It’s estimated that about 1.3 million Americans workers are exposed to asbestos on the job and there are anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma cases in the U.S. annually.
Asbestos can wreak havoc on a person’s lungs, causing shortness of breath, coughing and make it harder and harder to breathe over a long period of time. Most asbestos case that happen nowadays stem from workplace exposure or secondhand exposure to asbestos contamination. While it is true that major health effects as a result of asbestos can take time to develop, those effects can have a high cost emotionally, financially and physically.
When asbestos exposure happens, usually asbestos liability comes into play. Asbestos liability means a company is held legally responsible for an injuries or health issues that are a result of asbestos exposure. Simply, put if a company is found liable in cases of asbestos exposure, it must pay monetary damages.
If you’re asking how asbestos liability is determined, it’s usually based on the legal theories of strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty. In cases of negligence, a plaintiff has to prove that:
- Negligence by the defendant caused injury to the plaintiff, something also known as causation. This is often the hardest claim to prove in terms of asbestos liability, because the plaintiff has to prove that an asbestos product was directly responsible for causing health issues.
- Injuries caused by asbestos resulted in damage—physically, financial, emotional—to the plaintiff.
- The defendant is found to have a legal duty to the plaintiff.
- Conduct by the defendant violated the aforementioned duty.
It can be difficult to prove negligence and in some cases an attorney may have to rely on the theory of strict liability. This is similar to negligence, but with strict liability a plaintiff doesn’t have to prove negligence, only that the material that caused the health problems was dangerous enough that the defendant inherently breached its duty.
With breach of warranty, this implies that manufacturers are held liable for creating and manufacturing products that aren’t safe, thus causing health issues. Breach of express warranty occurs when a seller of a product containing asbestos make a false claim to encourage someone to buy a product.
It’s been documented that at least 35 companies have sites where asbestos is naturally occurring an asbestos was actually mined at one time or another in many of those states. Thus in some cases, mining companies are held liable for asbestos-related issues as are asbestos manufacturers, employees, owners of property where there are inherent asbestos issues and manufacturers of products which contain asbestos.
More than 40% of Americans are worried about indoor and outdoor air quality and issues such as carbon emissions, volatile organic compounds and radon. These issues along with asbestos can greatly impact a person’s health and their ability to breathe. When it comes to cases of asbestos liability, the best thing to do is get an attorney.
Attorneys are essential in cases involving antitrust laws, bankruptcy, medical malpractice and patent law to name a few things and asbestos liability is no different. An experienced attorney will fight for fair compensation, know how to navigate the legal obstacles of your case and deal with third parties, such as those concerned with insurance.