Overiew of Asbestos in Oklahoma
The oil and petrochemical industries have anchored Oklahoma‚Äôs industrial base since the state was founded. Refineries and chemical plants were work sites where employees were at high risk for asbestos exposure during most of the twentieth century, along with power plants and manufacturing facilities of any type that employed heat as part of the manufacturing process.
Oklahoma Gas & Electric operated several power plants constructed with liberal use of asbestos insulation for the steam generation facilities and the pipes used to transport steam and hot water. There were, and are, oil refineries in Enid, Bartlesville, Hennessy and Oklahoma City that were constructed during the asbestos era.
Mesothelioma & Asbestos Deaths in Oklahoma
A survey conducted by a public health advocacy group examined death certificates issued between 1979 and 2000 for asbestos related deaths. In Oklahoma over that period 108 people died from asbestosis. An additional number of between 232 and 397 residents succumbed to malignant mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer. The federal government began tracking asbestos deaths in the U.S. in 1999. By 2005, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) had recorded an additional 168 deaths from mesothelioma.
Legal Rights of Mesothelioma Victims in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Department of Labor regulates asbestos abatement in the state, as well employee protection provisions. State laws governing the filing of asbestos damage claims are complicated, which is why it is wise to hire an experienced Oklahoma mesothelioma lawyer to manage the case. State law provides residents with asbestos related diseases two years from the date of diagnosis to file a personal injury or product liability claim. There is also a two year statute of limitations for the filing of a wrongful death suit by anyone who has lost a relative to an asbestos illness.
Oklahoma follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which applies to cases where a plaintiff is partially at fault for his or her own injury. Generally financial responsibility in these cases is apportioned based on fault; however if the plaintiff is over 50% responsible for his or her own injury than they cannot collect any damages. The state courts also apply a modified joint and several liability clause, which generally allots financial responsibility among several defendants based on fault. However if one party is over 50% at fault that party may be held entirely responsible for compensation.