Maurice Blackburn assists settlement of AWU Member's Estate | June eWorker

Wednesday 20th June 2018

Asbestos and Dust Disease specialist lawyers Maurice Blackburn recently settled a claim for the estate of a union member who died as a result of asbestos related lung cancer.

Tony* a 60 year old Council worker was diagnosed with asbestos related lung cancer in January 2017 after being exposed during his many years of employment laying old asbestos cement water pipes and being near and in asbestos lined telephony pits.

Despite being told by doctors to seek legal advice, Tony decided not to use a lawyer and instead himself lodged an application for workers’ compensation directly with WorkCover in March 2017.  The claim was later transferred to the Council’s self-insurer.  This decision proved to be both a difficult and lengthy one, with the Council’s insurer taking several months to accept that Tony’s injuries were as a result of his employment. Tony’s claim was finally accepted but only eleven days before he died in August 2017.  

Following Tony’s death, the Council’s insurer advised his wife Jill* that they would only pay Tony’s Estate for loss of wages and medical expenses and urged her to lodge a fatal accident claim as his dependant.  But Jill found the paperwork and process difficult to navigate and contacted us for help via the AWU Maurice Blackburn app.

We put Jill in touch with the AWU’s preferred asbestos and dust disease specialist lawyers Maurice Blackburn.  Jill’s expert lawyer quickly discovered that the insurer’s assessment of the Estate’s entitlements was unfair and wrong and seriously underestimated the amount of compensation it was entitled to.  As a result of Maurice Blackburn’s in-depth investigations, they determined that the insurer had grossly mishandled Tony’s original claim and also exposed the insurer for taking advantage of Tony’s decision not to seek legal help so they didn’t have to pay him as much compensation.

In only a short amount of time, Maurice Blackburn successfully recovered over $750,000 for Tony’s Estate, all of which went to Jill as his beneficiary. If not for Maurice Blackburn Jill would have only received a small fraction of this amount. 

It’s important members remember that exposure to asbestos dust and fibre can result in severe forms of lung disease, which usually don’t reveal symptoms until decades later. Maurice Blackburn has a team of dedicated asbestos and dust disease lawyers who can help people suffering from asbestos-related diseases make a claim for compensation.

If you or anyone you know is diagnosed with a lung disease which you suspect may be related to asbestos, please urge them to obtain advice immediately.  The vast majority of entitlements to compensation and family benefits are dependent upon action being taken during a worker’s lifetime.

Contact the AWU for more information or to get a referral to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

*The worker’s name has been changed for legal reasons

From our legal partners Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. 

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers: We Fight for Fair