Since many companies and manufacturers understood the dangers involved in working with asbestos products and continued their use anyway, mesothelioma litigation has become a billion-dollar business. Attorneys now specialize in mesothelioma cases, garnering settlements and recoveries for victims that can reach into the millions of dollars. Consequently, many former manufacturers of asbestos-containing products have been forced to declare bankruptcy rather than go through multiple, costly court cases.
Patients contemplate mesothelioma litigation for several reasons. For example, victims who are exposed to asbestos because of a product they came into contact with may have a claim for product liability. Many old homes were constructed with asbestos, and some homeowners have contracted mesothelioma as a result of the substance breaking down. If a loved one died of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos and you are an heir to the estate, you may have a wrongful death claim and may start a lawsuit on behalf of the estate.
Once the decision is made to pursue this route, a victim or a representation must contact an attorney and begin litigation immediately. Every state has its own statutes of limitations, which limit the time a lawsuit can be filed. Because mesothelioma can take so long to develop, the statute of limitations for mesothelioma litigation begins at the time of diagnosis and not at the time of the actual asbestos exposure.
The attorney can help the patient determine what to do in various scenarios. For example, in recent years, some asbestos manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy, meaning that victims of asbestos exposure and their lawyer must navigate different trusts following the court. An attorney can also help determine who else should be held liable for the victim's injuries as well as receive financial compensation.
During mesothelioma litigation, victims can ask for a variety of damages allowed by the court, including loss of income, emotional distress, medical expenses, future medical care and pain and suffering. Victims can also seek punitive damages, which punish the defendants for their actions. In mesothelioma litigation, these damages are awarded when overwhelming evidence exists showing that asbestos manufacturers actively sought to hide the known risks of asbestos exposure.