Silica Countertop Dust Exposure Lawsuit
Thousands of workers who cut, grind and polish artificial stone, granite and marble countertops for kitchens and bathrooms may be breathing in dangerous amounts of silica dust. This can lead to irreversible lung damage, including conditions like silicosis, lung cancer and COPD.
If you have silicosis or another lung or breathing-related health problem because you were exposed to silica dust at your workplace, you may be eligible to seek monetary compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Gordon & Partners is currently investigating these kinds of claims.
Our defective product attorneys are prepared to review your claim and discuss the legal options that could be available to you during a free consultation. There is absolutely no risk or obligation to pursue legal action. If we represent you, we can guide you through every step of the legal process. For more than two decades, we have obtained millions in compensation for injured victims in South Florida, including a $13.5 million dollar settlement in a defective product case. Firm partner Robert Gordon is an active member of The Florida Bar.
Reach out to schedule your free consultation today. There are no upfront legal fees involved for our services.
Call 1 (855) 722-2552. Our firm is available 24/7 to take your call or chat online.
Who is at Risk?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified exposure to silica dust as a major health hazard for the nearly 100,000 U.S. workers involved in manufacturing, finishing and installing countertops.
Workers who use saws, grinders and polishers have some of the most high-risk jobs because their work creates dust in workspaces and pushes it into the air.
People who work with manufactured stone and quartzite have a particularly high risk for exposure - the average percentage of silica in these types of stone is greater than 93 percent. This is significantly higher than the average percentage of silica in sandstone (60 percent) or granite (10-45 percent), which are also very dangerous to work with.
Another reason people who work with manufactured stone have a high risk for breathing in silica dust is that they often handle raw materials, such as bags of ground quartz. Some workers clean and scrape mixers or clean dust collector bag houses, increasing the potential for exposure.
Manufactured stone has become one of the most popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms, and imports of this material went up about 800 percent between 2010 and 2018.
Contact Gordon & Partners today with your legal questions.
Do I Have a Case?
Every defective product case is unique, so this is a difficult question to answer until we learn more about your situation. Our attorneys may review many factors to determine if another party may be liable for your health issues, which may include:
- How long you were exposed to silica dust during the course of your employment
- How often you handled engineered stone materials or cut, polished or grinded stone countertops
- Whether your employer had safety measures in place to prevent exposure to silica
- Injuries and health complications that have required hospitalization and treatment
- If your coworkers have had similar medical conditions, such as severe lung disease
You have limited time to take legal action if you have a case, which is why it is in your best interest to talk to a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. If we determine you have a viable case, you can decide if you want to move on to the next step. We are prepared to handle each step of your case on your behalf.
The consultation is free and completely confidential.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
In a defective product case, product manufacturers are often the ones injury victims attempt to hold liable. However, in a silica countertop dust exposure lawsuit, other parties could have some liability for your exposure to silica dust and resulting medical problems.
Some of the parties that could potentially be held responsible in a silica dust exposure lawsuit include:
- Your employer – Employers may be held liable for their employees’ health issues if they failed to properly warn them about the dangers of silica dust exposure or failed to take appropriate safety measures, as required by federal or state law. Safety measures could include providing the proper safety equipment.
- Supplier or product manufacturer – Suppliers and manufacturers of silica-based products, such as engineered stone countertops, may be held liable if injury victims can prove these companies manufactured products that were unreasonably dangerous.
- Safety equipment manufacturers – Manufacturers of safety equipment, such as dust masks and respirators, may be held liable if the equipment was defective or failed to function as intended.
As each case is different, and liability can be complex, it is generally a wise decision to consult with an experienced attorney to help you figure out possible liable parties.
Our firm has the resources to conduct a detailed investigation to determine liability for an injury and the value of a victim’s damages.
Call 1 (855) 722-2552 today so we can determine if you may have a case.
Damages for Defective Products Cases
Generally, victims of defective products may be able to recover economic an non-economic damages such as:
- Medical and hospital costs
- Lost income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental suffering and distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship
It is important to note that each case is unique, and the damages that may be available depend on the injuries, suffered, their severity, and other factors.
