Last week I attended the International Symposium and Workshop on Asbestos-Related Diseases hosted by the Binawan University in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Symposium is part of a wider training program designed to further the education and awareness of asbestos related diseases including diagnosis and treatment, as well as prevention.
We heard presentations from the Australian Government’s Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency and Union Aid Abroad, a non-government organisation of the Australian Union Movement. I attended the symposium alongside the team at the Asbestos and Dust Diseases Research Institute and heard talks given by Associate Professor Steven Kao, Medical Oncologist, Dr Ben Johnson and Dr Peter Shi, post-doctoral researchers and Pam Logan, Mesothelioma Nursing Support Co-ordinator.
I provided a presentation on the importance of exposure history which was particularly important for the Indonesian audience as asbestos diseases are substantially underdiagnosed. Part of the problem of not diagnosing a condition properly occurs as a result of an incorrect or incomplete history of asbestos exposure.
A person’s exposure history is particularly important in the context of compensation entitlements.
For example, if you were exposed to asbestos during employment in New South Wales and also in Queensland, you may have workers compensation entitlements in both states, even if the majority of your asbestos exposure occurred in New South Wales. In that circumstance, you cannot reap the benefit of two workers compensation claims and so it is imperative that you receive advice about which scheme is more beneficial to you. The New South Wales workers compensation system (iCare) awards a pension and covers reasonable medical and out of pocket expenses, whereas the Queensland workers compensation benefits are largely lump sum, with the possibility of being awarded up to $874,000.00.
Pursuing one workers compensation claim can disentitle you from pursuing the same type of claim under a different scheme, and therefore it is imperative that you receive advice from a solicitor with experience in dust disease claims before a claim is lodged. Strict time limits can also apply to lodging claims, and the rules regarding time limits differ according to state or territory.