Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral with dozens of manufacturing and industrial uses. Unfortunately, it is also a known carcinogen that has a staggering human impact when used unsafely. Workers exposed to asbestos as part of their job, as well as family members who lived with environmentally exposed workers, can eventually develop the deadly cancer known as mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a slow-growing but devastating cancer of the organ linings. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, which means that someone sickened by their job will most likely eventually succumb to this terrible illness.
If you are a surviving spouse or child of someone who died because of work-related mesothelioma, you may have rights under the law, which could include the right to bring a wrongful death action against the company involved.
Surviving dependents can sometimes bring wrongful death claims
Under Ohio state law, surviving dependents have the right to bring a wrongful death action against someone who causes the death of another through negligence or a wrongful act. Companies that did not take necessary precautions to prevent their workers from the dangers of asbestos arguably have liability when those workers wind up sick or dead as a result of their employment.
Provided that you can directly connect the asbestos exposure to a particular job, you may have the option of taking legal action against the company. In some cases, you may also be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits as surviving dependents, although those benefits may cover the same expenses you could claim in a wrongful death lawsuit, such as lost wages, medical expenses and funeral costs.
What if the company has already gone out of business?
Given that mesothelioma often takes decades to develop, by the time your loved one received a diagnosis, their former employer may have been long out of business, possibly because of the costs associated with asbestos liability.
The good news is that there are still compensation options available when you can’t take action against the company itself, including bankruptcy trusts set up for exactly this purpose. Getting the right advice as you begin to explore your options for compensation can go a long way toward protecting you and getting justice for your loved one.