Navigating the waters of asbestos claims in New South Wales (NSW) can be daunting, especially with the myriad of myths surrounding the process.  Many retired workers suffering from asbestos or silica related diseases like asbestos related pleural disease, asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma or silicosis, are often hesitant to explore their legal rights due to misinformation.

Myth 1 – “My Employer Went Bust 40 Years Ago, So There is No One to Pay My Compensation”

One common myth is that if their employer has gone out of business, there’s no viable path to compensation. This myth could not be further from the truth.

Even if a company that exposed workers to asbestos has ceased operations, victims still have avenues for claiming compensation.  In many instances, these companies had insurance policies in place that remain viable for handling claims today. Furthermore, NSW has mechanisms and funds designed specifically to cater to workers from defunct companies and defunct insurers, ensuring that individuals have a recourse for their suffering.  Additionally, there can also be claims made against manufacturers of asbestos products.

Myth 2 – “There is a Limitation Period to Lodge a Claim Arising from Asbestos Exposure and I was Exposed 50 Years Ago”

Another deterrent for many considering an asbestos claim is the belief that individuals have a limited window to lodge a claim arising from asbestos exposure and contraction of asbestos or silica related illness. This misunderstanding can deter many from pursuing a claim, under the assumption that they are too late. However, the truth is more accommodating.

In NSW, special provisions account for the unique nature of asbestos and silica-related conditions, acknowledging that these dust diseases can take decades to manifest.

Thus, while limitation periods generally apply in personal injury claims, asbestos or silica related claims are treated with the flexibility required to ensure justice for affected individuals, recognising the prolonged latency periods of asbestos/silica related diseases.  This means that the asbestos or silica related claim can be lodged at any time; however, in order to protect a significant part of the common law claim, it is imperative that such a claim is commenced during a claimant’s lifetime.

Why These Myths Are Problematic

Misconceptions about asbestos and silica related claims not only create unnecessary barriers for those seeking compensation but also contribute to a larger issue of underreported cases.  Many individuals living with asbestos or silica related illnesses may not understand their rights or the potential for favourable legal outcomes, leading them to endure their conditions without the support and compensation they are entitled to.

Addressing these myths head-on is crucial in empowering retired tradesmen and anyone else affected by asbestos or silica exposure. Knowledge is power, and understanding the truths about dust disease claims can open doors to deserved compensation and aid.

What Retired Workers Should Do

For retired workers suffering from asbestos or silica related diseases, the first step is to seek legal advice from a firm experienced in dust disease claims like Turner Freeman.

At Turner Freeman, we can provide a comprehensive assessment of your case and outline your rights.

Remember, each case is unique, and at Turner Freeman, we can offer personalised guidance tailored to your specific situation.  We can help navigate the complexities of lodging a claim, dealing with former employers (or their insurers), and ensuring that your case is heard.

The myths surrounding asbestos claims, particularly regarding limitation periods and defunct employers, can inhibit individuals from seeking the compensation and support they need. It’s essential to challenge these misconceptions and spread accurate, helpful information.

If you or someone you know is hesitating to pursue an asbestos or silica claim due to these or other myths, reach out to our Dust Diseases Team on 02 8833 2500. We can provide you with the correct information and support you need to explore your options. We also travel to see clients at hospitals and their homes. Remember, you’re not alone in this, and we are dedicated professionals with an abundance of resources ready to help guide you through the process.

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