Asbestos Cancer and Asbestos Lawsuit
Asbestos has been a huge menace to our society due to the impending cancerous effect it has on humans. Prolong exposure to asbestos can lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Unfortunately, thousands of Americans suffer from these deadly diseases every year. This article is aimed at providing every useful information on asbestos lawsuit.
After being diagnosed with asbestos cancer, the only thing that crosses one’s mind is how to take care of their health. However, if you or any of your loved ones is being diagnosed with asbestos cancer, it is advisable that you file for asbestos lawsuit immediately.
Mesothelioma, which is the commonest asbestos cancer is almost unpreventable. Majority of the companies who deal in the production, distribution and asbestos removal knew about the dangers involved in handling the material but failed to reveal it to their employees. So it is a well-deserved action to file for asbestos lawsuit so as to get compensation.
There are qualified attorneys that specialize in handling cases connected to asbestos-related ailments.
These attorneys can let you know if it is worth filing for lawsuit and guide you on how to go about the filing. Since there is an expiration time for filing a lawsuit, the attorney can help you out before it expires, and they will assess the situation to know the magnitude of compensation needed.
From records, most lawsuits related to mesothelioma never get to trial level in court because they are resolved before the commencement of trials.
To have a full understanding about asbestos and its impending disease, let us look at what asbestos is made of.
Asbestos – what is it?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs naturally, and was once known for its resilience. It was used by a variety of trades not until recent times when it was discovered to be harmful to humans. When view under a microscope, asbestos contains fibers that can be broken down into tiny particles.
These particles are airborne and are inhaled by people that come in contact with it. They accumulate in your lungs over time, leading to mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other diseases related to asbestos.
Also, because microscopic particles from asbestos are airborne, it not only affect people working in the company, but also bystanders. The aftermath effect of the inhalation can be felt decades after.
In 1980s and early 90s, companies used asbestos to produce a wide range of industrial products such as roofing shingles, millboard, furnace and pipe insulation materials, textured paints, floor tiles, and a host of other insulating materials.
In the late 80s, the US government banned the use of asbestos for making certain items, and also called for asbestos removal in some specific locations. However, the ban was just segmented and didn’t cover all about the material. To make matter worse, asbestos is still being mined in other countries. This has led to the inclusion of asbestos in different consumer products such as fabrics, building materials and friction products.
Types of Asbestos Lawsuits
Filing a lawsuit due to mesothelioma has different categories. Depending on the situation involved, below are the mesothelioma lawsuits available.
Lawsuits for personal injury
- Usually submitted by a patient after being diagnosed with asbestos cancer
- Filed against the organization responsible for exposing the asbestos that led to the deadly disease.
- Files for specific damages suffered by the victim for being exposed to asbestos
- Allows patients to recover funds for treatment, lost income, travel, suffering and pain, among other related expenses.
Lawsuit for wrongful death
- Tendered by the family of someone that died due to asbestos cancer
- Filed against the organization responsible for exposing asbestos that resulted in death
- Files for specific damages that could have caused asbestos-related death
- Allows families to recoup money spent on medical bills, likely lost income, funeral expenses, consortium loss, and other related expenses.
Individual lawsuits, multidistrict litigation and class actions
A lot of people still don’t know how to go about their mesothelioma cases – whether it should be handled individually or collectively, such as multidistrict litigation or class action. This can be handled for you by your attorney and he will tell you which to go for.
This is a case whereby one plaintiff submits lawsuit against a company or companies due to the illness caused by being exposed to asbestos. Both the plaintiff and the defendant files and presents their cases in the court. In most cases, both parties resolve the issue outside the court, but if agreement can’t be reached, then trial becomes imminent.
Class action claims
This type of lawsuit involve an individual or a group of persons presenting a case on the behalf of the people affected by similar situation. Classes could range from hundreds to millions of individuals, and you could decide to remain in the group or opt out if you like.
Although there are few lawsuits that have been filed under the class action over the years, majority of the lawsuits related to asbestos concerns are either multidistrict litigation or individual.
This is an effective type of asbestos lawsuit that allows individual present similar complaints. It follows an efficient guidelines that allow court to treat more cases without grouping all the plaintiffs into one class. The main MDL handling asbestos cancer cases is MDL 875. This MDL has handled almost 200,000 cases of mesothelioma since its inception in 2006. It is managed by the Pennsylvania District in the United States.
The processes involved in asbestos lawsuit
Although every case connected to asbestos-related diseases is unique to each other, the steps involved in filing for lawsuit are almost the same. Your lawyer takes care of each of the processes and explains them to you going forward.
In most cases, below are the steps involved in mesothelioma lawsuits:
This is the first step involved in your lawsuit pursuit. Your layer gathers all information about your asbestos exposure so as to know the company responsible for your ailment and where to tender the lawsuit. In some cases, you can file your complaint in different jurisdiction.
