Due to the prevalence of asbestos mines and the Canadian government’s long resistance to banning this dangerous substance in industry use, Canada has one of the highest incidences of mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases. If you’ve been stricken with one of these illnesses, you may wonder if there is any government assistance for asbestosis sufferers in Canada. The answer is complex, like asbestos diseases themselves, and depends on your age, circumstances and how you were exposed.
Canadians who have asbestos-related diseases caused by working conditions may be eligible for Worker’s Compensation through their province. If you qualify for this compensation, you have a couple of different options. You can take compensation or you can pursue a lawsuit against the party responsible for your illness – so long as it’s not your Canadian employer.Options for Workers
Canadian law prevents you from suing your employer or co-workers, but in many asbestos exposure cases, it’s a third party rather than an employer who was ultimately responsible for your illness. Your second option is that you can pursue a lawsuit to claim damages for your illness – or the loss of your loved one from an illness.
Bergman Draper Oslund has extensive research from our decades of mesothelioma cases in Canada and can look at your work history to try trace the source of your illness and target the party (or parties) responsible for your illness. A lawsuit may yield a much higher settlement – much more than worker’s compensation benefits.
If you opt for government assistance in the form of worker’s compensation, your provincial WCB may decide to pursue a lawsuit on your behalf. This is their decision and not yours. If they do sue on your behalf, any settlement will have all costs of the lawsuit deducted as well as any worker’s compensation you’ve received deducted.
If there is anything left, you will get the remainder and will not have access to further government benefits for your illness. You will have no choice in this matter, no control over choice of attorney or any other say-so in the case!
Options for Family Members
While there is government assistance for asbestosis sufferers in Canada in the form of worker’s compensation, for any family members who have developed a disease as the result of second-hand asbestos exposure don’t have this option. In our practice, we have found that spouses and children of workers exposed on the job have developed mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases.
How is this possible? Asbestos fibers are microscopic, can’t be seen by the naked eye and were tracked home by workers in countless industries in Canada on their clothes, shoes, hair and skin. Wives and children breathed in the fibers from family hugs, laundering work clothes or simply sharing breathing space. Workers had no idea they had brought home the deadly substance that could sicken their loved ones.
If you suspect or wonder if you were exposed second-hand, but worker’s compensation is not open to you, Bergman Draper Oslund can help. We take steps to trace the source of exposure by looking at work history of your family members that worked in high-risk industries and may have unintentionally exposed you. A lawsuit is your only recourse if this is your circumstance and you are coping with mesothelioma – or if you lost a loved one to mesothelioma and believe they may have been a victim of second-hand exposure.
Limitations on Government Assistance for Asbestosis and Mesothelioma
The one province that differs for their treatment of asbestos laws and claims is Alberta. The laws in Alberta regarding your age and your options for government assistance versus a lawsuit to be compensated for your asbestos illness can be complex and difficult to understand. Contact Bergman Draper Oslund to help make sense of the Alberta laws.
Because asbestos law is all we do at Bergman Draper Oslund, we have expertise and extensive research on asbestos exposure sites all across Canada – in all provinces – and can likely trace where you were exposed, who is responsible for your illness (or the loss of your loved one) and how we can help you.
No matter your situation, contact us as soon as possible to get information about your compensation alternatives. We have won over $700 million in damages for asbestos exposure victims like you. Our expertise is yours for the asking. We are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.