South Dakota Mesothelioma Lawyer
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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos illness, South Dakota mesothelioma lawyers are here to help. They can help you start a lawsuit or file a claim with an asbestos trust fund to get compensation. Asbestos-related death rates in South Dakota are relatively low compared to other states because of limited industrial workplaces, but many people have still been affected.Get Financial Help Now
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How South Dakota Mesothelioma Lawyers Help Clients
If you were exposed to asbestos and now have a related illness, you have a right to take legal action and seek compensation. Asbestos cases can get complicated, but a mesothelioma lawyer can help.
Asbestos attorneys across South Dakota help victims in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Brookings, Watertown, Mitchell, Yankton, and other areas get justice.
They can help you track down the companies responsible for your exposure and explain your legal options. They will then guide you through the process of recovering damages, making sure you get the maximum amount to cover medical and other expenses.
How to File a Mesothelioma Claim in South Dakota
An asbestos claim or lawsuit can be complicated, which is why your first step should be to hire an asbestos firm or lawyer with relevant experience. They can help you take one or more actions for compensation:
- File a personal injury lawsuit. If one or more companies exposed you to asbestos in the past and you are now sick, you can sue for damages.
- Make a wrongful death claim. You can also sue for damages if a company is responsible for the asbestos exposure that led to a loved one’s death from mesothelioma.
- Make an asbestos trust fund claim. Many companies went bankrupt in the face of asbestos lawsuits. Those companies are still accountable for the harm caused. They set up trust funds to compensate future claimants.
- File for veterans’ benefits. If your exposure occurred during active military service, you can apply to the VA for benefits, like disability compensation.
Where Did I Get Exposed to Asbestos in South Dakota?
A common natural mineral, asbestos has been used for thousands of years. Many industries have long used asbestos because it is abundant, inexpensive, and can resist fire, heat, electricity, and many chemicals. It can also add strength to materials.
During the industrial boom of the 20th century, asbestos was used in large quantities until the awareness of its adverse health effects grew. As a result, the federal government enacted regulations limiting its use in the 1970s.
South Dakota’s exposure rates have been low compared to other states due to the sparse population and minimal industry. However, western South Dakota has several natural deposits of asbestos and a similar mineral, called erionite. In addition to these natural deposits, South Dakota’s construction industry once used asbestos across the state, including military installments.
Natural Asbestos and Erionite
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, South Dakota has no former asbestos mines; however, the state does have former prospects and several natural asbestos deposits on its western edge.
Although they were never mined, these naturally-occurring asbestos deposits pose a risk to residents. If these deposits are disturbed during road building or construction, the soil and air in the area can be dangerously contaminated with asbestos fibers.
There is another mineral in western South Dakota that poses a risk for residents. Erionite is a mineral similar to asbestos and is abundant in the region. Gravel and dirt from the erionite-rich region have been used to build roads, parking lots, and other modern conveniences.
Every time a car drives down a gravel road, it can potentially stir up fibers and put people in harm’s way. The discovery of erionite in the region and its potential health effects is recent. How it could impact area residents remains to be seen.
Buildings and Military Bases
One of the primary sources of asbestos exposure in South Dakota is older buildings, including military bases. Before the 1970s, the construction industry used asbestos in insulation, roofing, flooring, ceiling materials, adhesives, and many other building components.
Buildings from that period now pose a risk to residents. If asbestos deteriorates or becomes damaged, its tiny fibers can become airborne, exposing residents or anyone in the area.
Military buildings are one source of exposure for military personnel and civilians working on site. Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, is currently managing extensive asbestos all over the base.
Buildings, vehicles, and equipment all contain asbestos. In 1990, the base was listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a top-priority Superfund site.
Other South Dakota Sites with Asbestos
In addition to older buildings and areas with natural asbestos and erionite deposits, there are other sources of asbestos in South Dakota. These facilities are known to have contained asbestos and put people at risk of harmful exposure:
- Aberdeen Light and Power Company, Aberdeen
- Risager Plumbing and Heating Co., Aberdeen
- St. Luke Hospital Power Plant, Aberdeen
- South Dakota State University, Brookings
- Amdak Corp., Rapid City
- A.H. Bennett Co., Rapid City
- Consolidation Coal Company, Rapid City
- Rapid City Air Force Base, Rapid City
- South Dakota Cement Plant, Rapid City
- Sioux Falls Light and Power Company, Sioux Falls
- Eureka Milling Company, Sioux Falls
- Atomic Energy Commission Plant, Sioux Falls
- MacArthur Co., Sioux Falls
- Rapid City Landfill, Rapid City
- State Hospital, Yankton
South Dakota Residents and Workers Are Still at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Unfortunately, the dangers of asbestos are not all in the past. Most people sick today encountered asbestos on the job years ago, before regulations made workplaces safer.
Because the construction industry used so much asbestos, many buildings still contain asbestos materials. If these deteriorate, or if workers mishandle asbestos materials, workers and residents can be exposed.
Recent events in South Dakota illustrate the ongoing risk and the need for asbestos attorneys to hold companies accountable:
- The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology received $5 million in 2022 for a new Mineral Industries Building. Workers discovered asbestos in the current building when heavy machinery caused a floor to collapse. Damage like this can expose people to asbestos.
- The city of Kadoka recently received funding to replace asbestos cement pipes in water mains. Deteriorating, aging pipes can leak asbestos fibers, exposing residents.
- South Dakota State University recently demolished Scobey Hall, a building that sat unused for five years. It needed significant upgrades, including extensive and costly asbestos abatement.
What Are the Asbestos Laws in South Dakota?
South Dakota’s laws regarding asbestos include safety regulations and negligence laws that affect how exposure victims file lawsuits and make claims.
Asbestos Safety Regulations
In South Dakota, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources plays an important role in protecting residents from asbestos. This government department manages and administers federal and state regulations regarding asbestos, its use, and disposal.
For example, asbestos construction projects require advance written notification. The department also enforces state-level emission limits on asbestos and ensures all contractors working with asbestos are properly certified.
Statute of Limitations
If you receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you have the opportunity to seek justice. If you believe a company was negligent in your exposure, you can file a lawsuit; however, South Dakota has a statute of limitations.
You have three years from the time of diagnosis to file your lawsuit and seek damages. Likewise, if you have lost a loved one to one of these diseases, you have three years from the time of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Asbestos Trust Fund Transparency
South Dakota passed a law regarding transparency in asbestos trust fund claims that went into effect in 2017. The law requires plaintiffs filing asbestos lawsuits to disclose information about trust fund claims:
- The specific trust funds claimed
- The amount claimed
- The amount received, if applicable
Plaintiffs must disclose this information within 120 days of a trial. The law aims to prevent so-called double-dipping. If the plaintiff is receiving compensation from a trust, the court can reduce any jury awards in a lawsuit by that amount.
Finding South Dakota Mesothelioma Lawyers
South Dakota mesothelioma lawyers are essential players, helping residents find justice after asbestos exposure. If you have been exposed and became sick as a result, contact one of these experienced lawyers.
A good legal team will guide you through the complicated system, ensuring you get the best possible chance for compensation. Find your lawyer by looking for legal teams that have worked with other victims of asbestos exposure and won settlements.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.