Building Materials Maker Faces $264 Million in Asbestos Lawsuits for 2018
At any given time, thousands of asbestos victims and their attorneys are fighting the companies that are responsible for their medical conditions related to exposure to this deadly mineral. The most debilitating condition of them all is mesothelioma. There is no cure for the disease and treating it often costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Claims against negligent companies are on the rise, with some single organizations battling thousands of claims alone. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson is among them. Now, ABC News has reported that a building materials company’s asbestos-related claims will reach a staggering $264 million for 2018. Even more shocking is the company’s liability to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (AICF) is expected to skyrocket from $196 million to $1.853 billion.
The estimate is based on a report by a major, independent accounting firm that says the total AICF liability range is “between $1.35 billion and $3.06 billion, with the $1.85 billion figure being the most likely outcome.” To date, the company “has tipped in $1.055 billion to the fund, which was established in 2006 to cover asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.” The accounting firm also reports that the average claim settlement for the company increased from $224,000 in 2017 to $253,000 in 2018. The number of claims received increased slightly as well from an alarming 556 in 2017 to 562 in 2018.
Why so many claims for this particular company? The accounting firm says that the number of (and rise) in claims can be attributed to home renovators. The report found that “there was a significant rise in claims from renovators between 2012 and 2015.” The firm concluded that, “while that trend has moderated, the claims are still running at substantially higher levels than previously observed.”
If you are considering renovations to your home, everything from the flooring in your kitchen to the materials renovators still use today could contain asbestos. In fact, the City of Flagstaff Environmental Technician says that, “unless your home is made completely of wood, glass or metal there is potential for your home to have asbestos-containing building materials (ACBMs) in it, regardless of when your home was built. Asbestos use in the U.S. is not completely banned and there is potential for asbestos to be present in current building products.”
Before making the decision to renovate, protect yourself. Treat any suspicious materials as if they contain asbestos, and have them sampled by a licensed professional. Samples should be taken only by a licensed Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (AHERA) building inspector since they are knowledgeable of and trained according to current federal regulations.
“Asbestos in Your Home.” Flagstaff.AZ.Gov. City of Flagstaff Environmental Technician, 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.
“Asbestos Laws and Regulations.” EPA.gov. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 20 Aug. 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.
Letts, Stephen. “James Hardie profit tumbles on mounting asbestos claims,” ABC.net.au. ABC News, 22 May 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.