As most North Carolina residents know, exposure to asbestos fibers occurs in many ways, from breathing asbestos fibers in a mine to washing clothes worn by workers who install asbestos-containing products. A federal court in Alabama has reaffirmed the link between asbestos product exposure and laundering work clothing by awarding $3.5 million in damages to the family of a woman whose only exposure to asbestos fibers was caused by her laundering asbestos laden clothing worn by her family.
The woman’s husband had been employed at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. He had done clean-up work after asbestos-containing products, including insulation, were installed at the plant. Evidence showed that the woman laundered her husband’s work clothes for more than twenty years and that she died from one of the rare types of lung cancer that is usually caused only by asbestos. She died in 2012, and her husband died of a similar form of cancer in 1997. The court awarded her two children a total of $3.5 million.
Sadly, such stories are not uncommon. Even today, when most people know about the health hazards of asbestos, people are still exposed to the mineral and they still succumb to mesothelioma or one of the other diseases caused by asbestos. Anyone who has lost a loved one to suspected exposure to asbestos fibers or who has been exposed to asbestos fibers should obtain a reliable medical evaluation of the kind of illness and possible causes. If asbestos is identified as a potential cause, an asbestos claim could increase the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and wage loss from the parties who are at fault for the exposure.
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press, “Family gets $3.5 million after woman dies from asbestos doing husband’s laundry,” Oct. 7, 2015