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Widow Sues GE after Husband’s Asbestos-Related Death

According to a recent news article from the Madison Record, a widow in South Carolina has filed a lawsuit against General Electric after her husband died from malignant mesothelioma.

judgeCourt records indicate that she is suing in her personal capacity for a tort known as loss of consortium, and in the name of her husband’s estate, as she has been named the administrator (executor/executrix). She has alleged her husband was exposed to asbestos for much of his working life, and his occupational exposure to the deadly asbestos fibers occurred while working with products General Electric had manufactured.

She claims that her late husband worked around these asbestos-laden products for many years and he inhaled, ingested, or otherwise absorbed large quantities of these asbestos fibers over the years. In late January 2015, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. As is common for many victims of mesothelioma, he was told he only had a very short time left to live after the initial diagnosis, and he died less than one year later. However, according to surviving spouse, he suffered a great deal during the time leading up to his death.

His suffering was not only physical, as it also included a lot of mental anguish, as she asserted in her complaint in the mesothelioma lawsuit. As for damages, she is asking for a verdict that General Electric is liable on three counts, and is valuing each count at $50,000 for a total of $150,000. However, she has also included a claim of willful and wanton misconduct in addition to claims of mere negligence, so this may allow for a jury to award additional damages, including punitive damages to send a message to the defendant.

With respect to the compensatory damages she is seeking, there is claim that her husband was unable to keep working once he got sick, so lost wages are being demanded. Lost wages include not only the money he could not earn while he was sick, but also the wages he would have earned in the future had he not died from malignant mesothelioma.

There is also a claim for medical bills and funeral expenses, which is common in wrongful death actions such as this one. Regarding medical bills, even if an insurance company has covered some or even all of the costs, a plaintiff can still demand these damages and let a jury decide, since the jury is not supposed to hear about any insurance payments. While it seems like this could allow a plaintiff to “double recover,” as it is often called, insurance companies will typically get reimbursed from any proceeds.

It should be noted that General Electric is planning to defend the allegations in the mesothelioma injury lawsuit and has not been found liable for any negligence or willful and wanton misconduct as of the time of this article. The company can only be held liable if a judge or jury determines plaintiff has proven her case by a preponderance of the evidence.  A complaint is only a series of allegations that a plaintiff intends to prove at trial.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional resources:

Widow blames General Electric for husband’s death from asbestos exposure, January 29, 2016, Madison Record, by Molly English-Bowers

More Blog Entries:

Can Family of Asbestos Workers Sue for Illness?, September 15, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog