The family of a Carnival Cruise Lines electrician who died from asbestos-related lung cancer in 2005 has been awarded $3.6 million. The man worked as an electrician for the cruise line, which is headquartered here in Miami, from 1985 to 2000.
According to the lawsuit, the electrician was exposed to asbestos fibers that were in the insulation in the machine and engine rooms of the ships on almost a daily basis.
During the trial, another former Carnival crewmember who was diagnosed with cancer testified that asbestos was prevalent throughout the ships on which he worked. He was a chief engineer for the cruise line.
The victim in this case worked on older cruise ships. However, other cruise ship companies' vessels have been found to contain asbestos as recently as 2008. An asbestos survey and abatement project is required before anyone can work on a ship made with materials that contain asbestos.
According to the plaintiffs' attorney, "This is the first time an asbestos case against a cruise line has gone to trial." The attorney notes that it is significant because it means that people who worked on cruise ships who have been diagnosed with diseases related to asbestos exposure "now have a path for compensation."
The victim in this case developed lung cancer in 2001, just a year after he left the cruise line. He died in 2005. One of his physicians testified that while the man had smoked earlier in his life, he quit more than 30 years before his death. The doctor said that the man's lung cancer was caused by his regular exposure to asbestos.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer or other diseases should seek legal guidance to determine whether he or she can take legal action. Family members of those who have died from illnesses related to asbestos exposure may be able to file a wrongful death suit.
While these legal actions won't undo the harm that was done, they can seek compensation to help pay for medical costs, lost wages and other damages. They can also incentivize companies to ensure that their workers are not exposed to asbestos and other lethal materials.
Source: Mesothemiola Lawyer Center, "Former Carnival Cruise Employee’s Family Wins $3.6M in Asbestos Lawsuit" Jan. 09, 2015