Akron’s rubber industry boomed in the late 1800s and early 1900s when companies like Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, General Tire and Firestone Tire settled in it. However, the dangerous effects of long-term exposure to asbestos took hold of thousands of worker by the 1980s and more than 12,000 injury claims were filed across the nation in what ended up being the longest-lasting mass tort in American history.
In 2004, it became impossible for companies to legally challenge settlement payouts for workers who died or developed serious illnesses from asbestos exposure. A settlement fund was set up for $80 million to be distributed to the 19,000 remaining cases the be filed, 6,000 of which came from workers in Summit County. However, roughly 850 of the workers eligible for the settlement money succumbed to their illnesses and died. Now, Summit County is searching for the heirs of the 850 deceased rubber workers.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous, flexible mineral that also happens to have resistance to electricity, chemical and thermal degradation. In the 1900s, asbestos was used in fireproofing materials, insulation, tires, textiles, cement and other commercial materials. It was later classified as a carcinogen because when asbestos materials are handled, the fibers can be released into the air and lodged in the lungs of the workers handling them. This can cause inflammation, asbestosis, cancer, mesothelioma and scarring of lung tissue.
Unfortunately, there are still job sites in Ohio that have been known to use products containing asbestos in the past, including:
- General Motors in Mansfield, Norwood or Warren
- Columbus Steel Company
- Goodyear Aircraft
- General Electric
- Akron Gas Company
- Goodyear Tire & Rubber
- American Steel Foundry
If you believe you are the heir to a person who died from asbestos-related illnesses and is listed in the $80 million settlement, contact Summit County Court for instructions on how to claim your settlement. It may be a good idea to contact an attorney to ensure you receive a fair share of the settlement.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC is a personal injury law firm that fights for victims who suffer from occupational diseases in the Lima, Columbus, Newark and Zanesville areas of Ohio.