Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Asbestos and Mesothelioma law is a subset of personal injury law and covers the lawsuits that mesothelioma victims may file in order to recover damages and seek reparations for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and mental anguish, and to secure their families’ financial future after they are gone. When sufferers of mesothelioma choose to sue for damages, they must file their lawsuits individually. Each victim’s prognosis and medical history is different and this precludes them from filing or joining in class actions suits. 

Asbestos is a material used to make certain items fire retardant, which include some of the following: lawn furniture; pipe and ceiling insulation; fireplace cement; concrete; bricks; fireproof drywall; drywall joint compound; heat, fire, and acid resistant gaskets; roofing; and flooring. Mesothelioma is a rare but fatal cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. The time between exposure and the appearance of symptoms can range greatly, generally between 20 to 50 years. This can present several unique challenges when pursuing a personal injury claim for the asbestos exposure. 

Sixty countries around the world have banned the use of asbestos in some manner, either partially or completely. However, several countries in Asia are notably resistant to placing any type of ban on its production, sale and use. In the United States, although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgates standards meant to standardize and control permissible levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace, it has never issued an outright ban on its use. Additionally, asbestos was one of the first hazardous air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act of 1970, and the Toxic Substances Control Act forbids many of its applications. Despite all this, asbestos is still used in a wide variety of products in the U.S and internationally and remains a hazard to millions of construction and maintenance workers throughout the U.S. 

Defendants in asbestos lawsuits are those parties considered responsible for asbestos exposure. They most commonly include asbestos manufacturers, asbestos installers, employers, landlords and leasing agents. Many of these cases are settled out of court.