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Asbestos is a mineral that, due to it’s unique physical properties, was used in buildings as an insulator and fireproofing material for decades. Because of it’s popularity among builders up until the 1990s, asbestos is still in many older buildings today. Though it was commonplace in the construction of most buildings and lauded for it’s versatility, today, asbestos is considered to be a very dangerous substance. It’s now known that exposure to asbestos over long periods of time can cause serious illness and increase the likelihood of lung cancer and mesothelioma, among other diseases.
If you live or work in an older building and have been exposed to asbestos or have become aware of its presence, you may be wondering if you have the grounds to sue and who exactly assumes responsibility for it. As asbestos can be found in many different places, there are a few likely scenarios that you may find yourself in.
Can I Sue My Employer for Exposure to Asbestos?
It’s the responsibility of your employer to ensure that your place of business is a safe environment for all workers. In the case of asbestos exposure, you must be able to prove that your employer intentionally overlooked or disregarded the knowledge of asbestos in the building, thereby putting all employees and workers at risk. If they failed to inform you of it’s presence or failed to provide you with the proper protection against exposure, they are also at fault and you likely have a strong case against them. If your employer provided you with the proper safety protection but it failed to do its job, you instead can instead sue the manufacturer of the faulty equipment.
Can I Sue My Landlord for Exposure to Asbestos?
Much like the duties of an employer or building manager, it’s a landlords job to make sure that their properties are fit for their tenants. It’s their responsibility know and understand the laws and regulations regarding their rental locations and ensure they meet proper health and safety requirements. Failure to do so can very well be grounds for a lawsuit. Regarding asbestos, if a landlord is aware of the presence of asbestos in the building but fails to inform the tenant, the landlord is liable.
What Are The Requirements To Bring Forth an Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit?
If a tenant suspects that their rental property is contaminated with asbestos, they must prove its presence before bring forth a lawsuit against the landlord. This may entail having a home inspector check out the location and provide a report confirming it’s presence. Though it’s up to the tenant to hire and bring in an inspector, all expenses, including the inspection, can be recovered.
In the workplace, you must prove that your employer knew about the presence of asbestos but acted egregiously. In some states, even if there is no egregious act, it’s still possible to sue an employer if the exposure occurred before the implementation of workmen’s compensation law.
If you strongly suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or office building, it’s highly suggested to get a free consultation with a lawyer. Not only will they be able to assist in your potential case, but they’ll also help to clarify and examine your options. Be sure to take pictures of the things you may suspect and date them, as this may help to solidify your case going forward.