Ipswich woman wins the right to claim asbestos compensation

NINETEEN years after her husband died of mesothelioma, Ipswich woman Karen Hall has won the right to claim asbestos compensation.

Aged just 44, Greg Hall died in May 1995, nine months after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of working with asbestos dust between 1966 and 1978.

The Court of Appeal ruled in Mrs Hall's favour after she was initially denied compensation for Mr Hall's death.

While a three-year limitation period for asbestos death was in place when Mr Hall died, it was abolished in 2010, and Mrs Hall lodged her case in 2011.

In December last year Supreme Court Justice Debra Mullins denied Mrs Hall's claim, agreeing with WorkCover Queensland's that too much time had passed since Mr Hall's death for a claim to be made.

WorkCover Queensland also claimed the relevant legislation covered "personal injury" which death could not be considered.

However Justice John Muir said this argument was of "dubious validity".

"The common law principle that the death of a person could not be complained of as an injury was overridden in the 19th century," he said.

Justice Muir said the legislation "does not plainly emerge from the speech that there was an intention to exclude dependency claims resulting from deaths arising from dust- related conditions".

He ruled Mrs Hall had a "right of action relating to personal injury resulting from a dust-related condition".

Mrs Hall said her husband had worked in an automotive spare parts business and was exposed to unsealed brake pads and flange gaskets.

She was so distressed at the time she said she didn't lodge a dependant's claim for compensation.

Justices Roslyn Atkinson and Margaret McMurdo agreed with Justice Muir's rulings.

They ordered the Supreme Court decision be overturned and WorkCover Queensland pay costs of the appeal and the initial trial.

WorkCover Queensland may appeal the case to the High Court.


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