Most businesses focus the majority of their efforts on finding ways to maintain their market share and increase their profit margin. All too often, employees are the ones who end up losing out through company policies aimed at reducing operating costs. However, businesses can also take certain steps that pass expenses on to their consumers.
Businesses that have used asbestos or have exposed their workers or customers to it in the past may have liability for any medical consequences their employees or customers suffer. Unfortunately, businesses will often go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for exposing people to asbestos, as evidenced by a recent move by one of the most successful companies in the country.
Companies facing asbestos claims will earn profits and then claim bankruptcy
Filing bankruptcy to minimize liability for asbestos-related health issues has become a common practice used by not just employers but also companies facing product liability claims.
Johnson & Johnson is a massive corporation that produces health and beauty products, including talcum-based powders. Unfortunately, independent tests have found asbestos contamination in some of their powders. Those test results and otherwise inexplicable cancer diagnoses among users of their products have led to multi-million dollar court rulings against the company.
Like many businesses facing claims by former workers over asbestos-related diseases, Johnson & Johnson has already taken steps to avoid responsibility for its dangerous business practices. The company recently restructured and then initiated bankruptcy proceedings. It included the asbestos-related judgments and pending lawsuits against the company in the debt it wishes to negotiate or discharge.
The courts may require that the company establish a bankruptcy fund for victims affected by its asbestos-contaminated products, but only time will tell what the results will be for the consumers affected.
Businesses should protect workers and consumers from asbestos exposure
Companies have known for decades how dangerous asbestos is, but profit motives have often prevented them from properly testing their products or providing adequate training and safety equipment to their workforce.
Those coping with an asbestos-related illness may have grounds to take legal action against the company that caused their asbestos exposure. Knowing your rights is often the first step for standing up for them.