Laws and regulations surrounding asbestos use are rapidly evolving to protect workers and families like never before, but many people are still experiencing the aftermath of a less-regulated period of time. Decades in the past, even when the toxic effects of asbestos exposure were well understood, regulations were not always sufficient for protecting people. A family outside of Ohio was recently awarded millions for those past failings.
Over a 10-year period, a truck driver was tasked with delivering pipes approximately 10 times every year. Those cement pipes contained crocidolite fibers, an especially dangerous variety of asbestos. He was never given any warnings about the hazards found within the pipes Over the course of his employment as a truck driver, he was routinely exposed to these asbestos fibers, which he inhaled.
When he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011, the victim and his wife both filed a lawsuit against the supplier of the asbestos and the manufacturer who made the pipe. Ultimately, a jury determined that both of the companies had been at fault. A subsequent judgment of $5 million was awarded and later partially overturned. A judge determined that the provider had no duty to provide any warning regarding the dangerous nature of asbestos, and that the manufacturer alone should have been responsible for providing that information. Upon appealing this decision to their state's Supreme Court, the verdict was reinstated.
Mesothelioma is an especially devastating form of cancer as it is virtually always fatal. While almost anyone in Ohio can become an inadvertent victim of wrongful asbestos exposure, workers in certain industries -- including construction and transportation -- are at an increased risk. Developing mesothelioma, lung disease or any of the other types of asbestos-related diseases cannot be undone, but damages from these diseases can be recovered from offending employers and manufacturers through successfully navigated claims.
Source: sfgate.com, "State Supreme Court rules for worker who was exposed to asbestos", Bob Egelko, May 23, 2016