An asbestos claim may be filed by a victim who has developed cancer from asbestos exposure. In some states, victims may bring asbestos claims if they have been exposed to asbestos and are at risk of developing cancer. Victims who file asbestos claims seek to recover damages from those responsible for exposing them to asbestos. Typically, employees bring an asbestos claim against employers for the increased exposure to asbestos in the workplace. Thus far in the United States, injured victims have brought about 700,000 asbestos claims against over 8,000 companies.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was widely used in building materials and consumer products until 1989 when its use was restricted by the EPA. Asbestos is extremely dangerous and toxic to humans when its fibers are inhaled. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they remain permanently lodged in the body, and can cause severe and fatal diseases, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
Parties in Asbestos Claims
Plaintiffs in asbestos claims include:
- Asbestos exposure victims who file asbestos claims on their own behalf (commonly called a personal injury asbestos lawsuits)
- Survivors who bring asbestos claims on behalf of deceased asbestos exposure victims (commonly called wrongful death asbestos lawsuit)
Defendants in asbestos claims include:
- asbestos manufacturers
- government agencies
Types of Asbestos Claims
Failure to Warn: Many employees have filed asbestos claims against their employers for not warning them about the dangers of asbestos. Workers in the construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries have experienced increased workplace asbestos exposure. In those industries, workplaces were often poorly ventilated and workers wore no protective clothing or respiratory equipment because employers and manufacturers failed to warn them about the risks of asbestos exposure. Accordingly, both manufacturers and employers are potentially liable to victims of workplace asbestos exposure.
Unsafe Products: Asbestos attorneys may file asbestos claims against manufacturers of asbestos containing products on behalf of asbestos exposure victims because manufacturers placed unsafe products containing asbestos in the stream of commerce. These asbestos claims allege that manufacturers knew about the dangers of asbestos and produced unsafe products, or placed unsafe products in contact with victims, anyway.
Proving an Asbestos Claim
To be successful in an asbestos claim, plaintiffs must prove the asbestos exposure source, the party responsible for the asbestos exposure, and the damages suffered from the asbestos exposure. Typically, asbestos attorneys work closely with victims to identify the information necessary to prove an asbestos claim.
Under the law in most states, plaintiffs pursuing asbestos claims must also show that employers and manufacturers knew about asbestos dangers. Significant evidence, however, has been developed by asbestos attorneys showing that employers and manufacturers knew about the dangers of asbestos and concealed them from the public.
In 1936, for example, officials from asbestos manufacturing companies financed animal tests to determine if asbestos causes cancer. The study concluded that asbestos is linked to cancer. The final public report, however, did not mention the confirmed link between asbestos and cancer.
In 1947, the Asbestos Textile Institute sponsored a study of the relationship between asbestos and cancer in textile factory workers. The study concluded that many workers developed asbestosis. The final report, however, was never published and the Institute rejected funding for further tests.
Filing an Asbestos Claim
If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos exposure, you likely have an asbestos claim. If you would like more information about asbestos claims, please contact our asbestos attorneys today.