Asbestos Injury Claims: Occupational Exposure

Asbestos refers to six types of naturally occurring minerals. These minerals are made up of durable fibres that are resistant to heat, fire and most chemicals. Due to the durability of asbestos it was used in everyday products from building materials to fireproof protective gear. There are two main types of asbestos:

Serpentine Asbestos

(also known as white asbestos) – This was the most commercially used form of asbestos. Due to its flexible nature and the ability to mix this mineral with other elements it was used widely throughout the US and the rest of the world making its way in to products which still cause a hazard today.

Amphibole Asbestos

(also known as blue asbestos) – This type of asbestos is much more hazardous than Serpentine asbestos when ingested or inhaled. Luckily amphibole was not commonly used commercially and exposure is limited to naturally occurring deposits.

Occupational Exposure to Asbestos

In the majority of mesothelioma cases doctors can link the diagnosis to on the job exposure. According to the World Health Organisation this exposure to asbestos accounts for some 100,000 occupational deaths per year. While there has been a massive reduction in asbestos use, construction workers continue to risk exposure while either repairing or demolishing asbestos contaminated buildings.

  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Testes Cancer
  • Pleural effusion

This list is not exhaustive. The most serious of the above is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen. Exposure to asbestos is to date the only known cause of this particular cancer. It can take up to 45 years for this cancer to develop and there is no known cure. It is extremely aggressive and life expectancy is usually 6 – 18 months.

  • Construction workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Plumbers
  • Carpenters
  • Family members of workers exposed to asbestos dust
  • Electricians
  • Workers in power plants

Unfortunately the risks of working with asbestos were not firmly established until the 1960’s by which time hundreds of thousands of people had already been exposed. There is now legislation is place to protect workers from exposure to asbestos (S.I. No. 386/2006 – Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Exposure to Asbestos) Regulations 2006.

When your application is received by the Board they will issue a letter called a ‘Section 50 Letter’. This letter confirms that the Board has received your application. Once this letter is issued the Statute of Limitations stops running against you. Under the Statute of Limitations a claimant has two years from the accident date within which to bring a claim for compensation. Once the two year term has expired the claim becomes statute barred, meaning the claimant is no longer able to claim compensation for the injuries sustained. The application must be received by the Board before the expiration of the two year time period. The Statute then stops running while the claim is being assessed by the Board. If the claim does not settle at the Injuries Board stage, and the claimant is issued with an Authorisation by the Board, the claimant is given a further six months within which to issue proceedings.

  1. The first step taken by the Board is to contact the respondent (the person/company you are suing) and ask them whether or not they will allow the Board to make an assessment (offer money to the claimant). The respondent is given 90 days within which to respond. If the respondent does not agree to an assessment then the Board will issue what is known as an Authorisation, allowing the claimant to issue court proceedings.
    If the respondent agrees to the Board making an assessment, the Board will notify us in writing that they will be proceeding with an assessment and provide a ‘Schedule of Special Damages Form’ and ‘Loss of Earnings Certificate’ which should be completed by the claimant. The Schedule of Special Damages outlines the claimants out of pocket expenses e.g. medical expenses, travelling expenses, car damage, or any other expense incurred by the claimant as a result of their accident. The Certificate of Loss of Earnings needs to be completed by the claimant’s employer; this will only be necessary if the claimant was out of work due to the accident and was not paid while out of work.
    If the Board is going ahead with an assessment, it has 9 months from the date of the decision to make an assessment within which to make it.
  2. The next step for the Board will be to have the claimant assessed by an independent doctor in order to take up a medical legal report.
  3. Once the Board is in receipt of the completed Schedule of Special Damages, Certificate of Loss of Earnings (if appropriate) and the medical report, they will proceed to make an assessment.
  4. We will be notified in writing of the award being made by the Board. The claimant is given 28 days to decide whether or not they wish to accept the award. The respondent is given 21 days within which to make the same decision.
  5. If both parties accept the assessment then an ‘Order to Pay’ will issue and the claimant’s cheque is usually requisitioned within 6 weeks.
  6. If one or both parties reject the assessment, the Board will issue an Authorisation, allowing the claimant to issue court proceedings. Just because court proceedings are issued does not mean that the claimant/plaintiff will end up in court. If we do end up issuing proceedings on your behalf, in the majority of cases the claim settles before going to trial.

If you have a question about your Asbestos Injury Claim* contact us on
Locall: 1850 20 40 60,
or tell about your case and start your claim today.

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