Silica dust exposure poses considerable risks to worker health and safety in the engineered stone industry. In the absence of sufficient safety precautions, workers may sustain life-altering or life-threatening lung damage from the unmitigated inhalation of the hazardous substance.
Unfortunately, prominent manufacturers and employers have routinely failed to implement adequate workplace protocol or warn workers of the dangers of silica dust. In the process, artificial stone industry companies seriously endangered their employees and spurred an uptick in silicosis cases throughout the country.
As a result, injured workers have begun filing engineered stone silicosis lawsuits in an effort to hold negligent companies to account and recoup their losses. Determining the precise value for a silicosis lawsuit requires a unique assessment of the injuries and losses an injured worker has incurred on account of the recklessness or negligence of their employers.
Although online services claim to provide accurate and immediate compensation projections, prospective plaintiffs should speak with a qualified silica exposure lawyer to devise a fair and reasonable estimate.
Factors Impacting Silicosis Lawsuit Case Value
Once plaintiffs in silicosis lawsuits have determined the damages to which they may be entitled, they must work closely with an experienced silica exposure lawyer to determine the amount in financial compensation to request. There are a variety of factors that influence overall case value, some of which plaintiffs can exploit to guarantee maximal compensation, such as:
- Seeking medical treatment
- Adhering to treatment plans
- Preserving evidence
A failure to request medical assistance after developing silicosis or a subsequent lack of adherence to prescribed treatment plans could provide defendants the opportunity to undermine the credibility of the plaintiff’s claims and deny liability. Moreover, the preservation of evidence guarantees that plaintiffs can advance the strongest and most substantial claims possible.
Additional factors which influence the case value of silicosis lawsuits include the severity of the alleged injuries, state statutes which govern the claims, and court precedents for similar cases. For example, in the United States alone, silicosis exposure claims have bedeviled numerous industries since the 1930s, including sandblasting and construction.
Although the recent spate of silicosis lawsuits differs in certain respects on account of silica dust regulations and the migrant status of select plaintiffs, earlier court rulings could affect the receptiveness of juries to plaintiffs’ claims and defendants’ willingness to settle.
Calculating Damages in Silicosis Lawsuits
In order to determine a compensation figure commensurate with the alleged damages, qualified silicosis lawyers rely upon several formulae to reach a fair and reasonable estimate. Calculating economic damages typically involves the addition of the various costs associated with treatment, transportation, foregone income, and decreased earning potential.
Although noneconomic damages are ultimately discretionary, personal injury lawyers commonly devise a figure through the following formula: economic damages + (economic damages x multiplier). The multiplier ranges from 1 to 5 and is determined by the preceding factors which influence case value. For example, if a worker develops accelerated silicosis and incurs a $15,000 financial loss, their potential case value could range from $30,000 to $90,000.
Common Injuries in Silicosis Lawsuits
Workers in the engineered stone countertop industry are frequently exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) through the grinding, sawing, polishing, and installation of artificial stone products. The harmful silica dust poses considerable health risks in the form of permanent and chronic lung damage, which have the potential to result in:
- Simple and complicated
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic bronchitis
- Progressive massive fibrosis (pneumoconiosis)
- Lung cancer
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Autoimmune disease
Common Damages in Silicosis Lawsuits
Receiving a silicosis diagnosis can greatly disrupt an individual’s life, requiring them to leave work permanently and radically alter their daily routine. On account of the severity of silicosis, injured workers reserve the right to seek considerable financial assistance from negligent or reckless employers whose workplace safety precautions were either inadequate or nonexistent.
Although compensation and settlement figures vary on a case-by-case basis, plaintiffs in silicosis lawsuits can seek reimbursement in the form of economic and non-economic damages, including:
Medical Expenses for Silicosis and Other Silica Exposure Injuries
Silicosis may be incurable, but it is treatable. Consequently, workers in the artificial stone industry commonly incur tremendous medical costs while managing the symptoms of silicosis.
In personal injury law, economic damages account for the medical expenses associated with treatment for severe injuries, such as:
- Doctor appointments
- Prescription medications
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Oxygen supplies
Lost Wages and Income Caused by Silicosis
After receiving a silicosis diagnosis, workers frequently take leaves of absence or resign on account of their inability to perform basic tasks. This unfortunate process can place unmanageable financial strain on entire households whose members possess little or no insurance coverage.
In a silicosis lawsuit, injured workers have the opportunity to seek financial compensation for lost wages and income. If the diagnosis is so extreme as to prove entirely or mostly debilitating, plaintiffs may also seek compensation for future income or decreased earning potential.
Silicosis Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is one of the most common categories of non-economic damages, addressing the aggregate physical and emotional distress plaintiffs endure on account of an injury. In the context of silicosis lawsuits, pain and suffering can encompass the physical discomfort associated with the debilitating disease and the sorrow and grief caused by unemployment or loss of time with loved ones.
Silicosis Mental Anguish
Mental anguish is a similar category of non-economic damages which directly addresses the psychological distress connected to a severe injury. Although a clinical diagnosis of a mental disorder or condition, like PTSD, could substantiate the request, plaintiffs are not obligated to adduce such medical documentation.
In order to validate a petition for mental anguish damages, plaintiffs should be prepared to submit to the evidentiary record journal entries or ask that witnesses testify to any psychological deterioration or cognitive changes after an injury occurred.
Loss of Consortium
Many injured artificial stone workers have reported that their silicosis diagnosis considerably impaired their ability to spend time with their children and spouses. Although these losses cannot be entirely recompensed in a court of law, plaintiffs in silicosis lawsuits do have the chance to seek financial compensation for the loss of consortium.
This category of non-economic damages is governed by state-specific statutes, and is therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the state within which the claim is filed. However, commonalities in consortium claims include damages for the loss of:
- Domestic services
- Mutual activities
Contact an Experienced Silicosis Lawyer Today
Prospective plaintiffs of silicosis lawsuits regularly resort to online calculators to receive a quick estimate on their potential case value. However, many of these digital resources provide inaccurate information and may seriously mislead eligible claimants.
That is why we strongly recommend that engineered stone workers seek the assistance of a qualified silicosis lawyer to reach a reasonable and fair estimation of the compensation to which they may be entitled. In a free consultation, our experienced workplace injury lawyers can assist you in assessing the eligibility of your claim and calculate prospective entitlements.
Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that injured workers are fully informed of their rights and legal options. With over 120 combined years of personal injury law experience and the track record, resources, and influence to prove it, we offer the individualized treatment of a small firm with the scale of a nationwide practice.
For more information, consider contacting us today.