Situated prominently on the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana is both an important industrial port and a bustling tourism hub. But the Bayou State is also dealing with significant asbestos exposure problems. With industries rooted in oil production and shipbuilding, and asbestos-filled homes destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, many Louisianans could be at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Cases in Louisiana
Many state residents who developed mesothelioma from wrongful asbestos exposure have filed claims against the former employers.
Across Louisiana, courts have awarded damages in the millions to workers like:
- Oil and refinery workers
- Shipyard workers
- Power plant workers
Mesothelioma statistics in Louisiana are moderately high, with 13 to 17 deaths per one million citizens. Due to extreme weather events causing forced migration to other states, the actual death rate may be even higher.
Louisiana courts recognize the importance of mesothelioma victims’ right to pursue compensation. They have ordered several big corporations to establish trust funds for asbestos lawsuits. Halliburton alone set up a $4 billion trust fund.
Asbestos Use in Louisiana
Once popular for its fire-resistant, anti-corrosive and light-weight nature, asbestos was used in construction material, vessels, machinery and even protective uniforms across a wide range of industries.
The strong presence of oil refineries along the Gulf Coast exposed oil workers to asbestos for many years. Asbestos was commonly used to insulate pipelines and tanks and in gaskets and processing machinery. Some oil workers also wore heat-resistant clothing that contained asbestos.
Shipbuilding is another mainstay industry in Louisiana which exposed employees to asbestos. Workers used asbestos to construct naval destroyers, oil-drilling barges, fishing boats and pleasure crafts. Avondale, Todd and Bollinger shipyards are just a few examples of shipbuilding companies with known asbestos exposure.
Hurricane Katrina and other storms put first responders and search and rescue teams at risk of asbestos exposure. Many buildings in New Orleans and around Louisiana were built when asbestos was widely used, and major storms that damage structures often disturb the asbestos inside.
Other high-risk occupations for asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma in Louisiana include:
Employees who worked indirectly with asbestos or in other departments of buildings where asbestos was present may also have been exposed. Some examples include:
- Cement plants
- Power stations
- Salt and sulfur mines
- Chemical plants
- Insulation production facilities
- Military bases and naval vessels
- Old buildings that underwent major renovation
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana took extensive measures to remove and dispose of exposed asbestos properly. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) ensures that only trained and certified professionals are allowed to handle asbestos. Abated asbestos must be taken to a designated landfill equipped to receive the harmful material.
The LDEQ also operates a hazardous materials detection program for schools and public buildings constructed before 1978. The program oversees asbestos detection and abatement while setting the maximum allowable level (0.01 fibers per cubic centimeter of air).
It is crucial for residents to note the strict statutes of limitation surrounding legal claims for wrongful asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma patients have one year from the date of diagnosis. If filing a wrongful death claim, direct family members have one year from the date of death.
Retaining a Louisiana Mesothelioma Lawyer
Due to the tight timeframe allowed for litigation, it is crucial that Louisianans not only research, but contact an accredited mesothelioma lawyer upon diagnosis. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney will build a solid case in the fastest time possible to negotiate the settlement you deserve.
If you developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure in Louisiana, contact our Justice Support Team today.