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Why Do I Need a Massachusetts Mesothelioma Lawyer?
Mesothelioma is a terrible disease that is fatal and very costly to treat. All victims of asbestos should be able to get justice for the harm caused to them. Victims also have a right to seek compensation. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you do both.
Mesothelioma and asbestos law firms in Massachusetts help victims throughout the state. They represent clients in Boston, Worcester, Cambridge, Lowell, Brockton, Springfield, New Bedford, and other cities.
Asbestos exposure is almost always negligent, so talk to a lawyer about your legal options, which might include:
- Personal Injury Lawsuit. A lawyer can help you determine which companies exposed you to asbestos and file a lawsuit on your behalf. You could be entitled to damages for medical and other costs.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuit. If you lost a family member to this terrible disease, a lawyer can help you seek damages with a wrongful death suit.
- Asbestos Trust Fund Claim. Your lawyer can also determine if any of the companies that exposed you went bankrupt. If they did, you might be able to make a claim for compensation with the relevant trust fund.
- VA Benefits. If your exposure occurred during military service, you might be eligible for VA disability compensation, healthcare, and other benefits.
Where Was I Exposed to Asbestos in Massachusetts?
Asbestos occurs in multiple places in Massachusetts, but most residents suffered exposure at work. Many industrial work sites may have used asbestos at some time, putting numerous workers at risk. In Massachusetts, this includes:
- Manufacturing plants
- Metal refineries and foundries
- Power plants
- Chemical companies
Older residential and public buildings also present asbestos dangers. Before the government introduced regulations in the 1970s, most buildings were constructed with asbestos.
These buildings contained asbestos in everything from insulation to flooring, and they now pose major health risks if asbestos materials are damaged or deteriorate.
Boston Naval Shipyard and Maritime Exposure
Shipping and shipbuilding have been essential industries in Massachusetts for hundreds of years. The United States Navy also has a large presence in the state.
Massachusetts’s long history of maritime jobs has also been a major source of asbestos exposure. For decades, asbestos was used in nearly every component of ships, with particularly heavy use during World War II. Asbestos was prized because it is lightweight, adds strength to materials, and resists heat and fire.
Because of the extensive use of asbestos in shipbuilding, anyone who worked around or on ships was likely exposed on the job.
Boston’s Naval Shipyard is one of many maritime facilities in the state documented to have used asbestos, exposing workers. The shipyard built vessels from the early 1800s through the 1970s and made many ships used in World War II. Between 1930 and 1973, the United States Navy used asbestos in hundreds of components to build these ships.
Other Sites with Asbestos
Many Massachusetts workplaces are associated with asbestos. These include many sites in the maritime industry but also other industrial workplaces. In many cases, the companies put workers at risk of asbestos exposure. Some of these include:
- Charlestown Naval Yard, Charlestown
- Fairhaven Shipyard, Fairhaven
- Fore River Shipyard, Quincy
- Marlboro Electric Company, Marlboro
- Norton Grinding Company, Worcester
- Monsanto Plant, Springfield
- Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Quincy
- Sevens Paper Mill, Andover
- Mead Paper Mill, Lee
- New England Power Company, Salem
Superfund Site with Asbestos Contamination
Some industrial sites that used asbestos were abandoned and never cleaned up. Some of the sites became Environmental Protection Agency Superfund sites, including the Blackburn and Union Privileges site in Walpole. The site includes twenty-two acres of land and water contaminated by several toxins, including asbestos.
Two different companies have operated at the site, including W.R. Grace, making asbestos clutch and brake linings. In 2010, the two companies agreed to clean up the site, budgeting millions for the work.
The state ordered them to pay damages for contaminating the area. Area residents were put at risk for decades of being exposed to asbestos and other contaminants.
Am I Still at Risk of Asbestos Exposure in Massachusetts?
Abandoned industrial sites are just one source of ongoing asbestos exposure in the state. You might not live near one of these, but you could still be at risk for asbestos exposure.
The main risk for most people comes from asbestos in older buildings. It was used so heavily in past decades that asbestos lingers in many homes, workplaces, and public buildings. Some recent examples highlight the ongoing risk:
- The state recently fined a development company for illegal asbestos handling at several condominiums in North Reading.
- It also fined a restoration company after it did work at an elementary school in Fitchburg. The company mishandled the removal of asbestos tiles.
- In Winchester, landlords face charges of illegal asbestos work in apartment buildings often used by college students.
What Are the Asbestos Laws in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts laws include current asbestos protections and laws that regulate how people file and seek damages in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
Asbestos Safety Regulations
The Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Department of Labor administer state asbestos laws. The state requires notification from a contractor before any construction, renovation, or demolition project that involves asbestos begins.
The contractor must also pay a non-refundable state fee of $100 before any asbestos project. Cities must be notified before these projects begin; also, there are strict rules regarding who can do these jobs and how the removed asbestos is stored, encapsulated, and sent for disposal.
Statute of Limitations
People harmed by asbestos have a right to file a lawsuit to seek recovery of damages. In Massachusetts, you have two years from the time of diagnosis to make a case. If you need to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you have two years from the time of death to do so.
Statute of Repose in Construction Cases Harms Asbestos Victims
A Massachusetts law limits the time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit for construction-related claims. It imposes a hard deadline, a statute of repose, of six years in tort cases involving negligent design, planning, construction, or improvement in properties.
A lawsuit recently challenged the statute in asbestos claims, citing the long latency period of mesothelioma. Wayne Oliver worked as a pipe insulator at construction sites in Massachusetts. He developed mesothelioma decades later and sued several defendants responsible for the asbestos where he worked.
The defendants sought summary judgment to dismiss the case, which was outside the statute of repose. A court denied this move, and it went to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). The SJC determined that the statute was clear and applied to all situations, including asbestos exposure.
This is an important decision for asbestos victims. It means that many victims will have no opportunity to sue companies responsible for their exposure because of the hard deadline of six years.
Medical Care in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is home to two designated comprehensive care centers by the National Cancer Institute: Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Both facilities are located in Boston.
The designation assures that these facilities include experts in cancer care, including mesothelioma. These facilities also have the latest treatment technologies. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, these are two excellent options for care.
Find a Massachusetts Mesothelioma Lawyer
Because of limits and complications associated with seeking damages, it is important to work with a Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyer if you develop an asbestos-related illness. There is often a negligent party (such as an asbestos manufacturer), and you have a right to make your case and seek justice.
An experienced lawyer has the knowledge you need to help you make a case. They can also present necessary information in the proper format. Working with a lawyer is the only way to ensure you have the best possible chance to win.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.