Louisiana shares a history with other U.S. states as host to some vital yet dangerous products and processes. Farmers have been exposed to harmful chemicals in the fields, oil workers have been covered in lethal substances on offshore rigs and many types of professionals manufactured or used materials later found to cause lung cancer and other chronic illnesses.
Dozens of former employees of an industrial manufacturer in Webster Parish and elsewhere in the Bayou State joined a class-action lawsuit against the company. The workers alleged exposure to asbestos and silica dust, which are known to potentially cause lung cancer, over decades of the company's operations.
Several of the plaintiffs sued the company for negligence in failing to prevent their illnesses during and after their work experience. The defendant challenged the case as failing to show a cause for the legal action, but the Louisiana Court of Appeals remanded the case for judgment. The company and its relevant divisions have since been bought or have become defunct.
One of the issues at the heart of the case was the continued rights of workers to sue an employer over illness if the ailment is not covered by workers' compensation payments. The court claimed no later legislation or changes can take this option away.
Workers of any industry facing the long-term effects of hazardous exposure have the right to claim financial compensation for medical expenses as well as damages for pain and suffering. An attorney can help assemble a claim for compensation, a suit against an employer or another legal instrument to help recovery.