Lack of take-home asbestos remedies leaves victims seeking justice

18 Oct 2017 by under News

GHS pictogram silhouette 100x100 Lack of take home asbestos remedies leaves victims seeking justiceThe story is sadly familiar: Workers unknowingly were exposed to asbestos while at a mechanic shop, shipyard or at an array of other potential places and contracted decades later, ultimately dying from the cancer. What about those people’s families? They are also at risk. Asbestos got on their loved one’s clothes, in vehicles and on shoes. While giving a hug or while doing laundry, they were easily exposed to the same carcinogen as they would be at a mechanic shop or shipyard in a process known as secondhand or take-home asbestos exposure.

Unfortunately, our legal system often excludes asbestos-exposed family members. Although family members contract the same deadly diseases due to an employer’s recklessness, many states do not provide legal remedies. Keep in mind that asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis, a breathing disorder caused by lung tissue scarring, lung cancer and mesothelioma, are all completely preventable. Remove asbestos from the equation and both the pipefitter father of five and the pipefitter’s daughter who used to help wash her father’s clothes as a little girl would presumably be able to live healthy lives if not for asbestos-caused diseases.

What remedies are available to the pipefitter’s daughter? It depends on the state. In December 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled to allow lawsuits against employers filed on behalf of family members who have contracted an asbestos-related disease secondhand from a relative. The court found, “Businesses making use of asbestos were well positioned, relative to their workers, to undertake preventive measures, and (the companies) cite no evidence to suggest such measures would have been unreasonably costly….Accordingly, we hold that defendants owed the members of their employees’ households a duty of ordinary care to prevent and that this duty extends no further,” according to the decision.

The pipefitter and the pipefitter’s daughter can die from the same disease as a result of the same company’s disregard for safety, but the lack of legal remedies for take-home asbestos exposure in many states leaves asbestos victims still searching for a way to seek justice.

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