What is an asbestos law firm, and how can one help me?
If you have been stricken with mesothelioma or another related illness, an asbestos law firm can help you recover significant monetary damages in the form of either a trial award or negotiated settlement. Victims of negligent asbestos exposure are encouraged to contact a legal professional who specializes in toxic tort cases as soon as possible after receiving an affirmative diagnosis.
Litigation related to asbestos, which is now known widely as a toxic and carcinogenic material that poses significant danger to humans, became a highly active area of civil law during the course of the late 80s and 90s. This was directly following government intervention via bureaus like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), effectively imposing strict regulations and/or bans on the importation, installation and manufacturing usage of asbestos in the U.S.
As the number of claimants grew throughout the past 20-plus years, so did the number of attorneys choosing to specialize in a very specific type of personal injury case – the toxic tort – eventually evolving into an even more focused area of the law and spawning the modern-day asbestos law firm.
Toxic torts include cases primarily involving pharmaceutical drugs, synthetic (man-made) chemical compounds or chemically engineered pesticides. Asbestos cases are different from most other types of toxic tort cases in that the liable substance is natural, occurring organically within the outermost layer of the earth’s crust. Though asbestos was not designed by artificial means, it was mined and sold to manufacturers who crafted thousands of consumer products from its sturdy and resilient fibers.
Decades after the asbestos boom of the 20th century, the medical and scientific communities discovered a link between human contact with asbestos and the rise in diagnoses of new and virtually dormant illnesses – primarily amongst minefield workers and those employed by industries that made heavy use of asbestos-containing products. It was also revealed in short succession that the companies profiting from the sale of these products had been aware, for at least several decades prior, about the risks and consequences relating to asbestos and human health. Yet, no action was taken to protect the millions of Americans who came into contact with it everyday by those companies.
The result was a landslide of civil litigation, with asbestos law firms soon cropping up as specialized and experienced legal resources for victims of past exposure and resulting illness. An asbestos attorney is a legal professional that holds a juris doctor (J.D.) – a professional graduate degree in law – and has been licensed to practice by the American Bar Association. In addition, partners or associates at an asbestos law firm have chosen to dedicate a large portion (or all) of their practice area to toxic tort cases – in particular, those involving personal injuries due to asbestos.
While there is currently no legal specialization board for asbestos-law professionals, common standards in the field include a minimum of five to ten years of practice experience with asbestos-related cases and additional complementary training or education related to the scientific and medical aspects of asbestos exposure.