Indiana Residents Seek Changes to State Laws

Some Indiana residents made a courageous move in early October when they spoke in front of that state’s last legislative session of the year. Their hope is to amend an Indiana law which essentially prohibits anyone exposed to asbestos from filing a lawsuit after ten years have passed from the time of the exposure. Thus, after ten years if a worker is inadvertently exposed to the toxic substance, they are unable to file any sort of claim against their employer or the company which exposed them. An interpretation of a state law from the Indiana Supreme Court is not only limiting the compensation workers exposed to asbestos can receive but also encourages companies using the toxic materials to draw out litigation and bargaining for as long as possible.

Since the current interpretation requires that lawsuits be filed within ten years of exposure to asbestos, many of those who develop serious health concerns relating to asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, or malignant pleural mesothelioma, are excluded from filing suit or seeking monetary compensation. This is due to several factors. First, properly identifying the time, place, and amount of exposure can be a lengthy process involving employment documentation, corroboration of dates and times, and discovering the materials that contained the asbestos. Second, it can take years for these conditions to manifest themselves, sometimes between 20 to 60 years to manifest any symptoms in the case of mesothelioma. This is obviously far beyond the statute of limitations on filing suits against employers for asbestos exposure and any subsequent sickness.

Because of this, workers who have been directly exposed to toxic substances and developed mesothelioma cancer as a result seek to change this archaic restriction. Since much of the asbestos used in the United States was used in manufacturing throughout the first half of the 1900s, many individuals employed in the production and manufacturing industry have probably been exposed to at least some particulate matter.

Again, as it can be several years or even decades before symptoms begin to appear, workers exposed to toxic materials are essentially removed from any legal action seeking proper compensation. Not only is the process seemingly unfair, but some argue that preventing individuals from taking proper and due legal action is immoral.

These associated medical conditions are almost always terminal. Mesothelioma is possibly the worst outlook of all those conditions; a large percentage of patients diagnosed with the associated cancer are often overtaken by the condition within six months. Since this condition results not from a lifestyle choice but rather from an exposure hazard, it is preventable if employers and workers take proper precautions. Still, those diagnosed with these conditions often seek out an experienced mesothelioma attorney to assist with receiving monetary compensation to pay for costly treatments and improve their quality of life.

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