Following a ruling by a Washington State Court of Appeals, victims of secondary asbestos exposure have enjoyed a hard earned victory – The ruling will make it easier for those exposed to asbestos as the result of the work of family members living in the same home to make a claim for their asbestos related diseases such as asbestos cancer, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

The new ruling overturns a previous ruling made by a lower court, and sets a set a precedent that could allow hundreds of family members and others living in the same home to file their own claims. This means that those suffering from asbestos related illnesses due to exposure from the clothes or body of a loved one that worked with asbestos, commonly known as ‘secondary exposure’, can now successfully sue the employer for compensation. Until this ruling, is has proven very difficult such cases to proceed.

“For decades, people working with or around asbestos products brought deadly fibers home on their clothing, thereby exposing their families to cancerous materials,” explains Seattle attorney Matthew Bergman. “Until now it has been very difficult for individuals who develop asbestos-related diseases as a result of household exposures to pursue a claim against the employer, even though the hazards of asbestos were well documented by the early 1950s. This ruling gives new hope to family members suffering from diseases caused by asbestos exposure.”

One man spoke of how he felt when his wife passed away from the asbestos related disease mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to asbestos through him. Every night he came home, changed out of his work clothes and his wife Adeline, a mother of seven married to Lawrence Rochon for over 49 years, washed them regularly. That simple task may have caused the mesothelioma that eventually took her life. He stated: “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could go back and change things. My wife was a wonderful woman who took pride in caring for her family. She didn’t deserve to die in such a horrible way.”

Asbestos exposure has been linked to several deadly diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of chest lining that may take as long as 15-40 years to manifest. Once diagnosed, mesothelioma patients often have only months to live.

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