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Caroselli Beachler McTiernan & Conboy, L.L.C. Blog

Do you work in a job with a high rate of asbestos exposure?

A natural but dangerous fiber was well integrated into the daily lives of Allegheny County residents – even embedded within the structures of homes – before health risks related to the mineral became known. Although asbestos fibers are natural, inhaling or ingesting them can lead to chronic respiratory diseases and cancer. Regulations now limit the use of asbestos but have not eliminated asbestos exposure.

Old products, including the structural contents of entire buildings, still contain asbestos. Employees who make or work with products containing the fibers can be harmed, unless employers take protective measures to secure workers' safety. Workers in certain jobs have had a greater potential exposure to asbestos than employees in other professions.

Widow of fan killed by lightning sues Pennsylvania racetrack

The safety of guests is as much a concern for owners and operators of large Allegheny County venues as they are for owners of small shops or residences. The number of visitors is considerably greater at a Heinz Field or PNC Park than a store or home, but the property owner's responsibility to maintain a safe premises is the same. Damages may be awarded for property owner negligence, whether the injured party is one of a handful of shoppers or one in a crowd of thousands.

Fans turned up for a scheduled race at Pocono Raceway in August 2012, despite warnings by the National Weather Service of severe thunderstorms in the area. Less than 10 minutes after the warning was issued, race organizers passed the weather information to fans through social media. About a half hour later, the weather forced cancellation of the event.

Suit alleges unsecured products injured Pennsylvania shopper

Shopping isn't supposed to be a dangerous experience. However, it can be when Allegheny County store owners ignore dangerous conditions or possible hazards on the premises. Think about all the products piled high in a grocery store, especially end-of-aisle and free-standing displays, and all the employees and customers who handle them.

A Philadelphia woman was waiting in a checkout line at a Pathmark in June 2012, when she was struck by a rack of falling products. The shopper suffered nervous shock and arm, shoulder and spine injuries, including a disc herniation. A newly-filed premises liability lawsuit blames the Glen Olden Pathmark for the accident.

Beach warning may have prevented Pennsylvania man’s drowning

Residential, commercial and government property owners are responsible for the safety of visitors. Premises liability laws in some states assess owner liability based on the status of a visitor. The duty of care toward a visitor increases with the status – obligations to an invited guest are greater than to a trespasser.

An Allegheny County property owner may not ignore known dangerous conditions. Hazards must be eliminated. When that's not possible, visitors must be warned about dangers.

Asbestos-related disease risks for Allegheny County workers

Scientific advancements have reduced the risk of dying from diseases that plagued past generations. Polio affected tens of thousands of Americans in the last century until vaccines developed in the 1950s helped eradicate the paralyzing disease nationwide. The U.S. was declared polio-free in 1979, according to a 2012 CNN report.

Like polio, asbestos-related diseases may be considered "old school" conditions by some Allegheny County residents. After all, the connection between asbestos exposure and cancer has been known for decades. The federal government banned or limited many product applications of asbestos decades ago, but the threat to workers' health hasn't disappeared for good.

Boy’s medical costs continue 5 years after Pennsylvania fall

Allegheny County residential and business property owners can be accountable for trip and fall injuries suffered by visitors. Premises liability laws permit victims to file for compensation due to property owner or operator and related third-party negligence. Insurance settlements and judgments cover short and long-term medical expenses and other damages, such as wage losses for disability.

Pennsylvania drivers owe one another a duty of care to operate a motor vehicle safely. The same principle applies to property ownership. Landowners and those responsible for maintaining it must take reasonable steps to safeguard visitors by inspecting and maintaining a property and, when necessary, making repairs or removing hazards.

Customer sues Pennsylvania Wal-Mart over carpet trip injuries

Safety hazard awareness is a pivotal element in some property injury claims. Allegheny County home and business owners can be held accountable for visitor injuries caused by known dangers, like an uneven pavement at the entrance to a store. Property owners sometimes try to deflect blame by claiming they didn't know about a dangerous condition.

A Pennsylvania man is arguing that Wal-Mart should have known an unsecured carpet in its Willow Grove store was dangerous. The man, a plaintiff in a Philadelphia premises liability lawsuit, tripped over a bunched carpet at the store last year. He fell and fractured five ribs.

Second-hand asbestos exposure victim sues spouse’s ex-employer

A person may suffer injuries from a toxic substance through indirect exposure. Asbestos fibers float through the air when the natural, but cancer-causing minerals, are disturbed. An Allegheny County worker can ingest or inhale fibers through products or equipment containing asbestos and inadvertently become a disease carrier.

The widow of a man who worked in various positions at a New England grinding wheel manufacturer is suing the company's current owner. The woman was diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases she claims were caused by Norton Co., now part of Saint-Gobain Abrasives, and several related defendants. The mesothelioma victim's husband once worked at Norton.

Pennsylvania theme park faulted for 2011 water slide accident

Just a few weeks ago, this blog featured a story about a lawsuit filed against a Pennsylvania amusement park. The woman filed a premises liability suit against Sesame Place after a sharp metal piece, securing a mattress to the bottom of a water slide pool, deeply cut the victim’s knee. The same theme park recently was ordered to compensate a patron hurt on another park slide.

A 25-year-old man was celebrating a summer holiday weekend at Sesame Place outside Philadelphia. The man rode the winding Bert & Ernie Slip and Slide while wearing aqua socks. The plaintiff’s legal claim against the park said no slide operators warned the patron to take off the socks before using the slide.

$25 million awarded in electrician asbestos exposure cases

The past can catch up with negligent parties. Allegheny County asbestos litigation often includes former employees who had no idea that they were working in hazardous environments. Life-threatening conditions remained dormant decades after workers were exposed to the cause of them -- asbestos.

A jury recently ruled in favor of two men who worked with and around Crane Company products containing asbestos. One man died of mesothelioma last year at age 74; the other man, now 72, was diagnosed with asbestosis in the late 1990s and mesothelioma in 2012. The men were electricians between the 1950s and the 1970s.