Benefits available for those exposed to asbestos

Workers at a variety of manufacturing and processing plants prior to 1981 and who were exposed to asbestos at those sites, could qualify for benefits from a trust fund set up through a federal court.

Shelby White of the Norris Injury Lawyers Group said the trust was set up as the result of a lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers.

“Asbestos suppliers and manufacturers knew of the dangers of asbestos in the early 1900s, but they continued to use it and failed to warn anyone of the dangers. Many of these suppliers and manufacturers were sued and held responsible for diseases and deaths that were caused by asbestos exposure. Several companies were bankrupted and a substantial amount of money was set aside in bankruptcy trusts for future claimants,” she explained. Individuals who wish to make a claim are considered on a case-by-case basis.

“The claims we make are against the bankruptcy trusts,” said Ms. White.

She said the asbestos manufacturers provided the court with a list of sites their product was used. The U.S. Sugar plant in Florida is on that list, she continued.

The fact that a company is on the “qualified sites” list does not necessarily mean employees there were exposed to asbestos. But if they do have health issues related to asbestos exposure, they could qualify for compensation from the trust.

U.S. Sugar is not accused of doing anything wrong, Ms. White said. If anything, the company is a victim, she added.

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