Asbestos litigation, which began in the late 1970s, is the longest running mass tort litigation in U.S. history. Through 2002, approximately 730,000 victims who were exposed to asbestos have brought lawsuits against some 8,400 business entities. Since 2002, asbestos litigation has continued to run strong, and is expected to continue for many more years.
Asbestos Litigation & Injuries Caused by Asbestos Exposure
Millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos at work. Even though it was known that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma and other serious injuries, many employers chose not to warn their employees about these risks. Moreover, many employers failed to provide their employees with adequate protection against asbestos exposure. These failures are what eventually led to the extensive asbestos litigation that exists today.
Typically, asbestos litigation is filed in order to seek compensation for injuries caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos litigation can help mesothelioma victims get compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering associated with developing this terrible disease. In addition, asbestos litigation can hold employers and manufacturers responsible for the asbestos-related injuries they caused or permitted victims to develop.
Asbestos Litigation Dynamics
Asbestos litigation has not only persisted over a long period of time, but it has continually reshaped itself. To begin with, lawyers and law firms who played a large role in asbestos litigation during the 1980s have left the practice field and been replaced by different attorneys with new litigation strategies. In addition, trial judges have developed new and innovative court procedures to manage the large caseloads associated with asbestos litigation more efficiently. Finally, the focus of asbestos litigation has shifted from federal to state courts, and increasingly, to bankruptcy courts.
Recently, one of the most significant developments in asbestos litigation has been the failure of global class action settlements. A global class action settlement agreement would settle all asbestos litigation against all defendants, putting an end to most asbestos litigation. However, a settlement of this type would require everyone involved in asbestos litigation to come to an agreement. Because negotiations have failed so far, the end of asbestos litigation is currently out of sight.
To learn more about asbestos litigation, contact our experienced asbestos lawyers today.