Silicosis Injury Compensation

We are expert compensation lawyers with offices across Queensland including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and major regional centres. Free initial advice and 100% risk-free claims with no upfront costs and our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.


If you, or someone close to you, suffered a silicosis injury in Queensland due to the negligence or fault of another party, you might wonder if you're entitled to silicosis injury compensation.

This straightforward guide aims to help you understand the intricacies of claiming compensation, including your rights to compensation, common causes of such injuries, an overview of the claims process, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim specific to Queensland. 

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Understanding Your Rights After a Silicosis Injury in Queensland

If you've been diagnosed with silicosis due to silica exposure at your workplace, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. In Queensland, compensation for work-related accidents falls under two categories: 

  • Statutory claim: These are claims made through WorkCover Queensland or an employer's workers’ compensation scheme if they're a self-insurer. For these claims, it doesn't matter who was at fault. Eligible workers can claim compensation for income support and medical expenses.
  • Common law claim: These claims are made directly against the employer due to negligence. To succeed, you must demonstrate that your employer failed to provide a safe working environment and this led to your silicosis.

Silicosis compensation claims are complex, and each one will have unique circumstances. That's why if you think you have a case you should speak to a personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your options.

Common Causes of Silicosis Injuries

When you go to work, you don't expect to be left with a debilitating illness – but that could be the case if you have been exposed to sources of silica dust. In Queensland, there were 166 confirmed cases of silicosis from 1987 to 2016.

The main causes of silicosis include: 

  • Engineered stone cutting: Cutting, grinding or polishing engineered stone bench tops releases a high concentration of respirable crystalline silica dust. Australia has imposed a ban on dry cutting of engineered stone, but if you worked in this field before the ban, you might be living with or developing silicosis.
  • Construction and demolition: Occupational tasks such as sandblasting, concrete cutting or excavation can stir up dust containing silica particles.
  • Quarry and mining: Digging, blasting or drilling rock, clay and earth can potentially put you in contact with silica dust.

Silica dust exposure is incredibly dangerous and can lead to fatal health conditions such as lung cancer and progressive massive fibrosis - especially if protective breathing equipment isn't used.

If you think you have been exposed to silica dust, you might have the right to claim compensation. Speaking to silicosis lawyers can help you understand your options.

Workers Most at Risk of Silicosis Injuries

Finding yourself in any of the following roles may increase your risk of experiencing silicosis injuries due to greater exposure to crystalline silica dust. Here are some of the most affected roles and industries: 

  • Stone benchtop industry: Stonemasons had a higher likelihood of exposure to silica dust, especially when working with stone benchtop material. This risk was heightened when cutting, sanding or polishing stone without PPE. Although there is a ban now in place, you might have already suffered prolonged exposure to silica dust and be entitled to pursue a silicosis compensation claim.
  • Construction: Construction workers, particularly those working in sites where silica-containing materials like concrete and mortar are used, face the risk of silica dust exposure. The particles generated during excavation or demolition could result in silicosis if inhaled without the appropriate protective gear.
  • Quarry and mining industry: Individuals working in quarries or mines, where cutting or breaking rocks is a common activity, can also be exposed to high levels of silica dust, raising their risk of contracting silicosis.

If you've developed silicosis and believe it was from a job where you were left exposed to silica dust, then you could be entitled to make a silicosis claim. Silicosis compensation lawyers can talk you through the process and explain what you might be entitled to.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

Embarking on a compensation claim for your silicosis injury may seem daunting, but if you've been left with a debilitating illness, you have a right to start a case.

Below is a simplified guide to explain how the claims process might look for you. Remember that each case is unique, and your claim could involve more or fewer steps.

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need to Support My Silicosis Claim?

Silicosis claims involve collating key pieces of evidence to prove your injuries are a result of the person or body you're claiming against. Each claim is unique, but some commonly needed forms of evidence include: 

  • Medical reports: Official medical documents verifying your silicosis diagnosis are perhaps the most crucial piece of evidence. These reports should clearly define the severity of your condition and its impact on your day-to-day life, including your ability to work.
  • Witness testimonies: Colleagues or others who can attest to your work history, the conditions in which you worked or specific incidents could provide valuable testimony in your favour. 
  • Proof of accident: Details of the incident where excessive exposure to silica dust occurred can significantly strengthen your claim. This could be in the form of incident reports or official records.
  • Expense documentation: Keep track of all medical expenses related to your silicosis treatment. These include receipts for doctor’s visits, medication costs, treatments and any travel expenses. These are usually recoverable as part of your claim.
  • Proof of lost earnings: If your silicosis has affected your ability to work, evidence of lost earnings is essential. This could be payslips showing your income before and after your diagnosis or a letter from your doctor confirming the change in your work status.

