Silicosis Lawyers

Have you or a loved one been exposed to silica? You may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. We can assist you - our silicosis lawyers are experts in this area.

It is important to know that there are strict time limits that apply to making a claim – you can speak to us today on 1300 58 46 26 for No-Win No-fee advice. We have offices in Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, Dubbo and Dandenong.

Your rights

Silicosis is the latest occupational dust disease causing concern for Australia’s workers of all ages.

Many workers in the mining, construction and demolition industries are exposed to silica dust, which can be dangerous if inhaled. Silica dust can cause a number of health conditions. The most commonly diagnosed condition is silicosis – a progressive and irreversible lung disease. 

The danger of silica dust is particularly concerning for stonemasons who have been working with engineered or artificial stone bench tops (eg. Caesarstone, Essastone, etc), which have become popular in Australia over the past decade. Unlike natural stone, these types of benchtops have very high amounts of silica and this dust is released and potentially breathed in when the stone is cut, drilled, grinded or polished without the right safety precautions being taken.

Victorian workers who have been exposed to silica and developed silicosis or another silica-related condition may have a right to claim WorkCover compensation entitlements including medical and like expenses, weekly payments (loss of income) and an impairment benefit lump sum. If you lose a loved one due to a silica-related disease, you may be eligible for dependency compensation.

In addition, if your employer hasn’t taken the right safety precautions to protect you from silica dust exposure, you may be eligible for lump sum compensation for your pain and suffering and past and future loss of income as a result of your employer’s negligence.

You may also have other insurance entitlements like Income Protection and Total and Permanent Disablement benefits that you are eligible to claim.

At Gordon Legal, we can provide legal services, support and advice for anyone who has been diagnosed with silicosis or any other silica-related injury or illness, and help you make a claim for compensation.

When faced with a silicosis diagnosis, it’s understandable that your health and getting the medical treatment you need is your main priority. A potentially complicated legal claim may feel overwhelming or may be something you wish to avoid altogether. That’s why at Gordon Legal we aim to work around your needs first and make the process as simple, straightforward and understandable as possible. You can be as involved as you wish to be - but do no more than you need to - while we fight to achieve the result you and your family deserve.

No Win No Fee

  • Our silicosis lawyers offer legal services in this area on a No-Win No-Fee basis.
  • This means that we will meet with you (at a place that suits you), investigate your case and provide you with expert advice without any cost or obligation. It also means that if we offer to act for you, and you take us up on this offer, you will not be responsible for any up-front legal fees or disbursements (out of pocket costs) until the end of your claim.
  • Your lawyer will talk you through the No-Win No Fee costs structure when you meet.
  • With combined decades of extensive experience working in asbestos litigation and WorkCover claims, our legal team are well-equipped to ensure you achieve the justice you deserve. We can investigate your claim, gather all the information, and handle all the legal side of the process. You can be as involved as you want to be – we’ll keep you in the loop when you need to be, and leave the jargon out of your way so you can focus on what matters most to you.

What is Silica?

Crystalline silica is a mineral that can be found in bricks, concrete, sandstone, granite, tiles and other artificial or engineered stone – materials that are in a day’s work for stonemasons and other tradespeople.

When these materials are cut, drilled, grinded or polished, the airborne silica dust becomes an occupational hazard.

Recently, some of these materials have become more popular in bathroom and kitchen design, which has unfortunately meant a worrying new wave of young workers are being unsafely exposed to crystalline silica dust on the job.

Silicosis

Inhalation of silica dust, particularly in larger quantities, can cause silicosis, a disease affecting the lungs.

There are three kinds of silicosis: acute, chronic and accelerated.

Acute silicosis causes symptoms such as inflammation, severe shortness of breath and lowered blood oxygen levels when high levels of silica exposure occur over a short period of time

Chronic silicosis develops after longer term exposure to silica, causing difficulty breathing, painful swelling in the lungs and lymph nodes

Accelerated silicosis can develop more rapidly after moderate to high levels of exposure, causing lung scarring, trouble breathing and inflammation

According to the Cancer Council, there is also an increased risk of developing lung cancer as a result of past exposure to silica. Silica can also cause other conditions like scleroderma which affects the connective tissues including the skin, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. 

It’s important to remember that not all people who are exposed to silica dust get sick. If you are worried about your exposure to silica dust, you should speak to your doctor to ensure that your health is monitored and that you get the support you need.

