When a loved one dies due to the negligence of others, you have the right to pursue justice by suing the groups responsible for your loss. Attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg won a significant settlement for the family of a Pennsylvania man who suffered from and died of mesothelioma cancer.
Our attorneys proved that our client was exposed to asbestos because of unsafe working conditions at his job for a mining company and the equipment he used on the job.
He was a Navy veteran and a man who worked hard to support his wife and children. As a surface miner, he worked in heavy construction, operating cranes and lifts, including a dragline excavator, for almost 20 years.
Our client contracted mesothelioma from his work and died in his late 60s. The numerous co-defendants in the case included his employer, and several manufacturers of the equipment he used and the replacement parts needed to maintain that equipment.
No Safety Methods Were Used
Based on the testimony of co-workers, our attorneys proved that no safety procedures were established to protect the workers from what were then the known hazards of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos dust was constantly on their hands, clothes and in the air.
According to lead attorney Alex Eiden, “Neither the employer, nor any of the manufacturers of the equipment or the parts being used warned the workers or provided any way for the workers to avoid the risk. There were no safety procedures established and no protective equipment was provided. The workers were on their own.”
Job Regularly Exposed Him to Asbestos Risk
In addition to operating the equipment, a significant part of our client’s responsibility was to maintain the cranes and lifts that he used. This required regular maintenance, including changing brake drums and replacing engine gaskets.
These parts were manufactured using asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that helps protect against heat from friction. It was used to strengthen products and protect against heat.
But as these parts that contain asbestos are subjected to friction, wear, cutting, drilling, or sanding, a dust is created containing asbestos fibers. If these fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they pass into your body and lodge in your lungs. Where they remain.
There is no way to clear these fibers from your system. The irritation from these fibers can cause many different types of cancer, including mesothelioma, which is incurable. The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos Dust in the Air
Because so many different items were made with asbestos, people who work in the construction industries have a large risk of exposure and a high incidence of cancer. There is a constant exposure to the dust. Workers do not need to actually handle the items with asbestos, just being exposed to the dust creates a high risk.
When our client was performing maintenance on the brake drums and gaskets, part of his job was to clear out the accumulated dust caused by wear. This was done manually, using a wire brush or putty knife.
As workers scraped the dust, particles would fly into the air. No safety equipment was issued. According to Mr. Eiden, “This was a clear case of employers showing no concern for their employees. The risks of asbestos exposure were known, but nothing was done to warn or to protect their people.”
Co-Workers Testified About Working Conditions
Other men who worked with our client provided testimony about their regular work routine and the ongoing exposure to asbestos. It was almost impossible to escape the risks.
It was not just about replacing parts. As an example, the brakes for the lift were located directly behind the cab where the operator sat. He was exposed to asbestos dust every time the brakes were applied.
The routine maintenance needed to operate the crane required disassembling components. There was a minimum of two engine tear-downs per year. Gaskets had to be replaced at least six times a year.
Co-workers were able to testify to the maintenance done and were able to identify the manufacturers of specific components used. The witnesses confirm that our client was involved in all this maintenance. They testified that even though our client was a careful man, there was no way to avoid exposure to asbestos.
Effects of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is an incurable form of cancer. It can take years to develop. A person with mesothelioma is in constant pain and typically has difficulty breathing. People with this horrible disease are often unable to work, or to provide for their family, or for themselves. Mr. Eiden points out that, “Not just the patient, but the whole family suffers.”
In order to make sure that his family was cared for, our client contacted Weitz & Luxenberg to represent him. Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys have decades of experience in securing judgements for clients against employers and manufacturers who disregard the safety and welfare of the people who work for them, or who use their products.
Our goal is to get a just financial settlement for the pain and suffering, the medical expenses, and the loss of income our client has suffered. We hope we helped this surface miner’s family find some peace of mind.