Asbestos cases allow injured victims to recover compensation from those responsible for exposing them to asbestos. Thus far in the United States, injured victims have brought more than 700,000 asbestos cases against over 8,000 companies. Experts predict that the total number of asbestos cases brought in U.S. courts could reach between 1.3 and 3.1 million, resulting in payouts exceeding $200 billion.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was widely used in building materials and consumer products until the 1980s. Asbestos is dangerous when its fibers are inhaled, because when inhaled, they remain lodged in the lungs, and can cause severe and fatal diseases such as:
- mesothelioma (a cancer that affects the lung’s inner lining)
- asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
- lung cancer
- esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer
Parties in Asbestos Cases
Plaintiffs in asbestos cases include:
- Asbestos exposure victims who file asbestos cases on their own behalf (also commonly called personal injury asbestos cases)
- Survivors who bring asbestos cases on behalf of victims who died from asbestos exposure (also commonly called wrongful death asbestos cases)
Defendants in asbestos cases may include:
- asbestos removal professionals
Asbestos Cases against Employers
Many employees have brought asbestos cases against employers for the increased exposure to asbestos in the workplace. These asbestos cases have typically been brought by employees who work in the construction, insulation, or manufacturing industries. Employers in these asbestos cases allegedly failed to warn employees about the dangers of asbestos. In addition, employers often did not provide properly ventilated workplaces and workers were not given protective clothing or gear. As a result, employees inhaled asbestos fibers causing some of them to develop severe and fatal cancers.
In December 2007, an Illinois jury awarded $2.6 million to John Watkins’s family. John Watkins died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related disease. Mr. Watkins was exposed to asbestos while working for Union Asbestos & Rubber Co. His family brought a wrongful death asbestos case against Honeywell International Inc. (the asbestos plant’s owner) and a jury found the company liable for suppressing evidence about the dangers of asbestos.
Asbestos Cases against Manufacturers
Many victims injured by asbestos exposure have brought asbestos cases against manufacturers of asbestos containing products. The manufacturers are liable for:
- Unsafe Products: these asbestos cases allege that manufacturers knew about asbestos dangers and they should not have placed the products in contact with victims
- Failure to Warn: these asbestos cases allege that manufacturers failed to warn the public about the risk of asbestos exposure
For example, Joan and David Mahoney brought an asbestos case against Georgia Pacific, the maker of an asbestos compound used for filling cracks in sheetrock. The Mahoneys started a remodeling business using Georgia Pacific’s asbestos containing products and Ms. Mahoney eventually developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. In March 2008, a San Francisco jury awarded the Mahoneys $20 million.
Bringing Asbestos Cases
If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos exposure, you may have an asbestos case against asbestos manufactures and your past or present employers. If you would like more information about asbestos cases or would like a free asbestos case legal consultation with our asbestos lawyers, please contact us today.