Utah residents diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases should familiarize themselves with H.B. 403, a bill recently introduced to the state's lawmakers. It is particularly relevant to these individuals as it proposes to slow down and block compensation from those responsible for their illnesses. The bill will be considered at the Utah House of Representitives' Business and Labor Committee on Monday, February 29.
According to Asbestos Nation, H.B. 403 does three things to delay and deny compensation to the victims of asbestos-related disease in the state:
- Give asbestos defendant companies unlimited power to run out the clock on sick and dying victims and their families, by allowing them to submit numerous motions that repeatedly stay or delay a case.
- Make it effectively impossible for victims exposed to more than one source of asbestos from ever bringing a claim, because they would be required to demonstrate the exact "dose" they received in each exposure.
- Forfeit the privacy of families who make compensation claims by publishing highly private information, including the victim's full Social Security number.
It has been reported that nearly 1,300 Utah residents passed away from asbestos-related diseases between 1999 and 2013. No county in the state has been unaffected by the hazardous substance known to cause fatal respiratory conditions. The bill acknowledges that "past exposures will continue to result in significant claims of death and disability as a result of the exposure."
Ultimately, the corporations responsible for this exposure are looking to evade responsibility for victims' conditions. Compensation for expensive medical bills, time lost at work, pain and suffering, and more will be delayed and denied to dying individuals. The time and energy it takes to file a claim, along with the publishing of their private information, will also deter victims from attempting to seek compensation from those responsible for their conditions.
Check back to our blog next week, as we will be keeping an eye on this bill when legislators vote on Monday.