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Court Rules in Favor of Asbestos Victim, Against Illinois Railroad Company

Exposure to asbestos causes a wide range of serious illnesses, and in some cases causes mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer. Despite the fact that asbestos companies have been forced to pay billions of dollars in compensation to the victims of their negligence in exposing workers to the material, they continue to push back against, arguing against their responsibility and trying to get out of providing justice to those who they have sickened. A recent example of this can be found in the case involving a railroad worker who died of asbestos-related cancer. When his dependents filed suit against an asbestos company seeking compensation for his medical expenses, they won a $50,000 award: instead of simply paying what the court had determined they owed, the company then went on to try to avoid having to pay based upon the fact that other asbestos companies had already provided the worker’s family with compensation.

The case was heard in the Court of Appeals of Mississippi, and involved Clara Hagan, the daughter of a deceased worker named Bennie Oakes seeking compensation from the Illinois Central Railroad Company. The jury that originally heard the case determined that Mr. Oakes had incurred $250,000 in damages but that he had 80 percent responsibility for his own illness – thus the railroad company was only responsible for 20%, or $50,000. Following delivery of the verdict, the railroad company investigated and determined that Oakes had received over $74,000 from asbestos trusts from other companies, and as a result they moved for a setoff of the award. The court denied the railroad company’s motion and indicated that Oakes’ family was now owed the $50,000 plus 8 percent interest. The railroad company then appealed this denial, but the appeals court again confirmed that the family was owed the $50,000 by the railroad company, saying that the existing laws do “not allow for a defendant to avoid payment of damages based on compensation to the plaintiff from a third party that was not a party to the action.”

Following years of negligence in exposing American workers to asbestos, the asbestos companies continue to show themselves to be driven only by profit. They will do everything that they can to avoid paying for the damage that they have done. Fortunately, experienced mesothelioma attorneys are able to counter their arguments and get victims the justice that they deserve, and there are caring and compassionate professionals who can provide you with the emotional support you need. For information on the many services our Patient Advocates can provide, contact us via our website, www.mesothelioma.net, or call us at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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