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Countertop Silicosis Lawsuits

Fighting for Countertop Workers Exposed to Silica Dust

Research has shown that cases of silicosis, a devastating and incurable lung disease caused by exposure to silica dust, are on the rise due to the growing popularity of engineered stone and quartz countertops. 

Now, a growing number of workers and families are stepping forward to raise awareness about the hazards of silica dust exposure in the countertop industry and pursue legal action against stone countertop manufacturers, suppliers, and other entities that failed to warn and protect workers.

If you or your loved one were diagnosed with silicosis or another health condition after being exposed to silica dust, you may be entitled to compensation. 

Matthews & Associates is a top-rated trial practice with a legacy of litigating complex claims against some of the country’s largest corporations. We’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for clients and are now investigating silicosis and silica dust claims from countertop workers and families throughout California and the country.  

If you have a potential countertop silicosis lawsuit anywhere in the nation, we want to help. Call (888) 923-7001 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

Silicosis Risks Among Stone Countertop Workers

Stone countertops are commonly made from materials that contain silica. When these materials are cut, grinded, or polished, they can release fine particles of respirable crystalline silica (RCS), or silica dust, into the air, where they can then be inhaled by workers. 

According to OSHA, airborne silica particles are 100x smaller than a grain of sand. 

As research has shown, exposure to silica dust can have devastating health effects and can lead to the development of deadly lung diseases such as silicosis. Exposed workers often report persistent coughing, difficulty breathing, excessive phlegm, and other respiratory symptoms, as well as fatigue, fever, swelling in the legs, and night sweats. In more advanced stages, people with silicosis often require supplemental oxygen, breathing support, lung transplants, and other treatments, all of which are very costly.  

Silicosis is the most common illness linked to the inhalation of silica dust, but exposure has also been associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, lung infections, lung cancer, kidney disease, and autoimmune disorders.

What Types of Workers Are at Risk?

While occupational exposure to airborne silica has been a known hazard for many years, particularly in fields such as mining and mineral extraction, it has become alarmingly more common among workers who cut, grind, polish, remove, install, or otherwise disturb or handle stone countertops. This includes:

  • Workers in the countertop industry
  • Countertop installers
  • Engineered stone countertop fabricators
  • Construction workers
  • Other building trade workers

Studies Show Spike in Silicosis Among Countertop Workers

While handling both natural and engineered stone poses risks of silica dust exposure, the risks are most pronounced among those who work with “engineered stone” countertop products. That’s because quartz, the mineral typically used to make engineered stone, can contain as much as 90% silica. That’s far more than natural stones like granite, which contain less than 45% silica, and marble, which usually contains less than 10%.

Unfortunately, the demand for quartz and engineered stone countertop products has increased significantly in recent years, giving rise to a growing industry of manufacturers, fabricators, suppliers, and installers. Many of these companies are in California and many employ workers who are Latino, immigrants, or undocumented. 

Sadly, the rise in demand for artificial stone countertops has directly contributed to a spike in silicosis among these workers, many of whom were never warned about the dangers associated with their work or provided proper PPE and hazard control measures to protect them from silica dust. 

Researchers and regulators have linked the rise in silicosis directly to work in the countertop industry. For example:

  • In July 2023, a study published in JAMA concluded that silicosis among engineered stone countertop fabrication workers exposed to silica dust was an emerging health concern. The study included 52 workers, nearly all of whom were Latino immigrant men. Of the study participants, nearly 40% presented with advanced disease, while 19% died.
  • In August 2022, the U.S. Labor Department and OSHA published a workplace safety video featuring Ever Ramón, a countertop worker included in the JAMA study who was diagnosed with silicosis after working for more than 15 years as a fabricator. Speaking Spanish, Ramón discusses the dangers of silica dust, current research, and the need for improved safety standards.  
  • In 2019, CDC officials in California warned about rising rates of silicosis, including documented fatal cases, among countertop workers. Officials linked the increase in silicosis to the popularity of engineered stone made by embedding quartz in resin binders. From 2010 to 2018, imports of these engineered stone products rose by roughly 800%.

Who Is Liable for Silicosis & Silica Dust Exposure?

At Matthews & Associates, we are investigating potential silicosis lawsuits against various entities that failed to warn or protect workers from exposure to harmful silica dust. Depending on the facts of a case, you may have grounds to seek compensation from:

  • A manufacturer, fabricator, or supplier of natural or engineered stone countertops, such as Caesarstone USA Inc., Cambria USA, Colorquartz USA Inc., Cosentino Group, or others.
  • Employers, contractors, or subcontractors that negligently exposed workers to silica dust from countertop products.

Can I File a Silicosis Lawsuit?

You may have grounds to pursue a civil claim for compensation if:

  • You were exposed to silica dust while working in the countertop industry or another trade that required you to work with stone countertops.
  • You were diagnosed with silicosis or another health condition linked to silica dust exposure.

Because many cases of silicosis are fatal, surviving family members of countertop workers who died after being exposed to silica dust may also have rights to pursue wrongful death and survival actions. These claims allow families to hold at-fault parties accountable and recover compensation for losses incurred both before and after their loved one’s death.

INDIVIDUAL CASES, INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION

We may file or settle a claim individually or as part of a group on a case-by-case basis. 

Whether your claim is filed individually or as part of a group fighting the same defendant, our goal is always to provide each of our clients with individual attention.

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    - Ron S.
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    Very professional from the beginning. always answered questions and had amazing follow through on insuring data submitted was accurate

    - Jeffrey E.
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    I've been working with Matthews and Associates for 2 years. I am impressed that the Firm is always available and answers questions promptly. I am very satisfied with the services they provide and would recommend them.

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How Much Money Can I Recover in a Silicosis Lawsuit?

The value of any personal injury or wrongful death claim depends on factors unique to every victim, such as their age, the severity of the disease, their prognosis, and more. Generally, victims who prevail in these cases are entitled to recover compensation for:

  • Past medical expenses (including treatment, surgery, or transplant costs)
  • Future medical expenses for needed or ongoing care
  • Lost income and lost future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost emotional and financial support (for family members)
  • Other economic and non-economic losses
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