In a groundbreaking victory for those at risk of mesothelioma due to their employers’ negligence, French workers have been given the right to seek compensation for the anxiety that they experience: the right exists even if they have not been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, or exhibited any symptoms.
The French Supreme Court decided this week that any employee who can prove both enough exposure to asbestos to risk their health and a corresponding fear of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease is entitled to file a claim seeking monetary compensation from their employer. This decision goes farther than previous rulings made by the progressive court: in 1998 the court ruled that workers who had been exposed to asbestos while employed by specific named companies could take early retirement, regardless of whether or not they have been diagnosed with an occupational illness, and several years later in 2010 the court decided that employees who worked for those same companies could file monetary claims seeking compensation for “anxiety damage.” The new ruling extends that 2010 decision to include employees that worked in any workplace where they were exposed to the carcinogenic material and have significant fear.
Anxiety damage for the purposes of this court decision was described as fear of developing mesothelioma or any other of the asbestos-related diseases. These illnesses are noted as much for the suffering that they cause as for their long latency, so anybody who has a known exposure to asbestos can live for years with the significant worry that they will eventually get sick. It is this psychic trauma that the court is addressing with this decision.
Anxiety damage prior to a diagnosis is not something that a person at risk for asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma can claim in the United States: there must be actual damages suffered. However, it is important for anybody who has been exposed to asbestos to be aware of their level of risk so that they know what actions to take should they start to experience symptoms. If you have been diagnosed and would like to know what type of compensation you are eligible for, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.