A recent ruling by an Alabama federal court judge awarded a family $3.5 million in damages in a “take home” asbestos case.
In the case, it was determined that a woman lost her life due to lung disease that was caused by having laundered clothes that were exposed to asbestos. Her clothes were exposed to asbestos because her husband had performed asbestos insulation clean-up for a nuclear plant which was owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The husband’s work at the plant caused him to suffer an asbestos-induced lung cancer that took his life in 1997.
His wife laundered her husband’s clothes for over two decades, and in 2012 she passed away after being diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos. As a result, the Alabama federal court judge determined that it was her exposure to her husband’s clothing that led to her asbestos-related lung cancer.
Alabama Employer Negligence and Wrongful Death Cases
The aforementioned case was a rare form of employer negligence and wrongful death that was two decades in the making. The facts showed that worker safety regulations, as outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), were violated. Additionally, the facts indicate that TVA violated its own safety guidelines.
In the state of Alabama, such violations of a standard duty of care satisfies the standard for employer negligence. When an employer fails to act in such a way that reasonably protects their employees, an employer negligence lawsuit may be justified. Moreover, Alabama businesses are also required to create a business environment that does not place their employees in unnecessary danger. In instances such as the previous case, this standard was clearly not met. If you have been the victim of a similar set of circumstances, you may be entitled to damages for injuries suffered as a direct result of your employer’s negligent behavior.
Additionally, when a death occurs, the family’s estate may also file a wrongful death suit against the employer. Alabama law requires a personal representative of the decedent’s estate to file the lawsuit under a wrongful death claim. The personal representative must also file the lawsuit within two years of the decedent’s passing according to Alabama’s statute of limitations.
Alabama also requires plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit to seek punitive damages rather than compensatory damages. As such, Alabama compensates victims specifically for losses and costs tied to the decedent’s death. Damages awarded in these cases, then, are designed to compensate the estate based on the at-fault individual or entity’s wrongdoing.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death or employer negligence and you live in the city of Foley and/or Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia Counties, contact Noel B. Leonard or call (251) 597-0695 for a legal consultation.