Before any legal process can start, your attorney will have to submit a written lawsuit to the court. Your lawyer will get the document ready and file them in the court.
If your case must be attended to, there is a set-down rule your complaint needs to follow on how to write the lawsuit and provide detailed claim. This shouldn’t be any issue to any experienced attorneys because they must have been used to it already. Your attorney will help present a well-detailed claim to the court.
If you are filing a lawsuit against more than one company, each of them would be served your lawsuit. They will be given a certain period of time (usually thirty days) to respond to it.
As you may know, it takes ample amount of time for asbestos particles to build up in your lungs before leading to cancer. Between the period of exposure and illness, the company involved in asbestos exposure could have gone bankrupt or changed its name. So it may take you some time to gather all the information needed by the court. Your lawyer will handle this process for you.
In most cases, defendants don’t admit faults. They are likely to reject your suit and stand on the ground that your complaint lacks fact or that something else must have been accountable to your asbestos exposure.
You might even hear them say your illness has nothing to do with asbestos exposure. This is a normal thing so don’t worry over it. Your lawyer will handle all responses from the defendants.
Attorneys from both sides gather information from your allegation, requesting the other party to answer some questions, produce further documents and take part in depositions. The information gathered will likely be used as evidence during trial.
The discovery period may take couple of months, but the process can be done quickly if the plaintiff is sick. You just have to tell your lawyer to request for a quick process before your illness get worse.
The company’s attorney will find evidence to show that your illness is caused by something else. They will request for a number of information about your life such as work history, personal habit and medical history. They may even go as far as seeking information from your co-workers, former workers, doctors and loved ones.
You may likely have to do a videotaped deposition as time goes on. If that is the case, you will have to swear when answering some questions from the company’s lawyer. The whole process may go on for hours or even days, but everything can be done without you stepping out of your home.
For any questions asked and all responses you need to give, your attorney will handle that for you. It is likely that your attorney will go through the deposition question with you beforehand and help you during deposition session.
In addition to assisting you in handling all disposition claims, your attorney will present some information backing your lawsuit that the company negligibly left you exposed to asbestos.
Before the commencement of any trial, a defendant might want to quench the whole case by offering some amount of money. If you turn down the offer, it is likely that the defendant will tender another offer while trial is ongoing. Your lawyer will be the one to negotiate the whole deal for you.
There are a lots of factors that can influence mesothelioma settlements and it is your decision to accept the offer presented to you by the defendant or turn it down and go to trials.
Trials can vary from each other depending on the court a claim was filed. In most cases, there is absolutely no need for you to be present in court. If the judgment goes in your favor and no appeal is made by the defendant, you will start getting your compensation after few months from trials.
In some cases, even if you succeed in winning the case, the defendants may want to call for an appeal. The appeal is time sensitive though, usually between 1 and 6 months. During the appeal period, any monetary compensation will be delayed, but a there will be an agreement of the amount to be awarded by the defendant while appeal goes on.
For an appeal that turns out to be successful, you may end up getting little or even nothing from the defendant. But if the appeal fails, you start getting your compensation package.
An Appeal Court in most cases accepts the verdicts of the judge involved in the case. The only thing decided in the Appeal court is to find out if the trial court followed all the laid down rules related to asbestos lawsuit case.
If there was an erroneous judgment during the process of trials, the Appeal Court may call for another fresh trial. In some cases, the error can just be corrected by the appeal court without ordering for a fresh trial, for instance, in a case where compensation was not calculated correctly.
If there is any appeal in your case, your lawyer will be there to explain everything to you.
3 FAQs about asbestos lawsuit
How long does it take before an asbestos lawsuit is concluded?
When it comes to asbestos lawsuit, the health of the victim involved has a lot to play. If your health keeps deteriorating, the entire legal process can be hastened. But in cases of no urgency, it may take quite a number of months before the process is completed.
Of course, the defendants will make all effort to drag the case to see if an appeal will work out in their favor. Your lawyer will work hard to see that the case is resolved as fast as possible. Your lawyer will take care of all the process to make sure that you have time to attend to your health.
Will I have to travel?
Where you file your lawsuit can affect how long the process will take. Your lawyer will assist you to choose the right court to file your lawsuit. There may be need to submit your claim in another state outside your present location.
Typically, there will be no need for you to travel. Your attorney can be in charge of the whole case process. He may travel to see you if there is any need for that.
How much do I pay a mesothelioma lawyer?
For asbestos lawsuit, the amount that the attorneys charge is subject to the outcome of the case. This means that your lawyer only gets rewarded if you accept a settlement from the defendant or win the lawsuit.
If you are successful in the lawsuit, you pay a percentage of the money to your attorney. If not, nothing is paid to the attorney.