Can You Sue for ''risk and Fear of Cancer'' As a Result of Asbestos Related Pleural Thickening ?
In Simmons v. Pacor, Inc., 543 Pa. 664, 674 A.2d 232 (1996), the Supreme Court held asbestos-related pleural thickening, unaccompanied by physical impairment, did not constitute a sufficient physical injury to warrant damages in a tort action for the "risk and fear of cancer," "mental anguish" or "the loss of life's pleasures." Id. at 670, 674 A.2d at 235.
Notably, Simmons did not involve a claim for workers' compensation benefits under the Workers Compensation Act.
More importantly, in Simmons, our Supreme Court held that damages for expenses incurred in the medical surveillance of asymptomatic pleural thickening were recoverable.
Specifically, the Court held "although ... awarding damages for the increased risk and fear of cancer is contrary to the established jurisprudence of this Commonwealth ... recovery for medical monitoring is appropriate and just." Id. at 679-80, 674 A.2d at 240.