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Injured worker claim turns into wrongful death suit in California

There are certain substances in this world that can make a person ill. Sometimes a substance can even cause death. Unfortunately, it turns out one construction worker was repeatedly exposed to a substance without knowing its dangers, and he ended up dying from the effects of asbestos in California. This resulted in an injured worker claim and a prolonged legal dispute between the worker's family and his employer.

The problem started when the worker decided to take home some scrap material from various work sites over the years. The man worked for Ameron International Corp., a pipe manufacturing company. He was an employee of Ameron from 1961 to 1985. It turned out that the scrap material he was taking home contained asbestos, resulting in the man contracting mesothelioma, which eventually caused his death.

The man had been using the scrap materials for his own projects at home, which included making flower pots and even building a portion of a patio. Although the man's death is covered by workers' compensation insurance, the man's family believed that they were entitled to more than death benefits. The family argued in a wrongful death lawsuit that Ameron should be responsible for non-work-related injuries sustained from the decedent's personal projects, since the company had allowed the man to take the hazardous scrap material home.

The courts in California ultimately decided against the decedent's family and in favor of the employer. This helped the employer avoid significant financial liability related to the injured worker claim. However, this would not have been possible without a strong employer defense strategy that proved effective in court.

Source: businessinsurance.com, "Comp benefits only remedy for asbestos worker's survivors", Sheena Harrison, Sept. 21, 2015

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