FROM AVA's LEGAL ADVISOR ANNIE HOFFMAN
Lung cancer is a condition that can be caused not only by exposure to asbestos, but by other carcinogens, most notably cigarette smoke. Lung cancer is different from mesothelioma in this respect. Mesothelioma in Australia is only caused by exposure to asbestos.
It is possible to make a claim for lung cancer in certain circumstances even where the person suffering from lung cancer was also a smoker. What needs to be shown in order to be compensated for lung cancer is that the claimant's exposure to asbestos had either caused or made a material contribution to the lung cancer. The Court will weigh up the claimant's exposure to asbestos against the smoking history in order to come to a decision as to whether the exposure to asbestos is significant enough to have contributed to the development of the lung cancer.
The Courts will traditionally attribute a person's exposure to asbestos as having materially contributed to a lung cancer where the person also suffers from asbestosis or has had enough exposure to asbestos to cause asbestosis, even though the condition may not have developed. Asbestosis is a fibrosis which affects the lungs. Asbestosis is a dose related condition and generally occurs in those who have had a heavy and prolonged occupational exposure to asbestos for at least 5 to 10 years. Therefore, in cases where the plaintiff can establish that they suffer from asbestosis, or that they have suffered from a heavy and prolonged exposure to asbestos, it is possible to claim for lung cancer.