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Asbestos claims still rising - but funds are falling short

Asbestos claims still rising - but funds are falling short

It should be of little surprise that asbestos related lawsuits are continuing to climb across Australia considering it has the second highest rate of mesothelioma related deaths in the world. It is for this reason that the funds available to compensate these victims are diminishing at an alarming rate.

Asbestos and mesothelioma in Australia

Many experts believe that Australia's shockingly high incidence of mesothelioma (second only to the UK) is directly related to the extensive use and mining of asbestos during the 1950’s through to the 1970’s. It is believed that during this time Australia had the highest per capita rate of asbestos use in the world.

Asbestos is known to cause a wide variety of diseases, mesothelioma being considered the most serious. There are 3 major types of mesothelioma, pleura mesothelioma, peritoreal mesothelioma, and pricardial mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is considered to be fatal, and there is no known cure. It starts in the covering of the lungs, or in the abdomen, and sufferers can expect symptoms such as back pain, shortness of breach, a persistently hoarse voice, weight loss, initially, with progressively worse symptoms as time goes by. Although there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, early diagnosis is vital to prolong life and make sufferers more comfortable. The current advice is to see a doctor if you notice any combination of these symptoms, particularly if you know you’ve been exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos Lawsuits

Lawsuits pertaining to asbestos related diseases go back as far as the 1960s, since that time Australia has seen thousands of claims brought against various manufacturers of products and materials with asbestos. To date victims have been paid out billions of dollars in damages. Many experts predict that asbestos related lawsuits will continue for decades. From the UK to Australia, asbestos lawyers have brought many successful lawsuits against companies whose workers have been affected by a variety of different symptoms, whether severe or mild.

James Hardie Industries LTD

Perhaps one of the most well known asbestos cases is that of James Hardie Industries LTD, an industrial building materials company headquartered in Ireland and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange specializing in fibre cement products.

James Hardie Industries was a key player in asbestos manufacturing and mining in Australia for the majority of the 20th century. The company worked with a variety of products and materials containing asbestos (Including “Fibro”) until March 1987 when they ceased all asbestos manufacturing activities.

Since the 1980’s James Hardie has paid out compensation to thousands of victims, and in 2007 the company’s shareholders approved a compensation deal for asbestos victims worth 4 billion dollars over the next 40 years. .

Australia Blue Asbestos PTY LTD

Australia blue asbestos PTY LTD was founded by Lang Hancock in 1938 and was responsible for the bagging, mining, and distribution of blue asbestos (crocidolite) until 1966. Since then litigation has been brought by thousands of past workers, resulting in millions of dollars in compensation, including a $426,000 pay out in 1988. It was alleged that Australian Blue Asbestos PTY LTD willingly knew that conditions fell well below standard and that dust levels exceed accepted levels at that time. Sadly, the majority of asbestos related lawsuits against other asbestos manufacturing companies share similar accusations against them.

Funds are falling short

Due to the overwhelming amount of asbestos related lawsuits continuing to climb with no end in site, most of which will end in payouts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are rising concerns that the various funds reserved to compensate asbestos related illness victims may run dry, risking fair compensation payouts to future victims.

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Thursday, 11 August 2022