A superannuation or ‘super’ fund is part saving account and part insurance policy financed by compulsory deductions from wages.
The most common purpose of a super fund is to provide a pension for the worker upon retirement however in the event of total permanent disability an insurance claim can be made to the super fund for a lump sum and for periodical payments normally associated with retirement to be started early. Each fund, dependent on the employer, is different and may have different rules and regulations which are administered by trustees whose purpose is to administer the fund in accordance with those rules.
A TPD claim is different from a negligence claim against an employer. Damages can be claimed for personal injury if an employee has been injured and that injury has been caused by negligence of the employer. A TPD claim does not depend on negligence and a claim can be made against the super fund for any injury or medical condition that causes total permanent disability whether it involves negligence or not
To make a claim, a TPD claim solicitor must submit a questionnaire/application with supporting documentation including medical reports to the trustees who consider the application. If the result for the claimant is unsatisfactory it is possible to appeal the decision and if it is still not to the claimants liking, an application may be made by a TPD solicitor to a court of law.
There are many medical conditions that can result in a TPD claim including heart attack, cancers and brain injuries however one of the most common TPD claims in Australia is in regard to asbestos related diseases due to the large amount of asbestos aggregate that is mined in Australia.
Asbestos Related Disease and TPD Solicitor Claims
Mesothelioma is a very serious but rare form of cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Malignant cells are found in the lining of the chest or abdomen. Even a brief or minimal exposure can cause this condition. As it progresses it spreads beyond the lining of the chest to the lymph nodes in the chest and may continue into the chest wall, and heart, through the diaphragm, or abdominal lining, into nearby lymph nodes and eventually may spread to distant organs or tissues. Mesothelioma is classified as “dose responsive” which means that the more a person is exposed, the greater the risk he has for developing the disease. Victims may have been exposed to asbestos many years before the cancer developed and the average period is 30 years but can be less than 15 years or more than 40 years. This is a very serious condition and may result in total permanent disability (TPD). A victim is entitled to claim damages for personal injury against the relevant employer and should also instruct a TPD solicitor to make a claim to their super fund which is not dependent on proving negligence.
Asbestosis, unlike mesothelioma, is a non-cancerous condition caused by fibers lodged in the lungs which causes scar tissue to develop and diminishes the lung’s capacity for oxygen. It is a progressive disease which can cause severe shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and lead to heart problems. The illness typically develops many years after a person’s initial exposure. Symptoms often do not show until 15 or more years after initial exposure. The more a person is exposed the higher is the risk. There is no currently known treatment or cure for this condition. A TPD claim solicitor should be consulted by anyone suffering from this condition.
Pleural plaques is another common condition caused by exposure to asbestos. It occurs where there is scarring of the thin membranes that line the chest cavity. This asbestos related disease may consist of pleural plaques which is localized thickening of the lining of the lung or may be “diffuse pleural thickening” over a wider area. This condition typically does not develop until many years after a person’s initial exposure and is not a cancer like mesothelioma. Most cases of pleural plaques do not affect the lifestyle of the victim however they do indicate that exposure to asbestos has occurred in the past and that the victim could go on to develop asbestosis or mesothelioma in the future.
Total Permanent Disability (TPD)