In an effort to frustrate the legal claims of patients suffering from mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos, and their families, often times defendants in asbestos related lawsuits attempt to claim that there is no record of asbestos being used at their industrial facility. The tactic is employed when a defendant tries to assert that any records documenting the use of asbestos at the site were destroyed decades ago and long time employees have no knowledge related to the use of the fiber. Thus without any documentary evidence of asbestos use at the site, the defendant asserts the plaintiff cannot prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The corporate lack of knowledge strategy can be very effective in an asbestos case, as the latency period between asbestos exposure and occurrence of mesothelioma can be decades.
But recent events near Bakersfield, California, highlight perhaps one of the best arrows in the plaintiff’s quiver, who is seeking to pierce the corporate lack of knowledge defense strategy: the site inspection.
When structures and facilities are still in existence, where an individual claims to have been exposed to asbestos in the past, having an expert inspect the site can lead to the discovery of exact locations, and the types of asbestos fiber present at the facility.
Inspections for asbestos containing materials can even lead to the identification of asbestos used at locations where for whatever reason, it was unknown to current employees that asbestos was present at the facility. Two such examples of this circumstance occurred recently within the last few weeks in the Bakersfield area.
Last week, during a routine facility maintenance inspection, asbestos containing materials were discovered at Ira J. Chrisman Wind Gas Pumping Plant. Officials alerted the press, as the asbestos containing materials unfortunately were discovered after being disturbed at the water handling facility.
When asbestos fibers are disturbed, and become free in the air, they become a dangerous public health threat. Experts indicate if you can see asbestos dust, you are more than likely breathing a dose of asbestos that is considered unsafe by Environmental Protection Agency standards, and can be cancer causing.
The release of asbestos fibers the Chrisman plant followed the identification of asbestos containing materials at the John R. Teernick Wheeler Pumping Plant in Bakersfield. Inspectors went to the Chrisman plant as a result of finding the asbestos containing materials at the Wheeler plant.
Now investigators are planning a much more thorough inspection at both facilities to determine the extent of the contamination, and to construct a plan as to how to remove the deadly fiber.
The examples of the Chrisman and Wheeler plant highlight the importance of performing site inspections in an asbestos related lawsuit, when a client suffering from mesothelioma is certain that they used an asbestos containing product at a site, even when the defendant claims that have no records or knowledge of such facts. Further, there may be circumstances when a client is uncertain whether or not the material they used at a facility contained asbestos, but the physical description of the material makes it reasonable for a site inspection to occur, so the material can be sampled and tested.
If you are a person suffering from mesothelioma, or an asbestos related disease, you should not be discouraged from seeking justice for your injuries in the legal system, because you fear the individual or entity at fault for your exposure to asbestos will claim otherwise. There are many ways that skilled plaintiff’s attorneys will be able to obtain the evidence you need to prove your claim.
If you or a loved one are suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, or an asbestos related disease, and are in need of legal assistance, please call the Asbestos Legal Center, at 1-800-970-3878, for a free consultation.