You can’t turn on the TV, open your computer browser on the internet, or run a search on anything related to asbestos without tripping over a raft of personal injury attorney who are trolling for mesothelioma cases. Asbestos personal injury cases have created the largest tort in the history of American jurisprudence and possibly the most lucrative. That does not mean however, that the law firm spending the most on advertising is the best suited to handle a mesothelioma personal injury case.
Throughout the history of asbestos litigation, which to date includes about 800,000 suits, a formula has evolved for compensation by the largest asbestos manufacturing firms. These are the companies that have the most liability in asbestos cases; a company that made asbestos bearing seals, for instance, could face lawsuits from every individual that might have installed or removed one of those seals. That individual’s employer may have employed ten people, which is the extent of that company’s liability. It’s the product manufacturers that have been hit with billions of dollars in claims.
Legal Guidance on Asbestos Trusts
The formula that has been developed for compensation from these companies is creation of a trust to handle all claims directed at that company. These trusts are established as part of a reorganization plan following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Nearly all of the major asbestos manufacturers or producers have filed for bankruptcy. A good mesothelioma attorney is going to understand the workings of these trusts, will understand what level of compensation can be expected, and how to go about filing a claim efficiently. There are currently about 65 active asbestos trusts.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
The trusts have not eliminated court actions on asbestos lawsuits. Some attorneys with experience in asbestos litigation will file a lawsuit against a manufacturer or former employer that has not completed the liability protection available through bankruptcy and trust creation. If this is the most promising path that a mesothelioma plaintiff has, it’s important that the attorney handling the case knows where to file it. Some suits are brought in federal court; each district has a track record on asbestos rulings and some are considered more plaintiff-friendly than others. The same rule of thumb applies to state courts. That is why some jurisdictions such as the San Francisco Superior Court have had to set up an entire asbestos litigation department.
Settling a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
An experienced asbestos attorney knows how to extract a settlement from a potentially culpable defendant. Many corporations are inclined to settle rather than go to trial because of the huge awards some juries have made in the past to asbestos plaintiffs. Your attorney should know how to push those buttons and how to do it efficiently on behalf of a sick client.
If you or a family member has mesothelioma or some other asbestos related disease, seek out an experienced asbestos attorney who is up to date on the latest rulings and changes in statutory requirements.
Asbestos Litigation, the Rand Corporation
Asbestos Litigation – Malignancy in the Courts? Manhattan Institute for Policy Research