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Asbestos Case Study

The Northern Territory Court of Appeal has handed down a landmark judgment for a client who was exposed to asbestos while working in the (now closed) Alcan Gove alumina refinery.

Mr Zorko Zabic, 74 years of age was diagnosed with mesothelioma in early 2014 which was ruled to have been caused by asbestos exposure at Alcan Gove during the 1970s. The current owner of the operations, Rio Tinto, has been ordered to pay $425,000 in compensation to Mr Zabic for the devastating injuries he now suffers.

After Mr Zabic developed chest pains early last year and commenced litigation against Rio Tinto, the Northern Territory Supreme Court ruled against his claim for compensation due to his symptoms and injury diagnosis occurring after the commencement of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (1987), which abolished the right for workers to bring claims for compensation through the courts.

Mr Zabic appealed the decision on the basis that his injury arose before 1987 when he was first exposed to poisonous asbestos dust. The court granted this appeal and ordered Rio Tinto to pay $425,000 in damages for pain and suffering, negligence and loss of expectation of life. Rio Tinto was also ordered to pay all Mr Zabic’s legal costs for both the original matter and the appeal.

How do I know if I'm able to make an asbestos claim?

There are legal options for sufferers of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma. Compensation claims can be made through the courts under common law, which can be successful if it's proven that asbestos exposure was because of someone else's.

I think I have an asbestos claim, what should I do next?

It's important that you contact an asbestos lawyer with experience in asbestos claims as soon as possible to make sure your interests are looked after. If you believe you have been in touch with asbestos, no matter how recently, it is important to keep a record of your exposure. Register your details with Shine Lawyers' free Australian Asbestos Register to assist you if any future compensation claim arises as a result of your exposure.

At Shine Lawyers, our Asbestos Law Team will be able to advise you of your entitlements if you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. The Shine Lawyers No Win No Fee policy is available for asbestos-related claims. This is designed to help people whose financial circumstances might otherwise deny them access to legal representation.

Read more about Shine Lawyers services.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 7, 2017.

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