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A New York jury recently awarded a Kentucky man $32 million because he was exposed to asbestos while he was enlisted in the U.S. Navy, WSAZ News reports.
U.S. military veterans may have been exposed to asbestos in New York and throughout the country and that can lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is both incurable and fast moving once a person has been diagnosed.
Our military personnel should be treated especially well because of the sacrifice they make for our safety and our freedom. But for many older veterans, spending time on war ships and in Navy shipyards has left them suffering many years later.
The military was once one of the largest users of asbestos, as the material was used to fireproof and was good for insulation. But over time, researchers found that exposure to asbestos in heavy doses leads to many illnesses, such as mesothelioma.
After attaching to the body, they can develop for years and even decades — some people have reported being exposed to asbestos 30 or 40 years earlier — before a person experiences the typical symptoms that come from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Typical symptoms include coughing, chest pain, fluid build-up and others. Because those symptoms are often typical of other illnesses and aging, some people don’t get checked right away. Sadly, the median time to live after diagnosis is only 12 months.
In the case of the sailor from Kentucky, an eight-week trial ended with the man getting a $32 million jury award. He was a U.S. Navy boiler tender and the jury found that companies failed to adequately warm him about the dangers of asbestos exposure that led him to developing mesothelioma. While asbestos was used for insulation, it was also used on boilers, furnaces, brake pads, ceiling and floor tiles and many other commonly used products.
Of the $32 million, $16 million is for past pain and suffering and $16 million for future pain and suffering. The man served 28 years in the Navy, working his way from a fireman to boiler tender and to Master Chief Petty Officer. His exposure to asbestos happened during the 18 years he spent on various ships.
Jurors found that he developed pleural mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure while serving on ships between 1960 and 1977. He worked in the boiler and fire rooms of each vessel. He repaired Crane Company valves, which included changing pads, valves and gaskets.
He may have also been exposed to asbestos while working with Elliot Turbomachinery Co. Inc. produced feed tanks on one of the ships, according to the news article.
Many of our veterans were exposed to asbestos unknowingly, even when companies knew their products contained the dangerous material. Leaving people to get sick is unlawful and deserves justice, especially for our military veterans who have given us so much.
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