An 84 year old Queensland sufferer of asbestos disease has been awarded compensation of over $1.4 million in an historic court judgement delivered this week.
Peter Boland, who endured heavy asbestos exposure from asbestos cement fibro building products when working as a builder in rural Queensland, first started to experience shortness of breath in the late 1990s. His symptoms have worsened to the point that he is now significantly disabled. Doctors estimate his present life expectancy to be between 6 and 12 months.
Mr Boland, represented by industrial disease specialists vbr Lawyers, brought his claim in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales, a specialist court dedicated to handling claims by sufferers of asbestos and other dust related diseases. The claim was brought against Amaca Pty Ltd, the company that manages the compensation fund established by former asbestos products manufacturer James Hardie & Coy Pty Ltd.
Mr Boland used James Hardie asbestos products extensively during his career. He was not warned about the dangers of asbestos, even though it is well recognised that James Hardie knew or should have known of those dangers at all times during the period Mr Boland used the products.
It is believed that the judgement is the highest amount ever awarded to a sufferer of non-cancerous asbestos disease by an Australian court.
The judge in the case, Judge Scotting, acknowledged the terrible impact of Mr Boland’s asbestos conditions on his life and also the extensive care and support provided by his wife. The award included an amount of $350,000 for pain and suffering.
Sean Ryan, Director of vbr Lawyers who acted for Mr Boland, welcomed the decision as clear recognition of the seriousness of benign asbestos conditions which while non-cancerous, could nevertheless progress and cause great suffering to victims over many years. “While the severity of asbestos related cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer have long been recognised by the courts with significant awards of damages, it is very gratifying to see a serious benign condition such as my client’s being properly compensated, Mr Ryan said.
Sean Ryan, Legal Practitioner Director
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