to my knowledge, but I’ve been diagnosed with it, and I didn’t know whether I have some sort of a claim.  I’ve got all the usual related health issues with it. I have trouble exercising or walking, and it probably won’t be long before I’ll be on oxygen permanently.  I’m just wondering where I stand with this, it’s a grey area.

DK      What are Paul’s options, Ann-Maree?

AP       Well Paul, plural plaques in themselves don’t generally cause any issues, but they do definitely confirm a significant exposure to asbestos.  You’d have to sit down with some specialist lawyers and actually go through your employment history and your residential history, because there would have had to have been some exposure to asbestos that you may not be aware of, and in terms of any entitlements, that’s going to depend on where you were exposed and whether or not its actually an asbestos disease that’s causing your breathing problems. Probably worth looking into, very happy to do that for you if you wanted to give our office a call, but yes you could have some potential entitlements depending on a few factors that should be investigated.

DK      Alright, we’ll get your details Paul and pass them on to Ann-Maree in the Turner Freeman office. You might have a question relating to asbestos and wondering what your legal rights might be. Give us a call on 131873 and we’ve got our $100 Westfield voucher to give away to the best caller as well. We’ll take a quick break.

DK      Ann-Maree Pascoli from Turner Freeman Lawyers is with us taking your calls. We are look specifically at asbestos and your legal rights.  Margaret’s got a question for us, hi Margaret.

C3       Yes, recently on one of the little pop-up warnings that can come up on your phone, there was a warning about some people who have been delivering fill that has had asbestos contaminated soil as a way of getting rid of it, and near my daughter’s house there was a footpath built up with the weirdest looking soil, very light grey coloured, very much the colour of the old fibro, and I’m wondering if we got the soil tested, because there are children in the area, whether you would have any redress against the person that delivered the soil if it was shown to have asbestos in it?

DK      Good question Margaret. Ann-Maree do you have an answer?

AP       Look, potentially, it would depend if its public grounds or not. But yes, potentially, it would have to be tested and it’s a little bit more complicated than a simple yes or no, but yea, it is something that I would definitely raise with the local council Margaret if I were you.

DK      Yea good point, good on you Margaret, thank you for the call. Let’s see if Don is with us now, Don what’s your question?

C4       Hi. Back in the 70’s I used to work for a big asbestos company in Brisbane and I was just quite a young man then and I had to sweep the floors and everything and it was quite a dusty situation, but I sort of think there’s something going on with me now but I’m not sort of sick with asbestos, you know, you can’t do anything about it, so I’ve never really worried about going to the doctor to get looked at, you know, because I thought, oh well, can’t get it fixed anyway, so there’s no point.

DK      You can get treatment can’t you Ann-Maree.

AP       Well, it depends on the nature of the condition Deb, but certainly for the benign conditions, they can’t be treated. The symptoms can be controlled. The malignant conditions like mesothelioma and lung cancer, depending on whether it’s a lung cancer or a mesothelioma, again it’s the treatment of symptoms. Lung cancer can be treated entirely, but yea, it depends on the nature of the condition and how bad your symptoms are.

DK      I reckon you should go and get it looked at Don and find out some more, that’s for sure. Kate’s with us with a question, hi Kate.

C5       Oh hi. Two questions, if I may. One is what are the actual dates when one could use asbestos in New South Wales, when did it actually start being put into houses and when was it exactly when they stopped it?

AP       The first thing is it was actually going on in New South Wales in the 40’s. Hardies was the largest  manufacturer of asbestos and building materials in New South Wales and they stopped putting cement in 1983. So thereafter, there’s no new products that contain asbestos, but it was clearly in the products in the 50’s. It was still used in brake linings, and things like that, it wasn’t just building materials that it was being used in, so definitely it was in products beyond that date as well.

DK      And what was your other question Kate?

C5       Just wondering what about in 1906 at the federation sort of era, it wasn’t available then?

AP       I’m not 100% sure on that one Kate, it’s possible, but I’d say probably unlikely.

DK      Alright, thank you for the call Kate. And Bill, what was your question?

C6       Well it’s not a question, I just wanted to agree with what Ann-Maree said a little while back, she said that no matter what we do, we probably will never eradicate it out of the old areas. I started in the building industry at 15 and I retired at 72, I was in multi storey rather than housing.  I believe the fibros that were used in housing are general safe unless they’re touched or cut or renovation people get into them.

DK      Yea and that’s the case with a lot of the buildings which used asbestos in them, that’s why you see a lot of the water trying to contain the fibres and they are very strategic and methodical when there is a renovation, but that is certainly the case.  Ann-Maree we are out of time unfortunately, thank you so much for joining us.

AP       Thanks for having me Deb.

DK      Ann-Maree Pascoli from Turner Freeman Lawyers and if you’ve got a question for Turner Freeman you can contact them or get onto their website, turnerfreeman.com.au and their number is 13 43 63. We’ll give our $100 Westfield voucher to Paul for calling in today.