Putting Together a Compensation Case for Asbestos-Related Health Damage

Since asbestos was banned in Australia, the health of many workers has been improved. Sadly, those who were working with asbestos when it was still a commonly-used material are at risk of developing serious medical conditions.

If you were exposed to asbestos through your work and have since suffered lung disease because of the fibres, there's a good chance you could claim compensation. This could be a huge help with medical bills and might open up better treatment options for you—but first, you'll have to claim successfully.

Before you consult a workers' compensation lawyer, it helps if you can start arranging things to help your case. Work through this list and do whatever you can manage—but don't worry too much if there are things you can't do. Everything helps, and your lawyer will be able to help with the rest.

Details of your employer

Whether you came into contact with asbestos through a single employer or several, it's important to have as much detail on them as you can remember. If they're still in business, you should get hold of their contact information if you can. For businesses that are no longer operating, write down whatever you can remember and see if you can find out any information from online records.

If you were self-employed when you worked with asbestos, you may still be able to claim compensation. Make notes of jobs where you were around the material, and any major contracts you had.

Evidence from a doctor

Your doctor should be happy to provide evidence to support your case, so explain what you're doing and give them time to prepare it.

Initially, this evidence could be as simple as a letter giving an overview of your relevant medical history, but if your doctor is willing to provide a more detailed account, it's helpful. You may be able to permit access to your medical records by a lawyer, so ask your doctor if this is possible.

Important dates

If you can work out the dates you were working with asbestos, when you were first diagnosed with a related medical issue and anything else that's significant, note them down. Having a clear timeline is an important part of building your case.

Details of how it's affected you

How your asbestos-related health problems have affected your life is an integral part of assessing the harm it's done. Records of the financial burden—including times when you were unable to work—are part of this, but there's also the personal harm.

Write a letter detailing the problems it's caused for your mental health, your family and your life in general, paying particular attention to your feelings about it. Putting across your unique, human point of view is a great way to lay the foundations of a strong case.