When people think of asbestos victims, they often assume they worked for years in industries where asbestos-laden products were commonly used. It is true that certain industries exposed workers to asbestos more than others — railroad and shipyard workers, welders, plumbers, pipe fitters, boiler mechanics and construction workers, for example. Any occupation where workers would be installing, wearing or working around insulation or insulated products turned out to be high-risk. The reason asbestos was once so popular was its remarkable insulating properties.
Some were exposed before airborne asbestos fibers were known to cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and other deadly diseases. Unfortunately, some companies continued to put their workers at risk even after they knew asbestos exposure was unreasonably dangerous. Some companies continue to import asbestos and use it even today.
Unfortunately, asbestos was used so widely that many people who never worked directly with the substance were exposed to it — a lot of it. As a recent wrongful death case illustrates, some people had the asbestos inflicted on them at home.
The family of a Louisiana woman have just filed suit against a land developer, an insurance company, and two other companies, claiming that her mesothelioma was most likely caused by exposure to asbestos that was spread around her property and neighborhood in the form of ground fill.
Two out of three cases of mesothelioma are known to be caused by exposure to asbestos, and no other substance has been definitively linked to the disease. While this woman apparently never worked in a high-risk industry, the connection between the mesothelioma and asbestos is still quite plausible.
She lived in Gretna, Louisiana, from 1950 to 1961 in an area developed by Burmaster Land and Development LLC. When it needed ground fill and driveway material during the time she lived there, the lawsuit claims, the developer used crushed concrete pipe that contained asbestos. Dust from the material was everywhere during the project, including inside her home.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants produced, sold or used unreasonably hazardous materials and failed to warn residents about the potential danger. In this product liability suit, the family is seeking damages for her physical suffering, disability, anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages. She died from mesothelioma on May 19.
Source: The Louisiana Record, “Family of deceased woman allegedly exposed to asbestos used as driveway filler sues,” Kyle Barnett, Dec. 17, 2013