8 Min Read
Last Updated: 03/05/2024
Fact Checked

Written by Joe Lahav, Esquire | Legally Reviewed By Samuel Meirowitz | Edited By Walter Pacheco

Filing an Asbestos Claim in Indiana

Indiana ranks 16th in the nation for asbestos-related deaths because, among other things, companies located within the state were known for heavy industrial use of asbestos due to its strength, chemical resistance and fireproofing properties. 

Workers have been exposed in big and small cities throughout the state, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Evansville and New Castle. Workers who develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases have legal options, including filing a personal injury claim and asbestos trust fund claims that can help with the costs of mesothelioma treatment in Indiana. Family members who’ve lost loved ones may file wrongful death claims as well. 

Veterans in the state may have been exposed to asbestos because the U.S. armed forces used asbestos throughout military bases. Air Force veterans could have been exposed at Grissom Air Reserve Base near Kokomo, Indiana, and Army veterans at Camp Atterbury Army Base in Edinburgh, Indiana. 

In 2016, the Indiana Supreme Court modified the statute of limitations in the state to make it possible for those diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases to file a claim within two years of diagnosis rather than within 10 years of exposure to asbestos. Before this change was made in 2016, it was virtually impossible for asbestos victims to file a mesothelioma claim because it typically takes 20 to 60 years for asbestos-related diseases to develop.

Industries in Indiana Known for Asbestos Exposure 

Although Indiana has no naturally occurring asbestos deposits, many residents of the state were exposed through industries that used asbestos products, including: 

  • Automobile manufacturing
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Coal mining
  • Electrical equipment manufacturing
  • Metal works
  • Oil and gas
  • Rubber manufacturing

Workers in these industries were at risk of asbestos exposure at job sites and inside manufacturing facilities. Asbestos fibers often circulated throughout workplaces in ways that exposed all employees regardless of whether they directly handled asbestos products. Maintenance workers who maintained and repaired machinery in manufacturing plants often faced the highest levels of exposure. Many of these workers developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Mesothelioma Law Firms Practicing in Indiana

Lawyers at national mesothelioma law firms have licenses to practice throughout the U.S., and they have offices just outside of Indiana in the neighboring states of Illinois and Missouri. For example, Cooney & Conway is headquartered in Chicago, and Simmons Hanly Conroy has offices in Chicago and Alton, Illinois, and in St. Louis. These mesothelioma attorneys understand asbestos regulations and laws.

Weitz and Luxenburg
700 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
  • $8.5 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated #1 by U.S. News & World Report for 2022
Simmons Hanly Conroy Logo
1 Court Street
Alton, Illinois 62002
  • $8.9 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a Tier 1 Law Firm in 2022 by U.S. News & World Report
meirowitz & wasserberg logo
1040 Sixth Avenue 12B
New York, NY 10018
  • $200 Million Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated in the Top 10 Asbestos and Mesothelioma Trial Lawyers
Nemeroff Law Firm Logo
8226 Douglas Avenue Suite 740
Dallas, TX 75225
  • $500 Million Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a “Hall of Fame” law firm by The Legal 500
Cooney & Conway Logo
120 N Lasalle Street Suite 3000
Chicago, IL 60602
  • $7 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a National Tier 1 Firm by U.S. News & World Report in 2022
Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman
820 Mililani Street Suite 505
Honolulu, HI 96813
  • $600 Million Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • 30+ Years Experience

Indiana residents with asbestos-related diseases should choose a nationwide asbestos law firm because local asbestos law firms typically can’t match the experience and reach of a nationwide firm. In 2022, Weitz & Luxenburg secured $43 million for a mesothelioma patient after a jury found Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. responsible for asbestos exposure.

Firms that practice nationwide know state asbestos laws and the best states and jurisdictions in which to file your claim. Indiana laws tend to favor asbestos defendants in certain situations, which highlights the importance of choosing a firm that’s able to file your asbestos lawsuit in another state.

One of the many benefits of selecting a national mesothelioma law firm is that they are willing to travel to meet with you. Nationwide firms regularly travel to meet with clients and conduct depositions, and they usually don’t charge for the travel expenses related to that initial meeting. 

