Top 100 Trial Lawyers badge
BBB Accredited Business badge
Multi Million Dollar Advocates Forum badge
10 Best Attorney badge
top 10 trial lawyers badge
RUE Ratings Best Attorneys of aAmerica Badge
Veteran Approved Badge
Americas Top 100 Attorneys Badge
Lawyers of Distinction Badge
American Association for Justice Badge
Best Law Firms of America Badge
Top American Lawyers Badge
NADC Badge

Montana Jury Sides with Railroad Asbestos Exposure Victims

A federal jury awarded the survivors of two deceased asbestos exposure victims $4 million in compensatory damages.

Jurors said asbestos-contaminated vermiculite that spilled in the rail yard in the town of Libby, Montana was a substantial factor in the plaintiffs' illnesses and deaths.

The vermiculite from Libby has high concentrations of naturally occurring asbestos and was used in insulation and for other commercial purposes in homes and businesses across the U.S.

After being mined from a mountaintop outside town, it was loaded onto rail cars that sometimes spilled the material in the Libby rail yard. Residents have described piles of vermiculite being stored in the yard and dust from the facility blowing through downtown Libby.

The estates of the two victims argued that the railroad knew the asbestos-tainted vermiculite was dangerous and failed to clean it up. Both lived near the rail yard decades ago and died from mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Damages in Civil Cases

Two types of damages, compensatory and punitive damages, are usually available in asbestos exposure claims, assuming an asbestos exposure lawyer proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.

Usually, negligence in an asbestos exposure case is a failure to warn about known side-effects. Companies have known about the adverse health effects of asbestos for over a hundred years. But, for the most part, they only started warning people about these health effects after 1970, when Congress passed the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws.

As the name implies, compensatory damages compensate victims for their economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Medical bill compensation must also include compensation for future medical expenses. If a claim settles too early, future medical expenses may be uncertain, which means the victim is financially responsible for them.

Compensation for non-economic losses helps victims move forward with their lives. At this point, that is the best anyone can do.

Punitive damages resemble criminal fines. Juries award punitive damages if an asbestos exposure lawyer proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant intentionally disregarded a known risk. Punitive damages are usually very high in asbestos exposure claims. Many providers deliberately ignored the health risks of asbestos exposure for decades. Furthermore, most of these companies are so wealthy that only an eye-popping amount of punitive damages gets their attention and forces them to change the way they do business.

Ambient Asbestos Exposure

Indirect occupational exposure, take-home asbestos poisoning, and accidental exposure are the three most common kinds of ambient (environmental) asbestos exposure.

Many asbestos exposure victims handled asbestos-laced products and/or worked in asbestos-laced facilities. Other exposure victims were managers or administrative employees at asbestos hotspots. Airborne asbestos fibers often float into parking lots and other common areas.

Asbestos fibers also have jagged edges. So, when they finally come to rest, they cling to practically any surface, such as the inside or outside of a motor vehicle. These fibers could poison anyone else who got in the car, such as a friend or relative.

Take-home asbestos claims are historically under-reported. Many housewives and other take-home victims chalked up mesothelioma and other asbestos exposure diseases to bad luck.

The Twin Towers collapse on 9/11 might be the best example of pure ambient exposure. The toxic cloud that covered much of New York City that day was laced with asbestos. Estimates vary, but the World Trade Center towers may have contained as much as 400 tons of asbestos.

In terms of legal options, an asbestos exposure lawyer can usually file civil claims and/or bankruptcy victim compensation fund claims on behalf of victims. VA disability and workers’ compensation claims are usually off-limits in most states.

Reach Out to a Dedicated Attorney

Mesothelioma victims need and deserve significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer, contact the Throneberry Law Group. We have offices in Arizona and six other states from coast to coast.

Client Reviews
You are the reason my mother was able to cope with losing a loved one. You and your staff are always helpful and go above and beyond to help. You have been great to my family and especially my mother. My mother would always come out of your office with a peace of mind. R.S.
We are so appreciative of the results Michael Throneberry got for us! Michael Throneberry and the attorneys we worked with were focused on our peace of mind and seemed to care for my family and me as if we were family. They truly get it. We were thrilled with the result and would recommend this firm to anyone. M.S.
During one of my family's darkest and trying times, Michael Throneberry was there to provide help. His personal experience with mesothelioma made certain that he advised us like family. Thank you, you are wonderful. Do yourself a favor and let him help you during this trying time. He is a true 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. T.S.
Michael Throneberry gave me a whole new outlook on attorneys'! A very caring person who was more concerned with my health than a case. Truly unexpected! He explained possible conditions in english and even found the right doctors in my area. Prepared me for the right questions to ask the doctors so that I can understand my illness better. A great person and a great human being! Thank you. Greg