West Virginia is one of the highest ranked states in the United States for asbestos-related litigation. Asbestos is no longer used as a construction or insulation material; however, because of the serious health-related issues associated with the toxic substance, asbestos cases are and will continue to be an issue for companies. Construction companies, auto manufacturing sites, industrial facilities, private businesses, public buildings, and housing developments face and will continue to tackle asbestos litigation from employees, the public, and residents’ exposure.
Health Issues Related to Asbestos
Asbestos can cause a number of health-related issues, including:
Asbestosis, which is the scarring of the lungs from inhaled asbestos fibers;
Mesothelioma, which is a disease that causes cancer cells to form around the lining of the chest, abdomen, and heart;
Lung cancer; and
Other respiratory diseases.
Preventing Asbestos Exposure and Litigation
According to the West Virginia Environmental Protection Agency, before renovation or demolition of any institutional, public, industrial, commercial, residential building, installation, or building the following procedures must be observed:
An inspection of the facility or affected part must be conducted to identify and quantify any asbestos containing material (West Virginia Code Chapter 16 Article 32, requires an inspector to be properly licensed under the statute);
For any reportable amounts of regulated asbestos containing materials (RACM) a written notice, on the appropriate forms, must be postmarked or delivered to the Division of Air Quality at least 10 working days prior to demolition or disturbing the RACM;
All RACM must be carefully removed, handled and disposed of. The RACM must be adequately wetted prior to removal and be adequately wet until sealed in leak tight containers or wrappings for disposal; and
After sealing the asbestos containing material waste in leak tight containers or wrappings, with proper warning labels, the waste must be transported to an approved asbestos disposal site.
Purely single residential units of four or fewer dwelling units are excluded from the above rules. Reportable amounts of RACM are at least 260 linear feet of pipes, 160 square feet on other facility components, or 35 cubic feet where the material could not be measured before stripping.
Forming a Defense Strategy
An experienced asbestos litigation defense attorney can craft the proper defense to protect your company. A business with foreseen ongoing asbestos lawsuits requires a cost-effective long-term plan. A company may, however, require a more aggressive approach when combating an isolated asbestos exposure claim.
Asbestos Litigation Defense Attorney
Asbestos litigation is something that many companies have and will continue to face across the country from the unknown health issues related to the material when it was first introduced into buildings. Depending on the industry asbestos litigation can plague a business for years, making a well-crafted defense essential. If your company faces asbestos claims or has questions about the laws related to asbestos removal or identification during construction, contact an experienced asbestos litigation defense attorney at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia to create a short-term and long-term plan for the protection of your company.