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

Who Is Responsible For Asbestos In Workers' Households?

There is longstanding legal precedent for holding employers accountable when current and former workers are stricken with asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma. 

This begs the question, what about taking care of family members who fall victim to such ailments? Shouldn't they be able to go after the companies responsible for introducing asbestos to their living environment? 

Asbestos brought into the home on the clothing or shoes of workers has not always served as grounds for affected loved ones to recover damages for their medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages. 

If a ruling by the California Supreme Court is any indication, the tide may be turning on this issue. 

According to the Society For Human Resource Management, the court ruled that employers may be liable for asbestos-related illnesses that a worker's household members developed after being expose to asbestos on the worker's clothing and equipment.

BNSF Railway - the defendant in the case - argued that employers do not have a duty to prevent exposure for nonemployees who have not visited their facilities. The court disagreed, saying they do have a duty of care for non-employees because the idea that asbestos could easily make its way into the home and cause complications was easily foreseen.

So, who could benefit from this ruling? The classic example of a beneficiary of this ruling is a housewife from the 50s, 60s or 70s who routinely washed her husband's work clothes, being exposed to asbestos fibers. The ruling could also apply to children who grew up in the home of a factory worker who was exposed to asbestos. The duty only extends to the employee and members of his or her household, not friends, extended family, and others with more limited exposure.

Will the California Supreme Court's view of this issue be shared by other courts throughout the United States? Time will tell. In the meantime, you can turn to the experienced attorneys of Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C. for help if you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of asbestos exposure.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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