8 Jul 2019

ACC should have covered asbestos victim, High Court rules

7:06 pm on 8 July 2019

A woman who died of a cancer caused by inhaling asbestos was entitled to ACC cover, the High Court has ruled.

Deanna Trevarthen

Deanna Trevarthen died from asbestos exposure in 2016. Photo: Supplied

Deanna Trevarthen was 45 when she died in 2016 of mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Before she died, Ms Trevarthen sought ACC cover for a range of entitlements, such as treatment costs, weekly compensation, a lump sum and funeral costs.

But her claim was rejected, with ACC saying that because mesothelioma was a gradual process condition, it needed to be the result of work exposure for there to be cover.

Ms Trevarthen said her cancer arose from contact with her father, who worked as an electrician when she was a child.

At the time, that occupation had a high exposure to asbestos.

When she was between the ages of four and 10, she would hug her father when he was wearing his work clothes and she would also sometimes play at his work sites.

After she died, Ms Trevarthen's estate continued her claim.

It ended up in the High Court, and in a judgement released today, it said Ms Trevarthen was entitled to cover because it was a personal injury caused by an accident to her.

ACC says it's considering the judgment and isn't commenting further.

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