Indiana (IN) Asbestos Information:
Of the more than 500 people from Indiana who died from an asbestos-related illness between 1979 and 1980, one was notable–not only because of his celebrity status, but because of how that celebrity status brought mesothelioma to the attention of the mainstream media and the average American.
Actor Steve McQueen, who appeared in films such as The Blob, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Great Escape, Midnight Cowboy and Papillion, was born in the town of Beech Grove, Indiana, in 1930. He was only 49 when diagnosed with mesothelioma; he died less than a year later.
As a youth, he served with the U.S. Marines, and there are unsubstantiated stories that he may have been employed in a shipyard prior to that. Later in life, he engaged in motor sports; fire suits worn by racing drivers at the time were lined with asbestos.
Asbestos Locations in the Hoosier State
Indiana is another state which has no naturally-occurring asbestos. Most who were exposed to asbestos fibers worked at power generation plants, refineries and steel mills. Asbestos insulation was commonly used in power generation plants as a flame retardant, particularly in those plants fired by fossil fuels.
U.S. Steel is one company named in several Indiana asbestos lawsuits. Asbestos was also used frequently at such foundries across the country. Like Steve McQueen, those who worked in the steel industry frequently faced danger from burns; it is a great irony that one of the asbestos dangers came from the gloves, aprons and hoods that were designed specifically to protect steelworkers. Unfortunately, when these articles became ripped or worn, asbestos fibers were often released as a result.
Countrymark Cooperative LLP is one of the oil companies at whose refineries employees suffered from asbestos exposure. This company has the distinction of being the state’s only U.S.-owned refinery. Again, protective asbestos clothing that was worn as well as asbestos insulation were the primary sources of asbestos poisoning, as was the case at BP-Amoco and Whiting.
In all, there are thirteen job sites located in Columbus, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, Lafayette, South Bend and Terre Haute that are known for having exposed employees to asbestos. This does not include the ongoing problems regularly encountered in construction-related fields, particularly the demolition and renovation of older buildings still containing acoustic tiles, asbestos cement and/or flooring, or any of the hundreds of other asbestos building products manufactured and marketed over the years.
Patterns of Asbestos Mortality
Indiana is primarily a rural state; the only metro area of any size is Indianapolis, with a population of approximately 750,000. Fort Wayne is second at around 250,000. Gary, once center of the steel industry, has a population of a little over 100,000.
However, the mortality tables on asbestos disease show that most industrial exposure to asbestos took place in those steel mills; Lake County, in which Gary is located, accounted for the majority of Indiana deaths since 1979 from asbestos. Of the 72 fatalities that occurred in and around Gary, 56 were from a form of malignant mesothelioma, the most common form of which ispleural mesothelioma. Marion County, where Indianapolis is located, was second, with 65 patients dying of asbestos disease. The ratio of mesothelioma to asbestosis deaths is fairly consistent across the state and roughly four to one, although overall rates are far lower in predominantly rural counties.
Indiana (IN) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
In one 2004 case, two mesothelioma victims and one adenocarcinoma victim filed suit together against Indiana’s Fisher Scientific plant. In addition to Fisher Scientific, the lawsuits named companies that produced, distributed, supplied or installed products containing asbestos, about 60 companies in all. Indiana mesothelioma lawyers for the plaintiffs said the companies failed to protect or warn the people who used products. One of the mesothelioma victims filed the suit but died before it was completed and his wife finished the litigation. And in the other mesothelioma victim’s case, his wife filed suit after his death. The issue went to trial but ended up being settled out-of-court partway through the trial.
Although the aforementioned case was filed against a large number of parties, in general in Indiana plaintiffs must limit the number of people sued in asbestos-related cases. This is because in Indiana the only people or companies legally responsible for asbestos-related damages are those with direct causal relationship to the asbestos exposure. More specifically, in the 2005 case Roberts v. PSI Energy, the Indiana State Supreme Court ruled that companies are not liable for the negligence of their independent contractors. It also found that landowners or other possessors of real estate harboring a potentially dangerous condition are not liable for injuries caused by that condition when those injuries are sustained by an independent contractor or its employees while the contractor is employed to address the condition. So it’s important in the state of Indiana to sue the right people in order for there to be liability.
In 2002, the Indiana Supreme Court unanimously determined, in three separate cases, that spouses exposed to asbestos when they came in contact with fibers brought home on their husbands’ clothing are entitled to sue as a “bystander” under the Indiana Products Liability Act.
Those interested in filing lawsuits with Indiana asbestos attorneys should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Indiana is within two years after the cause of action accrues or within ten years after the delivery of the product to the initial user or consumer. However, if the cause of action accrues at least eight years but less than ten years after that initial product delivery, the suit may be filed at any time within two years after the cause of action accrues.
In addition, Indiana has is asbestos-specific legislation that modifies this basic personal injury law. More specifically, the Indiana General Assembly has passed two laws that limit the period of time within which individuals can file product liability claims. One of these statutes, Indiana Code Section 34-20-3-1 establishes a ten-year period of repose for product liability claims. The second statute, Indiana Code Section 34-20-3-2, applies specifically to certain asbestos liability claims, though it only applies to people who mined or sold commercial asbestos.
It specifies that if a victim develops an additional asbestos-related disease or injury, it is to be considered a new injury and may be a separate cause of action. This allows for more leniency in the statute of limitations in some cases, for instance when a victim develops asbestosis and then later develops mesothelioma. Either way, it is extremely important to discuss these and all other options with an Indiana mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after diagnosis. Indiana has no specific statutes regarding asbestos-related wrongful death suits.