It’s also a good idea to get in touch with a lawyer as early as possible to get a better picture of what steps you can take if you’re worried and to find out what compensation rights you have if you become unwell. You can also register your silica exposure with us here.

What should I do if I’ve been exposed and want to bring a claim?

The most important thing to note is that there are strict time limits which apply to this area of the law.

If you’ve been exposed to silica at work, you should notify your employer within 30 days of receiving a diagnosis. Depending on the circumstances, most claims for compensation for silicosis are covered by the workers’ compensation scheme in your State or Territory and the time limits that apply for bringing a negligence claim depend on where and when you were exposed. Our lawyers can help you with any questions you may have about this.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who works with crystalline silica may be at risk of exposure to silica dust.

The following occupations may experience a greater risk of silica dust exposure:

What should I do if I’ve been working with silica?

If you have worked around silica dust or are concerned that you may have been exposed to silica dust, you should complete an Incident Notification Form and give it to your employer within 30 days. You can find a copy here (www.worksafe.vic.gov.au)

Speak to your GP as quickly as possible to get all the necessary medical advice, and schedule to have regular check-ups especially if you are experiencing any symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pains.

If you’re a union-member, speak to your representative and follow their advice.

There is no evidence to suggest that there is any safe level of silica exposure, though most people diagnosed with silicosis have worked with silica over an extended period. If you are interested in finding out more about precautions you can take, WorkSafe Victoria have provided some helpful information here: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/resources/working-engineered-stone

Silicosis Lawyers

Victoria Keays is Gordon Legal’s principal dust disease expert. She is an accredited lawyer specialising in asbestos and silicosis litigation.

Victoria has over 10 years’ experience in representing victims of dust disease, including silicosis and asbestos-related diseases. She is passionate about achieving compensation for anyone whose been affected by occupational diseases, and has represented clients all around Australia. She has been recognised as a leading lawyer in this area by Doyle’s Guide.

 

Tess Dickie is an experienced personal injury lawyer with a background in Asbestos and Dust Diseases and WorkCover litigation. She is passionate about fighting for the right compensation for sufferers of asbestos and dust diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, asbestos related pleural disease and silicosis.

Tess also has a particular interest in the emerging area of WorkCover compensation claims for sufferers of non-asbestos occupational diseases and cancers, having secured compensation for workers with silicosis, lung cancer, asthma, byssinosis and leukaemia. Tess’s combined experience in WorkCover and lung disease compensation makes her the optimal choice of lawyer for silicosis claims under the Victorian WorkCover scheme.

Tess joined Gordon Legal in 2019, having worked in plaintiff personal injury law for almost 10 years.

Tess is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria, Australian Lawyers Association, the Mornington Peninsula Lawyers Association and Asbestos Council of Victoria/GARDS.

Our People

Victoria Keays
Victoria Keays
Principal Lawyer
Victoria Keays
Principal Lawyer

Victoria is an accredited specialist in personal injury law with a particular interest in asbestos litigation. Victoria has over 10 years’ experience in representing those suffering from all forms of asbestos diseases; including mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and asbestos related pleural disease. Victoria is also passionate about achieving compensation for those afflicted by other occupational diseases, such as silicosis and occupational lung cancer.

Victoria has represented clients in a number of jurisdictions around Australia and has been recognised by Doyle’s Guide as a leading lawyer in the area of Dust Diseases.

Tess Dickie
Tess Dickie
Senior Associate
Tess Dickie
Senior Associate

Tess Dickie is an experienced personal injury lawyer with a background in Asbestos and Dust Diseases and WorkCover litigation. She is passionate about fighting for the right compensation for sufferers of asbestos and dust diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, asbestos related pleural disease and silicosis.

Tess also has a particular interest in the emerging area of WorkCover compensation claims for sufferers of non-asbestos occupational diseases and cancers, having secured compensation for workers with silicosis, lung cancer, asthma, byssinosis and leukaemia. Tess’s combined experience in WorkCover and lung disease compensation makes her the optimal choice of lawyer for silicosis claims under the Victorian WorkCover scheme.

Tess joined Gordon Legal in 2019, having worked in plaintiff personal injury law for almost 10 years.

Tess is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria, Australian Lawyers Association, the Mornington Peninsula Lawyers Association and Asbestos Council of Victoria/GARDS.

We are here to help

Get in touch with our friendly staff today for No-Win No-Fee advice.

Call 1300 58 46 26

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