Asbestos Lawsuits in Philadelphia: Frequently Asked Legal Questions

By Chris M. Placitella, Esq.

May 15, 2024

Philadelphia’s history with asbestos is deeply rooted in its industrial past, spanning across sectors such as shipbuilding and construction. The widespread use of this hazardous material was prominent in many of the city’s major industries until the late 20th century, when the severe health risks associated with asbestos became widely acknowledged. Despite the decline in its use, the legacy of asbestos lingers in Philadelphia, posing a risk of exposure even decades later. Understanding this, it’s natural for residents and workers to feel a sense of uncertainty and worry about the potential impacts on their health.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the more commonly asked legal questions related to asbestos exposure in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia-Specific Legal Questions

Where was asbestos used in Philadelphia industries?

In Philadelphia, asbestos was prevalently used in shipyards, manufacturing plants, and the construction industry. Specific sites include the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, which was known for its extensive use of asbestos in ship construction and repair. Additionally, many older buildings in the city, from schools to commercial buildings, incorporated asbestos-containing materials in insulation, flooring, and roofing. For more detailed information on this issue, you might want to read about the battle against asbestos in Philadelphia schools.

What are the time limits for filing a claim in Pennsylvania?

The time limits, or statutes of limitations, for filing an asbestos-related claim in Pennsylvania can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the exposure and illness. Generally, victims have a limited time from the date of diagnosis or discovery of the disease to file a lawsuit. For more information on this process, you can visit this detailed guide on asbestos lawsuit processes.

How do I know if I have an asbestos-related illness?

Identifying an asbestos-related illness starts with recognizing the symptoms, which often include shortness of breath, persistent cough, and chest pain. Asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, typically take years to manifest after exposure. For a comprehensive understanding of these conditions, the Mayo Clinic offers valuable resources (Asbestosis: Symptoms & Causes). Additionally, further insights into recognizing mesothelioma symptoms can be found here.

Can I sue my employer for an asbestos related disease caused by exposure at work?

Under Pennsylvania’s Workers Compensation Act employees give up the right to sue their employers for work related injuries in exchange for the compensation available under the Act. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court changed that in cases where an employee is diagnosed with an occupational disease, such as that caused by asbestos exposure, more than 300 weeks after the end of their employment. The court’s ruling, in a case called Tooey v A.K. Steel Corp assured that former employees could obtain a recovery for an occupational injury that fell outside the scope of the Workers Compensation Act which limited compensable injuries to those that occurred within 300 weeks of the employee’s last exposure to an occupational hazard.

Can family members file a claim after someone has passed away?

In Pennsylvania, family members may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one passes away due to an asbestos-related disease. These laws allow relatives to seek compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of companionship.

Why Seek Legal Counsel

Asbestos litigation is complex, involving the identification of potentially numerous responsible parties, navigating asbestos trust funds, and dealing with strict legal timelines. Legal representation can significantly benefit those affected by asbestos exposure. Lawyers specializing in this field can help secure compensation and hold liable parties accountable, which is not only a matter of justice but also a deterrent against negligence by other parties. For examples of successful case results, consider exploring these links: Cohen, Placitella & Roth Case Results and information on average wrongful death settlements for mesothelioma.

At Cohen, Placitella & Roth, we understand the unique challenges of asbestos cases in Philadelphia. If you or a loved one has been affected by asbestos exposure, we are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your situation and explore your legal options. Learn more about our expertise in asbestos litigation and how we can assist you.