Undeniably asbestos and danger go hand in hand. Undeniably asbestos exposure can cause life-threatening diseases such as mesothelioma, an aggressive and difficult-to-diagnose form of thoracic cancer often found in the lining of the lungs and usually undiscovered until advanced stages. Undeniably mesothelioma is a result of one thing only— asbestos exposure: nothing else. This at least simplifies the pathology research.
From 1920 to 1989 asbestos was used pervasively in construction and shipyard materials. Considered advantageous because it was cheap, durable and heat/fire-resistant, construction jobs and the military used asbestos across-the-board. Countless workers and soldiers experienced high levels of exposure.
It is easy to see the broad picture. Everywhere in the military and on construction sites millions of workers were exposed to asbestos “dust” on a daily basis. It was constantly touched, breathed and swallowed. Workers and soldiers in every military branch would then expose their loved ones to the material, transferring invisible filaments from clothes, shoes and hair into their homes. During this time asbestos producers knew full well the dangers of asbestos exposure, but mum was the word— while tidy profits continued rolling in.
But this scenario does not have to be a dead-end for victims of exposure, since many opportunities exist for pursuing legal compensation and other forms of retribution. Filing a lawsuit with an experienced firm can usually lead to various kinds of recovery, but each lawsuit is different and various outcomes may come to fruition.
Following are three possible scenarios:
Verdict – Some cases never have their day in court; rather they are settled out of court beforehand. But if the case does appear before judge and jury, a verdict will be reached based on evidence presented by both parties. The jury must weigh the asbestos company(ies) liability for deliberately failing to warn/protect. If they decide that the company or companies are responsible for the plaintiff’s asbestos disease then an award settlement will be determined, usually consisting of both compensatory (current) and punitive (previous) damages.
Settlement – Commonly an agreement may be reached out of court based on the mesothelioma patient’s providing “discovery” documentation (evidence) about his/her exposure. The patient’s lawyer manages the discovery process; when enough evidence is collected to use as leverage there may be a mutual agreement since the culpable company often wishes to cut its losses. If not, the case will continue to trial.
Bankruptcy Trust – Many asbestos companies have filed for bankruptcy because of the exorbitant cost of settling disease-related lawsuits filed against them. When bankruptcy is the last, best solution these companies are required to establish asbestos trusts” to help compensation future asbestos victims. Your mesothelioma attorney will monitor the discovery process the same as in any case and present the evidence before the trust. The appropriate amount of compensation is then ascertained and awarded to the victim. This process has customarily been a rather painless resolution for those suffering with asbestos-related disease; but new legislation threatens to extenuate the process to preposterous lengths.
In any case it is customary to pursue multiple offending companies for recovery of damages since many patients have been exposed to more than one product containing toxic materials and it is impossible to conclude which instance caused the greatest level of inhalation/ingestion. Several offending companies are by association held accountable.
Baron and Budd has spent nearly 35 years fighting on behalf of mesothelioma patients. Our mesothelioma attorneys have a lengthy history of securing verdicts, settlements and asbestos trust payments for our clients.