Asbestos and Mesothelioma Law
What is Asbestos and Mesothelioma Law?
Asbestos and mesothelioma law covers personal injury litigation brought by victims of a rare cancer, whose condition resulted from exposure to a toxic mineral previously used in the construction and manufacturing industries. These tort actions seek compensation for the medical expenses and suffering of victims. Or, if the victim has passed away, the goal is to compensate family members for the loss of their loved one. In either case, the basis of the suit is the gross negligence of the defendant, for exposing the victim to a substance known to cause disease.
History and Scope of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is the name used to describe several natural minerals with physical characteristics making them ideal for all sorts of commercial applications. These minerals are strong, heat resistant, and cheap to produce. Asbestos fibers can be mixed with cement or woven into cloth. Until several decades ago, the material was commonly used to make home ceiling insulation, floor tiles, vehicle brake pads, firefighting suits, and more. The maritime industry also made extensive use of asbestos in the manufacture of civilian and military vessels.
Concerns over the health related impacts of asbestos began during the industrial revolution and continued well into the 20th century. Early cases of illness involved asbestos workers who suffered respiratory problems from breathing the airborne fibers. The first case of mesothelioma traced to asbestos exposure was reported in 1964, and widespread use of asbestos finally ceased in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Evidence suggests that during the time asbestos health concerns were on the rise, so too was the use of the material, as companies made the strategic decision to increase production and use profits to pay future legal claims. This was possible due to the lengthy amount of time (20 to 50 years) that typically elapses between exposure and the onset of mesothelioma. The reprehensible conduct of asbestos producers, and the devastation mesothelioma inflicts on its victims, have led to mass tort litigation in recent years.
Legal Recourse for Mesothelioma Patients
Financial compensation is available for those diagnosed with mesothelioma. But legal action must be taken quickly, as a number of factors can make obtaining compensation difficult or impossible for victims who delay. For example, all states have enacted “statutes of limitation” that impose time limits for bringing an asbestos-related lawsuit. Statutes of limitation generally run from the time of diagnoses. In a few states, including California, the deadline for filing suit is as short as one year.
Sadly, patients who wait to pursue legal action will also find themselves up against the reality of the short lifespan associated with mesothelioma. Money awarded in these cases is meant to provide an opportunity to seek the best medical treatment possible, and alleviate financial concerns so the victim can concentrate on fighting the disease. If a legal claim is not brought immediately, the proceeds may come too late to directly benefit the victim (although the money can be a means for the victim to provide for the financial security of surviving family members).
Hiring an Attorney and Filing Suit
Once a victim meets with an attorney, the attorney’s law firm will step in and handle nearly all aspects of the case, so the client can concentrate on medical and personal matters. The responsible parties will be identified, as well as any additional sources of funding, such as victim trust accounts set up by asbestos companies that have closed down or gone bankrupt. Suit will be brought either in the state where the client lives, or in another state if doing so will increase the odds of obtaining a large damage award.
The attorneys for both sides of the case will then conduct “discovery.” Discovery is the process of exchanging records and other evidence. During discovery, the client may need to appear and give testimony at a deposition, which will be held nearby for the convenience of a client who is sick and suffering. Representatives for the defendant will also be deposed. This is the opportunity for victim’s lawyer to question the defendant about the case, on the record and under oath.
When discovery is complete, the parties will have the evidence they need to evaluate the value of the plaintiff’s claim. Settlement discussions will then be held, and if a dollar amount can be agreed on, the money will be paid to the plaintiff and the case will be dismissed. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. Often, mesothelioma victims will opt to resolve the matter through settlement, although those who go to trial are routinely rewarded with large, multimillion dollar jury verdicts.
Mesothelioma Lawyers are Standing By
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, you do not need to worry about the cost of seeking justice. Attorneys who specialize in these cases are available to meet with you for free, and to pursue your claim on a contingency basis. Contact a lawyer now to find out more.
Know your Rights!
Articles on HG.org Related to Asbestos and Mesothelioma Law
- When Should You Contact an Asbestos Lawyer?Filing a claim for asbestos exposure is a complex matter. If you want to make the most out of your case and avoid the hurdles of the legal system, you should work with an experienced lawyer.
- Veterans Exposed to Asbestos: How the Veterans’ Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act Can HelpVeterans have had their share of misfortune in dealing with the VA health care system in the past years. Despite their right to benefit from support after years of military service, veterans often face long wait times, insufficient resources and delayed claim responses.
- How Much Money Can I Recover from a Mesothelioma Claim?Working with asbestos exposure victims for so many years has taught me that no two compensation claims are the same. Therefore, the amount of money a plaintiff can receive from theirs also varies tremendously according to the specific exposure circumstances and its consequences.
