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Jury awards $1.7 million in 2 asbestosis claims

Exposure to asbestos can take a devastating toll on a person's health. The link between asbestos and illnesses like mesothelioma and asbestosis was established decades ago, but people continued to work with the toxic material without knowing it and without proper protection because of negligent employers. In many cases, these victims do not learn of the devastating consequences of being exposed to asbestos until it is too late.

Recently, two claims were filed against a company that was reportedly negligent in protecting their workers from being exposed to asbestos. The claims argued that asbestos was used for decades and caused employees to develop asbestosis, an asbestos-related disease.

One of the claims was filed by a man who worked at a company operated by GM&O Railroad from 1955 to 1958. The second claim was filed by a woman on behalf of her father who also worked for a GM&O company from 1949 to 1950. Nearly 20 years later, he returned to the company and worked for three more years.

During their employment at the railroad yard, the two men were exposed to toxic levels of asbestos and both of them ultimately developed asbestosis. The man and the daughter argued that the railroad company knew that there was asbestos that posed a threat to workers, but was negligent in warning them about the dangers of asbestos and employers failed to provide proper protective gear to employees. A jury agreed and awarded the man $1.3 million in damages and awarded $384,000 to the estate of the father who had passed away.

Railroad workers were particularly vulnerable to asbestos exposure, because the material was very commonly used in locomotive parts. When the parts would break down or be subjected to friction, the asbestos in the parts would be released into the air as a fine dust which was easily inhaled by workers. Illnesses like asbestosis are generally considered to be job-related injuries for people who worked around locomotives, which means that victims can be entitled to compensation. Speaking with an attorney can help people explore their legal options to pursue appropriate action.

Source: Pantagraph, "$1.7 million awarded in 2 railroad asbestos cases," Edith Brady-Lunny, Jan. 28, 2014

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