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Wisconsin mesothelioma lawyers help asbestos exposure victims seek justice and damages. Between 1999 and 2017, more than 6,800 Wisconsinites died due to an asbestos-related illness such as lung cancer, asbestosis, or mesothelioma. In Wisconsin, the paper industry, manufacturing, metalworking, power plants, and other industries have contributed to the exposure and illness of workers.Get Financial Help Now
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Filing a Mesothelioma Claim in Wisconsin
Wisconsin asbestos attorneys and law firms work with exposure victims across the state, including in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton, Waukesha, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, and more.
Your first step in making a claim or filing a lawsuit should be to contact one of these firms to evaluate your case for free. They will explain your legal options and help you recover damages through one or more claims types:
- Personal Injury Lawsuit. Most people with mesothelioma suffered negligent asbestos exposure. This means your lawyer can find the companies responsible and help you file a lawsuit to recover damages.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuit. Your asbestos lawyer can also help you track down the companies responsible for a loved one’s death from mesothelioma. You can seek damages through a wrongful death suit.
- Asbestos Trust Fund Claims. Asbestos firms have access to all the asbestos trusts funded by bankrupt companies. They will determine if you qualify to make a claim for compensation with one or more trusts.
- Veterans Benefits Claims. If you encountered asbestos during military service, you can apply to the Veterans Administration for benefits.
Where Was I Exposed to Asbestos in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin ranks high among states for asbestos-related deaths, likely due to the state’s industrial economy. Most asbestos exposures happened at job sites, especially in industrial settings.
In Wisconsin, the paper industry has played an important role in the economy. However, urban areas like Milwaukee have been home to various industrial jobs, all of which contributed to asbestos exposure in workers.
Additionally, older buildings continue to threaten residents because of once-common asbestos use in the construction industry.
Even though this prospect was never mined, as mentioned earlier, natural deposits always pose some danger. If disturbed, these deposits can release asbestos fibers and contaminate area soil, water, and air.
Paper Mills in Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s paper industry has been going strong since the late 1800s. Large forested areas in the state make it an ideal location for manufacturing paper products.
At one time, the paper industry used asbestos in its buildings, machinery, and materials. For decades, workers in this industry were exposed to asbestos without realizing they were at risk of getting sick.
Wisconsin was home to industrial facilities that processed vermiculite. Vermiculite is a mineral that can be made into insulation and other products. Although vermiculite is harmless, it is often found in ground deposits along with asbestos.
In Libby, Montana, the W.R. Grace mine operated for decades. This mine produced vermiculite that it shipped to processing facilities around the country. Vermiculite from Libby was contaminated with asbestos, but this was not discovered until it had operated for years. Operations at the Libby mine halted in 1990.
In Wisconsin, the company Koos received shipments of Libby vermiculite between 1965 and 1995. In Kenosha and Racine, workers in at least two facilities were likely exposed to asbestos for years.
Additionally, residents and consumers who used products made in these facilities were also put at risk of exposure. More recently, the Environmental Protection Agency visited the sites and found asbestos levels were low or undetectable. As a result, the EPA declared them safe.
The metal forging and foundry industry used asbestos for its ability to withstand high heat. It was used in insulation, equipment, and safety gear. It also put many workers at risk of exposure.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health performed a safety evaluation on the Ladish Company in Cudahy in 1984. The evaluation found areas with airborne asbestos levels that exceeded acceptable levels. It also found that the company did not provide adequate medical evaluations for workers at risk.
More recently, the Grede foundry in Green Lake County was fined $200,000 for exposing workers to asbestos. Supervisors made workers clean out an industrial oven filled with asbestos in 2018 without providing safety gear or training.
Other Sites with Known Asbestos
Wisconsin is a highly industrialized state, and many factory and plant jobs make up a significant part of the economy. This explains why there have been so many asbestos-related casualties in the state. Vermiculite and paper mills can account for a significant proportion of exposure, but many other facilities are also responsible.
