Asbestos is a fiber that was widely used for decades in many different types of materials from car and train braking systems to building insulation and flooring tiles. It was primarily used because it was inexpensive and is fireproof. However, if these fibers are breathed in by anyone, they can cause irreparable damage to a person's lungs and other organs.
Every year, thousands of people are diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses. And in many cases, these victims suffered the exposure to asbestos on the job. If you or a loved one is dealing with this situation, you should know that you may have grounds to take legal action. Having an attorney can be crucial in these situations because you will likely be facing some aggressive defenses.
Illnesses caused by asbestos can take years and even decades to develop and start showing symptoms. In many cases, defendants named in a personal injury claim involving asbestos will use this long time span to their advantage. Memories can be challenged, paperwork may be difficult to track down and witness testimony can be compromised or unavailable. These can all work against a victim.
Because asbestos was so widely used until the 1980s, a company or individual may also argue that they are not the only ones responsible for a person's illness. They will blame other parties, including the victim in some cases, to try and shield themselves from liability.
It is also possible that a party could argue they had no knowledge that a product contained asbestos or that people were being exposed to it. Considering the fact that companies have likely gone through considerable changes over the years, it is no surprise when people attempt to distance themselves from the situation.
These defenses can be enormously frustrating and upsetting to people who are reeling from the tragic diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness and already dealing with incredible physical and emotional challenges. For these reasons, many victims and their families work with an attorney who is familiar in pursuing work-related illness claims and navigating the legal system so that they can fight for the compensation they may deserve.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Asbestos Basics," March 10, 2016