Common Aspects of Asbestos Lawsuits
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral used in construction materials and consumer products for its fire-resistant and strengthening properties. When asbestos is released into the air in microscopic, dusty and threadlike fibers, it can be breathed into the body and lodge in the lungs, where it can lurk for decades before producing severe, even fatal, diseases like mesothelioma.
Workers, consumers and bystanders exposed to airborne asbestos who have developed or have the potential to develop these life-threatening illnesses should contact an experienced Southern California asbestos attorney at Rose Klein & Marias LLP, as soon as possible to understand and protect their legal interests.
Potential legal theories
There are several potential legal theories under which asbestos victims may be able to recover compensation for injury, and sometimes for potential injury caused by exposure to asbestos. The laws governing asbestos litigation vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, making it imperative to consult an attorney about the available remedies under the laws of your state. Common theories used include product liability, workers’ compensation, premises liability and economic property loss.
Several aspects of asbestos injury bring particular complication and difficulty to asbestos litigation (again, how this affects particular claims varies by jurisdiction):
- Evidence may be difficult to collect and verify because the asbestos exposure usually occurs years before the injury is apparent, complicating the process of locating witnesses, identifying potential defendants and other plaintiffs, and collecting physical evidence and records.
- Plaintiffs are often of advanced age and extremely ill.
- Many of the defendants in these cases have been forced into bankruptcy, which in some cases has left inadequate resources available to compensate the victims for their injuries.
- Asbestos cases are expensive because the evidence is of a complex scientific nature.
- There are difficult issues of statutes of limitation and statutes of repose – legal deadlines by which plaintiffs must bring suit for particular types of injuries. If a jurisdiction requires suit within a certain time after exposure, there may be no knowledge of injury within that time because of the latent nature of asbestos-related diseases. If a jurisdiction requires suit within a certain amount of time after discovery of the injury, victims may not realize in time that particular symptoms are asbestos related.
- Complexity surrounds whether a victim can sue for the potential development of mesothelioma, cancer or other asbestos-related injury, or for the fear of potential disease.
- It can be difficult to identify potentially responsible parties such as who actually manufactured the injury-producing asbestos or asbestos-containing product.
- In some jurisdictions, legal issues surround whether the victim contributed to his or her injury, such as by smoking, or whether other causes contributed to the injury, such as multiple, different exposures.
Contact an attorney
If you think you were exposed to airborne asbestos and have developed or have the potential to develop asbestos-related disease, contact a knowledgeable asbestos lawyer at Rose Klein & Marias LLP in Southern California, as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.