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Secondary Exposure Asbestos Lawsuit

A recent case from the California Court of Appeal – First Appellate District, deals with what is known as a secondary exposure asbestos case. As the name implies, primary exposure to asbestos occurs when the victim works or lives in an environment where they are being directly exposed to asbestos from the source of contamination. If someone works on a ship, for example, and that ship has asbestos insulation, as most of them did, they would be victims of primary asbestos exposure, and this can obviously cause malignant mesothelioma.

asbestos bootsBecause it typically takes between 20 and 50 years for a person to become noticeably sick with malignant mesothelioma, we are typically seeing cases today where the initial exposure happened decades ago.   Studies have shown that most of these victims of primary exposure are men, because it was more common for men to be working in heavy industry at that time. Prior to that, women worked in industry during World War II, and there were many mesothelioma victims from this group of workers.
Secondary asbestos exposure, as our mesothelioma attorneys can explain, occurs ether from asbestos fibers that have entered the surrounding air or water near a contamination sight, or more likely, from what is known as take-home asbestos exposure. This occurs when a worker would come home from work covered in deadly asbestos fibers and hug and otherwise interact with his wife and children.  For this reason, studies have shown asbestos exposure from secondary causes is much more likely to occur in women and children.

In this case, the plaintiff claims he was first exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers when his father would come home from work covered in asbestos and also when he visited his father at work at his job where he was an auto mechanic.  It was very common for asbestos products to be used in various car parts, especially belts, hoses, and brake components. The victim’s father worked on brakes and clutch assemblies, and this involved exposure to a great deal of dust contained asbestos fibers.

The problem in this case for the plaintiff was that there were many different companies making parts for brakes and clutches at that time, and he did not have any way to prove it was the defendant’s projects. He chose to sue the major manufacturers at that time, and the trial court found this was not sufficient.

This is often one of the biggest problems in a mesothelioma case.  There is no question that the mesothelioma was caused by asbestos, but it is necessary to establish who was at fault.  For this reason, the best thing you can do is to make a detailed list of everywhere you were exposed to asbestos and try to find out the specific source of your exposure.  Try to find out if there was anyone who worked with you that is available and can help you answer these questions.  Our Boston mesothelioma attorneys can help you with this process, but the more you can do, the better your chance of obtaining and full and appropriate financial recovery.

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:
Johnson v. ArvinMeritor, Inc., February 2, 2017, California Court of Appeals

More Blog Entries:
Treating Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Cancers, Feb. 14, 2017, Boston Asbestos Exposure Attorney Blog