Common Aspects of Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, was historically used in products for its strength and fire-resistance capabilities. Unfortunately, asbestos may release fibers that, if inhaled, may increase the risk of lung cancer, including mesothelioma. Further, the effects of breathing asbestos fibers may not appear for decades. If you have been exposed to asbestos fibers, you should contact an experienced asbestos attorney at the Throneberry Law Group to help you understand and protect your legal rights.

Theories of Liability

In an asbestos lawsuit, a claim that the defendant caused injury will be made. The most common claims are that the exposure to asbestos fibers caused either mesothelioma or lung cancer, although claims for asbestosis (a chronic lung disease) exist as well. There are several legal theories that may be used to recover compensation for injury, or potential injury, from exposure to asbestos fibers. Some of the more common theories include:

  1. Product liability, where a defective or unreasonably dangerous product caused injury;
  2. Workers' compensation, where as a result of the injury occurring in the workplace, the injured party is entitled to benefits; and
  3. Premises liability, where property owners fail to maintain safe conditions.

It is important to note that asbestos litigation laws vary from state to state. Therefore, you should consult an attorney in your state to discuss the remedies available.

Challenges to Asbestos Litigation

There are several challenges to successfully bringing an asbestos litigation lawsuit. To begin, as a result of the potential extended period of time before the effects of exposure to asbestos fiber begin to appear, evidence may be difficult to obtain. The more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes to locate witnesses, defendants, and records. Those witnesses and defendants who can be found may have difficulty in remembering details precisely.

Further, because significant time often passes before the effects become present, there may be statutes of limitations and statutes of repose considerations. Simply put, these are deadlines by which a plaintiff must bring suit. In jurisdictions that require the filing of a suit within a certain amount of time after exposure, the deadlines for filing may pass before the effects of exposure to asbestos fiber become apparent. Further, in jurisdictions that require a suit within a certain amount of time after discovery of the injury, the victim may not realize the injury is asbestos-related before the deadline passes.

Another challenging factor is the expense of asbestos litigation. This type of litigation is scientifically complex and will likely require the testimony of expert witnesses. In addition, if the defendant has been forced into bankruptcy, there may be inadequate resources to compensate the victims. This may result in a successful verdict, but the inability to collect from the defendant.

We Can Help

The effects of exposure to asbestos fiber can cause severe, even fatal, diseases. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the difficulty of having to deal with the effects of asbestos-related disease. If you believe you have been harmed by exposure to asbestos fibers, please contact us today.

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