What about the mesothelioma lawsuits?
According to the United States National Toxicology Programme database, there is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of asbestos and all commercial forms of asbestos in humans. In the European Union, Chrysotile Asbestos has been classified as a category 1 carcinogen. The facts speak for themselves. Asbestos has been responsible for over 200,000 deaths in the United States, and will cause millions more deaths worldwide. In western Europe alone past asbestos
exposure will cause a quarter of a million deaths from Mesothelioma (a cancer) over the next thirty-five years. The number of lung cancer deaths caused by asbestos is at least equal to the number of mesotheliomas, suggesting that there will be more than half million asbestos cancer deaths in western Europe over next 35 years. In Sweden, the number of deaths caused each year by malignant mesothelioma is greater than the number of deaths caused in that country by all workplace injuries. (Source: International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, UK).
Asbestos fibres are released into the environment from the natural occurrence of asbestos in the earth and as a result of wear and deterioration of asbestos products. Asbestos minerals are emitted into the atmosphere and water systems from the mining and milling of asbestos ores. Applications of asbestos materials to buildings and vehicle brake linings account for a significant amount of emissions to the atmosphere. Demolition of buildings with asbestos insulation or fireproofing, mostly in the western country where buildings are all insulated, may cause high atmospheric concentrations for relatively short periods of time. The primary routes of potential human exposure to asbestos is inhalation and ingestion. Asbestos is used so widely that the entire population is potentially exposed to some degree.
In spite of the decline in confirmed cases of asbestos-related disease, claims for asbestos damages are increasing at dramatic rates. More than 120,000 new claims were filed last year - the most ever. The total to date is now more than 650,000. Because of court rulings, which permit claims for “potential harm” or even “concern and anxiety” related to asbestos exposure, claims are multiplying in every state. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported that up to 2.7 million additional claims are now expected, more than 90% by unimpaired claimants. Asbestos litigation has already cost Americans $60 billion, and it’s only beginning. Different types of compensation are available for the injuries caused due to the development of mesothelioma asbestos. Such compensation includes the lost future income, medical expenses for the treatment, compensation that can be claimed from the asbestos companies. More than 8,000 companies have been hauled into court as defendants, most with little or no connection to the manufacture or distribution of asbestos. And worse, most of the money does not go to those harmed by asbestos, it goes to legal costs and the astronomical fees of a handful of attorneys. The leading asbestos producers are all bankrupt, forced out of business by the sheer volume of legal claims against them. The second tier of defendants, companies involved in asbestos products and use, are almost all bankrupt. Some have been liquidated, others continue to operate under bankruptcy restrictions while legal proceedings determine disposition of their assets.
With the demise of asbestos companies, lawyers sought other defendants. Companies that used, made or distributed products with any asbestos content were next. Many of these companies are now in bankruptcy or out of business. Subsequently, wholesalers, distributors and retailers whose sales may have included any product with asbestos were named as defendants. Companies that acquired other companies that were involved with asbestos products in prior years were added to the defendant list. Companies where asbestos was present in the work place were targeted. Today, with the urgent effort by asbestos lawyers to find any and all potential sources of funding for thousands of new claims every month, no company can be certain it is not at risk. Already, 77 major companies have been forced into bankruptcy, with a net loss of 60,000 jobs and tens of billions in investment value. With more than 8,000 productive companies currently named as defendants in lawsuits seeking more than $100 billion, many more bankruptcies are expected in coming years. The total damage to American industry in cash, equity, jobs, pension funds is hundreds of billions of dollars. The net long-term impact on American industry and the ability of American companies to compete in the world marketplace cannot be estimated.
