Living with Mesothelioma: Litigation and Liability
A diagnosis of mesothelioma is an irrevocably life-changing event-one that alters not only your day-to-day experiences but the entire scope of your future as well. Receiving such news frequently produces an initial state of shock that some patients describe as an out-of-body experience or the feeling of being frozen. This very common reaction is identified as the initial stage of the grieving process. It is a normal and even healthy response to emotional trauma and can serve a psychologically protective role, giving your brain and body time to absorb and process a difficult reality.
A big part of processing this new reality is learning how to adapt and move forward. For victims of mesothelioma, the adjustment timeframe allotted is generally quite limited; but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of it. Many mesothelioma victims find that knowledge is one of the most empowering tools available to them. By learning what to expect and how to best manage your disease, you can begin to move forward in living with mesothelioma.
This six-part series is dedicated to educating victims of mesothelioma about their disease and its relationship to asbestos, as well as their legal rights and various options for fair compensation. Additional Information and counsel is available at no cost by contacting the national trial attorneys of Shrader Law and Associates, LLP.
The Basics of Mesothelioma Litigation
The first personal injury lawsuit brought by an asbestos exposure victim was settled out of court in 1929. Things then stayed pretty quiet in the asbestos industry until the early 1980s, when a spike in diagnoses of asbestos-related conditions began spurning legal action at an increasing rate. Civil action against asbestos manufacturers peaked in the 1990s and has remained relatively consistent throughout the last two decades. To date, mesothelioma litigation is the longest-running and most costly mass tort in U.S. legal history, with more than 700,000 claimants represented against more than 8000 defendants.
The massive scope of this particular area of toxic tort law has produced a specialization field amongst legal professionals. Victims of mesothelioma and other related conditions are highly advised to seek counsel and representation through a qualified and experienced asbestos attorney, who will have the knowledge and background necessary to successfully secure a valuable claim award on clients’ behalf.
Once an attorney has been hired to represent you, one of the first steps towards filing a mesothelioma claim is to determine who the defendant (or sometimes, defendants) named in the suit will be. In other words, your attorney must help you to identify and assign liability. Your part in this process is to provide facts, and any documentation you may have, about the conditions under which you were exposed to asbestos. From there, one or more business entities-usually companies that manufactured or distributed asbestos-containing products-will be connected to your case, based on the history you’ve provided.
In mesothelioma litigation, liability requires only verifiable proof that the company named in a suit made or supplied asbestos-containing materials to the site of your exposure-whether it occurred at work or at home. Companies in the asbestos industry during the 20th century have been shown as negligent in their failure to provide the public with warnings about the risks of asbestos exposure, which had been documented internally as early as the 1920s.