Alex Stuart, the firm’s principal, is one of Australia’s most experienced lawyers practicing in asbestos litigation. For more than 20 years, he has successfully acted on behalf of hundreds of sufferers of mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and asbestos related pleural disease living in every State and Territory of Australia.
Over the years Stuart Lawyers have built up an extensive database of materials that assists us pursue the rights of asbestos victims. We often find that new clients have worked for the same employer or on the same site as past clients, and therefore information and experience gained from past cases provides valuable assistance to our new clients.
Asbestos is a general term for a group of naturally occurring minerals. Asbestos minerals can be separated into strong, very fine fibres that are durable, flexible and heat resistant. Because of these qualities, asbestos has been used in many industrial and consumer products, for example, in asbestos cement sheeting (or more commonly known as “fibro”) and also in insulation products.
Asbestos presents a hazard if fibres of a respirable size become airborne and are then inhaled.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Australians have been exposed to asbestos at some time throughout their life. As a result of this exposure, people can and have contracted asbestos conditions.
Workers such as carpenters, laggers, power station workers, waterside workers, labourers, those who were in the Australian Navy and those employed in the asbestos industries represent some of the groups that have been most affected by the dangerous effects of asbestos. However, cases of mesothelioma also occur in persons exposed to very small quantities of asbestos, including home renovators and office workers.
The dangers of asbestos have been known for many years. Numerous studies and papers have been published from the early 1900’s onwards in respect of its dangers. Unfortunately, the dangers of asbestos were ignored for many years and as a result, there are increasing numbers of people developing asbestos conditions throughout Australia.
There are a number of asbestos conditions one can contract following exposure to asbestos. They include the following:
Mesothelioma is a malignant tumour which in most cases develops in the lining of the lung, which is known as the pleura. Sometimes, mesothelioma can develop in the lining of the abdomen, which is known as the peritoneum. Cases of mesothelioma have occurred following brief exposure to asbestos. Further, mesothelioma takes many years to develop following exposure to asbestos, often 30-40 years after such exposure. Mesothelioma is generally diagnosed by way of biopsy.
Unlike mesothelioma, to relate lung cancer to asbestos exposure, one needs to have been exposed to significant quantities of asbestos. Even if one has been a smoker, as long as that person has had sufficient asbestos exposure throughout their working life, a relationship between the lung cancer and the asbestos exposure may well be established. Lung cancer is generally diagnosed by way of biopsy.
Asbestosis is not a cancer, rather it is scarring of lung tissue. In most cases, it results in shortness of breath. Further, it is often a slowly progressive disease. Asbestosis is often diagnosed by way of chest x-ray or chest CT Scan. Generally, one needs to have been exposed to at least a moderate amount of asbestos to develop asbestosis.
Asbestos Related Pleural Disease (ARPD)
Asbestos Related Pleural Disease (ARPD) is not a cancer, rather it is a benign condition that has some pleural involvement. This may be in the form of pleural plaques; pleural thickening and/or a benign pleural effusion. ARPD often causes breathlessness and can also result in chest pain. One can develop ARPD as a result of inhaling small quantities of asbestos. ARPD is generally diagnosed by way x-ray/CT scan.