This article has been fact checked by an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Sources of information are listed at the bottom of the article.
We make every attempt to keep our information accurate and up-to-date.
Please Contact Us with any questions or comments.
If you or a loved one has been affected by asbestos, a Georgia mesothelioma lawyer can help you seek justice and recover damages. Georgia has seen fewer mesothelioma deaths than other states, but mining and other industries caused many cases of asbestos exposure and illness.Get Financial Help Now
Get Help from the Top Mesothelioma Law Firms
- Free Consultation
- Brochures from Top Law Firms
Georgia Mesothelioma Lawyers Work with Clients Across the State
Asbestos exposure can happen anywhere. No corner of the state is safe from the potential harms of asbestos, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Georgia asbestos and mesothelioma law firms are dedicated to helping victims in:
- And many more
Why Do I Need an Asbestos Attorney?
Asbestos cases are complicated. Depending on the legal action, there are numerous and varied laws that impact how you proceed and the damages you can recover. A lawyer can help you in several ways if you have an asbestos illness:
- Provide a free consultation to answer your questions
- Explain your legal options and advise you on the best choice
- Connect you with medical experts
- Investigate your past asbestos exposure to find the companies that are likely liable for damages
- Take all legal steps on your behalf, so you can focus on treatment
- Start your case at no charge
- Bring expertise and experience to bear on getting you a good result
- Maximize the compensation you receive
How Do I File a Mesothelioma Claim in Georgia?
Victims of asbestos exposure in Georgia have a few options for taking legal action or seeking compensation:
- Lawsuit. Companies that exposed people to asbestos without warnings of the risks can be held liable for damages. You can file a personal injury lawsuit to hold them accountable or a wrongful death lawsuit if you lost a loved one to asbestos exposure. Both types of claims usually end in settlements but might go to court for a jury verdict.
- Asbestos Trust Fund. Many companies filed for bankruptcy after facing numerous asbestos lawsuits. Federal bankruptcy law required that these companies set up trusts to compensate victims as part of the process. You might be able to file a claim with one of these trusts.
- VA Claim. Asbestos exposure during military service has led to thousands of cases of mesothelioma in veterans, a population affected more than any other. The Veterans Administration offers several types of benefits for these veterans, including healthcare and compensation.
The Toll of Asbestos in Georgia
According to statistics, 4,172 people died of illnesses related to asbestos exposure in the state of Georgia between 1999 and 2017. Of those, 777 were caused by mesothelioma. Another 302 deaths came from asbestosis.
The remaining deaths, numbering over 3,000, have been attributed to lung cancer. Asbestos does not always cause lung cancer, but it may be a contributing factor.
Who Is Eligible to File a Mesothelioma or Asbestos Claim in Georgia?
Most people who were exposed to asbestos and became sick were victims of workplace exposure. Employers or manufacturers did not adequately protect these people. Without warnings and protections, many companies can be held liable and the victims have a right to file a claim or start a lawsuit.
These are some of the places and worksites where Georgia residents encountered asbestos:
Asbestos Mines in Georgia
The southern end of the Appalachian Mountains stretches into northern Georgia. Natural deposits are found in this area. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are fifty-two natural asbestos deposits in Georgia, more than any other eastern state. It is also where several asbestos mines, including the country’s first mine, operated in the past.
Asbestos mining really took off in the late 1800s and early 1900s as its industrial importance was recognized. Georgia was the first state to begin the industrial mining of asbestos in the Sall Mountains.
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 they 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, can cause serious illnesses. The oldest asbestos 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. The company discontinued after about twelve years, but a lot of damage had already been done to workers.
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 and this has led to one of the company affiliates filing for bankruptcy.
Another infamous case of an employer potentially exposing workers to asbestos in Georgia occurred at a Keebler Company bakery in Atlanta.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 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 from 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 Georgia
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 several 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
What Are the Asbestos Laws in Georgia?
Georgia laws affect claims made by asbestos victims. They also seek to prevent future exposure and illness in residents.
Asbestos Safety Regulations
Regulations 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 its 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 the 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 diagnosis or two years of when that diagnosis should reasonably have been made.
For many people, a diagnosis comes decades after asbestos exposure. It’s crucial to understand that the statute of limitations begins at the time of diagnosis or when you should reasonably have been diagnosed, not at the time of 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.
Asbestos and Silica Litigation Reforms
In the early 2000s, Georgia became only the second state, after Ohio, to enact or reform laws aimed at curbing illegitimate lawsuits over asbestos exposure. The reforms make it more difficult for victims to get justice:
- Victims can only file a civil lawsuit if they have clear evidence of a medical condition related to asbestos exposure.
- They must also show the medical condition is impairing.
- Victims can only file a claim in the county in which they reside or in which the asbestos exposure occurred.
- There are limits on consolidating cases with other victims.
No Take-Home Duty in Georgia
Another aspect of Georgia law that doesn’t favor asbestos victims is a precedent over take-home duty in asbestos exposure cases. This refers to secondhand exposure. This occurs when victims encountered asbestos not on the job but in the home when a family member brought fibers in on their work clothes.
Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed in this way. Some states have found that the responsibility of asbestos companies to warn of the risks of their products extends to these victims.
Georgia does not recognize this so-called take-home duty to warn family members of the risks of asbestos. The decision came during a 2016 case when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that CertainTeed did not have a duty to warn the victim that her father’s work clothing could have harmed her.
Finding and Working with a Georgia Mesothelioma Lawyer
These laws and precedents make it complicated and challenging for some asbestos victims to get justice.
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, make sure you find an experienced professional who previously worked with asbestos victims or their families. Keep in mind that laws can be confusing. You need an expert who successfully filed such suits in the past and has been successful at getting good results for clients.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Rod De Llano was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics, and earned a law degree from the University of Texas. After working for an international law firm for several years, Rod formed a law firm dedicated to representing persons injured by exposure to asbestos products. For over 20 years, Rod has fought for persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. His clients have recovered over $1 billion over the years.