As a Kansas City Mesothelioma lawyer, Jeffrey J. Carey works to stay abreast of recent trends in asbestos and mesothelioma litigation. According to the National Cancer Institute, as many as 9,300 new mesothelioma diagnoses will occur each year for the next twenty years. Exposure to asbestos can also cause other types of lung cancer, with adenocarcinoma and other non-small cell types having a significant correlation to asbestos exposure. This is especially true for smokers exposed to asbestos as the science shows that there is a synergistic effect (enhancing effect) of combining both carcinogens. The National Cancer Center estimates that over 200,000 new lung cancer cases will be diagnosed each year. The flood of these cases places a strain on the legal system and defendants that have exposed individuals to asbestos.
This strain has been recently increased by a new trend in asbestos litigation. For many years, the cases filed were predominantly for victims of mesothelioma compared to relatively few cases of other types of lung cancer. In the past few years, however, there has been a surge of non-mesothelioma lung cancer filings. The cause for this surge is unknown. Some experts point to new medical studies and testimony that makes it easier to establish that non-mesothelioma lung cancer was caused by asbestos exposure. Some believe that this is an attorney driven trend as the advertising mega firms compete for the finite resources set aside to manage the harm caused by asbestos. Whatever the impetus, it is incumbent on your mesothelioma lawyer to be aware of the trends and be prepared to put you in the best possible position.
MESOTHELIOMA LAWYER: FIGHTING FOR VICTIMS
A mesothelioma lawyer is often working against large corporations. In order to manage the losses caused by their harmful products, nearly all asbestos manufacturers and many asbestos product manufacturers have declared bankruptcy. These bankruptcies, however, resulted in significant trust funds that were established to provide compensation to victims of asbestos exposure. General Motors’ recent bankruptcy, for example, resulted in a six hundred twenty five million dollar trust being established to compensate individuals exposed to General Motors’ asbestos containing products. The General Motors bankruptcy was not triggered by asbestos claims. Other manufacturers, especially raw materials manufacturers, filed bankruptcy explicitly to manage their asbestos liabilities.
There are factors working against mesothelioma lawyers and victims. Many other defendants, however, have extensive insurance policies and corporate assets that are being utilized to resolve asbestos claims. According to a respected consultant in this area, the reserves established to manage asbestos litigation have remained steady despite the recent flood of non-mesothelioma cases. Lawsuits can technically be filed anywhere in the country but there is a disproportionate concentration of cases being filed in New York, California, and Illinois. There are significant strategic reasons for mesothelioma lawyers to file in one of these jurisdictions and we have relationships that allow for filings in these jurisdictions while still having the benefit of a local mesothelioma lawyer. For living mesothelioma victims, for example, some jurisdictions offer a six month trial setting option that can result in the victim surviving to see justice done. This type of accelerated trial setting is not universally available. This is why the assistance of an experienced mesothelioma lawyer is vital
There is also an increase in the number of secondary exposure cases being filed. Some individuals may develop mesothelioma and not be able to identify a workplace or environment where potential exposure occurred. With a thorough review of their personal history, however, it may be possible to identify relatives that may have brought asbestos fibers home on their work clothes (there are many documented cases of spouses washing work clothes experiencing significant exposure) or unsuspected environments where exposure has occurred. The assistance of a mesothelioma lawyer familiar with asbestos cases can be invaluable in this process.