- By Michael Bartlett
Asbestos companies had known for a long time that inhaling the toxic fibers of this mineral could lead to different serious diseases, which often result in death. Exposing workers to asbestos qualifies as irresponsibility or a wrongful act and, legally speaking, the case of a former employee who develops an illness due to asbestos exposure at their workplace constitutes a personal injury case. There are also circumstances in which the relatives of people who died as a consequence of asbestos exposure have legal rights. Families can file wrongful death claims which will help cover the cost of medical treatment, loss of income, funeral expenses, as well as emotional distress.
A recent case involving a wrongful death asbestos exposure claim is that of Thomasina Fowler of Bloomfield, New Jersey, who filed against Union Carbide Corporation after her husband, Willis Edenfield, had been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in October 2010. The man had been exposed to asbestos for approximately 40 years while working in a chemical plant which manufactured asbestos-containing adhesives. Union Carbide Corporation had supplied the facility with raw asbestos for 12 years.
Since mesothelioma has a very aggressive progression, Edenfield passed away only 3 months after diagnosis. Due to the fact that her husband's death was so sudden, Fowler did not have the opportunity to find out relevant information regarding his occupational asbestos exposure. Accordingly, Union Carbide Corporation took advantage of this aspect, stating that there was no proof of the man's direct contact with the carcinogen, and the court initially agreed.
The plaintiff did not just claim that asbestos was present inside the building her husband was working in, but also that Edenfield would touch asbestos on a daily basis. Furthermore, some of his former co-workers testified that he used to scoop asbestos and store it into bags. Indeed, evidence that Union Carbide provided over 40,000 pounds of asbestos during the 12-year period was subsequently found. All this new information changed the original ruling and allowed the trial to go on.
Family members can seek compensation on behalf of a loved one who passed away as a result of workplace asbestos exposure within 1 to 3 years from the date of death. The support of a lawyer specialized in asbestos litigation is essential, since the victim is not around to provide valuable information anymore, which makes the legal process even more complex and challenging.
Because the majority of U.S. asbestos companies entered bankruptcy protection due to the overwhelming number of lawsuits which started being filed against them after the 1908s, asbestos trust funds represent the primary source of compensation to victims of exposure and their families nowadays. Unlike a lawsuit, filing a wrongful death claim with asbestos trust funds requires no trial and is a significantly more convenient way of recovering the financial compensation you are eligible for.
If one of your immediate family members or someone you were financially dependent on lost their life to occupational asbestos exposure, we encourage you to contact one of our attorneys, who will provide you with permanent legal assistance and file a wrongful death claim on your behalf. While we are aware that nothing can replace the presence of a loved one, we will dedicate our efforts to helping you achieve at least the financial comfort you deserve.