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Secondary Exposure to Asbestos Poses Risks to Families of Construction Workers

Danger AsbestosAsbestos is a serious and frequent threat to construction workers. The dangerous substance is so common, in fact, that there are regulations and policies in place to protect those who must work in buildings that contain asbestos. Unfortunately, that protection does not always extend to the workers’ families. In addition to the health risks related to secondary exposure, family members may not even be compensated if they become ill. Thankfully, a recent ruling in California could change that.

Understanding the Risk of Secondary Asbestos Exposure

Although asbestos continues to be slowly phased out of the commercial construction industry, it is still found in countless older structures. Workers are supposed to be provided with protection, including face masks, but the fibers may stick to their clothing, shoes, and even their gear. The workers then go home at the end of the day, taking with them fibers that can contaminate their living space and result in secondary exposure to their families. Continued secondary exposure can cause the same life-threatening condition as the primary exposure—mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, chest, and other organs.

Case in California may Make way for Secondary Exposure Victims

Although the effects of secondary exposure can be just as serious primary exposure, secondary exposure victims are far less likely to receive compensation for medical expenses, injuries, or death than primary exposure victims. A recent California Supreme Court ruling, made to address two separate cases on secondary asbestos exposure, could start to turn the tide in their favor.

In both cases, the family member of a worker exposed was allegedly exposed to asbestos by secondary means (clothing, gear, etc.). The suits further allege that the companies the workers were employed at knew of the dangers of asbestos and failed to provide locker rooms, showers, or education on not taking their work gear home. The Supreme Court ruled they could proceed with their pursuit for damages. Further, the court ruled that other families should have that same right. Legal analysts indicate that this ruling could set a precedent for the rest of the country.

Contact Our Experienced California Workplace Injury Lawyers

If you or someone you love has suffered an illness because of exposure to asbestos—primary or secondary—it is critical that you seek experienced assistance with your case. Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. can protect your rights, including your right to pursue full and fair compensation for yourself and your loved ones. Dedicated to your best interests, we will fight for you. Schedule a consultation with one of our skilled San Jose workplace injury attorneys to learn more. Call (408) 289-1417 today.

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