If you are a victim of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you are also likely a victim of corporate negligence their best opportunity to recover some of the losses incurred as a result of the disease. Throughout the 20th century, millions of innocent people were knowingly exposed to a toxic carcinogen by the companies that profited of off it manufacture, sale and distribution.
You now have the opportunity to file personal injury claim and collect compensatory damages for the medical expenses, lost wages and suffering that you’ve endured as a result of this corporate carelessness. While it may at first seem intimidating, the claim-filing process is relatively simple and straightforward and the following three-part series is dedicated to helping you understand how to proceed.
If you believe that you have a legitimate claim of asbestos injury, the first thing you must do is to find an attorney that specializes in asbestos-related tort cases to represent you-and even before you go looking, it’s important to understand exactly what an asbestos attorney is. The sections below are intended to give you the background you’ll need, prior to setting out on your search for the right legal professional to represent you (which is the subject of our next installment of the series).
A Brief History of Asbestos and Mesothelioma Litigation
To understand the origin of the modern-day asbestos attorney, it’s necessary to understand how this specific field of the law was formed. Asbestos cases are a sub-sector of toxic tort law. The first lawsuits involving asbestos were brought in 1929 and settled out of court with the agreement that in exchange for a payout of compensatory damages, neither the plaintiffs nor their respective attorneys would pursue any further litigation in the matter. Subsequent claims related to asbestos injury were sparse and similarly low profile until government intervention caused the secrets of the asbestos industry to be widely illuminated.
By the 1980s, public concern about asbestos toxicity had reached a boiling point, and the number of cases being filed by victims of unlawful or negligent exposure began to rise dramatically. This trend continued throughout the last years of the 20th century, only multiplying as time went on and the number of asbestos-linked medical diagnoses multiplied. In 2002, the RAND Corporation estimated that there had been approximately 700,000 claimants who had brought suit against around 8400 defendants-making asbestos litigation the largest and most expensive mass tort in U.S. legal history.
What Makes an Asbestos Attorney Special?
Because he or she deals exclusively or primarily with cases involving asbestos-injury, an asbestos or mesothelioma lawyer should have a high level of knowledge regarding both the legal issues surrounding those cases as well as the medical science behind illnesses like mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Experience is invaluable in the making of a good asbestos-specialty attorney and sets him apart from those who have built their career trying a wide variety of personal injury cases or even in another field of law. Our next installment is dedicated to providing you with guidelines for choosing an experienced and highly competent attorney to represent you.