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.
A Michigan mesothelioma lawyer is an invaluable ally for asbestos victims fighting for justice and compensation. Michigan ranks high among all states for asbestos-related deaths, with nearly 2,000 mesothelioma deaths between 1999 and 2017. Michigan’s industrial history, including the automotive industry, accounts for most workers’ asbestos exposure.Get Financial Help Now
Get Help from the Top Mesothelioma Law Firms
- Free Consultation
- Brochures from Top Law Firms
How Do I File an Asbestos Claim in Michigan?
Asbestos exposure and mesothelioma victims have legal rights. The best way to get a good outcome and to maximize compensation is to work with an experienced Michigan asbestos attorney or firm.
Many people in Michigan were put at risk of asbestos exposure. Victims in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint, Troy, Warren, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Pontiac, Traverse City, and throughout the state have legal options:
- Personal Injury Claim. You can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and more. An asbestos attorney will help you find the companies responsible for your past asbestos exposure.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuit. Your lawyer can help you file a wrongful death suit if you lost a loved one due to asbestos exposure.
- Asbestos Trust Fund Claim. If the companies that exposed you to asbestos filed for bankruptcy, you might qualify for an asbestos trust fund claim. These trusts were set aside when companies went bankrupt with the goal of compensating future victims.
- VA Claims. Veterans have the highest rates of mesothelioma. If you encountered asbestos during active service, talk to your lawyer about getting VA benefits.
Always talk to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer before taking any legal action. They provide unparalleled expertise, resources, and experience to get you the best outcome.
How Much Mesothelioma Compensation Can I Get?
The amount of damages you might recover or compensation you can get from a claim depends on the factors of your case. A lawyer cannot promise you a certain amount, but with experience in asbestos cases, the right lawyer can provide a good estimate.
Most lawsuits end in settlements with compensation for the victim. Asbestos attorneys help their clients resolve these claims quickly, often within months.
Sometimes, cases go to trial and end in jury verdicts. The outcomes vary significantly by case, but these are some examples from Michigan that went in favor of the plaintiffs:
- $1.8 Million for Asbestos Lung Cancer. James Parrot worked at the Fort Rouge Steel Plant in Dearborn for three decades. He developed lung cancer and died in 2017. His family sued several defendants, most of whom settled. One went to trial where a jury awarded the family nearly $2 million.
- $542,000 for Asbestosis. Asbestosis is a progressive, non-cancerous lung disease caused by asbestos. Reed Avram worked with McMaster-Carr Supply Company asbestos products. His case was the first asbestos lawsuit to go all the way to trial and result in a jury award.
Who Is Eligible for a Mesothelioma or Asbestos Lawsuit in Michigan?
Nearly all cases of mesothelioma resulted from negligent asbestos exposure. If you have this mesothelioma or another asbestos disease, you can take legal action. There are many ways you could have been exposed in the state.
The most significant source of asbestos exposure for Michigan residents happened at work. Michigan has a long history and tradition of industrial jobs and workplaces, and these are the places where people have been most at risk of asbestos exposure.
The automotive industry used asbestos extensively, but others also used the mineral, including chemical plants, power plants, manufacturing facilities, paper companies, and mines.
There is also a small amount of naturally occurring asbestos in the northern part of the state. Demolition and renovation of older buildings are also possible sources of contamination and exposure.
The Automotive Industry
The automotive business has been profitable in Detroit for decades. It shaped the regional and local economies, but it has also caused harm. Asbestos is still used in car components, particularly in brakes and clutches. In the past, asbestos was used in many other parts.
The dangerous set of minerals was also used in factories where workers assembled cars and parts. For many years, workers in the automotive industry were exposed to asbestos.
Some of the facilities known to have exposed workers include the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, the General Motors Assembly Plant in Grand Rapids, and the Buick Motor Company in Flint.
Because of the automotive industry, in particular, the Detroit area has seen the highest concentration of asbestos-related deaths in the state.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has a long history of mining, mainly copper, but the northern part of the state also has natural asbestos deposits. Asbestos was never mined here, but natural deposits can pose a risk to nearby residents.
When the ground is disturbed somehow, mining other minerals or construction projects can cause fibers of asbestos to come loose and contaminate the surrounding soil, air, and water. Fortunately, the areas of the state that have asbestos naturally occurring are rural and only sparsely populated.
W.R. Grace Vermiculite Processing
Another major industrial source of asbestos exposure in the state was the W.R. Grace Zonolite Company in Dearborn. This vermiculite processing facility received more than 200,000 tons of vermiculite between the 1950s and 1989 from the asbestos-contaminated Libby, Montana mines.