Our legal team can carefully evaluate your situation, determine the damages that may be available, and if you have a case we are ready to pursue the maximum compensation available.
Dangers of Silica Dust Exposure
Crystalline silica is a naturally-occurring mineral found in stone as well as soil, sand, granite and rock. This mineral has been classified as a human lung carcinogen and can cause disabling and fatal lung disease and lung cancer.
When a worker inhales airborne silica, the particles become trapped deep into the lung tissue and cause scarring and hardening. This reduces the lung’s ability to take in oxygen, impairing and damaging the lungs over time, and putting workers at risk for silicosis.
Silicosis is an incurable lung disease that can become progressively worse. Symptoms of this disease can appear as early as a few weeks to several years after exposure, and can include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, fatigue and tightness of the chest.
There are three different types of silicosis:
- Acute silicosis – This can develop anywhere from a few weeks to a few years after exposure. It can cause coughing, weight loss and fatigue and lead to inflamed lungs or fluid in the lungs. Having this disease increases the risk of tuberculosis.
- Chronic silicosis – This tends to appear anywhere between 10 to 30 years after exposure. It can damage the upper lungs and lead to extensive scarring. This can make breathing very difficult.
- Accelerated silicosis – This occurs from very high amounts of silica dust exposure over a short period of time, typically within 10 years. It can cause lung inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue. The symptoms of this form of silicosis may progress much faster than chronic silicosis.
If you are considering filing a silica dust exposure lawsuit, we recommend that you contact a licensed attorney from our firm to review your situation. Should you have a case, we are prepared to manage the legal process on your behalf. This may include using an expert medical witness to determine the extent of your exposure, the injuries you have endured, how long they will affect you and the treatments you are likely to need in the future.
Research on Silica Dust Exposure at Work
New research shows how significant the problem of silica dust exposure is for workers involved in fabricating stone countertops. Another 2019 study from Australia found that at least 12 percent of workers who cut stone countertops developed silicosis.
Part of the reason workers are not being properly protected from silica dust exposure could be lack of education. Many of the estimated 8,000 stone fabrication business in the U.S. operate on a small scale, and they may not fully understand the danger or how to prevent exposure.
Reach us by phone today. 1 (855) 722-2552.
Preventive Measures for Silica Exposure
In February of 2015, OSHA issued a Hazard Alert identifying exposure to silica as a health hazard for stone countertop workers. One year later, OSHA issued stricter workplace limits on the acceptable levels of silica dust, reducing the permissible exposure level by half.
The agency has provided employers with worker training and consulting services for silica safety, as well as detailed information on protective equipment and machine and equipment modification.
There are certain precautions workers in high-risk industries and their employers can take to protect against silica dust exposure. This includes the following:
- Planning in advance to eliminate or control silica dust in cases where it can become airborne
- Training workers about proper safety practices, such as using water hoses to control silica exposure
- Wearing protective equipment, such as a tight-fitting mask or respirator, to keep the lungs safe from harmful chemicals and dust
- Using disposable or washable protective clothing at the worksite
- Refraining from eating and drinking in work areas where silica dust is present
- Showering and changing into clean clothes before leaving the worksite to prevent contamination
If you are suffering health issues from silica dust exposure, it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible to have your issues diagnosed.
Call Our Legal Team to See If You May Have a Case
Are you or a loved one suffering from silicosis or other lung issues because you were exposed to silica dust from working with artificial stone, granite or marble countertops?
We recommend that you contact the legal team at Gordon & Partners for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are currently investigating these types of claims. Our defective product attorneys are standing by to evaluate your situation and discuss whether you may be eligible to file a silica countertop dust exposure lawsuit. You may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Learn more about your legal options during a free consultation. There are no upfront fees for our services.
Our office in Palm Beach Gardens is conveniently located two miles from the Safety Council of Palm Beach.
Contact our office today by calling 1 (855) 722-2552.