Can You Sue Your Employer for Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos exposure can be a serious threat to your health. If you have been exposed to asbestos at work and have developed an illness as a result, can you sue your employer?

In many cases, yes. Employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees. If they fail to do so and someone suffers an injury as a result, they can be held accountable.

This is especially true if an employer knowingly exposed their employees to asbestos and did nothing to stop it, or had reason to suspect that the substance might be harmful, for example, because of previous studies on its health effects.

Asbestos Claims Based on Negligence

The company you work for is responsible for your safety at the workplace. If it fails to take reasonable precautions or does not make use of available resources to protect workers, it can be held accountable should an accident occur.

If you were exposed to asbestos at work and later developed an illness as a result, your employer may be found negligent by failing to take the necessary steps to protect you from such exposure.

In some cases, an employer may be held liable for the actions of a subcontractor or supplier if it can be shown that they had reason to know about the potential for asbestos exposure and did nothing to prevent it.

Asbestos Claims Based on Breach of Warranty

If you were exposed to asbestos at work, your employer may be held accountable for breaching a warranty.

Contract law says that employees can sue their employers if they fail to conform to the standards outlined in a legal contract. In some cases, this can lead to an asbestos claim based on breach of warranty.

In most cases, the only recourse available is “state specific,” which means that the laws of the state where the injury occurred will govern the claim. This can make it difficult to pursue a claim if you live in a different state than the one where your injury took place.

Asbestos Claims Based on Misrepresentation

Your employer may also be held accountable if it can be shown that they made a false or negligent representation. For example, your employer might have known the asbestos was harmful and didn’t take steps to warn employees of the dangers. If you develop an illness from asbestos exposure as a result, you can file an Asbestos Claim based on negligent misrepresentation.

This type of claim falls under the umbrella of products liability, which addresses injuries caused by defective or unsafe products. This area of law is governed by each individual state’s common law, meaning that the specific details vary from state to state. There are several factors that must be met in order to pursue a claim based on misrepresentation.

It is important to note that these are just some of the ways in which you may be able to hold your employer accountable for asbestos exposure. Different states may offer slightly different guidelines, so you should contact an attorney in your area to discuss the specifics.

Occupations That Increase Risk of Asbestos Exposure

There are some occupations that increase your risk of asbestos exposure. If you work in any of the following fields, it is important to be aware of the dangers of asbestos and take appropriate precautions:

  • Construction workers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Railway workers
  • Factory workers
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Crane operators
  • Heavy equipment operators
  • Miners

These are just some of the jobs that may place you at risk for asbestos exposure. US Navy personnel who worked below deck are also at an increased risk for developing serious illnesses, including mesothelioma. 

If you work in any of these fields and start to feel unwell, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. There is no conclusive evidence that links mesothelioma with other forms of cancer such as lung and colon cancer, however, it is best to play it safe by getting yourself checked out immediately.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the lining cells of the lungs, abdominal cavity, or heart. It’s often caused by  exposure to asbestos. People who work in jobs that bring them into contact with asbestos on a regular basis are more likely to develop mesothelioma than the general public. If you are diagnosed with this form of cancer after exposure to asbestos, then you can likely sue your employer for damages that result from your illness.

Signs of Asbestos Exposure

Most asbestos exposure occurs when the fibers are inhaled or ingested. Without knowing it, you could be exposed on a daily basis while going about your normal routine at work.

There are several signs of asbestos exposure that should not go unnoticed. If you experience any of these symptoms, it can indicate a dangerous level of inhalation and make an asbestos claim possible.

Signs of visible asbestos exposure include:

  • Chest tightness or difficulty breathing
  • Discomfort in the lungs, stomach, nose, throat, mouth, or ears
  • A chronic or worsening cough
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath

These symptoms might be the result of other health conditions. However, if you experience any of these throughout your workday and they do not seem to resolve after leaving work, it could be a sign that you have been exposed to asbestos.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have been recently exposed to asbestos at work, it is advised that you contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Take Action

If you suspect that your employer or another party was at fault for any amount of asbestos exposure at work that may have caused you harm, contact a mesothelioma attorney immediately. Be aware that the statute of limitations varies by state, so don’t wait too long to take action.

Also, keep in mind that employers are only responsible for the asbestos exposure they cause employees; if you were at home when you inhaled asbestos fibers, your employer might not be liable for any harm done to you.