Mesothelioma & the Law

Mesothelioma & the Law

What are mesothelioma lawsuits and how do they arise?

Mesothelioma lawsuits are filed by the victims of mesothelioma to avail reparations for medical expenses, pain & suffering and loss of income associated with the growth of this disease. Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer, which is inflicted by exposure to asbestos most frequently used in industrial and residential places till the late seventies. The numbers of mesothelioma victims were on the rise as the employers continued using these hazardous materials despite knowing the harmful consequences of them. Thus the poor workers, who were ignorant of the potential health risks that they were about to confront, were the unfortunate victims.

In case the victim dies there is a provision that one of the family members or the executor of his estate can file the lawsuit. On the other hand a family member who has contracted the disease from the victim of mesothelioma can also file a lawsuit.

Thus, if an individual is victimized owing to the negligence of another person, he has absolute right to take legal actions in the court of law for compensation. An individual needs to first consult with an attorney who deals with asbestos litigation and on his discretion the victim can file the suit.

How long does the process take and what are the end results?

These lawsuits tend to be cumbersome and longwinded. It could also stretch to years even to reach any settlement. Again all lawsuits are not necessarily longwinded; some of them take lesser time. However, in some of the cases the victims receive negligible amount of money, most of which are used to meet the lawyer's and the court's expenses. Nevertheless victims of mesothelioma should exhibit their rights and fight for their compensation. Again, mesothelioma lawsuits are generally settled out of court before they are set for trail. This actually makes more sense because it curtails court expenses for both the parties.

What can you do if you are uncertain about exposure to asbestos?

If you don't know where and when you were exposed to asbestos, you should speak to your lawyer who will help you out. The lawyer may possibly hire a professional investigator who can make the necessary investigations so as to find out where the exposure had occurred and who are the ones that can be held responsible.

How much do you have to pay?

Factually, you need not pay unless and until you receive your compensation. It is only then that your lawyer shall take a percentage out of the compensation as his remuneration.

How much can you expect as compensation?

Well it depends on how creditable your case is. You will find that past settlements amounted to quite a ransom. But in the recent past with the subsequent increase in the number of mesothelioma lawsuits, there is a sleek chance to realize the entire amount.

The history of mesothelioma lawsuits

According to U.S mesothelioma history, the first ever mesothelioma lawsuit was filed in 1966 against the careless use of asbestos. But unfortunately the verdict went against the case. For the second time, another suit was put forward for a co-worker and this time the case was won. This gave impetus to all those helpless victims who craved for justice as innumerable mesothelioma lawsuits cropped up simultaneously.

Mesothelioma lawsuits also tells us that how ignorant people were initially about the causes and the aftereffects of the deadly disease. But now with the intervention of the law firms the victims of mesothelioma are provided with all-round assistance as regards lawful solutions to their righteous problems.
symptoms of mesothelioma

Compensation for Mesothelioma

Compensation for Mesothelioma

Asbestos was a building material widely used in the UK from the 1930s up until the 1970s and was valued for its strength and resistance to fire and chemicals. However, what was not known at the time was that tiny asbestos fibres were working their way into the lungs of unknowing workers whenever a block of asbestos was broken up.

Years later, these workers start to develop cancers and scarring in their lungs that has developed as a direct result of these fibres. Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis have a long latency period and it can take between 15 and 60 years for symptoms to become apparent.

These conditions cannot be cured and statistics from Cancer Research UK show that just 10% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma will survive beyond 3 years. Asbestos-related diseases are a type of industrial illness which clearly requires substantial compensation to be paid to the injured person or their family, if the person has died.

The key question is that of who should pay the compensation and how much. If a person suffering from mesothelioma or asbestosis has worked for more than one firm that exposed him to the dangers of asbestos, are the companies jointly liable to pay compensation or can just one company be found to be negligent?

A ruling in the case of Fairchild (2002) created the precedent that if one business could be found to have been negligent, that business would have to pay the full compensation award. This was greeted with relief from claimants, who find it difficult or even impossible to track down all the employers who may have exposed them to the risk of asbestos after 30 years.

However, this ruling was amended by the House of Lords in the recent case of Barker v St Gobain Pipelines (2006). It was decided that all the companies who had exposed the claimant to asbestos should share the compensation burden. The insurance company of each business would pay compensation in proportion to the risk they caused.

This could present the scenario of mesothelioma and asbestosis sufferers only receiving part of the compensation to which they are entitled if they are unable to identify all of the businesses that may have caused their industrial illness.

The Pneumoconiosis (Workers' Compensation) Act of 1979 offers people the chance to make a compensation claim if they cannot track down any of their employers during their time of exposure to asbestos. However, if any mesothelioma or asbestosis compensation at all has been awarded to the claimant by the Courts, this fund is made unavailable, meaning that this Act will not be of any assistance to the people who have received partial compensation.

A solution must be reached for the thousands of people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related industrial illnesses each year. The legacy of asbestos is still here for years to come. A Health and Safety Executive report in 2003 suggested that diagnoses of these diseases will hit peak figures between 2011 and 2015, when at least 2,500 people a year will be dying from asbestos-related disease.

Just what the answer is has not yet been determined. One idea that has been put forward is that of having the equivalent of the Motor Insurers Bureau, which would represent untraceable companies. Insurers would each put into a pool to which claimants could turn after all other options are exhausted.

Another option is that the ruling in the Barker case is overturned and the previous method of one company taking full responsibility for compensation is reinstated. However, insurance companies are likely to offer many objections to this suggestion.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma

The most important thing is that the people suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis and other incurable industrial illnesses get compensation for their injuries. It is recommended that anyone considering making a compensation claim of this type gets specialist representation from personal injury solicitors with particular experience and expertise in this field.