Along with the past couple of decades’ sudden spike in diagnosed cases of mesothelioma, legal battles have also abounded—an inevitable consequence of negligent and callous actions made by companies that manufactured or installed asbestos-containing products. By exposing millions of individuals to dangerous, cancer-causing asbestos fibers, these businesses made profits priority over human lives—thus ignoring the monumental liability that came along with their choices.
It is now known that many of the companies that reaped billions in the asbestos-manufacturing windfall of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were aware of the potential dangers that their products posed to the people working and living with them. Long before information regarding the high risk of injury associated with regular and prolonged asbestos exposure was available to the general public, industry insiders were privy; and yet they failed to protect employees and consumers by creating safety precautions that would ensure that exposure did not become deadly.
As a result of the carelessness exhibited by big businesses, an approximate 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses annually. The most serious of these conditions is malignant mesothelioma, a terminal variety of cancer that was rarely seen by medical professionals before asbestos became a household name. In the aftermath of a landslide of cases involving mesothelioma, legal recourse has cost former asbestos-based businesses just as many billions as they once earned.
Thousands of plaintiffs have sought compensatory—and occasionally, even punitive—damages via multimillion-dollar lawsuits. In fact, the average settlement in an asbestos personal injury case is between one and two million dollars. Multiply that by tens of thousands of mesothelioma victims, and it’s easy to see how the mesothelioma legal debacle has become so costly.
Not surprisingly, most all of the companies that once profited from asbestos mining, manufacturing and installation are now bankrupt. The combination of strict EPA-mandated restrictions placed on asbestos usage in the U.S. and those thousands of mesothelioma claims drained resources and ultimately drove those businesses far into the red. Still, courts established requirements for any asbestos-based business filing bankruptcy to liquidate and funnel all remaining assets into established trust accounts. These funds are purposed with paying future claims of victims who may file against the company for years to come (as well as the cost of defending legal fees, accrued in the process).
Mesothelioma trusts—estimated well into the billions—are available to pay out compensatory damages to victims being currently diagnosed. If you or a loved one is a victim of mesothelioma, legal recourse is possible and necessary and should be thoroughly pursued as soon as possible after the illness is caught. In an effort to reduce fraud, mesothelioma claims are subject to statutes of limitations in each of the 52 states—be sure to find out how these may affect your case by contacting a qualified attorney.