Who Can File a Silicosis Lawsuit?

An invisible danger often lurks in the air at construction sites —silica dust. Its fine particles, when inhaled over prolonged periods, embed themselves deep into the lungs, setting the stage for a debilitating condition known as silicosis. This progressive lung disease doesn’t just rob an individual of their breath but can radically transform their life, subjecting them to a myriad of medical treatments, financial strain, and emotional distress. This page will look at silicosis lawsuits.


Silicosis, a debilitating lung disease resulting from the inhalation of silica dust, has long been a scourge of industries such as mining, construction, and foundry work. This potentially fatal condition, characterized by lung inflammation and scarring, has paved the way for a myriad of legal battles as affected workers seek justice for the negligence or oversight of employers.

Respirable crystalline silica (RCS), often referred to as silica dust, is particularly prevalent in environments where stone countertops are produced.

When these materials are processed—whether by cutting, crushing, or other methods—dangerous dust particles get dispersed in the air. These silica particles are minuscule, being 100 times finer than typical sand grains.

Individuals employed in the countertop sector, particularly those crafting engineered stone, face a heightened risk of exposure to this dust. Notably, quartz, a primary component in engineered stone, comprises over 90% crystalline silica.

Several preventive measures, such as using water-based procedures, ensuring proper ventilation, and equipping workers with respirators can mitigate exposure risks. Nonetheless, if employers overlook these safety measures, workers might contract a severe respiratory condition called silicosis, stemming from prolonged exposure to this harmful dust.

Silicosis Lawsuits

The backdrop of a silicosis lawsuit unfolds in work environments where respirable crystalline silica is prevalent. Over time, continuous exposure without proper protection can cause the silica particles to settle in the lung tissues, leading to symptoms such as persistent cough, shortness of breath, and eventual respiratory failure. The tragedy is further underscored by the fact that silicosis is preventable, yet many employers either neglect or inadequately implement necessary safety measures.

Legal claims in silicosis cases typically revolve around a few central arguments. First, the plaintiff must establish that they were exposed to silica dust during their employment and that this exposure directly led to their silicosis diagnosis. Medical documentation and expert testimonies play crucial roles in corroborating this connection.

Additionally, the plaintiff seeks to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence. This might manifest in various forms, such as:

  1. Inadequate Protection: Employers failing to provide workers with appropriate protective equipment like masks or respirators.
  2. Lack of Training: Employers not training or educating their workforce about the dangers of silica dust and methods of protection.
  3. Poor Ventilation: Work environments that don’t have adequate ventilation systems to dispel or reduce silica dust concentration.
  4. Failure to Monitor: Employers not conducting regular air quality checks or medical examinations to monitor workers’ health.

Deadline for Filing a Silicosis Lawsuit

Every state has laws known as statutes of limitation that set strict deadlines on how long a plaintiff can wait to file a personal injury lawsuit. The applicable statute of limitation time period varies in each state, but it is usually between 2-5 years. Silicosis is a disease that has a very long latency period of 10-20 years. This means that an individual may not develop silicosis until 10-20 years after they are exposed to silica dust.

Fortunately, the statute of limitations period in a silicosis product liability lawsuit would not begin to run until the date that the plaintiff first discovers that they have a potential claim. At the earliest, this would be when the plaintiff is first diagnosed with silicosis, but possibly even after that. So if you were diagnosed with silicosis in 2023 and your state has a 3-year SOL period, you would need to file your case by 2026.

Damages in a Silicosis Lawsuit

For those affected, the ramifications of silicosis extend beyond the physical ailment. The disease often imposes financial burdens stemming from medical bills, therapy, and potential job loss.

Emotional and psychological impacts, such as anxiety, depression, and the strain on familial relationships, further amplify the gravity of the situation. In light of these multifaceted challenges, silicosis lawsuits aim to secure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and in tragic cases, wrongful death claims.

