DO YOU OR SOMEBODY YOU LOVE SUFFER FROM SILICOSIS, A LUNG RELATED DISEASE?
There are an alarming number of lung diseases in the form of silicosis arising throughout Australia.
The disease is caused by breathing in tiny particles commonly known as silica dust. The dust comes from grinding granite, stone, quartz and working with fine sands and brick.
Silicosis can take an awful long time to surface. Whilst it can occur within weeks, it is often many years after the inhalation of the silica that people start to develop symptoms.
Quite commonly at workplaces such as factories dealing with granite and stone benchtops, mines, construction and demolition industries, people are exposed to silica.
Given that it is so common for the disease to be diagnosed 10 or 15 years after exposure, there are no statutory time limits for making a claim. Don’t be too concerned about technical legal terms.
Most people know that there are time limits for making a claim but silicosis claims and dust diseases claims fall within a special category where time is extended quite regularly.
DON’T GO FOR A CLASS ACTION
If you Google silicosis claims, you’ll see many of the big class action firms offering to act.
Whilst our firm has commenced class actions in the past, we have to say we are not a big fan of them. There are many disadvantages.
First and foremost, they are a money making machine for big class action firms.
We’ll return to that subject below.
LOSS OF CAPACITY TO MAKE A DECISION IN YOUR OWN CASE
Class action lawsuits are run with one primary plaintiff.
This means that that primary plaintiff will make many important decisions including decisions about the amount that the matter should be settled for and when to settle.
It is true the settlement has to be approved by the court, but the decision about settling is taken out of your hands. Plaintiffs in class action lawsuits have very little say in their own case
SETTLEMENT OF CASES
The cases are almost always settled for financial compensation.
In our experience, there is ultimately some sort of sharing mechanism of a lump sum or in the alternative, some procedure that is meant to be quite quick and efficient to assess each individual’s loss.
At the end of the day, no matter how it’s viewed there is an element of sausage making involved. Indeed in one case that we opposed the approval in the Federal Court of a proposed class action, we were quite horrified.
The case ultimately was settled for a lump sum and a huge proportion of that lump sum was simply paid to the lawyers for their legal fees. Class actions are attractive to law firms because they either get dozens, hundreds or sometimes thousands of individual assessments of a person’s claim, meaning individual payments of amounts of the costs or a proportion of the lump sum (true it is that they have to have their costs assessed).
They are a huge money making concern but one of the downsides is that the individual plaintiff does not get to spend a lot of time with their own lawyer properly looking at each and every aspect of their case.
An individual who pursues a case on their own often gets far more detailed attention. Any industry that mass produces any service ultimately cannot provide the same degree of quality to a client or customer than a person who provides an individual service.
Do not be fooled.
Even though there might be a class action, you are still entitled to bring your own action and we strongly urge you to consider the option of pursuing an individual action as we sincerely believe that in many cases the result will be more beneficial, i.e. you will receive more money.
If you have a silicosis claim for the inhalation of silica (crystalline silica) then contact us. It’s not going to cost you anything to have a chat.
Whilst we conduct business in both Canberra and New South Wales, we also run many cases in other jurisdictions, particularly Queensland. We have run cases in almost every State in Australia.
With modern means such as internet, FaceTime contact where we can see you on the computer, mobile phones and so on, there is no disadvantage in having a firm that is not located in your town or city.
Being a somewhat smaller firm, our charges are significantly less than bigger firms and we don’t feel the need to drive the most recent Mercedes, dine out at expensive restaurants every night or go on expensive skiing trips to Europe.
We prefer to get good results at a reasonable cost.
In short, don’t become involved in a class action. Be it our firm or some other firm, go to an individual lawyer, is our advice.