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If you were exposed to asbestos, an Indiana mesothelioma lawyer can act as your advocate and help you take legal action and recover damages. Many of Indiana’s industrial and manufacturing jobs exposed workers to asbestos, leading to a number of illnesses and related deaths.Get Financial Help Now
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How Mesothelioma Lawyers Help Indiana Asbestos Victims
Indiana mesothelioma lawyers specialize in helping victims of asbestos exposure get justice, hold asbestos companies accountable, and get compensation. They work with clients in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend, Carmel, Bloomington, Gary, and throughout the state.
The right asbestos attorney can help you in several ways:
- Provide a free consultation to answer questions
- Give you legal options and advice on what to do next
- Maximize your chances of recovering damages
- Investigate your past employers to find out which companies are responsible for your asbestos exposure
- Negotiate a settlement on your behalf
- File a claim with an asbestos trust fund if you qualify
- Help you make a claim for VA benefits if you are a veteran and encountered asbestos during active service
Who Is Eligible to File a Mesothelioma Claim in Indiana?
Indiana has seen high rates of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths. The deadly mineral was used at many of the thriving industrial jobs, like steel, petroleum, chemical, and automotive industries.
Anyone impacted by asbestos exposure can take legal action. This includes workers, but also family members and homeowners exposed to asbestos who later get sick.
From 1999 through 2017, more than 7,000 people in the state died due to asbestos-related illnesses. This included nearly 6,000 people with lung cancer, 1,120 with mesothelioma, and 198 with asbestosis, a non-cancerous lung disease.
How Much Compensation Can I Get for an Indiana Mesothelioma Claim?
The amount of compensation you might be able to recover depends on the unique factors in your case. A lawyer can give you a good estimate but cannot guarantee an amount. Here are some examples of big wins Indiana mesothelioma lawyers have gotten for their clients in the past:
- $250 Million for U.S. Steel Worker. Roby Whittington worked at a U.S. Steel plant in Gary for decades. He received a diagnosis of mesothelioma in 2001. A jury awarded Whittington $50 million for compensatory damages as well as $200 million in punitive damages.
- $10.5 Million for Wrongful Death. Katherine Chisolm filed a lawsuit over the death of her husband Richard. He died from mesothelioma in 2012 after working at a ceramics company that used talc contaminated with asbestos.
- $5.6 Million for Wrongful Death. Another victim of mesothelioma, Fred Riebel died in 2016 at the age of 56. Riebel worked at U.S. Steel in Indiana and Illinois. His family sued the company and others for failing to warn Riebel of the risks of asbestos.
Where Was I Exposed to Asbestos in Indiana?
Most people affected by asbestos encountered it on the job, but there are many potential sources of exposure. If you have mesothelioma, talk to an Indiana asbestos firm about where your exposure occurred. They can investigate and get you answers.
Steel Workers and Asbestos
Some of the workers most in need of the guidance of an Indiana mesothelioma lawyer are those who worked in the steel industry. Steel mills and foundries in the state used asbestos heavily because of its ability to prevent fires and insulate from heat.
Gary, in the northwest corner of the state, was a major center for steel production and processing. It was also a major location for asbestos exposure. The majority of asbestos-related illnesses and fatalities reported in the state come from Gary and the surrounding area.
One of the most significant jury awards given to a single person with an asbestos-related illness happened to a U.S. Steel worker from Gary, Indiana. Although the case was tried in Illinois, the plaintiff worked in and was exposed to asbestos in the Gary steelworks industry. He won $250 million after being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2001.
The Automotive Industry
The automotive industry has also had a significant presence in the state of Indiana. Workers constructed and repaired cars and other vehicles using asbestos in many components. Even today, brakes and clutches in many cars contain asbestos because of its ability to resist fire and heat.
Manufacturers of these parts have not always protected their employees from the dangers of asbestos. For example, in 1984, workers at Nuturn Corporation—a company that makes automotive brakes—in New Castle, Indiana, requested an asbestos evaluation from the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH).
