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It was the beginning of 2019 when Jenny, 60, began experiencing unusual symptoms like back pain, lethargy, headaches and hip pain.

Jenny had been working as a commercial cleaner for 17 years, where she cleaned scientific instruments and laboratory materials, including the removal of cytotoxic waste. Because of the danger and high risk that some of these chemicals posed, Jenny was required to have a blood test every three to six months.

In August 2019, after her symptoms continued to worsen, it became too difficult to work and Jenny resigned from the job she took great pride in doing.

After seeing a doctor, Jenny was told her blood count was dangerously low, and she needed to go straight to emergency.

She was admitted to hospital under the care of a haematologist and, after some further testing, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow. This was in November 2019, but she was told her blood tests as early as March of that same year revealed serious abnormalities.

What then began for Jenny was a series of hospital stays and several rounds of chemotherapy.

Seeking legal advice

It was not until July 2020 that Jenny’s son, Jayden, contacted Maurice Blackburn for advice. He was really concerned about his mum and had done some research into her condition and thought her work may have been a cause.

Jenny was very reluctant to seek any legal advice. However, Jayden himself had recently gone through a road injury claim with Maurice Blackburn and knew the service and support we provide.

Once Jenny agreed to let us help, our workplace diseases team got to work. Initial research identified  studies showing a link between Jeny’s chemical exposure at work and her blood cancer.

The team then rang Jenny’s doctor to discuss her findings. The doctor asked to see the studies and provided a supportive report agreeing that her exposure to a range of chemicals through her work  increased her risk of developing multiple myeloma.

Seeking compensation

Being able to demonstrate the link between her work and her illness, we knew Jenny could be eligible for compensation.

“We initially submitted Jenny’s claim for weekly payments and medical expenses, which was accepted. This was a great relief and meant she didn’t need to worry about how she would support herself and pay for her medical bills; she could focus on her health and recovery,” says Leah O’Keefe, a specialist lawyer in our workplace disease team.

We then submitted a claim for a lump sum payment, just as Jenny’s health started to decline. We managed to fast-track her claim and quickly received the decision that the claim had been accepted.

The insurer had accepted the claim, and Jenny was entitled to the maximum lump sum in for her pain and suffering under the Victorian Workers’ Compensation laws of about $640,000.

“The money did not change Jenny's diagnosis but provided her with a financial safety net for the future Jenny doesn't deserve to be in this position, but she definitely deserves all the help she can get too support her and her health.

Jenny’s story demonstrates the importance of persevering with what can first seem like a tricky case and how working with a client’s healthcare team can make all the difference.”

Our lawyers will always go above and beyond for our clients, and truly care deeply about their situations. Speak to our workplace diseases lawyers today on 1800 305 568

Learn more about our work in workplace disease compensation

Our dedicated workplace disease lawyers have significant experience in helping clients get compensation for occupational diseases caused by asbestos, silicadust exposure and more. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.

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