Friday, October 23, 2009

Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and the Law

Court Decisions that Protect and Compensate Asbestos Workers Asbestos is a dangerous substance that causes the debilitating disease of asbestosis, and the fatal cancer, mesothelioma. Asbestos workers are exposed to scarring asbestos fibers in excessive amounts on a daily basis. Employers who ignore the dangers won’t be ignored by the courts. Asbestosis and mesothelioma affects asbestos workers around the world. National and international lawyers and judges are making room on their desks for voluminous stacks of medical records that are entered as evidence in mass litigation proceedings for asbestos workers who were unaware, and unprotected, from the dangers of inconspicuous deadly asbestos fibers. Employers have the responsibility to protect the safety and health of the employees, and in today’s modern societies, it is legally mandatory for employers to protect their employees from danger. Company fines and business closures can result for those companies that put profit over people, and so can litigation resulting in millions of dollars of compensation paid to injured workers. Asbestos workers have joined together to set precedent court decisions in asbestos cases that will facilitate faster trial decisions and undermine confusion in the interpretations of the occupational laws.Many workers, however, do not receive just compensation. Lack of medical records, multiple possible causes of lung disease, unawareness of the right to legal compensation, or the lack of legal representation, prevents many asbestos workers from receiving their just compensation for asbestosis or mesothelioma. Although workers compensation cases have been recognized in the courts since the 1920s, the first US trial against an asbestos product wasn’t held until 1966 by plaintiff Claude Tomplait. The case lasted three years, and the decision was made on behalf of the defendant. In 1969, Claude’s lawyer then represented Clarence Borel, a co-worker of Claude’s, against the same defendant. This case lasted four years, and in 1973, a historical landmark decision was made on behalf of the plaintiff, Clarence Borel (Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Prods. Corp., 493 F.2d 1076 (5th Cir. 1973). It was officially deemed that not only must manufacturers must warn consumers of danger, but they are responsible for staying informed with regard to scientific discoveries that have an impact on their products. If a manufacturer fails to do so, they will be liable for physical harm. Since 1973, there have been well over 100,000 asbestos cases filed in US courts. Asbestos cases are currently the longest mass tort in US Court history. In 1982, court opinion in Beshada (Beshada v. Johns-Manville Products Corp., 442 A.2d 539 (N.J. 1982)), humanely stated, “the burden of illness…should fall on those who profit from its production…”, throwing out a “state of business practices at the time” defense that defendant asbestos companies were praying upon for relief. Around the world, the deadly consequences of working with asbestos is gaining increased recognition, and asbestos workers are gaining increased support in their court bids for compensation of asbestosis and mesothelioma. In 1989, Australia established the Dust Diseases Tribunal for asbestos cases, and in 1991, Australia banned asbestos. In 2005, the European Union followed with their own ban on asbestos. In the UK, a compensation fund for asbestos workers diagnosed with mesothelioma has been established within the Department of Societal Development. This fund disperses payment to mesothelioma patients within a week of the diagnosis of mesothelioma and reduces the risk of a mesothelioma patient dying before receiving a settlement (which frequently happens with lengthy civil trials). Asbestosis and mesothelioma patients suffering from incurable and fatally progressive diseases due to employer negligence and manufacturer’s disregard for danger are due compensation for their pain, and employers are beginning to pay. Sadly, employers have to pay with their bank accounts, but asbestos workers have to pay with their life. --Asbestosis-Mesothelioma website provides Asbestosis, Mesothelioma andasbestos treatments news, law and many other useful information.Source:

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