OSHA sets regulations for safe threshold levels of asbestos that employers must meet to keep their workers safe. NIOSH found that Nuturn had let asbestos levels exceed the safe threshold and put their workers at risk.
Over 150 workers were screened for related health problems. Many had poor performance on lung function tests and had difficulty breathing. One worker showed signs of asbestosis, a progressive and ultimately fatal disease caused by asbestos exposure.
Other Indiana Sites with Asbestos
Steel and automotive plants have been responsible for a significant portion of the illnesses and deaths related to asbestos in the state.
Several different employers and worksites have been known to have asbestos, and these also include other types of industries. Some of these are:
- S. Rubber Company, Fort Wayne
- Central Indiana Lighting Company, Bloomington
- Aluminum Company of America, Evansville
- Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Fort Wayne
- General Motors
- Southern Indiana Railway Company
- Franklin Electric Company
- Indiana and Michigan Electric Company
- Raybestos Friction Materials Company
- Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical
- Allison-Bedford Foundry
- Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corporation
Indiana Residents Are Still at Risk of Asbestos Exposure
In spite of changes to laws and workplaces, workers and residents in Indiana can still be exposed to asbestos. This is mostly due to the fact that asbestos materials remain in many older buildings.
Several families experienced this recently in Hobart. Twenty-four residents had to evacuate and abandon their apartments due to unsafe living conditions, including exposed asbestos.
Also at risk are homeowners who do DIY work without checking for asbestos first. Always have an asbestos professional do a check and abatement before doing home renovations.
What Are the Asbestos Laws in Indiana?
Indiana’s asbestos safety laws aim to prevent ongoing or future exposure. Other laws relating to negligence and personal injury impact how victims of past exposure seek damages.
Asbestos Safety Regulations
Asbestos laws and regulations in Indiana go through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Indiana Environmental Health Department. The laws include requirements for licensing and training of asbestos abatement professionals.
The laws also include how asbestos waste is handled and disposed of in the appropriate facilities, and compliance when working on asbestos projects or demolition of older buildings.
State laws also require notification before any construction work is done on a building that contains asbestos. Licensing varies depending on the type of person working with asbestos: contractors, inspectors, waste handlers, and others each have different requirements.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits is two years in Indiana. You also have just two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In most states, the statute of limitations begins when you receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma, not when the asbestos exposure occurred. This is important because mesothelioma typically doesn’t develop until 30 years or more after exposure.
Until recently, Indiana asbestos victims’ legal actions were limited by the state’s Product Liability Act. The law contains a statute of repose that gave victims a hard deadline of ten years from the time of asbestos exposure to file a lawsuit against asbestos product manufacturers.
Larry Myers and his legal team fought hard and went all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court to ensure he could sue the responsible parties after developing mesothelioma. Myers worked as an electrician and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court decided it was unconstitutional to give victims like Myers just ten years to take legal action. The Court ruled that the statute of repose did not apply to illnesses that take so long to develop.
Take-Home Duty for Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
Secondhand asbestos exposure occurs in people who did not directly work with or around asbestos. They encountered asbestos when a family member who worked with it brought fibers home on their clothing or in their hair.
Some states recognize that asbestos manufacturers had a duty to warn family members of people who worked with asbestos. This means that secondhand exposure victims also have a right to sue asbestos companies.
Indiana recognized this so-called take-home duty to warn about asbestos risks in a case from 2002. It involved a woman whose husband worked as an insulator and handled asbestos. She washed his asbestos-covered clothing and later got sick.
A court initially dismissed her case. A higher court then ruled that she could legally be considered a consumer and had the right to sue the asbestos insulation manufacturers.
Finding an Indiana Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you are hoping to file a lawsuit in the state of Indiana related to asbestos, whether on your behalf or the behalf of a deceased family member, don’t do it without the guidance of an Indiana mesothelioma lawyer.
Filing these lawsuits can be complicated and often mean going up against big corporations with a lot of legal experience. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer understands the laws in the state, how to make a strong case, how to gather the right evidence, and how to file a lawsuit.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.