A 73-year-old man from Central Illinois has been awarded $4.6 million after suing the company that he worked for when he was a teenager following his diagnosis with cancer. Charles McKinney claimed that he developed cancer as a direct result of his work with the Portable Elevator Manufacturing Company when he was 19, stemming from an exposure to asbestos. The jury found that the company was negligent and liable since they were aware of the hazards of asbestos and did not properly warn McKinney about the risks of the job.
The multi-million dollar award shows how companies are not safe from asbestos lawsuits just because the affected worker ceased their employment with the company even 50 years ago. Unfortunately, stories like McKinney’s are not uncommon, and many affected asbestos victims certainly don’t win so much in damages.
Asbestos kills slowly
Scientific studies have shown that asbestos, a naturally-occurring, fibrous mineral used for decades to fireproof and insulate homes and businesses, doesn’t pose a risk to humans quickly. Rather, exposure to asbestos – most commonly through inhaling its airborne particles during construction or other physical disturbances to areas where asbestos was used – poses a danger years after exposure. Asbestos can cause cancer to develop in the membranes that surround your lungs and abdomen, which is known as mesothelioma. In recent years, mesothelioma cases have spiked and lawsuits have increased as well, as an entire generation of industrial and commercial workers are just now being physically affected by their exposure to dangerous asbestos from work done decades earlier.
Mesothelioma is most likely to result from prolonged, consistent exposure to asbestos, however it has also scarily enough been proven to be possible from one isolated exposure event. Even if you worked in an industry where exposure to asbestos was possible for just a short time, you may still be at risk for mesothelioma or a slew of respiratory problems that can occur as a result. Asbestos was so widely used that many states are still, today, making concerted efforts to rid municipal buildings, schools, businesses and residences of asbestos insulation, floor and ceiling tiling.
File a claim today if you have been affected
Because complications from asbestos don’t surface until well after the exposure happens, the statute of limitations for asbestos cases are handled differently. Depending on the state, individuals who have been adversely affected by asbestos have many years to file a claim from the date they learn that they have been diagnosed with any complications. However, if you or a loved one has been affected by complications stemming from exposure to asbestos, do not wait. With health complications naturally comes costly medical expenses, prescription medication, time missed from work and other financial hardships.
If you were not informed about a risk of exposure to asbestos, or were not given protective gear to prevent exposure, the company you worked for is likely liable for their negligence. The dangers of asbestos have been widely known since the 1970s, and science was aware of its potential for health risks much earlier than that. There is a good chance the company that opened you up to exposure was aware at the time of your employment. At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience litigating negligence cases and cases involving asbestos. If a company put your health second and failed to properly protect you against dangerous exposure to asbestos, we can hold them accountable and award you with a reasonable settlement, or take the case to court if necessary.
A consultation with one of our legal experts is totally free, and we do not receive any payment unless you are successful in your claim. Call us today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.