If you were seriously injured, remember that it is crucial to choose the right law firm to represent your interests. We have been doing this for more than three decades, and have the resources you need to challenge any opponent.
Our mesothelioma lawyers know that attorneys who defend the companies responsible for asbestos exposure are constantly trying tactics to delay and otherwise impede justice in these cases.
One such move attempted recently has been successfully thwarted by the senate judiciary in Louisiana. Granted, this is a small victory in that it doesn’t yet apply to all 50 states, but it may be looked upon by judges in other mesothelioma cases seeking some precedent.
Here’s what happened:
Lobbyists for companies who for years had manufactured products with asbestos, a toxic compound known to cause a rare and deadly cancer called mesothelioma, had pushed for passage of House Bill 477.
This bill would have forced mesothelioma patients who filed lawsuits against the companies that caused their illnesses to disclose all potential defendants during the discovery process. Similar legislative measures are currently being debated in both Oklahoma and Ohio.
At issue here is the relationship among the more than 60 asbestos bankruptcy trusts that have been established as a result of extensive asbestos litigation. These trusts were set up by companies that could not afford to pay the large number of people they had caused to become sick. So through Chapter 11 reorganizations, companies were allowed to continue running if they established trusts, which they would continue to pay into and which mesothelioma patients could claim compensation, without having to endure a trial.
For some patients, there are multiple companies that are deemed responsible for their illness, and they receive multiple payments.
The legislature was aiming to force mesothelioma patients to disclose all defendants for each claim, thereby not only decreasing the person’s chance of getting the full compensation he or she deserves (if there are multiple defendants, each one would argue a lesser percentage of fault), but also creating a lengthier process – something extremely detrimental to someone who may not have long to live.
HB477, which had passed unanimously in the Louisiana House, was struck down in the Senate by a 4-2 vote.
Supporters had said it would cut down on instances of fraud or abuse.
The real abuse, however, happened when these companies, out of extreme greed and disregard for the well-being of their workers and consumers, continued to manufacture products they knew were dangerous, in spite of continuous warnings from health organizations.
What’s more, the U.S. Government Accountability Office took pains last year to investigate the trust system amid allegations of fraud – and found none.
It’s believed there are roughly 90 companies in the U.S. that have filed for bankruptcy as a result of lawsuits stemming from asbestos exposure.
As of right now, there are approximately $37 billion in asbestos trusts. The biggest of those was formed by Halliburton, and is currently worth about $4 billion.
The Louisiana measure is the first of many. Lawmakers there say they intend to introduce another similar measure next year, while several other states are contemplating doing the same.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Mesothelioma & Asbestos
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a carcinogenic, naturally occurring fibrous mineral. Known for its heat resistance and durability, asbestos has historically been used in insulation, construction materials, automotive parts, and shipbuilding materials.
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is made up of small shard-like fibers that can easily become airborne when disturbed. If inhaled or ingested, these fibers can embed within the lining of the lungs, heart, stomach, or testes where they can cause cancer to form years or decades later.
What are asbestos-related diseases?
Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
What causes mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until decades after exposure.
What are the different types of mesothelioma?
Three of the most common types of mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma.
What are common mesothelioma symptoms?
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include difficulty breathing and chest pains. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the stomach, may cause abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, constipation, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a preventable form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure. If you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. military or while working in construction, mechanics, or a similar field, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact The Ferraro Law Firm for a free legal consultation.
What is the life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma?
There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, patients can receive treatments for mesothelioma that may extend their initial prognosis with proper treatment. Those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma usually have a life expectancy that is greater than three years, though a large part of this depends on the stage the patient is diagnosed. The earlier the diagnosis, the longer the life expectancy and chance of long-term survival.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should immediately seek long-term medical treatment. After that, you should contact our firm to examine your legal rights. Since 1985, The Ferraro Law Firm has represented individuals with asbestos-related diseases and pursued fair compensation on their behalf. Our firm is one of the top five law firms in the U.S. handling mesothelioma and asbestos cases.