Maryland has historically played an integral role in the United States, from manufacturing and shipbuilding to finance and technology. Excellent military centers are also a source of pride for Maryland. These industries, however, have proven to expose workers to harmful asbestos fibers that later develop into mesothelioma. As a result, courts have heard over a million asbestos cases across Maryland.
Mesothelioma Cases in Maryland
Mesothelioma rates in Maryland are moderate at 13 to 16 deaths per one million citizens. In 62–85% of these cases, patients confirmed asbestos exposure earlier in life—most often at a job site. Many of those individuals and their families are now suing their former employers for wrongful asbestos exposure.
Due to a large number of claims, Maryland has a massive backlog of asbestos-related lawsuits sitting in wait.
In attempt to prioritize claims and hear more cases, Maryland has established a two-tier system:
- Active Cases: plaintiffs who have developed asbestos-caused sickness and are ready to go to trial.
- Inactive Cases: plaintiffs who were exposed to asbestos but have not yet developed illness and are not ready to go to trial.
Maryland courts have awarded billions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs from a wide range of professions. In an important case, the wife of an electrician’s assistant who developed mesothelioma while working at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard shipyard was awarded over $4 million in a wrongful death suit.
Asbestos Use in Maryland
Maryland is home to a variety of industrial, commercial, and military work sites that exposed employees to asbestos during the 20th century. Asbestos is also found naturally in Maryland and was mined in several areas.
Commercial shipyards are known as some of the most dangerous sites in the United States for asbestos exposure, and this is certainly the case in Maryland. For example, Bethlehem Steel Shipyard at Sparrow Point exposed welders, insulation installers, electricians, mechanics and other workers to the harmful fibers.
Annapolis Naval Academy
Asbestos has been found at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, along with other military sites in Maryland, putting servicemen and civilians at risk of developing mesothelioma. Naval ships and submarines used asbestos in pipes, gaskets, machine rooms, and elsewhere aboard the vessel, placing in danger the brave veterans who worked both directly and indirectly with the harmful material.
Once in demand for its heat-resistant nature, asbestos was used widely at power plants across Maryland. Workers who installed insulation and pipes, and those who worked around boilers and power equipment, are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. Office workers and employees from other departments may have also been exposed to asbestos while working at a power plant.
Other Asbestos-Related Industries in Maryland
There are other occupations in Maryland that pose a high risk for asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma, including:
- Steel millwrights
- Construction and demolition workers
- Mechanics and auto inspectors
- First responders
Maryland employees could have worked indirectly with asbestos in the workplace through asbestos-containing materials used to build offices, factories or other places of employment.
Some examples include:
- Chemical plants
- Steel mills
- Freight yards
- Construction sites
- Schools, colleges and other old buildings that underwent renovation
Maryland Asbestos Laws and Regulations
In 1983, Maryland became the first state to pass asbestos regulations. The Code of Maryland Regulations oversees requirements for abating, handling and transporting asbestos. Contractors must be licensed to work with asbestos, and landfills must be approved before they can receive asbestos.
Marylanders must be aware of the statutes of limitation on asbestos exposure claims. Mesothelioma patients in Maryland have 3 years from the date of diagnosis to file a claim. Direct family members have 3 years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim in Maryland.
Maryland law allows plaintiffs to file a claim within 20 years of asbestos exposure. However, Maryland Court of Appeals is currently hearing a case that may extend the allowable time frame for lawsuits.
Retaining a Maryland Mesothelioma Lawyer
Due to the backlog of asbestos cases in the Maryland court system, it’s vital that victims contact an expert mesothelioma lawyer. A qualified attorney has the knowledge to navigate the state’s complicated system and build a strong case that awards a settlement you deserve.
Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of workplace asbestos exposure in Maryland? Contact our Justice Support Team today.