Case studies

Some of our clients' stories

While most asbestos-related compensation claims are settled before they get to court, Eric King was an exception to the rule. His was the first Victorian appeal in over 10 years to go all the way through to a successful court verdict. Eric was exposed to asbestos when he worked in Perth, and Maurice Blackburn was honoured to represent him, and to have the opportunity to advance current asbestos law. As a result of Eric's case, people making asbestos claims have a greater chance of an increased payout.

Read more about Eric King's case

Derek Weise began his carpentry apprenticeship with the ACT Department of Works aged 15. He was also a fit and active competitive swimmer. After finishing his five-year apprenticeship, Derek worked for two years as a qualified tradesman, constructing and renovating government houses, schools and other buildings. During that time he used many building materials that contained asbestos with no protection or warnings of the dangers of asbestos.

It wasn’t until 2011, when he was admitted to Intensive Care with extreme shortness of breath, that Derek was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Maurice Blackburn was able to help Derek claim a lump sum compensation that allowed him to access suitable medical care, and ensured that his family will be looked after, especially now he’s not able to provide for them financially. Derek’s claim was settled out of court after intensive investigations and legal work.

Watch Derek tell his story below below.

Arthur grew up on a one-acre block in suburban ACT with his parents and two sisters. Naturally, he spent a lot of time outdoors, and Arthur’s dad decided to build two cubby houses for his young children – one for Arthur and one for his sisters. The 10-year-old Arthur helped his father with planning and building the cubbies, which were constructed with a concrete floor, wooden frame and fibro walls and roofs. He held down the fibro sheets as his dad measured and cut them by hand, which produced a lot of dust that soon covered the work area, and Arthur’s clothes and hair. Two weeks later, and with Arthur’s continued help, the cubbies were finished, and Arthur started enjoyed his newfound freedom.

But then, aged 48, fit and still enjoying the outdoors, Arthur started to feel continuously tired and breathless. A biopsy a few weeks later indicated that Arthur had developed mesothelioma due to his asbestos exposure as a child. Later medical reports confirmed that children are three times more susceptible to the harms of asbestos exposure.

Arthur contacted Maurice Blackburn’s Sydney office to find out his legal rights. Even though Arthur had no idea of the fibro sheeting’s manufacturer, we were able to track down the hardware store it had been bought from, and then work out who the manufacturer was.

A legal claim against the manufacturer was filed, claiming they were negligent by knowingly manufacturing a product that contained a deadly substance like asbestos and not warning Arthur’s father about the dangers of exposure. Because Arthur had intended working until he was 70, his claim included an amount to cover lost future income. His case settled three months after commencement, and this quick resolution provided Arthur and his family with the financial security they needed to allow them to focus on Arthur’s medical treatment.

In 2012, Phil was diagnosed with lung cancer. He’d always been a hard worker, and many years ago, he had worked for six months on a Sydney office building construction site. Phil's job was setting up scaffolding next to other workers who were spraying the new ceilings with asbestos, and so working in an atmosphere thick with asbestos dust. From 1975 to 1982, Phil also worked at a number of different petro-chemical plants around Sydney, removing asbestos lagging from pipes and machinery on a daily basis.

Even though Phil now lives in Queensland, his case was taken on by Maurice Blackburn’s Sydney office because his exposure had occurred there. His lung cancer spread quickly, and Phil’s life expectancy was limited. Because of this, the special provisions of the NSW Dust Diseases Tribunal were used and the hearing took place only a few days after Phil filed his Statement of Claim. Phil’s lawyers, the Tribunal and the defendant’s lawyers all travelled to Queensland and Phil was able to give his evidence in the comfort of his home. The case then continued back in Sydney, and Phil was kept up to date by telephone. Phil’s case was concluded quickly with the matter being settled during the hearing. Phil received compensation that would continue to provide for his wife’s financial security.

David was 16 years old when he started his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner in the early 1980s. One of David’s jobs during that timer was to remove, blow out and replace train brake pads. This meant he had to climb under the train wheel bogies, loosen the brakes and then use an air hose to blow out the dust that had accumulated in the brake housing. Working in such a confined space, David had no choice but to breathe in this dust.

What David didn’t know was that the brake pads contained asbestos, and that he had been breathing in asbestos fibres. He was also unaware that the dirty stripped out and partially rebuilt train carriages he and his workmates spent their break times in had been lined with asbestos sheeting.

After finishing his apprenticeship, David moved on to a very successful career in the mining industry, but at the age of 46, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. David contacted Maurice Blackburn in Sydney, and after much investigation we were able to prove that train brakes and carriages still contained asbestos even into the mid-1980s. This meant that David’s illness was a direct result of his exposure while working at the railways. David’s case settled at court, and part of his claim provides financial security for his family, covering future income for the next 20 years.


Maurice Blackburn have lawyers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and throughout Australia. We also represent New Zealand clients who were exposed to Asbestos in Australia. Contact us today to find out if we can help you with your claim.

A successful Asbestos claim: Derek's story

Derek used to be a competitive swimmer, but asbestos exposure at work has limited what he can do. Maurice Blackburn helped Derek successfully claim compensation so he can access the best health treatment and know that his family's financial future is safe.