- Filing a Claim for Asbestos Non-Occupational ExposureAsbestos exposure is the cause of multiple diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. This mineral which occurs naturally in the environment has been exploited for decades before its devastating effects were revealed.
- Avoiding the Dangers of Asbestos Exposure in the Aftermath of Natural DisastersThis year, we have witnessed several severe natural disasters that caused significant material loss. Apart from the immediate destruction and distress, these natural occurrences cause significant long-term damage too.
- The Hidden Danger in Molded PlasticsPlastic materials have been used from the beginning of the 20th century across multiple industries. Despite environmentalist concerns, nowadays plastic is still one of the most popular materials required in production and packaging.
- How to File an Asbestos Compensation Claim on Behalf of Someone ElseAn asbestos disease diagnosis is a devastating verdict. Victims and their families must be aware that these conditions, though irreversible, can be held under control if they are discovered at an early stage. However, the necessary treatments and proper care imply constant check-up and considerable amounts of money. G
- How Does the Toxic Substances Control Act Limit Asbestos Use?The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, and it grants the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the necessary authority to supervise, check and limit the use of chemical substances.
- Does the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act Really Help Asbestos Victims?Asbestos is still present in our lives, although it’s been more than 40 years since this deadly mineral’s use started to be limited. Thousands of mesothelioma victims die each year because of this severe illness that is caused solely by asbestos while companies continue to import this substance into the US and use it across different industries.
- Expert Witness Explains Home Asbestos Exposure LiabilityCases of asbestos exposure may be complicated due to how long the material has been in the building, who put it there, why it was there and how the exposure occurred. This means that the responsible party for the claim may not exist any longer, or there could be more than one person or company accountable for the physical injury or damage to the home.
- All Tort and Personal Injury Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Tort and Personal Injury including: animal bites, asbestos mesothelioma, back and neck injury, bicycle accident, birth injury, brain injury, burn injuries, catastrophic injuries, construction accidents, construction injuries, defamation, libel and slander, defective products, industrial injuries, mass tort, negligence, nursing home abuse, pedestrian accident, personal injury, premises liability, product liability, sexual abuse, slip and fall, spinal cord injury, torts, toxic mold, toxic torts, workplace injuries and wrongful death.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Law — US
- Asbestos Definition - Wikipedia
- Asbestos Exposure and Your Legal Rights
A brief history of asbestos-related law and its current status: what are your rights when you suffer from a disease caused by asbestos exposure?
- Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response - US Code
The Environmental Protection Agency’s rules.
- Asbestos Information Act of 1988
This legislation is intended to facilitate the early identification of the manufacturer or processor of a particular type of asbestos or asbestos-containing material.
- Asbestos Regulation - US Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. EPA Region 4 conducts inspections throughout the eight southeastern states to evaluate compliance with the Agency's asbestos regulations.
- Asbestos School Hazard Detection and Control - US Code
It is the purpose of this chapter to direct the Secretary of Education to establish a task force to assist States and local educational agencies to ascertain the extent of the danger to the health of school children and employees from asbestos materials in schools.
- Asbestos Trust Fund - US Code
There is established in the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the “Asbestos Trust Fund”, consisting of such amounts as may be transferred or credited to such Trust Fund as provided in this section.
- Asbestos, Cancer, & Mesothelioma Legal Concerns & Resources
- Federal Agencies and Mesothelioma
The pervasive nature of asbestos use, exposure, and now health maladies - like Mesothelioma - linked with asbestos exposure requires a widespread network of government resources.
- Medical Criteria Requirement for an Asbestos and Mesothelioma Claim
This is the latency, diagnostic, exposure and medical criteria required of an asbestos claim for each of the nine disease levels. Levels I through V include nonmalignant asbestos-related disease or conditions and levels VI through IX include malignant diseases.
- Occupational Safety and Health Standards for Shipyard Employment - Toxic and Hazardous Substances
This section regulates asbestos exposure in all shipyard employment work as defined in 29 CFR part 1915.
- Safety & Help Topics: Asbestos — US Department of Labor
An estimated 1.3 million employees in the construction and general industry face significant asbestos exposure on the job, particularly workers in the construction industry or employees in the manufacture of asbestos products.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Law — International
- Asbestos and the Law - Wikipedia
- Asbestos Compensation in Europe
- Asbestos Hazards Handbook - UK
- Asbestos Laws in Australia
- Asbestos: The current situation in Europe
- EU Legislation: Asbestos in Products — CBI
- European Asbestos Campaign — European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
- Liability for Asbestos Related Disease in England and Germany
- Nano-Mesothelioma False Alarm - by the Nanotechnology Law Report - Poland