$8 Million Asbestos Exposure Verdict for St. Louis Auto Mechanic

By USClaims

Ford Motor Company was recently ordered by a St. Louis, Missouri jury, to pay $8.433 million in compensation to Al Bennett and his wife, Pam Bennett. Al Bennett was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma—a form of cancer which affects the lining of the chest cavity and is usually considered fatal. Bennett claimed he had been exposed to asbestos over the course of his time as an auto mechanic with Ford. Al Bennett was too ill to attend court when the verdict was handed down, however, his wife, Pam, was present. The jury awarded Bennet $5,725,000 in actual damages, $2 million in punitive damages, and awarded Mrs. Bennet $708,000 in actual damages, under the theory that she sustained damage as a result of her husband’s injuries.

Plaintiff’s Job as Auto Mechanic Exposed Him to Asbestos

Facts during the trial showed that Bennett’s mesothelioma diagnosis was the result of asbestos exposure during the 60s, 70s, and 80s when he worked as a mechanic at Ford automotive dealerships. Bennett’s job at the dealership was to replace and repair brakes, gaskets, and clutches, which were contaminated by asbestos—a carcinogenic material.  It was shown during the trial that Ford was not only aware of the dangers posed by asbestos, they did nothing to warn those working directly with the asbestos about the dangers.

Mesothelioma Diagnoses Could Have Been Prevented with Proper Warnings

For most of those who receive a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, it is highly likely their illness could have been prevented if they had been warned about the potential dangers of asbestos. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer in which the membrane which covers and protects the body’s internal organs (the mesothelium) becomes malignant. According to the Mesothelioma Journal, about 3,300 individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in America. For most people, symptoms of mesothelioma do not appear for two to four decades following the exposure to asbestos. Men are four times as likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma than women, although this could be due to the fact that more men work in areas where they are likely to be exposed to asbestos.

The most common age for a mesothelioma diagnosis is between 50 and 70. About 75 percent of all cases of mesothelioma are for pleural mesothelioma. As many as 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in their place of employment. While mining for asbestos in the United States officially ended in 2002, asbestos is still used by the U.S. military, as well as in shipyards, construction, and auto repair. Those engaged in demolition may also encounter asbestos.  Although 61 other countries have either fully or partially banned asbestos, the U.S. has not, and, over the last decade, more than 8 million pounds of asbestos have been imported to the United States.

Getting the Help Necessary Following a Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

Across the nation, about eleven people are diagnosed each day with mesothelioma.  Your client’s ability to get treatment for their mesothelioma injuries and assistance with related expenses while their case is pending can, unfortunately, be limited, but help can come from USClaims. At USClaims, pre-settlement funding can help your clients pay those unexpected expenses in anticipation of a mesothelioma court judgment or settlement. Call 1-877-USCLAIMS today for the information you and your clients need and deserve.