Remember, silicosis compensation claims are more likely to be successful with evidence that can prove a direct link between your condition and the negligent party's conduct. A solicitor can guide you through the processes and help ensure that you’re collecting and organising all of the necessary evidence in the best possible way.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

Compensation entitlements can vary depending on several factors. If you've been diagnosed with silicosis, courts will award compensation to help you meet your financial needs and make up for losses. Here's a look at the main aspects that silicosis compensation can cover: 

  • Past and future loss of earnings: Compensation considers loss of past and future earnings, including superannuation contributions, as well as the potential income you could have earned were it not for the injury. Your payment is calibrated based on your earnings history and projected future earnings.
  • Hospital and medical expenses: Compensation includes coverage for medical bills incurred due to silicosis. This portion reimburses healthcare costs relating to your condition, such as diagnostic tests, hospital stays, surgery, medication and follow-up visits.
  • Rehabilitation costs: You may also be entitled to coverage for necessary rehabilitation expenses such as therapy or physiotherapy. The goal here is to support your journey to regain your optimal health or manage your health condition.
  • Pain and suffering: Silicosis can inflict both physical pain and psychological suffering. The compensation aims to make amends for the distress you've undergone by attributing a financial value to your discomfort and mental anguish.

Various factors can influence how much compensation you receive. This includes the severity of your disease and the level of permanent impairment, the recovery prognosis, the impact on your occupation, income earning potential and your age (especially if you're relatively young).

Speaking to a personal injury lawyer can help you understand how much compensation you could get as well as your options, for instance, whether you will get lump sum compensation or not. 

How Can a Silicosis Injury Impact Your Ability to Work?

The impact of a silicosis injury on your capacity to work can be both immediate and long-lasting. In the short term, the disease may cause acute symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness and coughing. These symptoms can significantly reduce your ability to perform physical tasks and concentrate on your work, which may consequently lead to reduced productivity and income. 

In the long term, silicosis can cause progressive lung fibrosis, reducing your lung capacity. This can limit your ability to undertake physically demanding tasks or even work in an environment that requires lengthy periods of standing or sitting. Additionally, if the disease progresses to a more severe stage, you might find yourself unable to work entirely. 

It is crucial to remember that your ability to earn an income, both now and in the future, would be a significant factor when calculating your compensation amount. Your claim can include provisions for past and future wage loss due to your decreased work capacity as a result of silicosis.

Time Limits for Silicosis Injuries

When it comes to personal injury claims in Queensland, you generally have three years from the date of the accident or injury to lodge your case. However, it's important to note that for silicosis claims, there are specific time frames and rules that differ.

WorkCover Queensland Time Limits for Silicosis Claims

  • Key Deadline: You MUST lodge your claim within six months of being diagnosed with silicosis.
  • Possible Exceptions: If you miss that six-month deadline, you might still be able to file a claim, BUT you'll need to provide a very good reason ("reasonable excuse") for the delay.

Time Limits for Common Law Silicosis Claims: What You Need to Know

  • Silicosis Itself: Queensland has removed the usual time limits for filing a common law claim specifically for silicosis. This means you can seek compensation even if it's been many years since you were exposed to the silica dust.
  • Important Requirement: Before starting your common law claim, you must first obtain a "Notice of Assessment" from WorkCover Queensland. This document confirms your diagnosis and allows you to pursue further compensation.
  • Complications and Other Conditions: Silica dust exposure can lead to additional health problems like autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma). These conditions do have stricter time limits:some text
    • Usual Time Limit: You generally have three years from the date of diagnosis to file a common law claim.
    • Possible Extension: If your diagnosis was delayed, and you were unaware of the link to silica dust, the time limit may be extended by up to 12 months.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Icon of a question mark
Can I claim compensation if I was employed by multiple companies?

Yes, if you've worked in a silicosis-risk environment for multiple employers, you may still claim compensation. It's crucial to remember that proving causation might be more challenging in such cases. Consulting with a lawyer will help you navigate these complexities and potentially track down any relevant employment records to support your claim. 

Icon of a question mark
Can I lodge a claim if engineered stone was involved in my work environment?

Absolutely, workers exposed to engineered stone are at a heightened risk of developing silicosis. Since engineered stone has been outlawed in Australia due to its high silica content, workers previously exposed to it may seek compensation. The ban implies a recognition of the severe health risks associated with cutting these materials. 

Icon of a question mark
Are there new legal developments that could impact my silicosis compensation claim?

Yes; recently, there have been regulatory changes to reduce the risk of silicosis. Doctors are now required to report diagnoses and improvements have been made in compensation arrangements. These changes mark a significant step forward in protecting worker’s rights and ensuring that those impacted by silicosis are adequately compensated. 

Icon of a question mark
Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

Icon of a question mark
Icon of a question mark
Icon of a question mark
Icon of a question mark
Icon of a question mark

Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options to Silicosis Compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
April 4, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.