Buying or renovating a home can be challenging and expensive. Discovering asbestos throughout the process can make the situation even more stressful. Under these circumstances, you could very well be worried about your health and your exposure to these toxic fibers.
If you are sick with an illness related to asbestos found in your home, you could have options to seek financial remedies from the party responsible for the asbestos. But who might that be?
Negligent property owner
If you are buying a home that contains asbestos, the homeowner may not disclose that to you. There is no federal requirement that they do so, but if your local or state agencies require disclosure of known asbestos, failure to do so can be a legal violation.
However, unless the homeowners have someone test for asbestos, they may not know about it. Because of this, it can be wise to consult an attorney to investigate the situation to determine if a homeowner knew about or should reasonably have known about asbestos.
If you are still in the buying process, you can have a home inspector perform testing to help you make informed decisions and negotiations.
Product manufacturers or sellers
In some cases, you could pursue a claim against the parties who made or sold products in the home that contain asbestos. These parties could be legally responsible for damages stemming from asbestos exposure in a couple of ways:
- If there was a breach of an express warranty, which means that they claimed a product was safe when it was not, in order to get someone to buy their product
- Under the strict product liability theory, which means that parties can be liable for damages even if they are not negligent if their product was inherently dangerous
Determining which of these claims may be appropriate depends on your specific case and the details of your exposure, and the products involved.
Holding the right parties accountable
Because the asbestos in a home may have been there long before you moved in or started renovations, it can be difficult to figure out who is legally responsible for the damages it causes decades later.
Getting help to identify the source of exposure and determining who may be liable can allow you to pursue the financial remedies you may deserve.