Ohio has a rich manufacturing and industrial history and is headquarters for many global steel, energy, technology and medical companies. Ohio provides critical economic support for the entire nation, and this blue-collar state has long been a place where hardworking people can earn an honest living. Unfortunately, prior to the 1980s, many of those manual jobs exposed workers to deadly asbestos particles that are only now punishing victims with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Mesothelioma Cases in Ohio
Ohio has been burdened with some of the highest asbestos death rates in the country. An average of 1992 Ohioans die from asbestos-related illnesses each year, and over 300 of those have been diagnosed as mesothelioma specifically. In Jefferson County, an estimated one in every 4,785 people will die from previous exposure to asbestos.
In former years, the courts of Ohio saw an excessive number of complaints from people exposed to asbestos but weren’t suffering from mesothelioma. In response, Ohio imposed stricter requirements for mesothelioma cases, and victims must have a validated mesothelioma diagnosis before filing a claim. Victims must also pass the Substantial Factor Test, which requires proof that they were directly exposed to asbestos in the course of their work.
Additional state laws also make it more challenging, though not impossible, for mesothelioma victims to get the compensation they deserve. For example, a company that is purchased by another company is protected by a limit in liability that caps at the fair market value of the purchased company.
Additionally, while current premises owners can be held responsible for asbestos exposure, any exposure before 1972 is considered “safe,” unless a victim can prove the premises owner was aware of unreasonable asbestos levels.
Fortunately, experienced mesothelioma lawyers in Ohio are well equipped to navigate this complex litigation.
Asbestos Use in Ohio
Asbestos use was heavy in the manufacturing and industrial activities that Ohio has become known for. Before the 1980s, the use of asbestos was prolific throughout the state, which is why so many people are negatively impacted by that exposure today.
A few of the occupations that put people at risk of asbestos exposure were:
- Steel and other metal workers
- Power plant workers
- Oil and refinery workers
- Scientists and chemical engineers
- Aircraft and vehicle mechanics
- Construction workers
- Tradesmen and tradeswomen
- Factory and manufacturing workers
- Railway employees
- Military veterans
In its heyday, asbestos was a miracle material. It has excellent fireproofing and insulating materials, is easy to work with, found in abundance and was inexpensive. It’s these desirable qualities that resulted in asbestos’ widespread use before the negative health impacts were known.
Ohio Asbestos Laws and Regulations
Ohio’s asbestos use is regulated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The agency regulates two areas of asbestos use: emissions control and licensing and certification. Within emissions control, Ohio ensures that demolition and renovation projects are performed properly and that materials are disposed of responsibly. Meanwhile, the licensing and certification activities of the EPA ensure that people working with asbestos are adequately protecting against exposure to dangerous fibers.
Ohio is increasingly recognizing the hazards of asbestos exposure and ensuring Ohioans who are impacted are protected by the law.
In December 2016, laws were placed that recognize asbestos as an occupational hazard for firefighters and allow impacted individuals to receive compensation through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Also, individuals who violate Ohio’s asbestos removal regulations can face first-offense fines of up to $25,000 and 2 years in prison, and increased fines and prison time for repeat violations.
Unfortunately, the majority of the deaths in Ohio today are due to asbestos exposure before the damaging impacts of the material were widely known. Laws of today offer little protection for these individuals, with one exception–victims can hold their former employers responsible for the devastating impacts that resulted from their hard work.
People diagnosed with mesothelioma in Ohio will still need to act quickly. The statute of limitations for filing a claim after a mesothelioma diagnosis is 2 years, while family members also have only 2 years after death to file a wrongful death claim. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Retaining an Ohio Mesothelioma Lawyer
Getting justice for asbestos exposure can be a challenge. With the optimal legal team by your side, you can get the compensation that’s owed to you. If your life has been worsened by a mesothelioma diagnosis, it’s time to get in touch with a knowledgeable lawyer who will fight on your behalf.
Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure in Ohio? Get in touch with our Justice Support Team now.