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Did you know that Australia has one of the highest measured incidence rates of mesothelioma in the world? With our widespread use of asbestos in past, there have been many cases of mesothelioma arising from asbestos exposure. But what is mesothelioma? Our comprehensive guide will break down everything from the health implications of mesothelioma to the ensuing legal challenges for those exposed following mesothelioma diagnosis.

Coping with mesothelioma brings with it a labyrinth of medical and legal considerations. This article offers a meticulous breakdown of your legal rights and options. If you or one of your loved ones is facing a mesothelioma diagnosis, we’re here to guide you through the process of understanding and acting upon the legal recourse available to you.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer. The main risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos fibres. The tiny fibres are easily breathed in and can become trapped in the lungs. Asbestos was commonly used in construction in Australia from around the 1940s to the 1980s. Although usage of asbestos phased out after its negative side effects became widely known, it is still present in many Australian buildings constructed in this period.

When the fine particles of asbestos are inhaled, they can lodge in the exposed person’s internal organs. There are several different types of mesothelioma, but pleural mesothelioma accounts for 90% of cases. This type of cancer occurs in the lungs. There are several mesothelioma treatment options available, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and surgery, but, sadly, the average prognosis for mesothelioma patients is only around 12-21 months.

Who is at risk for mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma can be harmful to those working in high-risk occupations. Risk factors for mesothelioma typically include occupational exposure. Such occupations include construction workers, veterans, factory workers and miners. Family members of people exposed to asbestos at work can also be exposed through asbestos fibres, which can be carried home on the clothing.

In some cases, home renovators and those living in homes with asbestos can also be exposed to it, particularly if building materials are damaged and asbestos particles are released into the air within the home. This might occur when, for example, tradesmen or home renovators disturb asbestos building materials when performing maintenance or renovations.

What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to asbestos?

If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos, consult your doctor. You should also try to record the times, dates, and any details of any exposure/s, as your health professionals may need to record these for future reference. It takes a long time for mesothelioma to develop following asbestos exposure; in some cases, up to 50 years.

However, it’s important to note that many people exposed to asbestos do not develop mesothelioma later on. If you do develop mesothelioma symptoms, your doctor may require a lung scan or other medical testing to assess you thoroughly.

How can I find out if I have a mesothelioma case?

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, then you may have grounds for a mesothelioma case, which means you may be eligible for legal compensation. Medical expenses and the cost of taking a prolonged amount of time off work can add up quickly. If your mesothelioma was caused by factors beyond your control or while in the workplace, you may want to seek compensation.

Strict time limits apply and steps can be taken to protect your case, so the sooner you enlist an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, the quicker you can establish your case and pursue compensation.

Are there benefits for veterans with mesothelioma?

Yes. Some who have served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) may have been exposed to asbestos. If you feel you have been exposed at some point in your working career, you can get tested for asbestos-related conditions. If you do have an asbestos-related condition, you will be eligible for compensation. However, if this applies to you or a loved one, we recommend that you consult with a lawyer with specialist experience in this area to ensure that you are receiving the best possible compensation. Remember; depending on your circumstances, you may have future expenses to cover that you might not have considered yet.

What compensation can I receive from a mesothelioma lawsuit?

If you are successful in your mesothelioma lawsuit, you may be eligible for compensation. This may help to cover the cost of things like past and future medical expenses, loss of income, compensation for pain and suffering, and expenses incurred from things like travelling to medical appointments. However, any compensation you receive will depend on the unique circumstances of your mesothelioma case.

At Gordon Lawyers, we have had extensive experience with mesothelioma cases. Victoria Keays, Partner, is an accredited specialist in personal injury law with a special interest in asbestos litigation.

With over 10 years’ experience in representing those suffering from all forms of asbestos-related diseases; including mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and asbestos-related pleural disease, Victoria is passionate about achieving compensation for individuals impacted by work-related illnesses. Her representation of clients across various Australian jurisdictions has earned her recognition from Doyle’s Guide as a pre-eminent Dust Diseases lawyer. Victoria is relentless in her pursuit of swift and fair justice for our clients.

How much does it cost to hire a mesothelioma lawyer?

The fees for hiring a mesothelioma lawyer depend on a range of factors, including the complexity of your case and the amount of work involved in achieving a successful outcome. At Gordon Legal, we have a No Win, No Fee policy, which means that if we take on your case, you will not be responsible for any up-front legal fees or disbursements until the end of the claim. We can assess your case and provide you with initial advice on your best possible legal recourse and advise you on the potential outcomes and costs involved.

No win, no fee

Help when you need it most without the added stress of upfront legal fees engaging a
no win, no fee lawyer. When you need legal help, understandably, the first thing people often think is ‘can I afford it?’ To address this, our Senior Partner, Peter Gordon and Partner, Paul Henderson pioneered the ‘no win, no fee’ system to create greater access to the legal system.

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