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North Carolina Asbestos Law Blog

Wrongful death suits for secondhand asbestos victims

Despite its drastic reduction in use, asbestos is still claiming the lives of thousands of people each year. Prolonged exposure to the deadly mineral can result in fatal asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, COPD and mesothelioma. These diseases affect not only those in North Carolina who are exposed to asbestos directly, but also those who are exposed to it secondhand.

What are asbestos trust funds?

Over four decades ago, it was established that companies were using asbestos in their products despite their knowledge of its lethal health risks. As more people began to file lawsuits and companies were unable to satisfy their financial liabilities, asbestos trust funds were created.

North Carolina residents may know that asbestos is responsible for many illnesses including mesothelioma, which has no known cure. People who contracted mesothelioma and other types of asbestos-related diseases were filing individual lawsuits against the companies they worked for. This not only placed a burden on the victims, but also companies that were forced to file for bankruptcy.

Mesothelioma: symptoms and risk factors

Thousands of people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. The latency period for mesothelioma is particularly long. Consequently, it has decades to establish itself in the body before disease diagnosis and treatment.

Especially for people in high-risk occupations due to asbestos exposure, it is critical to be aware of the risk factors and symptoms associated with mesothelioma. The earlier it can be detected, the more treatment options are available and therefore, the higher the chance of survival.

$81.5 million awarded in wrongful asbestos-related death case

$81.5 million was the verdict in an asbestos- related death case last week - it was among the largest amounts ever awarded in the state. The award went to the family of a heavy equipment operator who died in 2015 from complications associated with mesothelioma that resulted from asbestos exposure.

NAPA Auto Parts and Genuine Parts Corp. were found to be strictly liable for their companies' asbestos-containing products that led to the victim's death.

Asbestos-related deaths still high despite regulation

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that asbestos-related deaths are still occurring at alarming rates. Despite regulations imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos remains a danger to workers in susceptible fields of labor such as construction.

Mesothelioma, a type of cancer resulting from asbestos exposure, is taking a fatal toll on people exposed to asbestos many years ago. The reason for this is that it can take up to 70 years for mesothelioma to develop after initial inhalation of asbestos fibers.

Study presents possible new treatment for Mesothelioma

Exposure to asbestos in the workplace can lead to the contraction of a disease such as Mesothelioma. The most common form of Mesothelioma is Pleural Mesothelioma, a malignant cancer which forms on the lining of the lungs. The only approved treatment for this type of cancer is chemotherapy, with virtually no other options available if it is unsuccessful. However, a groundbreaking study introduces the possibility of a promising new treatment.

Keynote 0-28 is an ongoing trial that studies the effects of Keytruda, a checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy drug, on patients with Mesothelioma. This study- the first of its kind to present positive results- suggests that there may be a viable alternative to chemotherapy for those with advanced malignancies, including malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

What is the underlying legal theory of Asbestos lawsuits?

Asbestos used to be a main component of many products due to its affordability, accessibility and versatility. For most of the 20th century, asbestos was used in tiles, insulation, automotive parts and even consumer products such as small appliances, baby powder and potting soil. Before its potentially lethal effects became widely known, asbestos companies and manufacturers had evidence of its dangers and continued to market it to the public.

Even though asbestos is now strictly regulated, product liability cases concerning asbestos exposure are on the rise. This is partly because some asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma can take up to 40 years to develop and even longer to reveal their full devastating toll.

North Carolina construction accident results in death of worker

Workers' compensation protections are available in North Carolina for family members of workers killed on the job. A construction accident in a nearby community less than an hour east of the Rowan area recently died after falling 30 feet from a bridge. The man was working on the bridge that is part of the bypass project. He was identified by a construction company as a contractor working on the project. The construction company provided information that the worker was taking a screed apart which is a layer of material such as cement applied to a surface such as a floor. Part of the screed fell of its rail and the worker fell at that point.

The worker suffered head trauma and was transported by an emergency crew to a medical center where he was pronounced dead. Work on the bridge is suspended while officials investigate the cause of the work-related death and accident. Work-related deaths, regardless of how they result, can be devastating and overwhelming for families and leave them wondering what resources they can turn to and rely upon.

Asbestos-related illnesses are serious for victims

Unfortunately, a variety of serious, and sometimes fatal, disease and illnesses can result from asbestos exposure. Victims may face real harm and damages that can include physical, financial and emotional harm. Additionally, families may face significant harm when they have lost a loved one to an asbestos-related illness. It is important for victims and their families to be familiar with the legal protections available to victims of asbestos exposure-related diseases.

Victims may be able to recover damages for the harm they have suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering damages, through a personal injury claim for the harm suffered and damages may also be available to surviving family members through a wrongful death claim for damages. There are several different types of illnesses related to asbestos exposure which occurs when asbestos fibers are kicked up, inhaled and lodged in the lungs.

Company indicted for exposing its workers to asbestos

There are many ways a person can be exposed to asbestos. We have known about the deadly effects of asbestos exposure for decades, but companies are still found putting their employees at risk for asbestos-related cancer and other diseases. A company and its supervisors were recently indicted for asbestos violations at a plant in Wisconsin.

The Grede foundary in Wisconsin, a company that makes molds for brackets, engine parts and other items was recently indicted for asbestos violations. The complaint came about when the company decided to bring back a heat oven that hadn't been working in over 20 years. The plant manager ordered a supervisor to have the insulation removed from the oven. While removing the dust and insulation, dust flew to many other areas of the plant where workers were not wearing proper protection. The supervisor told the plant manager that he was worried there was asbestos in the dust, but the plant manager and another supervisor said it was fine. A worker filed a complaint and an inspection was done. The plant manager and other supervisor produced a report showing there was no asbestos, but it was from the inside of the oven and not from the top where the workers had been working. Another complaint was filed a month later and the inspection team took a sample from the outside of the oven and found abestos. The company then told their workers that their risk was low to exposure of asbestos. Criminal charges have now been filed against the plant manager and two safety coordinators. If convicted, they can face up to 41 years in prison and hundreds of thousands in fines.

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