When Vickie Williams was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, she knew exactly where the asbestos she’d been exposed to came from: It all came from the Square D factory. But the exact method of her exposure was a little harder to figure out. Vickie’s father had worked for Schneider Electric USA (formerly known as Square D) for years, and when he’d returned home from work each day, his clothes were covered with the toxic dust. But Vickie had also worked at the factory during one of her summers as a teenager. When she filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against the company, they seized upon that three-month job as their way out of being held responsible, claiming that their only liability was under Workers’ Compensation laws. A trial court disagreed with their argument, and now the Court of Appeals of Kentucky has agreed with that previous assessment and will allow her case to proceed.
Company’s argument would have significantly diminished victim’s compensation
There is little doubt as to why Square D would press for a Workers’ Compensation claim rather than a personal injury claim. Employees who successfully file those claims against their companies for toxic exposures are generally entitled to nothing more than their medical expenses and any lost wages. In Mrs. Williams’ case, her long-ago summer job would not have entitled her to much compensation at all.
Vickie Williams died of mesothelioma in February 2017, but her husband continued pursuing her lawsuit, and the Court of Appeals’ decision to deny Square D’s argument will allow her case to proceed. Though Square D maintained that any non-work related injuries that she suffered as a result of her father having worked for the company were non-compensable, the court concluded that the state’s workers’ compensation laws only applied to workplace injuries.
Court sides with mesothelioma victim
They defined work injuries as a “work-related traumatic event or serious of traumatic events, including cumulative trauma arising out of and in the course of employment.” They indicated that there was no evidence that Williams’ illness had been a result of her having worked at the electric equipment manufacturing plant.
Asbestos companies continue to demonstrate that they will argue against their liability in any way that they can, and that means that mesothelioma victims and others diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases need to be diligent and meticulous in gathering their information and understanding their rights in order to get the compensation that they deserve. If you need information on the benefits to which mesothelioma victims are entitled, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.