The risk of asbestos exposure has been well-known for decades. The first lawsuit, Borel v. Fibreboard Paper, was decided for the plaintiff in 1973. Experts suggest asbestos related lawsuits could eventurally reach one million filings against more than 10,000 companies.
For decades hundreds of thousands of workers were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos without understanding the risks. In fact, workers who commonly used asbestos for construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing did not understand that they could develop serious respiratory diseases and cancers such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Since 1972, there have been some restrictions on asbestos use, but thousands of workers continue to die each year due to asbestos related health conditions.
Workers are most at risk, however, when they work in industries or with products where asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, especially if there is heavy and repeated exposure. Once inhaled, the asbestos fibers can become trapped in the respiratory tract and lungs, causing injury or illness up to ten, twenty, or thirty years later. Medical experts suggest each year there are 2,000 to 3,000 Americans who are diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is exclusively caused by asbestos exposure.
For certain product injury claims it is easy to determine who is responsible for your injuries. For example, if you are injured by a medication such as Chantix, you could sue Pfizer. In toxic exposure cases, however, it may be much more difficult to determine who is at fault for your injuries. Under strict product liability laws you may file an injury claim for asbestos exposure against the manufacturer who produced a toxic product, the company that designed, manufactured, or sold the product, or the contractor who decided to use the product.
Unfortunately, many asbestos manufacturers have declared bankruptcy and are protected from future lawsuits. Through the bankruptcy process, however, the bankruptcy courts established asbestos compensation trusts. If you successfully win a claim against one of these companies you may qualify for compensation from these trusts. Although there is close to $40 billion remaining in the trusts to compensate injured claimants, experts warn this amount will not be sufficient to compensate all victims.
If you are considering filing an asbestos lawsuit you will need a mesothelioma attorney who understands asbestos legal issues, the many facets of an asbestos case, the dangers of asbestos exposure, and state-by-state regulations. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can hold the companies who profited from their reckless actions responsible for their lack of concern about your safety and health.
Like other personal injury claims, lawsuits for asbestos exposure must be filed within your state’s statute of limitations. Failure to file your claim within the statutory limits may eliminate your right to compensation for your injuries. Mesothelioma attorneys worker on a contingency fee basis and are only paid if you receive compensation for your loss or injury.