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Tennessee mesothelioma lawyers help asbestos and mesothelioma victims fight for justice and recover damages. Between 1999 and 2017, nearly 5,000 Tennessee residents died from asbestos-related diseases. Industrial workplaces and older buildings are responsible for the state’s high rate of asbestos exposure.Get Financial Help Now
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How to File an Asbestos or Mesothelioma Claim in Tennessee
The first step in filing a claim for compensation is to find and work with an experienced asbestos attorney or law firm. Tennessee mesothelioma lawyers work with victims of asbestos exposure in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Oak Ridge, and other cities.
If you have mesothelioma, you have a right to take legal action or seek compensation. A lawyer can explain your options and help you file one or more of the following:
- Personal Injury Lawsuit. The companies responsible for exposing you to asbestos can be held liable in a lawsuit. It will likely end in a settlement, but some cases go to trial and end in jury verdicts.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuit. If you lost a loved one to asbestos exposure, you can also sue and seek damages.
- Asbestos Trust Fund Claim. If you find out the companies responsible for your exposure are now bankrupt, you can still seek compensation through a trust.
- VA Benefits Claim. Veterans with asbestos illnesses can seek compensation through the Veterans Administration. The VA considers mesothelioma to be 100% disabling, but you do need to prove your exposure occurred during active service.
Where Did I Get Exposed to Asbestos in Tennessee?
Tennessee has no natural asbestos or history of mining it. Still, it has a long and rich history of industrial plants, especially energy and power generating plants. This kind of workplace has caused so much asbestos illness and exposure in the state.
Asbestos is a harmful mineral but also a useful one for a lot of applications. It can insulate against heat and protect against fire. So many industrial settings have used it in their buildings, equipment, machinery, and in some cases, their products.
Another source of asbestos exposure in the state has been through older buildings. Before it became evident in the last century that asbestos was causing serious illnesses, it was heavily used to construct buildings.
Older homes, schools, public buildings, and military facilities often contain old asbestos. Time and damage can cause it to become exposed and fibers to get into the air where people may inhale it.
Natural Disasters and Asbestos Exposure
Tennessee often experiences tornadoes and floods that cause a considerable amount of structural damage. Since many older buildings contain asbestos, these events can damage old materials and spread harmful asbestos into the water, ground, and when it all dries out, into the air.
A major disaster, like the Nashville flood of 2010, can put people at significant risk. When the event occurred, residents were warned to take care when cleaning up their yards and homes. Officials also urged them to call licensed asbestos abatement professionals to help if their homes were built before the mid-1980s.
The Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, was started in the 1930s to open up economic development throughout the region. The TVA is federally-owned and is involved in electricity generation and power plants, making fertilizers, and providing control for floods.
The industrial facilities in which people worked for the TVA caused many instances of asbestos exposure and illness for many decades.
Since the 1970s, when the government enacted regulations on asbestos use, the TVA has cleaned up many of its sites and removed asbestos, but it takes time.
For instance, one plant, the John Sevier Fossil Plant, was closed in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2016 that a cleanup process began. Asbestos and many other hazardous substances have been removed.
Other Sites in Tennessee with Asbestos
Tennessee has had a lot of different industries helping the economy thrive. These include power plants, TVA manufacturing facilities, paper mills, and many others, including older buildings and public buildings.
Many of these used asbestos in their facilities and caused exposure and illness:
- Virginia Iron, Coal, and Coke Company, Bristol
- Allied Chemical Plant, Chattanooga
- Calhoun Paper Mill, Calhoun
- Mead Paper Company, Kingsport
- Crump Lime and Cement, Memphis
- Allen Steam Plant, Memphis
- Chicago Bridge and Iron Manufacturing Plant, Memphis
- Firestone Plant, Memphis
- Grace Chemical, Memphis
- Atomic Energy Commission Plant, Oak Ridge
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge
- Lookout Boiler Company, Chattanooga
- Tennessee Valley Authority, Gallatin
- Union Carbide, Oak Ridge
- Arnold Air Force Station, Tullahoma
- Vanderbilt University, Nashville
- United States Naval Air Station, Millington
- Knoxville Power Plant, Knoxville
Tennessee Residents Still at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure occurred more frequently and heavily in the past, causing illness decades later. But residents and workers in Tennessee are not in the clear yet.
