How Is Asbestos Liability Compensated?
If we can reduce the toxic air pollution rampant in most industrial plants, we can save around 5,000 lives each year and prevent thousands of heart and respiratory disease cases.
However, that is a far-fetched reality. Numerous manufacturing companies and plants use components that can be harmful to the health of employees and they’re held liable for workers’ compensation such as in asbestos liability.
Employment at a company that uses asbestos in their industrial and construction materials exposes a person to this fibrous mineral which can cause numerous diseases that include lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
To prevent pollution liability, personal injury litigation, and other problems that can force a company into bankruptcy, there are systems in place to cover these types of work-related injuries.
But what if a person does not have coverage under a state workers’ compensation program? How will asbestos liability be compensated?
What Is Asbestos
As if it’s not enough that more than 40% of Americans are already worried about the air quality indoors and outdoors, particulate matter, carbon emissions, sulfur oxides, radon, methane emission, volatile organic compounds, tropospheric ozone, refrigerants, and particulate matter. And, now, asbestos also poses risks to their health.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous compound resistant to fire and heat, durable, and sturdy. Because of these qualities, asbestos is widely used in a variety of products, including that of industrial, consumer, maritime, construction, and automotive. These fibrous minerals are normally used in floor and ceiling tiles, pipe covering, roof shingles, fireproofing products, packing materials, duct insulation for HVAC systems, insulating cement, brake and clutch assemblies, adhesives, thermal seals, and coatings, just to name a few.
What Is the Employer’s Liability for Asbestos Exposure
If left untouched, asbestos-containing products in homes will not cause any damage. That’s why it’s at industrial and manufacturing plants where the health risk is significant because that’s where asbestos products undergo sawing, drilling, cutting, grinding, and buffing. These physical operations cause the asbestos fibers to release into the air, where the risk of inhalation for workers is extreme.
In some states, including California and Michigan, a vital factor used to determine an employer’s liability for asbestos exposure is covered in workers’ compensation laws. In the law, the employee has no right to sue the employer in court but can recover through the state’s workers’ compensation program.
However, there are certain limitations to the workers’ compensation claim for asbestos liability. It’s limited to claims only against the direct employer and does not cover contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers who may have expedited asbestos exposure.
How Is Asbestos Liability Compensated
There are a couple of compensation options for a worker who suffers from a work-related asbestos disease.
State Workers’ Compensation
It’s common for an injured worker to receive compensation through the state workers’ compensation program. This option, however, restricts the employee from suing the employer in court.
File a Lawsuit
In the case of a worker who developed an asbestos-related illness, though, filing a lawsuit against the company where the asbestos exposure occurred is the best option for substantial compensation. The monetary compensation may include medical treatment expenses, back pay and lost salary, and remuneration for other damages, such as emotional pain and suffering.
In case the worker succumbed to the asbestos-related disease, the family can file claims for wrongful death. They may also receive compensation for expenses, including funeral costs and other damages.
However, it’s important to note that some asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma have long latency periods. This latency makes it extremely challenging to prove liability in court compared to other work-related injuries.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
Even though a company has the liability for asbestos exposure, there are instances where proceeding with a lawsuit is impossible. Major manufacturers of asbestos and several asbestos defendants have already filed for protection under bankruptcy.
In these cases, lawsuits cannot proceed under the bankruptcy protection program. However, it’s possible to receive compensation by filing a claim with the asbestos compensation trust.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Asbestos exposure is a critical issue, and acquiring injuries and illnesses from such hazards must be dealt with by a professional. Filing claims and lawsuits are often too complicated and may result in not receiving any compensation at all. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult an expert and experienced lawyer like Mary Lopatto to help you get the compensation you deserve.