The family of smoker who died from lung cancer in 2014 at age 67 has won $12.5 million awarded by a New York City jury because the man was exposed to asbestos for years on the job.
The asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuit case involved New Jersey resident George Cooney, who worked for Caterpillar repairing their forklifts from 1969-1980. The jury believed that he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibers as he repaired these forklifts for more than 10 years.
The mechanic died in 2014, and he had smoked for decades. Still, a Manhattan mesothelioma and lung cancer attorney was able to convince the jury with a 1968 report.
The report showed that smokers who have smoke for many years have an even higher asbestos cancer risk if they are exposed to the deadly substance.
Caterpillar failed to put warning labels on any of its equipment until decades after it learned about the dangers of asbestos in its equipment.
Testimony from a Caterpillar employee stated that the corporation knew since the 1930s that asbestos was dangerous. He stated that the company did provide some warnings to employees verbally, but no warnings were put on any products until the early 1980s.
The attorney for the plaintiff further stated that Caterpillar could have stopped using products that contained asbestos for many years, but they chose not to, primarily to save money.
Do You Think You Have Mesothelioma?
Many of the symptoms of this deadly form of cancer may seem to be caused by minor illnesses at first, so you may ignore major warning signs of mesothelioma. The majority of people who have mesothelioma have probably had some signs of it for a few months prior to diagnosis.
If you have several of these symptoms for weeks or months, you should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. This is especially the case if you know you were exposed to asbestos fibers earlier in life.
- Pain in the chest or lower back
- Weight loss for no reason
- Hoarse voice
- Swelling in arms and face
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sweating to excess
Also, you could have peritoneal mesothelioma if you have severe pain in the abdomen, swelling in the abdomen, sudden weight loss, and severe nausea and vomiting.
These symptoms could be a warning that you have an asbestos-related disease, but they still could be caused by other less serious medical conditions. Nonetheless, anyone who has been exposed to asbestos and has several of these symptoms, should talk to a doctor today.
In the Cooney case, the jury of six found that the lung cancer that the victim got was caused by his smoking and asbestos exposure.
The plaintiff’s attorney was able to show that the forklifts that Cooney repaired had brakes, clutches and gaskets that had asbestos containing materials.
The jury determined that the company was still negligent for making products and parts that contained asbestos. It further believed that the company was negligent because it did not provide any warning to customers and workers about the asbestos dangers.
The negligence was a factor in the man’s death, the jury found, even though he was a regular smoker for many years. Specifically, the jury found that Caterpillar was 55% at fault. This probably means that the company will not have to pay out the entire jury award.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
People who have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, have several options in the legal world to obtain compensation. It is always important for the affected person and/or his family to speak to an experienced mesothelioma attorney to determine if there is a legal case.
Asbestos litigation is complex, and requires legal expertise and familiarity with state and federal asbestos laws.
If you plan to talk to a mesothelioma attorney about your condition, you should be well prepared so that you make the best use of your and their time. For example, you should have these materials available when you go to talk to the attorney:
- When you first got your diagnosis
- What type of symptoms you are suffering
- Any treatments or procedures you have had related to asbestos diseases
- When and for how long you were exposed to asbestos
- If you think you were exposed on the job, provide a list of where you worked and when
By providing as much evidence as you can about your asbestos-related condition and exposure to your attorney, you will be in a better position to determine the best legal path forward. A mesothelioma diagnosis is a terrible thing, but there are legal options for people who can prove that their disease was related to asbestos exposure Look At This.