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NSW dust disease claims – How can I seek compensation for my injury? Part 2

NSW dust disease claims – How can I seek compensation for my injury? Part 2

Published on December 13, 2023 by Tim GauciTim Gauci

In the previous article we looked at claims made in the Dust Diseases Tribunal. In this article, we will explore the types of compensation that may be available to you through icare.

2. The Dust Diseases Authority (DDA) – Dust Diseases Care (DDC)

Special provisions exist allowing victims or their families to claim compensation from the Dust Diseases Authority (DDA) or Dust Diseases Care (DDC) administered by icare even if the responsible parties are no longer in business or cannot be located. DDC is a statutory based scheme that operates separately from the DDT. It is a “no fault” scheme which means that workers do not need to prove that their employer was negligent in causing their condition to receive compensation.

Who can make a claim?

Injured workers are required to satisfy three criteria to claim compensation:

  1. A worker must receive a medical diagnosis for one of the dust diseases covered by the scheme;
  2. The worker can provide evidence of employment history which reasonably shows that their disease was caused by exposure to harmful dust particles while working in NSW; and
  3. The worker has a level of disability arising from the dust disease which has resulted in partial or total incapacity for work.

It is important to note that workers who contract dust diseases working in and around coal mining are not eligible for compensation by the DDA and should apply to Coal Mines Insurance (CMI), which administers a specialist compensation scheme for the coal industry in NSW.

What compensation can I and my family claim?

Workers and their dependants can claim:

  1. Weekly benefits – if a worker is unable to continue working and incapacity is at least partially caused by a dust disease contracted working in NSW, they are able to claim weekly wage loss for the remainder of their life.
  2. Medical treatment expenses – workers can claim reasonable medical treatment and related expenses associated with their work-related dust disease. This can include medical appointments, hospital admissions, pharmaceutical expenses, home modifications and domestic assistance such as home cleaning and garden maintenance.
  3. Funeral benefits – when a worker who was receiving benefits from DDC dies, the DDA will reimburse the estate of the deceased person, up to $9,000.00 for funeral expenses. If there is no estate or executor, the person who paid for the funeral will be reimbursed up to $9,000.00 following proof of payment. If a worker dies because of a dust disease, most funeral and related expenses will be paid.
  4. Compensation for dependants – DDC provides compensation to the dependants of the worker. This includes their spouse or partner and their children up to the age of 16 or 21 years of age where they are studying in a full-time capacity. Spouses and partners are eligible to receive fortnightly payments for the remainder of their life or alternatively until they remarry or enter a de facto relationship. A lump sum payment to the spouse or partner in addition to fortnightly payments is also made. Children up to the age of 16 or 21 years who are in full-time education are eligible to receive an allowance.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a dust-related disease, seeking legal advice and guidance is crucial to ensure that your rights and entitlements are protected. Contact us at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers on 1800 059 278 or via our Contact Page and one of our lawyers will assist you. You can also complete our Personal Injury Claim Check here

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