Some known sites that likely caused asbestos exposure are:
- Atlantic Refining Company, Milwaukee
- International Paper Company, Fond du Lac
- Illinois Steel Company, Milwaukee
- Port Wahington Powerhouse, Milwaukee
- Continental Can Plant, Racine
- Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Green Bay
- Green Bay Power Plant, Green Bay
- Green Bay Packaging Paper Mill, Green Bay
- Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, Wausau
- Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, Appleton
- University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Consolidated Papers, Inc., Wisconsin Rapids
- Wisconsin Power and Light Company
- Oconto Falls Tissue, Inc.
- Kimberly-Clark Corporation
- Manitowoc Shipyard, Manitowoc
Can I Still Be Exposed to Asbestos in Wisconsin Today?
Although most asbestos exposure occurred decades ago, the work of Wisconsin mesothelioma lawyers won’t be done any time soon. Many residents and workers are still at risk of exposure.
The primary issue is lingering asbestos in older buildings. When asbestos materials decay or are disturbed by renovations or demolitions, they can release fibers, putting people at risk of exposure. There are unfortunately plenty of current examples of the ongoing dangers:
- Asbestos in School Buildings. Parents in Racine County received letters in 2019 informing them that students and staff might have been exposed to asbestos in a Yorkville elementary school. A maintenance worker stripped tiles in the building without warnings of the presence of asbestos.
- Asbestos in City Hall. A contracting company in Eau Claire faced huge vines for violating laws while working on the city hall renovation. The company mishandled asbestos removal, putting their workers and anyone in the building at risk of exposure.
- Asbestos in a Nursing Home. In New Glarus, an asbestos abatement company violated regulations when working in a nursing home. They put residents and staff at risk of exposure and faced more than $200,000 in fines.
What Are Wisconsin’s Asbestos Laws?
Wisconsin laws regarding asbestos include safety regulations to prevent ongoing exposure and rules that impact how past exposure victims seek justice.
Asbestos Safety Regulations
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for administering and enforcing asbestos regulations. For instance, contractors must notify the department in advance of any project related to asbestos, and anyone who works with asbestos must be certified by the state.
Schools and other public buildings are required to have asbestos management plans on file. They must also have procedures for handling exposed asbestos.
Asbestos Claims Transparency Act
In 2014 Wisconsin became one of several states to pass a controversial asbestos law requiring greater transparency from asbestos plaintiffs.
The law requires plaintiffs in asbestos lawsuits to disclose information about trust fund claims. They must disclose the specific trusts, amounts of compensation, and expected future claims.
The goal of the law is to prevent fraudulent double dipping, but critics say it harms victims. The law limits how much a victim can recover in damages. It could also delay trials for victims dying of mesothelioma.
Statute of Limitations
Wisconsin has statutes of limitation on filing lawsuits related to asbestos illnesses. You have just three years from diagnosis to initiate legal action. This means, even though you encountered asbestos decades ago, you can still file a lawsuit within three years of realizing it made you sick.
Similarly, you have just three years from the time of the death of a loved one to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek justice on their behalf.
Statute of Repose in Construction
Wisconsin has another law that can potentially limit an asbestos exposure victim’s ability to get justice. A construction statute of repose limits a plaintiff to 10 years to file a lawsuit over a personal injury caused by structural defects in construction.
A woman lost her case in 2020 because of this statute. Her husband died after working as a pipefitter building power plants for several Wisconsin power companies.
After appeals on both sides, the Court of Appeals determined that the statute of repose applied in her case and she could not seek damages because ten years had passed.
Cancer and Mesothelioma Care in Wisconsin
Having aggressive cancer like mesothelioma means facing a tough medical battle. You need the best medical team to help fight this devastating disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you’ll need care from a top cancer center.
In Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center in Madison is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. These centers are designated as such for having the most advanced treatments, top-notch research, and experts on staff.
Find a Wisconsin Mesothelioma Lawyer
When you receive a devastating diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer, you may feel betrayed and outraged. You likely want justice for what happened to you. If so, you need a Wisconsin mesothelioma lawyer to advocate and guide you through the process. With a professional on your side, you have a good chance of getting justice and the compensation you need.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.