Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Demolition of trailer park may have led to asbestos exposure

An unusual situation has been taking place in a Pennsylvania community that may have resulted in misplaced families being exposed to asbestos. Such asbestos-related exposure can sometimes occur when decisions are made to demolish areas without making a proper determination as to whether asbestos was even present.

A natural gas company purchased a mobile home park community with the intention of having it demolished. However, certain residents at the mobile home community refused to immediately leave while the demolition took place. So while the demolition did nevertheless begin, the families that refused to leave unknowingly were exposed to asbestos that was being stirred up by the demolition.

The families were all to receive small settlements as an incentive to leave the community (approximately $12,500 for each member family). Yet in accepting such payments, these families would presumably also be unable to sue the natural gas company for any reason - including asbestos-related diseases or injuries.

Such an issue would bring up some understandable consternation among park community members. Asbestos exposure is anything but a trivial matter that can easily be brushed away by a small amount of money. Such exposure can lead to respiratory problems, mesothelioma and lung cancer. However, the sometimes the results of such exposure is not apparent for a number of years.

There are attorneys that will represent individuals exposed intentionally or unintentionally to asbestos. Such attorneys understand the long term consequences of such exposure, and also understand that the results of such exposure require more than a pittance in compensation.

Because of the severe consequences that can result due to asbestos exposure, companies must take all care when demolishing property where asbestos may be present. Otherwise, such companies recklessly put workers and residents at risk for severe injury or illness.

Source: Times Online, "Displaced families at center of fracking protests," by Tara Zrinski," July 12, 2012

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