Asbestos Torts Primer
The term asbestos torts refers to the numerous lawsuits based on injury or illness caused by exposure to asbestos. Tort law covers any kind of personal injury, whether it was caused intentionally or not, that can be compensated for in a civil case. Most of these torts focus on recovering monetary damages to cover the medical expenses and pain and suffering of someone who has asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Asbestos Torts were First Mass Litigation Cases
Although you can now read about torts that involve numerous people who have suffered from prescription drug reactions, injury caused by a specific product and a host of other mass
lawsuits, the first time the courts saw large numbers of people all suing for essentially the same injury from the same product was the asbestos cases stemming from exposure in the 1960s and 1970s.
Asbestos mass torts are so common yet so complex that many state judiciary systems have developed manuals for attorneys and judges that outline how to handle asbestos tort cases and litigation. This is an unusual step that acknowledges both the validity of these lawsuits and the increasing number of them that are entered in the court system.
Asbestos Mass Torts and Specialized Law
These torts are often complicated by several things, including:
- Exposure has often been years or even decades ago, requiring intensive research to reconstruct time lines.
- Many patients were exposed to asbestos in more than one location from more than one source; and sometimes even through multiple employers. Deciding who is liable for what can be difficult.
- Some asbestos manufacturers are now out of business or operating under different names.
- Expert witnesses are needed to prove the cause and effect link for each individual case.
With so many complex issues, it was natural that over the years some law firms began to specialize in asbestos mass torts. These were usually large firms that had the resources and staff to efficiently handle such complex cases. Over time they became known as experts in this area of law so that new patients increasingly turned to them. Today you can find many law firms across the country specializing in asbestos torts.
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