After asbestos exposure, a lawyer can help you navigate your legal options. If an illness, like mesothelioma or asbestosis, has developed as a result of your coming in contact with asbestos fibers, and there is an identifiable party who is responsible for having put you in contact with such a dangerous, known carcinogen—then you probably have a case for filing a lawsuit.
An asbestos lawsuit is a personal injury claim that names at least one party and sometimes more as being both responsible and negligent in causing exposure to a toxic substance without divulging to the affected party the risks associated with such exposure. In order to file a claim, you have to have been injured by the asbestos contact you experienced—in other words, you must have developed an illness known to be linked with asbestos. Namely, those would be asbestosis, mesothelioma or another form of cancer (usually in or around the lung cavity).
Any asbestos exposure lawyer who knows the field will be sure to first verify that any potential client has received a conclusive diagnosis of a condition that is clearly attributable to asbestos, before contracting with that client as his or her representative. The attorney must also make sure that there is a responsible and negligent party who can be named in the lawsuit.
If someone has developed mesothelioma or another related condition, but he is unable to pinpoint any period of known and verifiable asbestos exposure, a lawyer won’t be able to do much for that individual. A defendant is a critical component in any civil litigation. If you don’t have a party to make a claim against, then you do not have a claim.
Before you bank on an asbestos lawsuit settlement, you’ll need to work with your attorney to compile the necessary proof showing that the defendant listed in your claim is at fault. From your first initial meeting, your asbestos exposure attorney will be looking to verify that such proof can be found. In some cases, satisfactory evidence might be employment contracts, pay stubs or other paperwork proving that you were working for a company that used asbestos products at the time. In other, non-occupational cases of exposure, proof might be constituted by a sales contract between you and an asbestos-using builder, supplemented by receipts or some documentation of construction procedures that show asbestos as being installed in the home you were sold.
Whether or not your case will have a single or multiple defendants depends largely on who can be proven as negligent. For instance, if the manufacturer sold the builder asbestos products for your home, knowing the dangers of human contact with those materials, that party could be considered negligent in causing your exposure and illness. If the builder also knew of those risks and neglected to divulge them, he may also be shown as negligently responsible for your illness.
However, if the manufacturer knew of the risks and did not divulge them, but the builder was unaware of any such dangers, then the manufacturer could be held liable for exposure caused to the builder and any affected work crew, as well as to you.