The W.R. Grace mines sent this contaminated mineral to many locations in the U.S., which caused exposure risks for workers wherever it went.
Other Michigan Sites with Known Asbestos
These are just a few of the many places in the state known to have had asbestos and to have put workers at risk:
- Consumer Power Company, Erie
- Great Lakes Steel Company, Zug Island, Ecorse
- Scott Paper Company, Del Ray
- Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, Muskegon
- Wyandotte Chemical Company, Wyandotte
- Dow Chemical Company, Bay City, Midland
- DuPont Chemical, Flint
- Kent Castings Company, Grand Rapids
- Kellogg Company, Battle Creek
Michigan Residents Are Still at Risk of Asbestos Exposure
As in any state, asbestos in older buildings is a possible source of contamination for both workers and residents. Before federal regulations of the 1970s, asbestos was used extensively in the construction of homes and other buildings.
Michigan is seeing a boom in the demolition of older buildings, increasing the risks that workers and people living nearby will be exposed to asbestos being torn down.
According to the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the number of notifications of asbestos abatement projects the department receives has been going up since 2008. In 2014 the DEQ received nearly 15,000 notifications. An increase in demolition and abatement brought an increase in asbestos removal violations.
In 2014, the DEQ sent out seventy-eight notices of violations that contractors and property owners made. Every violation indicates a situation in which workers and residents may have experienced asbestos exposure.
The DEQ and federal prosecutors have been cracking down on those people violating the Clean Air Act and other laws relating to asbestos. Some significant cases have involved old automotive facilities like the Utica Trim Automotive Plant in Shelby Township, where workers without adequate protective gear removed asbestos.
What Are Michigan’s Asbestos Laws?
Safety regulations protect people from asbestos exposure today and in the future. Other laws affect how past exposure victims seek justice now.
Asbestos Safety Regulations
In Michigan, the Construction Safety and Health Division’s Asbestos Program, formed in 1986, is responsible for licensing and training people who work with or around asbestos. Only these licensed professionals are allowed to work on asbestos abatement projects in the state.
These contractors must be licensed and also must notify the asbestos program of any pending projects. The Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for enforcing laws related to the Clean Air Act and other federal regulations related to asbestos.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on asbestos-related lawsuits in Michigan is three years. That means that if you have been exposed to asbestos, you have three years from the time you receive a diagnosis of an illness related to that exposure to file a lawsuit against those you feel are responsible.
If you think you were exposed, it is essential to be screened for mesothelioma and other illnesses and take action quickly if you get a diagnosis. If you lose a loved one because of asbestos exposure, you also have just three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Limited Rights for Secondhand Asbestos Exposure Victims
If you encountered asbestos indirectly in Michigan, your legal rights are limited. Secondhand exposure occurred when a worker brought asbestos fibers home on their clothing, indirectly exposing family members.
In 2007, Carolyn Miller sued Ford for her mesothelioma. Her stepfather worked at Ford and she washed his asbestos-laden clothing.
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Ford could not have foreseen the “take-home” risk. It also ruled that the company did not owe a duty to anyone who could come into contact with the person who worked at their facilities.
In other words, Ford had no duty to warn secondhand victims of the risks of asbestos exposure. This set a precedent in Michigan that makes it more difficult for secondhand exposure victims to recover damages.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act
Joining many other states, Michigan passed the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act in 2018. The law requires plaintiffs in asbestos lawsuits to disclose any compensation they received from an asbestos trust fund.
This is designed to prevent double-dipping. If a victim discloses trust compensation, that amount can be deducted from any damages awarded by a jury in a personal injury lawsuit.
Getting Medical Help
If you know or believe you were exposed to asbestos, getting good medical care for screening and treatment is crucial. Michigan is home to two designated National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Care Centers:
- The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit
- The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor
These are facilities with some of the best staff and with the most cutting-edge cancer research.
Working with a Michigan Mesothelioma Lawyer
With limited time and a confusing process to get started, it’s a smart move to work with a Michigan mesothelioma lawyer. A lawyer who has worked with similar clients before and understands the state’s laws regarding asbestos. They are the best guide and advocate as you figure out what to do next.
Your legal team will make sure you don’t run out of time to file a lawsuit, will take care of all paperwork, will gather evidence to make your case, and will represent your best interests in a settlement or a trial if it goes that far. With a professional by your side, you have the best chance of getting a win over those who are responsible.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.