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Mesothelioma is a very aggressive type of cancer that usually affects the lung’s lining (pleural mesothelioma) or the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma). In the majority of cases, the cancer has been caused by high levels of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a highly carcinogenic mineral fiber. In most cases, the cancer would have been preventable. Anyone who is diagnosed with a disease that is related to asbestos exposure is entitled to file a lawsuit against the asbestos manufacturer. Their case will be particularly strong if the exposure was due to occupational hazards.

Manufacturers have known for decades that exposure to asbestos poses significant dangers to human health. Others within the asbestos industry have also known of these dangers. However, none of these dangers were officially publicized. This is a failure and was the direct cause of a huge U.S. asbestos tort, which enabled people who had developed a mesothelioma to start legal proceedings in order to hopefully receive compensation for getting a form of cancer that could have been preventable.

In the 1960s, asbestos product manufacturers and those who allowed asbestos to be installed started to come under fire. Thousands of different lawsuits were filed by families, consumers and employees alike. Each time, juries agreed that the asbestos companies acted ‘with malice’. This malice was implied by the fact that the dangers of asbestos were effectively covered up.

It will come as no surprise that those people who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis will often start legal procedures against these companies and their negligent behavior. They seek compensation for themselves and for their families. The compensation is expected to cover pain and suffering, mounting medical bills and loss of quality of life.

Examples of Mesothelioma Lawsuits and Settlements

Most mesothelioma lawsuits are settled outside of the courts, thereby avoiding the need for a jury trial. If, however, the case does go to court and it is not possible to come to an agreeable settlement before the trial concludes, the jury will have to deliver a verdict. If the jury comes back stating that the defendant is liable, they will then determine compensation based on two specific types of damages, which are punitive and compensatory.

A compensatory damage is based on the actual economic losses suffered by the plaintiff. Punitive damages, in contrast, look at the maliciousness and the offensiveness of the behavior of the defendant that caused the lawsuit to be filed in the first place. Punitive damages are designed to stop the defendant as well as companies that are similar, to ever cause these types of damages to anybody else. Generally speaking, the worst and more deplorable the actions of the defendant were, the higher the award the jury tends to give to the plaintiff.

In a lot of states, caps have been placed on compensatory damages. However, very few states place caps on punitive damages. In mesothelioma cases, these punitive damages are often quite high because it has been demonstrated that the companies and manufacturers of asbestos knew about the dangers and willfully put people, families and employees in danger. It is not unheard of for punitive damages to reach into the millions.

Roby Worthington v U.S. Steel

Former U.S. Steel employee Roby Worthington was exposed to asbestos while working for the company between 1950 and 1981. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He filed his suit in 2003 and was awarded $250 million.

David Bakkie v. Union Carbide

Forty-nine year old David Bakkie was awarded $18.5 million by a jury in 2006. He worked as a plastic molder for Union Carbide between 1974 and 1975. In 2005, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Richard Walmach v. Foster Wheeler

Former U.S. Navy machinist Richard Walmach died from mesothelioma in 2006. In 2007, his family sued Foster Wheeler and was awarded $5.1 million. Foster Wheeler was found liable for failure to warn. Additionally, the jury found malice in the case.

Bobbie Izell v. Union Carbide

Union Carbide was also sued by Bobbie Izell. He was awarded $48 million in 2012 when the jury ruled in favor of the construction worker. Izell worked on construction sites in the 1960s and 1970s and was exposed to asbestos during those years. In 2011, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Why People File Lawsuits for Mesothelioma

The majority of people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma develop this cancer because they were exposed to toxic asbestos. In most cases, this happened during their work. In order to be able to afford their medical treatment, as well as for other damages, they and their families choose to file lawsuits against manufacturers and employers.

Army veterans are one of the largest groups of people who have been affected by this cancer. Our country is home to some 21 million veterans who were proud to serve our country in different military branches. Unfortunately, thousands, or perhaps even millions, of these men and women had asbestos exposure while serving on navy ships, bases around the world and army proving grounds.

As a result of the fact that they had so much asbestos exposure, many veterans have developed life-changing diseases that are directly related to asbestos, including mesothelioma. Their families have had to endure significant hardships because of this, both emotionally and financially. The VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) offers various benefits to veterans and their families, including disability benefits and health care services. However, many veterans feel that they should receive further compensation for fighting mesothelioma, including the higher cost of living. As a result, many of the asbestos-related mesothelioma cases are filed by army veterans, many of whom file their cases against the manufacturers of the asbestos that was used by the military.

Many people who are diagnosed with asbestos diseases, including mesothelioma need the compensation in order to be able to receive the medical treatment they need. Additionally, it enables them to look after their families and loved ones. By filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, they are able to be compensated for the significant medical treatment they will need, as well as for the physical and emotional hardship they and their families suffer. Furthermore, it is a clear message to negligent companies, telling them that they are being held accountable for their actions. This hopefully acts as a deterrent, stopping them from doing it again.

Do You Know Your Legal Rights?

If you are thinking about starting a mesothelioma litigation, it is important to be aware of the fact that you will only have a limited amount of time to do so. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related illness, you must contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to review your information and determine whether there is a case to be made.

Three asbestos-related illnesses are used to start claims in particular: mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, and asbestosis. Those who suffer from one of these have legal options to help them be able to afford the necessary medical treatment, as well as to receive compensation fo their pain and suffering. Through an experienced attorney, they can make sure that manufacturers are held accountable for their negligence.

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Michael Bennett
About the Author

Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Protect.com. Since 1999, he's worked across a multitude of areas of consumer protection including defective products, environmental issues, identity theft, predatory lending and more. If you find his articles helpful please share them with your readers.