Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Workers Exposed to Asbestos

Posted Saturday, April 29, 2017 by Chris Thayer

Certain professions pose greater health risks than others, especially when it comes to asbestos exposure. Both the federal government and Washington regulate the use of asbestos, but the dangers have not been eliminated.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a human carcinogen that causes deadly diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung and gastrointestinal cancers. Professional activities that can lead to the release of asbestos fibers include the installation, use, maintenance, repair, removal and disposal of asbestos-containing building materials, which is why Washington regulates the manufacture and sale of such materials (among other asbestos-containing products).

Note that the definition of “building material” does not include automobile parts, but those can also contain asbestos, and manufacturers, suppliers and employers can be held liable for diseases caused by exposure.

Asbestos minerals are composed of durable fibers that are resistant to fire and many chemicals. Builders and other manufacturers have taken advantage of its durability and incorporated asbestos into insulation, construction materials and other products since the 1800s. It is also commonly used in automobile parts, like brakes, gaskets and clutches. But asbestos fibers that become airborne can cause significant health problems, as described above.

Recent Lawsuits and Other Incidents Involving Asbestos Exposure

A jury recently found that NAPA Auto Parts and Genuine Parts Corp. were liable in the death of a heavy equipment operator who was exposed to asbestos on the job. Jerry Coogan, who lived in Kettle Falls, Washington, died in 2015 of complications from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The jury awarded Coogan’s survivors $81.5 million.

A state appellate court recently overturned a lower court decision dismissing a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit brought against General Electric Co. Yuen Wing Woo, who worked in the Navy as a machinist, died from mesothelioma in 2009. His estate argued that Yoo was exposed to asbestos because GE provided the Navy with steam turbines that contained asbestos. The lower court found that GE didn’t have a duty to warn about the dangers of asbestos exposure because it didn’t manufacture the asbestos-containing products. Since the appellate court reversed that decision, the case will go to trial.

In October 2016 the state Department of Labor & Industries fined an asbestos removal contractor for exposing workers to asbestos during renovation work. The company was fined $87,000 and lost its certification to perform asbestos removal.

Workers at Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Aside from construction workers, machinists and asbestos removal contractors, other professions at risk of asbestos exposure include:

Shipbuilders,Timber industry workers,Power plant employees,People who work on oil refineries, andAluminum producers.

This is not an exhaustive list. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos while on the job, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

Contact Us Today

If you are ill because of asbestos exposure, or if you have lost a loved one from an asbestos-related disease, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other related expenses. Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation.