Ann Finch lost her spouse Franklin to mesothelioma in 2017, just a few months after he was diagnosed with the deadly cancer. In October, 2018, a North Carolina jury at the federal level awarded her $32 million in damages. It assigned blame to Covil Corporation, a pipe insulation company that sold all of the insulation used to build a tire plant where Franklin Finch worked for decades.
Covil filed a motion in federal court for a new trial on damages in the mesothelioma cancer case, the district court ruled against Covil and said that they owed the amount the jury gave the widow. (mesothelioma.net)
Finch’s Suffering Drove Verdict
Covil Corporation told the court they should not have been held responsible for Finch’s mesothelioma during the trial. After they lost that argument, they said the verdict by the jury was excessive and that the widow had not shown enough evidence to support the size of the award. On review of the case, the US District Court did not agree. It made note of how much the mesothelioma victim suffered in the months prior to death.
Finch had to be in the hospital for months, had several surgeries and had several very painful complications. The court also noted that Civil had many opportunities to make counterpoints during the first trial, and that the widow had shown much evidence that Covil knew of the dangers of asbestos products before it began selling them to the tire plant but did so anyway without any warnings.
The Company Knew The Risks
Per testimony at trial, Finch’s mesothelioma diagnosis came after he worked for 20 years at the plant as a mold changer. During his duties, he worked near insulated steam pipes that were produced by Covil that fed each tire press. Even though the company knew the pipes had insulation with asbestos and exposed Finch to harm, the firm did not provide any protection or warning to anyone who was at risk of exposure.
After reviewing the original case, the court stated that direct and circumstantial evidence showed that Covil sold the products to the factory at a time when it knew or should have known of the dangers of asbestos. The court also determined that asbestos from the pipes was the direct cause of Finch’s death. The court stated that he worked very closely to the pipes, so that whenever he bumped them, asbestos dust rose from them. It also was confirmed that the tire plant had very high concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers.
Overview of Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Claims
The above case illustrates the value of filing a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one dies from mesothelioma. This legal action allows the family to recover funds for the many damages suffered from losing their loved one to this deadly disease that is entirely preventable. A wrongful death lawsuit usually is filed by family members who died due to the actions of others. As the Covil case illustrates, when it can be shown an asbestos company knew of the harm that its products cause, a mesothelioma diagnosis in a worked can be attributed to negligence or intentional harm in the wrongful death lawsuit.
Major features of a wrongful death claim for mesothelioma
- Points of exposure being known: It is very important to determine when and where the exposure to asbestos happened in the claim. Your mesothelioma attorney has access to many powerful legal research resources to find out when and where you may have been exposed during your work history.
- Negligence: The claim must show that the asbestos company in question knew that its products were dangerous, and failed to provide adequate warnings and safety instructions.
- Major effects on family: Loved ones of the passed family member must show the death has had a significant and negative effect on their lives.
Mesothelioma is always caused by asbestos exposure. Many companies that made asbestos products knew about the dangers but continued to sell and use the products without warning workers. Profit was the motive; asbestos is cheap and every effective at containing heat and fire. But thousands of workers over the years were exposed to the deadly substance on the job. This has been the reason nearly 3,000 people per year are diagnosed with mesothelioma per year.
If you file a wrongful death lawsuit after your loved one dies from mesothelioma, you can be compensated for your medical costs, funeral bills, pain and suffering of the victim, lost earnings of the victim, and loss of companionship and consortium.
Who can sue for wrongful death
Usually, a wrongful death action is filed by family members of the worker who died from the cancer. In some states, other people can file a mesothelioma lawsuit as well. Laws vary by state for who has standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney can help you to determine if you have legal standing to file a wrongful death mesothelioma claim in your state. Some of the parties who may be eligible to file are:
- Immediate family members, such as spouses and children.
- Life partners: Some states allow life partners and people financially dependent on the deceased to file suit.
- Anyone who suffered financially: Some states let anyone who is financially affected by the loss of the person to file.
Mesothelioma wrongful death claim process
The process for a wrongful death lawsuit does vary by state, but generally, the procedure involves research, discovery and trial:
- Research: Your mesothelioma attorney will perform research about the company that exposed your loved one to asbestos. He also will do interviews with people who worked with the deceased.
- Filing: A claim may be filed in the state where exposure to asbestos happened. Or it could be where the company has its headquarters, or in the state that offers the best opportunity for the most money.
- Discovery: Lawyers will closely review the person’s work and personal history to build a powerful wrongful death case.
- Trial or settlement: The lawsuit could result in a legal settlement before the case goes to trial. Trials often take many years, and it can be beneficial for both sides financially to agreement a settlement early in the legal process.
Have questions about filing a wrongful death lawsuit for a mesothelioma victim in your family? Please speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney in your state.
- District Court Upholds $33 Million Award for Mesothelioma Widow. (2019). Retrieved from https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/district-court-upholds-33-million-award-for-mesothelioma-widow/