Too many people in North Carolina and nationwide are under the impression that asbestos is no longer a threat our health. There are people who understandably assume this because we have known for years that exposure to airborne asbestos can cause devastating diseases. However, there are still many employers, companies and building owners who are still failing to take steps to protect people from handling or breathing in the toxic substance.
In these situations, it is important to remember that victims of asbestos exposure have the right to pursue compensation from a negligent party. Many folks who have taken legal action have received money that can help them deal with the necessary and additional medical costs related to testing and treatment for mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Five workers recently took action after they learned that they had been exposed to asbestos during a construction job without their knowledge. They were working on a demolition at a hospital and during the project, dust from asbestos that had been used in parts of the HVAC system was released when the asbestos was disturbed.
The workers filed a lawsuit to hold the hospital and the contractor on the job accountable. In the claim, the men say that they were never warned that there would be asbestos present, despite the fact that both the hospital and contractor knew it was there. They also never provided the workers with protective equipment that would keep them from breathing in the dangerous dust.
Both the contracting company and the hospital were fined for violations related to their failure to warn others about the presence of asbestos.
However, these fines will do little to help the workers who were exposed and may have already suffered the consequences. It is possible that the damage has been done. Not only are the victims concerned about the physical harm that may have been done, but they have and will continue to suffer from anger, anxiety, hyper vigilance and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of not knowing whether or not the exposure has caused irreversible damage. They are reportedly seeking $10 million in their lawsuit.
Source: The Register-Guard, “Hospital faces asbestos suit,” Christian Wihtol, July 18, 2013