Dust & Toxic Tort
Dust & toxic tort litigation is a highly specialised area of practice in which most Australian jurisdictions operate in accordance with peculiar case management legislation.
We operate a specialist dust & toxic tort national practice group which handles complex claims on behalf of Australia’s major insurers, international insurers, and government, together with self insured public and private sector corporations.
Claims involve unusual scientific and medical issues relating to causation of dust related illnesses. Our lawyers have extensive experience in claims relating to exposure to all dusts, fumes and toxic substances. These include asbestos, silica, coal dust, pot room fumes, aluminium fumes, moulds, flour dust, hexavalent chromium, welding fumes, hard metal dusts and fumes, latex particles and wood dust.
The team provide expertise in:
- Forensic experts to retain for contentious scientific and medical issues
- Relevant legislative, jurisdictional, and procedural issues
- Application of insurance policies to ‘slow onset’ and latent conditions
- Applicable legal precedents, and relevant medical and scientific literature to assist with defences
- Exaggerated and fraudulent claims
- Strategic advice across portfolios.
The team has acted in over 1,000 claims in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW and the common law courts of all other Australian jurisdiction and appellants courts including the High Court of Australia. Our deft handling of mediations, informal settlement conferences and understanding of liability proportion constraints has resulted in more than 95% of cases being settled prior to trial, with a large majority being resolved within 90 days.
Moray & Agnew is regarded as one of the leading firms in this area. Indeed, our expertise resulted in the firm being selected as the Australian firm to advise the UK insurers and assist in the preparation of the test case considering foreseeability and actionability of pleural plaques heard by the House of Lords.
The liability issues in toxic tort litigation are heavily dependant on expert evidence. Our toxic tort team appeared in the High Court case which is the leading Australian authority on admissionability of expert evidence.
We have also developed a network of contacts in Australia, the USA and in the UK and share strategies and developments in both the legal and medical fields.
Clients identify the team's deep experience in the field as a key strength, one commenting: "They understand how the market works, they understand the players … and it's really that understanding that counts."
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2018