Amendments have recently been made to Victorian legislation which aims to reduce the legal red tape for individuals injured through exposure to asbestos.
In Victoria, the law requires an injured party to prove that they have suffered a permanent injury that is significant or serious depending on the circumstances of their injury. The Supreme Court confirmed that this requirement included individuals claiming compensation for dust diseases arising from exposure to asbestos materials in its decision in Multari v Seltsam.
On 30 October 2014, the Wrongs (Part VBA) (Asbestos Related Claims) Regulations 2014 commenced and ensured that people suffering from asbestos related diseases did not need to prove that they had a significant injury in order to receive compensation for their pain and suffering. Unfortunately, these Regulations did not have retrospective effect and individuals who had commenced claims after Multari but before the new Regulations were enacted were still facing this unfair hurdle.
Thankfully, on 23 December 2014, Attorney-General Martin Pakula introduced into the Legislative Assembly, the Wrongs Amendment (Asbestos Related Claims) Bill 2014 which now ensures that all claimants with current proceedings on foot are exempted, irrespective of when they brought their claims. We anticipate that the Bill will be passed into law when Parliament resumes and we are confident this will successfully remove the hurdle created by Multari for all asbestos sufferers.
Dust-related diseases devastate countless families across Australia every year. During such difficult times, it is important that you get accurate and compassionate advice about what benefits are available to assist you and your family. If you or someone you know has developed an illness following exposure to asbestos or other similar material, we invite you to contact Bree Knoester on (03) 9321 9988.