Georgia Mesothelioma Lawyer
While Georgia only ranks 23rd in the nation for number of deaths related to asbestos, the state does have a long history with this deadly mineral. It began in 1894 when Georgia became the first state to begin industrial mining of asbestos. The mine was in the northern part of the state in the Sall Mountains at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains. That mine was just the start of a big industry throughout the U.S. for producing, processing, and using asbestos for a variety of industries.
Today there are multiple former mines and a variety of industrial workplaces that exposed people to asbestos over a span of decades. Many of these people became sick later because of that exposure and have had to face illnesses like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Some have turned to Georgia mesothelioma lawyers for help getting compensation and justice.
The Toll of Asbestos in Georgia
According to statistics, there were 3,187 deaths related to asbestos exposure in the state of Georgia between 1999 and 2013. Of those, 591 were caused by mesothelioma and 246 were caused by asbestosis. The remaining deaths, numbering over 2,000, have been attributed to lung cancer. Lung cancer is not always caused by asbestos exposure, but it may be a contributing factor and these deaths are considered to have been related to asbestos.
Most people who were exposed to asbestos and became sick were victims of workplace exposure. These people were not adequately protected by employers or manufacturers and many of them relied on a Georgia mesothelioma lawyer to help them file a lawsuit against those responsible.
Asbestos Mines in Georgia
The southern end of the Appalachian Mountains stretches into northern Georgia, and this is where deposits of naturally occurring asbestos can be found in the state. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are 52 natural deposits in Georgia, more than any other eastern state. This is also where several asbestos mines, including the country’s first, operated in the past.
Asbestos mining really took off in the late 1800s and early 1900s as the industrial importance was recognized. The mineral is abundant, which makes it inexpensive, and it has many desirable properties for construction, shipbuilding, and other industries: heat and fire resistance, electrical resistance, and lightweight strength.
The mines in northern Georgia were an important part of the state’s economy, but it also took a toll on the health of workers and residents living near the asbestos mines. The particles of asbestos fibers easily become airborne, and when inhaled, cause serious illnesses. The oldest mine operated for nearly a century, causing a lot of damage to workers and residents.
Georgia workers have also faced exposure to asbestos from industrial workplaces that used the mineral in various applications. One of the biggest companies to use asbestos in Georgia is the paper and construction materials company Georgia-Pacific.
Headquartered in Atlanta, the company is known to have exposed workers to asbestos over the years. One way in which this occurred was through the processing of a gypsum joint compound that contained asbestos. It was discontinued after about 12 years, but a lot of damage had already been done to workers.
The exposure and aftermath at Georsgia-Pacific received a lot of media attention, partly because multiple workers filed successful lawsuits against the company. Thousands of lawsuits came in decades after the company had discontinued the joint compound. This gap occurred because illnesses like mesothelioma have a long latency period, and some workers didn’t know they were sick until decades later. Some of the plaintiffs have won millions from Georgia-Pacific.
Another infamous case of an employer potentially exposing workers to asbestos in the state occurred at a Keebler Company bakery in Atlanta. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health investigated the location in 1987 after hearing reports of an unusual number of employees developing cancer.
Asbestos was found in the baking ovens, but the investigators also found that the company had taken appropriate steps to remove it and to prevent it causing exposure. Whether workers were unnecessarily exposed is uncertain, but there were many complaints of unusual cases of lung cancer among them.
Other Sites Known to Have Asbestos
In addition to the well-known incidences of asbestos exposure and resulting illnesses, workers and residents in Georgia have been exposed in countless other settings. Military bases, federal buildings, schools, and a number of workplaces are known to have asbestos and to have put people at risk of exposure:
- Georgia Power Company, Atlanta, Harlem, and Macon
- Mead Paper Company
- Great Northern Paper Company, Cedar Springs
- Hercules Powder Plant, Brunswick
- Johns-Manville, Savannah, Winder
- Continental Can Company, Augusta
- Dobbins Air Force Base
- DuPont Equipment and Installation, Atlanta
- Fort Benning Power House, Fort Benning
- Hunter Air Force Base, Savannah
- National Biscuit Company, Hapeville
Asbestos Laws in Georgia
The laws in Georgia regarding the handling of asbestos are administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The state also follows federal rules regarding air quality and emission standards. According to state laws, asbestos workers must be trained and licensed. The government must be notified of any abatement project within seven days of it beginning. The department also sets strict rules for how asbestos is disposed of, including wetting it first and transporting it in a specific way to a facility that is licensed to handle asbestos waste.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits in Georgia is two years. This means a plaintiff must file a lawsuit against the negligent party within two years of a diagnosis or two years of when that diagnosis should reasonably have been made.
For many people a diagnosis comes decades after being exposed to asbestos, which is why it is important to understand that the statute of limitations begins at the time of diagnosis, not exposure. For loved ones of someone deceased because of asbestos exposure, the statute of limitations on a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the time of death.
Finding and Working with a Georgia Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you live and work in the state of Georgia, or you did when you were exposed to asbestos, you have a limited amount of time in which to file a lawsuit to seek compensation from an employer or other part responsible for your exposure. This is why it is so important to find and work with a Georgia mesothelioma lawyer. An experienced professional with knowledge of the law will be able to help you and give you the best chance of a successful outcome.
As you look for a mesothelioma lawyer in Georgia to help you with a lawsuit for yourself or because of the loss of a loved one, make sure you find an experienced professional who has taken these cases before and won them for asbestos victims. The laws can be confusing and you want to know that the expert you are working with has filed such suits in the past and been successful at getting good results for clients.
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Page edited by Dave Foster
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