Exposure to asbestos is a nationwide problem that’s persisted for many decades. Anyone who inhales dust or air contaminated by asbestos can experience disastrous health problems over the course of their lives.
These health problems ultimately lead to high medical bills and personal suffering. Asbestos materials are found in several components (i.e. roof, flooring, etc.) in many older homes and buildings
One case in Mississippi particularly stands out due to the record amount of the compensation – in May, a jury ordered Chevron Phillips Chemical and the Union Carbide Corp. to award $322 million in compensation for asbestos exposure and related illnesses to a worker who inhaled asbestos fibers while mixing drilling mud.
Thomas C. Brown, the worker and claimant, was responsible for mixing drilling mud manufactured by the two companies. His case claims he was exposed to asbestos from around 1978 through the mid-‘80s…as a result, Mr. Brown developed asbestosis.
His suit claims the manufacturers of the drilling mud didn’t provide sufficient warnings to the workers for the potential of asbestos exposure.
Symptoms of asbestosis include chest pains, shortness of breath and coughing according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Both companies are appealing the decision.
“The credible medical evidence introduced at trial clearly demonstrates that, while Mr. Brown suffers from shortness of breath, such condition is not attributable to asbestos exposure,” claims Union Carbide.
Shortly after the jury award, Union Carbide filed a motion to have the award thrown out after it was discovered the judge’s father had filed an asbestos claim in the past. The company says this represents an obvious conflict of interest and maintains the whole award should be tossed since it wasn’t previously disclosed.
Asbestos is a serious issue plaguing workers across the U.S, including Colorado. Undoubtedly you’ve seen advertisements for class-action lawsuits regarding asbestos. Since much of the exposure occurred years ago, it’s difficult for a standard workers’ compensation claim to adequately pay for the medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering for those affected.
Fortunately today, workers are better prepared to deal with asbestos. Many buildings have removed these toxic materials and many continue efforts to address this threat to public health.