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Asbestos exposure: It's a royal pain

Workers who were employed as independent contractors or subcontractors, or those who lived or worked near a factory, may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party for exposure to asbestos. In many states in the United States, employees cannot sue an employer for mesothelioma or other job-related illnesses. However, it could be a good idea to file a premises liability lawsuit against property owners when a person is exposed to asbestos.

The fact is that asbestos is found everywhere. It may not be easy to spot, but in many cases property owners are aware of the presence of asbestos in their buildings. While it is no longer used in construction or home improvement materials, the toxic fiber is still found in many older buildings.

Recently, the owners of a very old house announced that they had spent more than $1 million removing asbestos so far. Ultimately, they say that the complete eradication process will take several million dollars and 20 years. What makes the process so lengthy and costly? The house is Buckingham Palace.

The palace is said to have asbestos under the floors and has been in place since at least the 1940s. Back then, asbestos was used in insulation, tiling, and ducts because it was cheap and fire resistant. However, decades later, it was discovered that breathing in asbestos that has been disturbed and is airborne causes serious damage to lungs. Many people who have inhaled asbestos eventually develop lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis.

It is likely that Buckingham Palace will go to great lengths to ensure that the asbestos is removed safely. Due to the size and scope of the project, it is important that the removal is done properly and thoroughly. For property or business owners who do not take such a task seriously, innocent victims can be exposed to asbestos. If these owners are negligent in warning people of asbestos or safely removing the asbestos, it may be appropriate to file a premises liability lawsuit. Victims who develop serious diseases from this exposure can rack up high medical bills and lose wages if they are unable to work, and financial compensation can help significantly.

Source: UPI, "Buckingham Palace has asbestos problem," July 3, 2012

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