Family members of workers who worked with or around asbestos-containing products may have had so-called secondhand asbestos exposure — also called household or indirect exposure to asbestos dust. For example:
- A wife washing the asbestos worker’s dusty clothing; or, even more unexpectedly,
- The children giving a welcome-home hug each day to their father while he was still in his work clothes laden with asbestos dust.
Often times it can be determined how the asbestos exposure during childhood happened and, in turn, an asbestos lawsuit for legal compensation can be filed on behalf of the mesothelioma victim or her surviving family.
The primary issue in secondary exposure asbsestos-mesothelioma lawsuits is whether there was a legal duty to warn going from the asbestos worker’s employer to the secondarily exposed person, such as the worker’s wife, in the state(s) where the person had household or indirect exposures to asbestos dust.
As of October 2012, 16 states have court decisions addressing this basic legal liability issue in asbestos-mesothelioma secondary exposure lawsuits.
The following states permit secondary exposure claims: Illinois; New Jersey; Louisiana; Tennessee; California; and, Washington.
And these states do not allow these types of asbestos-mesothelioma lawsuits: Delaware; Ohio; Kansas; Iowa; Kentucky; Michigan; Texas; New York; Georgia; and, Maryland.
The remaining 34 U.S. states have not had a final court ruling, yet, about whether a person diagnosed with mesothelioma can file a secondhand asbestos lawsuit and hold an employer of their husband or father, i.e., the asbestos worker, legally responsible for that asbestos cancer.
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