A recent investigation by the Raleigh News & Observer found that the state of North Carolina reports and investigates only a fraction of deaths that occur in the workplace. Thus, the recent report from the North Carolina Labor Commission that the work-related death toll was the lowest since 2001 is based on only a partial count of actual workplace deaths.
A commonly asked question is whether a personal injury lawsuit can be brought against the alleged wrongdoer if the injured person dies from his (or her) injuries before the suit is commenced. For many decades, the answer was "no," because under the common law of England and then the United States, the claim for damages expired upon the death of the injured person. Realizing the unfairness of this outcome, many state legislatures, including the North Carolina General Assembly, passed statutes specifically to create a legal right to bring a lawsuit even if the injured person had died from the injuries.
Many North Carolina residents may have been exposed to asbestos in the early- to mid-1900s. Those who worked in factories, shipyards and other places where sheet metal was prominent often found out decades later that their exposure to asbestos led to mesothelioma, a deadly cancer. A union sheet metal worker who also served for several years as the union president died from asbestos exposure in June 2013, and his wife recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against more than two dozen companies.
The families of two men were likely quite relieved with a recent verdict announced by a state Supreme Court jury recently. After four weeks of hearing testimony and deliberating for two days, the jury determined that the two men who had worked with asbestos-containing products would receive a total of $25 million for the past and future pain and suffering of the two men who had developed mesothelioma.
North Carolina legislators are considering passing a bill that could impact the manner in which asbestos-related lawsuits are tried. The aim of the bill is purportedly to provide more transparency when it comes to asbestos bankruptcy trusts in relation to products liability matters.
According to studies conducted by the EWG Action Fund, about 10,000 people die every year as a result of an asbestos-related illness. Many of the people who get sick and die from exposure to asbestos are victims of inadequate employment practices that left workers without protection from the toxic fiber.
When we go to see movies, many of us appreciate a good action film that has us on the edge of our seats. However, if we knew that the actors in movies or on TV were repeatedly put in danger of getting seriously injured or sick, we might not be so eager to buy a ticket.
Losing a loved one to an asbestos-related illness can be devastating. Mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis can all be caused by exposure to asbestos and they can all be aggressive, painful illnesses that may not respond to treatment. Because of how difficult it can be to treat these conditions, victims can often pass away relatively quickly after diagnosis.
We often discuss the unique risks that members of the U.S. Navy were, and continue to be, exposed to during their time in the service in regards to asbestos. Veterans and shipyard workers are particularly susceptible to asbestos-related illnesses because of long, concentrated exposure to the toxic material that was commonly used in naval vessels. They may have slept near pipes coated with asbestos or worked in engine rooms where asbestos dust was kicked up when valves, pumps and gaskets were being replaced.
Jurors got a powerful glimpse into the life and work history of a man who suffered from mesothelioma and passed away before a lawsuit against manufacturers of asbestos products went to trial. Through a video recording of the man's testimony before his death, the man was able to share his personal story about his ongoing and tragic exposure to asbestos during his time in the U.S. Navy.