Development of these conditions
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.
Obtaining compensation at common law
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.
Depression and PTSD
The diagnosis of an asbestos disease and indeed just exposure to asbestos can lead to depression and anxiety and other emotional effects.
Depression, anxiety and other emotional consequences of asbestos exposure and disease are often overlooked – physical consequences tent to be looked at first and the emotional consequences second.
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.