Asbestos lawsuits have dramatically increased over the years as more and more people become aware of the cancer risks associated with exposure to asbestos.
Lawsuits include cases brought by individuals against companies they worked for, class action lawsuits for entire workforces and unions, as well as cases where individuals working in public buildings or schools were exposed to asbestos that was improperly removed.
While many asbestos lawsuits are a direct result of individuals suffering from lung cancer or mesothelioma (which has been linked to exposure to asbestos), many of the class actions lawsuits include individuals presently showing no symptoms.
Impact of Asbestos Lawsuits and Class Action Suits
Large industrial companies have paid out billions of dollars to settle asbestos lawsuits in situations where they were clearly responsible for workers who were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos on a daily basis (such as in mines and in shipyards).
This has led to a huge surge in lawsuits filed by a wide range of people who may or may not have encountered dangerous levels of asbestos fibers and who may or may not ever develop symptoms.
Asbestos lawsuits are a touchy subject in legal and business circles, with many calling for a cap or restriction on damages that may be sought or claimed, due to the uncertainty that still surrounds the effects of asbestos exposure.
Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure
Symptoms may take decades to surface after exposure, which makes it very difficult for juries or judges to properly ascertain who should receive compensation and in what amount for past exposure to asbestos.
While asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma and other illnesses, research hasn’t yet established guidelines as to how much exposure is dangerous. In some cases family members of workers have also been impacted if clothes worn in an asbestos-laden environment are brought home.
Common symptoms of asbetosis (which impacts the lungs) includes shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties that increase over time, as well as chest pain.
Finding an Asbestos Attorney
The high profile nature of asbestos lawsuits (and potential huge settlements) have led many lawyers to specialize in asbestos exposure cases, so finding an attorney or lawyer to represent you if you’ve been exposed to asbestos isn’t difficult.
Many asbestos lawsuits have morphed into large class action suits, with a very large multi-district litigation (MDL) filing active for the last twenty years.
The first asbestos lawsuits arose in the 1920s, with a new flood originating and being settled in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. Most cases that are settled today are individual lawsuits with very specific claims against companies based on unsafe workplaces that involved exposure to asbestos.