Mesothelioma Strikes Loving Daughter and Devoted Wife of Two Asbestos Workers; First Legal Compensation Claim for Indirect Exposure in Australia Paid by James Hardie
An April 2009 article from Australia News Online, “Washing clothes filled with asbestos dust killed Margaret Dawson”, explains the story of how Margaret Dawson died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, even though she had never been directly exposed to asbestos.
Margaret’s father, Gilbert Batchelor, and her husband, Maurice Dawson, were long-time employees of James Hardie, a major building material producer. Margaret had washed the work clothes of both her father and husband once a week for 20 years, shaking off the asbestos dust before putting them in the washing machine.
She was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2007. The legal compensation case against James Hardie began with Margaret taking legal action herself, claiming that her fatal mesothelioma was caused by washing of the asbestos-containing clothes.
The compensation received by Margaret was a legal first; the tribunal paid her almost $350,000 in personal compensation as well as $193,000 for looking after her two grandchildren with unpaid earning. Unfortunately, Margaret died of the mesothelioma eight months before the legal case was finally settled.
This landmark mesothelioma case paved the way for victims in Australia, like Margaret, and their families to seek compensation for personal injury and wrongful death due to first-hand and second-hand exposure to asbestos.
Even though the events in this article did not take place in North Carolina, second-hand asbestos exposure and subsequent tragedies, such as Margaret’s asbestos-related death, can happen anywhere.
Often times it can be determined how the asbestos exposure during childhood as a daughter and later it time as a wife happened and, in turn, an asbestos lawsuit for legal compensation can be filed on behalf of the mesothelioma victim or her surviving family.