Mesothelioma lawsuits are classified into two groups: personal injury, and wrongful death. In a personal injury mesothelioma lawsuit, the individual diagnosed with mesothelioma is living and bringing the mesothelioma lawsuit on his/her own behalf. A wrongful death suit occurs when the survivors bring the mesothelioma lawsuit on behalf of a deceased victim of mesothelioma. Persons who may bring a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit include the spouse, relative, and/or representative of the estate of the departed individual. Mesothelioma lawsuits usually seek compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and in the case of a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit, funeral expenses, as well as the value of the deceased's life. Most mesothelioma lawsuits do not go to trial, but are settled out of court. If a mesothelioma lawsuit can be settled for a mutually agreeable sum of money, it can save both sides a large amount of money that would otherwise be spent on a mesothelioma lawsuit trial. A good attorney will know when it is a good idea to settle the mesothelioma lawsuit, and when a trial would be more favorable. Even if the case goes to trial and the mesothelioma lawsuit is decided in favor of the plaintiff, there may be an appeal filed by the defendant(s) and there is always the possibility that the mesothelioma lawsuit will be re-tried and reversed.
The growing number of mesothelioma lawsuits can make it difficult for all parties to collect the full amount to which they are entitled. An experienced attorney with a background in mesothelioma lawsuits can give you more information regarding the procedures and likely results of your potential mesothelioma lawsuit. Asbestos lawyers are attorneys that will work on your behalf to help recover damages. Mesothelioma Lawyers will work with you to build a case against the party that caused your exposure. When selecting an asbestos lawyer, be certain to look for a law firm or individual that is devoted to your needs as a client. Your attorney should work as your advocate, taking care of your case in a respectful, caring, professional manner. Also, be sure to seek an asbestos lawyer that truly specializes in the handling of Mesothelioma/asbestos cases. Some of the companies that were responsible for the development of mesothelioma asbestos cannot be sued for they must have been granted protection under the bankruptcy law. However a significant amount of money has been set up by many asbestos companies to pay for the damages caused. The way the attorneys are doing it is asbestos litigation, but it’s not about asbestos, it’s about greed. Asbestos litigation has become a money train for a few hundred lawyers who are using loopholes in the law to amass personal fortunes at the expense of American workers, shareholders and retirees. If you own stock in any of thousands of American companies, if you work in American industry, if your pension or retirement fund is paid through an American company, you are at risk.
The US Senate has considered a bill (the FAIR Act) to set up a special fund to compensate the sufferers of illnesses resulting from exposure to asbestos. The proposed Senate bill may seem like a fair and efficient way to ensure victims receive the compensation they are entitled to, but opponents believe it is critically flawed. The FAIR Act would completely overhaul the entire asbestos litigation system: establish a no-fault, $150 billion trust fund to compensate asbestos victims (paid entirely by defendant companies and insurers); establish criteria and schedules for payment; and eliminate most of the added costs and fees of litigation.
The proposed Senate bill may seem like a fair and efficient way to ensure victims receive the compensation they are entitled to, but opponents believe it is critically flawed. While bans on the use of asbestos and protection measures for workers in asbestos contaminated building sites have been in force since the mid 1970’s, the full effect of the asbestos related disease epidemic will only be felt in the decades to come. Symptoms of mesothelioma and asbestosis only manifest themselves 30 to 50 years after exposure, or perhaps even longer. The proposed bill may be sufficient to compensate victims who have already been diagnosed with the disease, and families of victims who have already died, but gives no guarantee of support to the many thousands of sufferers who will show up in the years to come. Researchers believe asbestos related illness is a health crisis which is still far from reaching its peak.
The consensus is that any asbestos reform legislation is a long shot because of fierce and powerful resistance of special interest groups, but the FAIR Act battle is believed to be very close, and Senate watchers say it has a chance. If it does go to a vote on the floor of the Senate, proponents believe it will carry the day, but getting there is the problem. Senate rules require 60 votes to force closure on debate (ending a filibuster). That means that several senators who are traditional allies of trial lawyers must cross over to support reform. In spite of increasing media scrutiny and rising public sentiment to "do something about this asbestos mess," few senators are expected to break ranks.