*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in South Australia.

Many older Australians provide care and assistance free of charge to family members, in particular to their spouses, children and grandchildren.

When you are diagnosed as suffering from an asbestos disease such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, it can suddenly become a lot more difficult to provide these services.  The question of who will look after an ailing spouse or provide childcare services, can add an extra layer of stress to what is already an extremely difficult time.

When you make a claim for compensation for an asbestos related disease in South Australia, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, under the Dust Diseases Act 2005 (SA) you are entitled to compensation for your inability to provide “domestic” services to others.  You are able to claim the cost of those services as if they were being provided at a commercial rate, and for as long into the future as you otherwise would have been able, or required, to provide those services. This means that after the settlement of your claim, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that those depending on you will be looked after.

Turner Freeman have obtained a number of successful awards for damages for the loss of services to others.

In the matter of Latz v Amaca Pty Limited, Mr Latz, who at the time of judgment was in his early 70s and resided with his partner on a large block in Adelaide’s foothills, obtained an award of $100,000 under this head of damage.  In that case, Mr Latz was awarded compensation for services previously provided to his partner, including garden and home maintenance and vehicle maintenance, as well as care provided to his grandchildren.

In the matter of Werfel v Amaca Pty Limited, Mr Werfel, who at the time of judgment was in his early 40s and resided with his wife and three young daughters, obtained an award of $245,000 under this head of damage.  In that case, Mr Werfel was awarded compensation for care provided to his children, as well as domestic duties around the house such as meal preparation, cleaning and tidying, looking after the garden and caring for pets.

The kind of services that we can claim for can include domestic duties to your household, including cleaning and other home maintenance, as well care provided to a spouse, your children and grandchildren.  In South Australia this kind of compensation is unique to claims for asbestos related diseases.

Whether damages are claimable for services provided free of charge to family members and other members of the community will always depend on the specific family situation and the nature of the service.  Our lawyers can provide you with further advice.

If you suffer from an asbestos related disease such as mesothelioma and want to speak to one of our specialist dust diseases lawyers, please contact our office on 08 8213 1000 for an obligation free discussion.