Asbestos lingers in many older buildings in the state, including workplaces and homes. Eastman Chemical recently exposed the residents of Kingsport to asbestos from pipe insulation. The plant had a high-pressure steam line failure in early 2022, causing an explosion that rained debris throughout the area.
Officials from Eastman later reported that they found traces of asbestos in the debris. Several residents have filed a class action lawsuit against the company for negligent exposure.
What Are Tennessee’s Asbestos Laws?
Laws in Tennessee related to asbestos include regulations to protect current residents and workers. Some laws impact how exposure victims take legal action and make claims to recover damages.
Asbestos Safety Regulations
In Tennessee, the Department of Environment and Conservation is responsible for managing and administering federal and state laws regarding asbestos and keeping residents as safe as possible from the harms of asbestos.
Training through the state is required to certify contractors to work with asbestos; although, homeowners are not restricted from working on asbestos in their own homes.
Contractors must notify the state ten days in advance when the area of asbestos is in more than 160 square feet of a building or 260 linear feet of pipes in projects for abatement. The contractor and owner of the property must also keep a record of the asbestos materials removed and taken away for disposal.
Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Lawsuits
If you were exposed to asbestos in Tennessee and you hope to file a lawsuit in the state to seek damages for your resulting illness or justice for a lost loved one, you need to move fast. The state has set a statute of limitations of just one year on asbestos lawsuits.
You have one year after the time of diagnosis to file a lawsuit against those you believe to be negligent. You have one year from the time of death of a family member from an asbestos illness to start a wrongful death case.
Take-Home Duty for Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
Tennessee does not have a law regarding secondhand exposure, but there is a precedent that recognizes a company’s liability in this situation. People experience exposure secondhand when someone in their household works around asbestos and brings it accidentally brings fibers home on their clothing or body.
In a case from 2008, a woman’s estate sued Alcoa Aluminum after she died from mesothelioma at just 25. Her father worked in the plant and brought asbestos home on his work clothes.
The case went to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which decided in favor of the defendant. The court ruled that the employer had a duty to warn employees of the risks to their family members.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act
Tennessee joined other states in 2016 when it passed a law requiring greater transparency from plaintiffs in asbestos lawsuits. The law is designed to stop double-dipping when a plaintiff gets compensation from a trust fund and a lawsuit.
The law requires plaintiffs filing asbestos lawsuits to disclose all information about claims made with asbestos trusts. The court can reduce a jury award by the amount the plaintiff received or expects to receive from a trust.
Asbestos Claims Priorities Act
Also passed in 2016, the Asbestos Claims Priorities Act requires plaintiffs to include a medical report when filing an asbestos personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
The report must be signed by a qualifying physician and include test results that show asbestos was a substantial factor in the plaintiff’s illness. This law increases the burden on plaintiffs seeking to recover damages.
Bare Metal Defense Allowed in Tennessee
A bare metal defense is when a defendant can deny liability for post-sale asbestos parts that go into their products. Some states recognize that a company has a duty to warn that their products could end up with asbestos parts even when they are not sold with them.
Tennessee’s Supreme Court denied that companies necessarily have this duty to warn. The case involved a plaintiff, Donald Coffman, who worked at an Eastman chemical plant. He handled gaskets, packing, and insulation on equipment.
He sued the equipment manufacturers for failing to warn that asbestos products made by other companies could be integrated into their own products. The Court found in favor of the defendants, setting a precedent for future cases. This limits an asbestos victim’s ability to recover damages from companies.
Cancer and Mesothelioma Care in Tennessee
Tennessee is home to two comprehensive cancer centers as designated by the National Cancer Institute. These facilities are considered to be the best for cancer care and are great options for seeking treatment for mesothelioma or lung cancer after asbestos exposure.
These facilities have cutting-edge treatments, experienced physicians and specialists, and groundbreaking cancer research: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville.
Find and Work with a Tennessee Mesothelioma Lawyer
With such a short time limit on filing lawsuits, and since the legal system is complicated and difficult to navigate, you should enlist the help of a Tennessee mesothelioma lawyer. An expert asbestos attorney will help you start the lawsuit, complete all the necessary paperwork, and advocate on your behalf.
Your lawyer is an important part of your mesothelioma team, so choose your legal counsel thoughtfully and consider working with someone who has a proven track record of helping other Tennessee asbestos victims.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.