The High Court ruling on the 12th of August 2015 could allow increased claims for asbestos compensation for victims. The below article was published by the NT News.
A LANDMARK decision by the High Court may pave the way for NT asbestos poisoning victims to apply for asbestos compensation.
The court yesterday dismissed an appeal by mining giant Rio Tinto to overturn a decision that ruled in favour of former worker Zorko Zabic.
Mr Zabic, 74 – who is dying of mesothelioma cancer – told the NT News he was relieved, but it had been a long time coming. He said he hoped the decision would benefit “people who have problems like me”.
Shine Lawyers represented Mr Zabic in the proceedings.
Partner Roger Singh said it was “a win for workers, a win for their families and a win for humanity”. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,’’ he said. “This decision brings the law in the Territory in line with many other states in Australia where workers with asbestos disease are entitled to seek fair and reasonable asbestos compensation through the courts rather than WorkCover schemes.”
Mr Singh said Mr Zabic had fought the case from his deathbed: “Let there be no mistake he is really the David in this David and Goliath battle.’’
A Rio Tinto spokesman said the company was disappointed but grateful the matter had resolved. “Our deepest sympathies remain with Mr Zabic and his family,’’ he said.
Mr Zabic lost his court case in January on a technicality, but it was overturned by the NT Court of Appeal in March.
Chief Justice Trevor Riley and Justice Graham Hiley ordered the mining giant pay Mr Zabic $425,000 in damages.
The Rio Tinto spokesman said the money had been paid to Mr Zabic and it would not have been revoked if the decision yesterday went its way.
Mr Zabic was exposed to asbestos during his work at the Alcan Mine in Gove in the 1970s. A law introduced in 1987 prevented him from lodging a lawsuit after that time, but Mr Zabic’s symptoms did not appear until January 2014.
The NT Court of Appeal found in favour of Mr Zabic on the grounds his injuries started once he inhaled asbestos.