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Fear of contracting an asbestos disease

It is not uncommon for persons who have worked with asbestos, and watched many former work mates suffer from asbestos diseases, to develop a fear of contracting an asbestos disease and dying, even if they have no disease themselves. Others may develop a fear of contracting cancer or a belief that they are likely to contract cancer following a diagnosis with a benign asbestos disease.

To obtain compensation at common law, such fear must have manifested itself into a recognised psychiatric condition such as Chronic Adjustment Disorder or Depression. It is not enough to suffer from symptoms such as fear or anxiety without a recognised psychiatric condition. If you have developed a recognised psychiatric condition as a result of your exposure to asbestos, then you can make a common law claim for damages even if you have not developed an asbestos disease.

If you develop a recognised psychiatric condition such as Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of a family member’s suffering or death from an asbestos condition, then you may be able to bring a claim at common law. Again you must prove that you are suffering from a recognised psychiatric condition and not just grief or loss. To bring a claim you must also prove that someone of normal fortitude would suffer from a psychiatric condition in the circumstances.

It is important to be examined by a psychiatrist if you have symptoms of anxiety or depression  as a result of fear of contracting an asbestos disease, a diagnosis of an asbestos disease or following the diagnosis or death of a loved one with an asbestos disease.

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