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The General Motors (GM) bankruptcy is going to adversely impact workers' compensation. It has been estimated that GM is facing $500 Million worth of future mesothelioma claims that its bankruptcy estate is going to avoid paying. The claims will arise because deadly asbestos fiber that was used in in the manufacture of GM products including brakes.
Last month U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber in New York permitted the unsecured creditors (asbestos claimants) to obtain documentation from GM about the number of estimated / asbestos liability claims it could be facing in the future. As a result of the bankruptcy action, GM transfered its assets only to Motors Liquidation Co., but it plans not to transfer its asbestos liabilities to the new company. Therefore, future asbestos claims against GM will not be paid.
Brakes linings were raw asbestos. GM brakes were sold to and used by auto-mechanics for decades. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and its deadly effects have been recognized since the early 20th century. One of the latent diseases caused by asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, a rare and fatal illness.
Workers' Compensation systems throughout the United States have been literally swamped with asbestos related claims as the workforce aged and the disease has manifested. The workers' compensation insurance carriers and past employers who used asbestos products have sought to be reimbursed for benefits paid to injured workers by the ultimate wrongdoers, the suppliers, manufacturers and distributors of asbestos products. Those wrongdoers failed to place warning of its products concerning the hazards of asbestos fiber and knew of the hazards.
Taking away the right of ill employees to seek benenfits from GM for its alleged wrongful acts will severely impact the workers' compensation system throughout the US, especially if this process of avoidance becomes of model for future asbestos bankruptcy actions. Difficulties navigating the workers compensation systems at present for occupational illness benefits have become burdensome and extremely difficult for injured workers and their families. GM's attempt to absolve itself from financial responsibility for asbestos related disease should not be permitted as it may create a fatal economic attack on the ailing compensation system.
For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman 1.973.696.7900 email@example.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered asbestos related disease.