COVID-19 Updates: We are keeping our staff, clients and their family members safe and healthy. Our law firm is 100% operational, available in-person and 24/7 assistance by email and phone. Read More

Asbestos exposure: who is responsible?

Since asbestos exposure occurred in the workplace, you may think that it is the employer who will be held accountable for the victims' terrible diseases. In reality, the issue of liability is much more complex.

answered by Michael Bartlett

So who is, in fact, responsible?

Between 1940 and 1978, over 11 million workers were exposed to asbestos on their jobs. As industrial workers were by far the most heavily exposed occupational group, they were massively impacted.

Many injured people wonder where their asbestos exposure took place and who is responsible for their suffering. The most common culprits that have been found over recent decades were asbestos manufacturers, employers, distributors, mines, suppliers, and companies who sold asbestos-containing products. Property owners who fail to remove asbestos from the buildings they rent out can also be held accountable if one of the tenants develops a serious illness.

Despite their outrageous attempts to evade responsibility, many asbestos manufacturers had been well-aware of the danger asbestos exposure poses to human health long before the mineral was classified as a carcinogen. Those who were producing automobile components and building materials knowingly exposed both workers and consumers to asbestos. Numerous manufacturers have been found guilty of not warning people with regard to the dangers of asbestos.

Nowadays, employers are required to comply with strict regulations and to keep workers safe by properly informing them about the hazardous nature of asbestos. Nonetheless, the situation has not always been so fair and as a result, the health of many employees was at risk during the last century. Employers, contractors, as well as factories have been found guilty of deliberately allowing workers to handle asbestos-containing products.

However, there are also circumstances when no one is at fault for asbestos exposure which is followed by a life-threatening disease since asbestos is a natural mineral occurring in the earth. Deposits of asbestos were discovered in many states throughout the U.S. In such cases, there is nobody to blame for asbestos exposure.

Which occupational groups are more likely to be exposed to asbestos?

Although the use of asbestos has decreased considerably, it is estimated that 1.3 million employees in the U.S. are still exposed to asbestos on the job.

The majority of people who have recently been diagnosed with asbestos diseases were exposed to asbestos several decades ago when the mineral was extensively used by numerous industries all across the United States. Approximately 11 million people were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1978, most of whom in the workplace.

The following occupational groups have the highest risk of developing asbestos-related diseases, as they were exposed to tremendous concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers on a regular basis and some of them would also handle raw asbestos:

While the occupations above rarely entail a risk of asbestos exposure nowadays, firefighters and demolition workers are two groups of workers who might encounter it on the job, since most old buildings have asbestos in their structure. Fire often produces great damage to asbestos-containing materials and fibers can easily become airborne. Similarly, when a building is being demolished, enormous amounts of asbestos fibers are released in the air. Despite the protective equipment most workers are required to wear, the risk of exposure - although lower than several decades ago - remains.

Will I receive additional compensation if I develop a second asbestos-related disease?

If asbestos exposure causes you multiple diseases, you have the right to claim financial compensation from asbestos trust funds for each. Similarly, if your original illness worsens or gives way to a more aggressive one, such as lung cancer or mesothelioma, you can recover additional compensation, as your physical and emotional suffering will inevitably increase. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for victims of asbestos exposure to develop more than one disease - for instance, asbestosis can co-occur with gastrointestinal or colorectal cancer, as toxic fibers can travel through the body after inhalation and thereby affect other organs as well.

Calculating the precise amount of money you can receive for a second asbestos-related disease is impossible because each case is unique and each asbestos trust fund pays out a different percentage of the compensation you qualify for. Generally, mesothelioma has the highest value, since this is the most serious disease caused by exposure to asbestos. A diagnosis of lung cancer also means significant compensation. For asbestosis, however, the compensation amount is usually lower.

Some of the factors which can increase or decrease the amount of money you will receive are:

  • the duration and severity of exposure
  • the size and number of asbestos trust funds you file with

If you have lung cancer, asbestosis, pulmonary fibrosis, or mesothelioma diagnosis and wonder who is responsible for your condition, the skillful attorneys at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. can help you identify the culprit and recover proper compensation for your injury. Please call us and we will provide you with quality legal assistance during the entire process.

We also Represent U.S. Veterans Exposed to Asbestos while Serving their Country

Other related questions

The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time you have to file an asbestos claim after diagnosis. It varies between one and six years, depending on the state you live in.

Read more

Trust transparency laws have been enforced by some U.S. states to protect the legal system from fraud and abuse. Some argue that these laws make the process of recovering compensation more difficult for asbestos victims.

Read more

Because asbestos was highly prevalent in numerous industries during the last century, former industrial workers who developed a disease as a result of asbestos exposure are eligible for compensation.

Read more

It is possible to claim compensation for all asbestos-related conditions, whether a patient is suffering from aggressive cancers or other long-term debilitating illnesses such as diffuse pleural thickening.

Read more

Yes. Oftentimes, former industrial workers were exposed to asbestos by more than one employer and, thereby, they have the legal right to seek compensation for all of them.

Read more

While smoking was found to greatly increase the risk of lung cancer in people with a history of asbestos exposure, it was not found to be the cause of developing other asbestos diseases.

Read more

Since they were not required to wear any protective equipment on the job, many engineering, manufacturing, maintenance workers, and military veterans were exposed to asbestos unknowingly or inadvertently while performing their everyday duties on the job.

Read more

Diseases caused by asbestos exposure affect 20% of former industrial workers and 30% of veterans. Every year, between 12,000 and 15,000 people lose their lives to diseases that stem from asbestos exposure.

Read more

The Navy veterans were at the highest risk of being exposed to asbestos as most asbestos-containing products were used by the Navy when compared to other military branches in the United States.

Read more

In order to receive compensation, you need to file a claim with the asbestos trust fund set up by the company responsible for your injury. A lawyer will speed up the process significantly.

Read more

See more questions