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On premises liability: Colleges need to keep their buildings safe

North Carolina colleges need to ensure that their buildings are safe for students and staff alike. Asbestos in buildings is a serious safety hazard that can lead to a premises liability lawsuit. Asbestos can cause life-threatening health problems, including respiratory conditions and some types of cancers, for those people who are exposed to the toxic substance.

Recently, a college in South Carolina needed to delay the admittance of students into a dormitory after asbestos was found in a ceiling coating of a residence hall. Over 200 students were displaced temporarily into a hotel, or other students' dorm rooms and apartments, after the asbestos was detected and needed to be removed.

After a contractor removed the ceiling coating, a news release from the college stated that the air quality tests indicated that the building was safe for students to move into for the school year. The college acknowledged that the health of their students was extremely important to them, and that they were happy with how the college community came together to deal with the asbestos problem and the displacement of students, who were just beginning classes this week.

Although the college appears to have dealt with this current asbestos contamination rapidly and responsibly, it is not known whether students who lived in the dorm in previous years were exposed to asbestos. If the prior residents were exposed to asbestos, they may eventually face serious health problems.

Because of the time lapse of many years between exposure and diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease, a lawyer who specializes in these types of premises liability cases may be able to trace a person's history to pinpoint the exposure. As premises liability laws vary from state to state, a lawyer will offer his or her expertise in navigating the laws of a state where someone was exposed to asbestos.

Source: WFYY, "Upstate dorm reopens after asbestos removal," Sept. 4, 2012

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