Determining liability is perhaps the most complex part of preparing a mesothelioma compensation lawsuit. This is because the disease can develop up to 60 years after the initial asbestos exposure, making it extremely difficult to tell the exact point in time when the exposure happened.
However, mesothelioma patients are protected by the strict liability theory, which only requires them to show proof that a current or previous workplace environment had asbestos materials and was likely the cause of their illness. If you or your loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are looking to file an asbestos exposure lawsuit, here are some of the common culprits to probe for liability:
1. Mining companies
According to Bergman Legal, miners and workers at asbestos mining sites face the greatest risk of asbestos exposure. If you have mesothelioma and are a previous employee of a mining company, it is almost guaranteed that you got exposed to the hazardous compound there. However, it is best to have a lawyer by your side to ascertain that the mining company is the true liable party. A lawyer can also serve as a useful resource for learning about your risks for mesothelioma if you were exposed to asbestos a long time ago. Additionally, having worked with several mesothelioma patients, they know the possible places where you could have been exposed to asbestos.
2. Asbestos manufacturing companies
While asbestos-mining in the U.S. officially came to a halt in 2002, the material is still being used in various applications, and there are a few remaining asbestos manufacturers in the country. Employees of these companies face an increased risk of exposure, at least compared to users of the material, and may want to file asbestos exposure lawsuits, particularly if their employer didn’t warn them of the risks during recruitment and task assignment. You may also be eligible for compensation if the employer doesn’t have sufficient measures in place to protect you from exposure and resultant illnesses.
Employers in companies that use asbestos products may also be liable for asbestos exposure if they know about the risk and don’t inform their employees. Similar to the case of asbestos manufacturing companies, employers may also be held liable if the measures taken to curb exposure are not sufficient.
4. Landlords of asbestos-contaminated properties
Most properties from the 1970s and ’80s still have asbestos in their structure. This material disintegrates gradually, and any frequent user of the property faces an increased risk of exposure. Every landlord is required by law to inform prospective tenants of the presence of asbestos on the property when signing the lease agreement. They are also required to ensure proactive measures are taken to minimize the risk of exposure to users of the property even after informing them of the material’s presence. Employees working in rented asbestos-contaminated properties need to investigate the lease agreement between their employer and the landlord before filing a lawsuit to determine the real liable party.
Asbestos is water-resistant and lightweight, and it was for a long time irresistible to shipbuilding companies. It was an ideal material to withstand rigorous voyages on salty sea waters. The material was commonly used in the United States shipyards until the 2000s when it faced resistance from medical experts and local authorities. However, some of these ships are still under use for cargo transport, and workers who worked in yacht manufacturing companies are still susceptible to the effects of asbestos to date.
Additionally, crew members and dock workers were also exposed to asbestos’ small continuous doses and might start showing symptoms that develop into mesothelioma later in life. Remember, it takes years after exposure for asbestos-exposed cells to turn malignant.
6. Water companies
As reckless and scary as it sounds, water companies have long used water pipes covered by a layer of asbestos blankets for insulation purposes. The lines are entirely safe when the asbestos part is wholly covered underground and has no water contact.
However, water leakage and pipe bursts easily contaminate the water and, if not discovered earlier, can serve asbestos right into your water glass. Your water supplier is responsible in such cases. Pipe manufacturers who use asbestos insulation should warn the clients of the risks associated with using their products. These two are probable culprits when looking for the source of exposure.
As the stereotype goes, the older the school, the better its services. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, as most schools from the 80s going back had asbestos rooftops. Many schools have been forced to replace these roofs with safer corrugated sheets or tiles, but some have retained asbestos ones. It pays to check if the school you attended had asbestos roofing during your study or work period. You may have been exposed while replacing the roof.
8. Car manufactures
Car manufacturers use asbestos products on the linings of car brakes. Asbestos is ideal as it is resistant to wear and tear in high friction areas, but at what cost? Auto mechanics are on the frontline when it comes to exposure to asbestos from car brake lining. Routine procedures of blowing out dust from brake surfaces blow the finely ground asbestos into the shop’s atmosphere. It is estimated that more than 90,000 mechanics get exposed to asbestos every year in the U.S. alone. Luckily, companies have been forced to seek alternative brake lining materials, giving a legal advantage to mechanics and car owners.
The military is an honorable profession and a dream occupation for many looking to serve their country. However, veterans from the 70s to the early 2000s are at risk of contracting mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos in the old school navy ships. As is expected, modern ships don’t use asbestos, but the damage was already done for some veterans. Asbestos takes several years before it begins to turn the cells in your body cancerous.
10. The Government
Some exposures are due to the government’s negligence. For instance, in the wake of the heinous 9/11 attacks, asbestos lining from the twin towers’ walls was released into the air spreading to the nearby neighborhoods. 70% of emergency workers and cleaners who responded to the emergency developed mesothelioma later on, as per a study conducted in 2006.
Asbestos lawsuits are not easy to maneuver because they occupy an area of the law, bound by special guidelines. For this reason, it is crucial to seek legal counsel for a more guided approach to your case and a better chance of getting justice.