These are the main types of injuries or damages Silicosis lawyers see in a silicosis lawsuit:

  1. Physical Injuries:
    • Pulmonary Function Decline: Reduced lung function, making it harder to breathe.
    • Chronic Bronchitis: Inflammation of the bronchial tubes that carry air to the lungs.
    • Lung Scarring: Permanent scar tissue formation, reducing lung elasticity and function.
    • Respiratory Failure: Severe cases can lead to the inability of the lungs to perform their vital functions.
    • Lung Cancer: Extended exposure to silica can increase the risk of lung cancer.
    • Tuberculosis: Silicosis can heighten susceptibility to tuberculosis.
    • Other Respiratory Illnesses: Compromised lung function can increase vulnerability to other respiratory conditions.
  2. Emotional and Psychological Injuries:
    • Mental Anguish: Stress, anxiety, and depression due to the diagnosis and its implications.
    • Decreased Quality of Life: Limitations on physical activities, hobbies, and general enjoyment of life.
    • Strain on Relationships: The physical and emotional toll can strain relationships with family and friends.
  3. Financial Injuries:
    • Medical Expenses: Costs related to diagnosis, treatment, surgeries, medications, and long-term care.
    • Lost Wages: Reduced earning capacity due to the inability to work or the need to switch to less demanding jobs.
    • Future Medical Costs: Expenses for ongoing or future treatments, medications, and therapies.
    • Rehabilitation Costs: Expenses for physical therapy or respiratory rehabilitation programs.
  4. Loss of Consortium:
    • If the person suffering from silicosis is married, their spouse might claim a loss of consortium, referring to the deprivation of the benefits of a familial relationship due to the illness.
  5. Wrongful Death:
    • If a person dies due to complications from silicosis, their family might file a wrongful death claim. This can cover:
      • Funeral and burial expenses.
      • Loss of future wages and benefits that the deceased would have provided.
      • Pain and suffering endured by family members.

What a Silicosis Lawsuit Must Prove?

Silicosis lawsuits primarily focus on negligence or liability claims against employers or manufacturers. For a claim to be successful, plaintiffs typically need to establish the following:

  1. Proof of Exposure: Demonstrating that the plaintiff was exposed to hazardous levels of silica dust during their employment.
  2. Direct Link to Disease: Corroborating, through medical records and expert testimonies, that the exposure led to their silicosis diagnosis.
  3. Employer Negligence: Showcasing that the employer:
    • Failed to provide necessary protective equipment.
    • Did not offer adequate training on silica hazards.
    • Had insufficient ventilation in workspaces.
    • Neglected regular air quality checks or health screenings.

Settlement Value of Silicosis Lawsuits

The potential settlement payout value of a silicosis lawsuit will depend primarily on the severity of the plaintiff’s silicosis disease or related health conditions. Cases where the plaintiff has been diagnosed with silicosis and has documented, long-term occupational exposure to silica products will have the highest potential settlement value. Below are summaries of verdicts in silicosis product liability cases.

  • $750,000 Verdict: A man in his early 70s was diagnosed with silicosis after years of occupational exposure to silica dust. He wore respirators and PPE during his entire career. The lawsuit was filed against the manufacturers of the PPE respirators alleging that they failed to protect him from the silica dust. The case went to trial in Mississippi.
  • $2,000,000 Settlement: A man in his mid-50s was diagnosed with silicosis and the condition later progressed into full blow lung cancer. His occupational exposure to silica dust came from years of working in the construction industry. He sued the manufacturer of the respirators that he wore alleging that they failed to protect him and the case settled.
  • $1,500,000 Verdict: A 43-year-old former railroad worker was diagnosed with silicosis. He alleged that he was exposed to silica dust over a 16 year period when he worked for Norfolk Southern Railway Co. He sued the railroad company alleging that it failed to provide a safe workplace for its employees and failed to warn about the dangers of silica dust.
  • $7,600,000 Verdict: 66-year old man died from respiratory failure related to silicosis. His silica dust exposure came from 10 years working as a sandblaster. He sued the manufacturer of the sand products he worked with, US Silica Company, alleging that it negligently failed to warn about the dangers of silica dust.

Hiring a Silicosis Lawyer

Silicosis lawsuits present their maze of legal intricacies. Every silicosis lawyer deals with the looming shadow of the statute of limitations, which dictates the ticking clock within which a lawsuit must be filed after a diagnosis or death. Determining liability becomes a multifaceted puzzle, especially when multiple jobs or employers might have contributed to the exposure. To further compound matters, the medical link between the disease and job-related exposure often becomes a battleground, necessitating robust medical evidence and expert testimonies.

Given this intricate web, the importance of adept legal representation becomes evident. A skilled personal injury lawyer not only unravels the complexities of the case but becomes the voice of the victims, advocating for their rights, their pains, and their hopes.

Call us today at 800-553-8082 or reach out to us with your claim online.