The Biggest Cities in Indiana with Asbestos Law Firms Include:
  • Anderson
  • Columbus
  • Elkhart
  • Fort Wayne
  • Goshen
  • Indianapolis
  • Lafayette
  • Mishawaka
  • Terre Haute
  • West Lafayette

Notable Asbestos Verdicts Awarded to Indiana Workers

  • $34 Million in 2020: Auto mechanic Arthur Putt filed a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. claiming he developed mesothelioma from repairing asbestos brakes manufactured by Ford while working in service shops located in Indiana and California. The mesothelioma law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy secured the verdict, which initially contained a $25.5 million punitive damage award in addition to $8.5 million in damages. On appeal, a California court confirmed the judgment, reduced the punitive award to $17.4 million and denied Ford’s request for a new trial.
  • $10.5 Million in 2015: Indiana resident Richard Chisholm developed mesothelioma and died of the disease in 2012, after which his wife, Katherine Chisholm, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against R.T. Vanderbilt Inc. In her lawsuit, Chisholm claimed her husband developed mesothelioma as a result of working with Vanderbilt’s asbestos-contaminated talc while employed at a ceramics company. A jury found Vanderbilt liable and awarded $10.5 million to the Chisholm estate. 
  • $250 Million in 2003: Steel worker Roby Whittington filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against U.S. Steel claiming he developed the cancer from asbestos exposure he endured while working at the company’s Gary Works plant in Gary, Indiana. The Simmons Hanly Conroy law firm represented Whittington, negotiating a private settlement with U.S. Steel that stopped the company from appealing.

Indiana Asbestos Laws and Regulations

Federal and state laws regulate asbestos in Indiana to protect the public from exposure. In addition to U.S. federal asbestos regulations, Indiana sets its own regulations for licensing and overseeing asbestos abatement in the state.

Regulations Governing Asbestos in Indiana

  • Indiana Code Section 13-17-6-1: Outlines regulations on licensing, accreditation and oversight in the state.
  • Indiana Code Section 13-14-1-2 and Section 13-14-8-7: Defines power and duties of Indiana’s environmental management department, including asbestos management.

State Departments Overseeing Indiana’s Asbestos Laws

  • Indiana Department of Environmental Management Office of Air Quality
  • Indiana Department of Environmental Management Office of Land Quality
  • Indiana Department of Labor

Two offices within the Indiana Department of Environmental Management work to regulate asbestos in the state. The office of air quality oversees asbestos in the workplace and the office of land quality oversees asbestos contamination in water and soil. The Indiana Department of Labor oversees licensing of asbestos abatement professionals. 

Indiana Laws Affecting Asbestos Lawsuits

  • Indiana Code Title 34, Section 34-11-2-4(1): Defines the statutes of limitations for personal injury claims in Indiana.
  • Indiana Code Title 34, Section 51-2-5: Defines Indiana’s negligence laws.

An Indiana mesothelioma attorney has the expertise to interpret how these laws apply to your case. 

A good mesothelioma attorney will understand how Indiana’s updated statutes of limitations impacts your claim, and how to handle take-home exposure cases that affect family members. 

Asbestos Litigation Trends in Indiana

According to Megan Shockley, an asbestos litigation trend analyst at KCIC, there was a downtrend in noncancerous asbestos claim filings in Wayne County, Indiana, in 2020. At least part of the downward trend was attributed to COVID-19 court closures. 

In 2016, Indiana lawmakers made a change to the statute of limitations for filing asbestos lawsuits in the state. Initially, only those who worked for miners and sellers of commercial raw asbestos could file an asbestos claim within two years of diagnosis. Others had to file within 10 years from the time of exposure to asbestos. The pre-1916 rule effectively made it impossible for them to seek legal action because of the decades-long latency period associated with asbestos-related diseases.

In 2002, an Indiana court ruled that take-home asbestos exposure cases may be filed in the state based on the Indiana Product Liability Act. In the case that confirmed the ruling, the Indiana Supreme Court held that the wife of an asbestos insulator was considered a “consumer” who was subjected to bystander asbestos exposure, and thus had legal standing to file a claim.

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