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Supreme Court looks at third party liability for asbestos deaths

The dangers of asbestos exposure have been understood by people in Kentucky for years, but courts continue to sort out the legal consequences of its use in manufacturing and construction. A case now being heard before the Supreme Court of the United States has pitted two widows against a manufacturer. At issue is the company's potential liability for the toxic exposure that resulted when its equipment was used with asbestos insulation.

Legal counsel for the company insists that no liability exists for the men who died from lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos while working on U.S. Navy vessels. According to the company's legal argument, they do not bear responsibility because the asbestos insulation was applied to their products after they were sold.

The attorney for the women, however, argued that the manufacturer could foresee that hazards would result when their equipment came in contact with asbestos products. The company should have warned consumers of its products about the risks of asbestos. A precedent established by the Supreme Court has assigned liability based on dangers that could be foreseen.

When people are exposed to asbestos, they could develop fatal diseases like cancer and mesothelioma. A person could experience a long period of illness that prevents earning a living and requires ongoing medical care. Someone who believes that a company neglected its duty to protect workers from harm could speak to an attorney about how to pursue damages. An attorney could organize evidence about the asbestos and document the financial toll that disease has taken on the victim. After filing a lawsuit, an attorney could manage the trial or possibly negotiate a pretrial settlement.

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