People who suffer from illnesses related to asbestos exposure or their family members often find themselves filing or becoming plaintiffs in an asbestos lawsuit. Asbestos lawsuits name as a defendant anyone who holds any responsibility for the plaintiff being exposed to asbestos and contracting an illness as a result. Manufacturers of asbestos products, property owners, property managers, employers and others can all become defendants in asbestos lawsuits.
Asbestos lawsuits are filed on behalf of those with asbestos related illnesses in order to get compensation and damages from those responsible. Legal fees, hospital costs, lost pay and other associated expenses such as funeral expenses may be awarded to plaintiffs. Punitive damages can also be awarded in some cases. Punitive damages are a form of financial compensation that go beyond actual damages and serve to punish defendants when gross negligence or willful misconduct is proven. Being awarded punitive damages can significantly increase the overall award.
Some states allow the filing of asbestos lawsuits by persons who have been exposed to asbestos and are highly likely to suffer from related illnesses as a result in the future. In such states, a person having had prolonged exposure to asbestos, even though they are not debilitated by asbestos related illness at the time of filing an asbestos lawsuit, can pursue compensation from those responsible.
There are lawyers who specialize in asbestos lawsuits and mesothelioma attorneys who can help victims get the compensation to which they are rightfully entitled. A number of mesothelioma cases and asbestos lawsuits have resulted in judgments for the plaintiffs in excess of several million dollars. Hiring an attorney does not necessarily mean you are in for a lengthy, drawn out court case. If you are unprepared or are unwilling to go through a protracted legal battle, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement in which case you may be available to avoid the courtroom altogether.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos or have developed an asbestos related illness such as mesothelioma, you may want to consult with a lawyer. Asbestos lawsuits serve many purposes. Those exposed to asbestos and their families, who are often faced with a loss of income and a pile of hospital bills, are compensated fairly for their pain and loss. Those responsible or who acted maliciously, negligently or without regard for the safety of others are held financially accountable and sometimes even severely punished. The publicity that these cases can generate can lead to reform, new legislation, and of course widespread awareness of the dangers of and illnesses related to asbestos exposure. Many firms who handle mesothelioma cases and asbestos lawsuits offer free consultations so if you think you may have a case, take the time to speak with an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation and it likely will not cost you anything to find out what your options are.