Asbestos Litigation

Mass Torts Lawyer

Asbestos litigation is the longest-running mass torts litigation in the United States. Around 2,000 people per year die from mesothelioma. A plaintiff who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company or companies that exposed them to the asbestos. Additionally, the family members of a person who has passed away from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure can file a wrongful death claim through the plaintiff’s estate. 

In a personal injury lawsuit for asbestos exposure, liability is typically premised on companies’ failure to warn employees and consumers about the dangers of inhaling the toxic substance. In a wrongful death lawsuit for asbestos exposure, the estate of a deceased mesothelioma patient can recover expenses for medical bills, lost income, and funeral costs. If a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit passes away while the suit is pending, the plaintiff’s estate can continue the claim. 

Requirements for Filing an Asbestos Lawsuit

A plaintiff or plaintiff’s estate is eligible to file a claim for mesothelioma from asbestos exposure if they have documentation of their mesothelioma diagnosis – including medical reports from the treating cancer center – and that the statute of limitations has not expired. The statutes of limitations for asbestos lawsuits are usually around 2 years, but you should be sure to consult an attorney to check the statute of limitations in your state. A plaintiff must also be able to document their history of exposure to the asbestos that caused their mesothelioma. Exposure might be shown through employment records, detailed descriptions, and testimony about asbestos exposure. 

Steps In an Asbestos Lawsuit 

Once an asbestos plaintiff has hired an attorney and filed a complaint, they will begin case review and preparation. Companies being sued for asbestos exposure often file for bankruptcy, so the attorney may need to help the plaintiff file a trust claim rather than a lawsuit. The attorney will ask questions about and document the plaintiff’s exposure history, work history, and medical history. The attorney will also work with the plaintiff to develop testimony for the case. The attorney will manage the legal proceedings for the plaintiff and advise the plaintiff on whether settlement or proceeding to trial is the best option. The attorney will also negotiate any potential settlement for the plaintiff. 

The defendant company or companies will have around 30 days to respond to the plaintiff’s complaint. Each company will likely argue that someone else is responsible for the plaintiff’s asbestos exposure. Each side will then conduct discovery to prepare for trial. Ultimately, the case will either settle or proceed to trial. However, going to trial is rare in asbestos cases. If the case does go to trial and the defendant loses, they will either have to pay the plaintiff the amount of the judgment or can appeal the judgment. If the defendant loses on appeal, they will be liable to the plaintiff for the trial judgment, or the appeal judgment if the trial judgment was modified on appeal. Asbestos litigation is often a lengthy process and can take several months or longer. 

If you have questions about a case contact a mass torts lawyer, like the office of  The Law Office of Eglet Adams for information about your situation.