Asbestos is an insidious material. Seemingly helpful, being both fireproof and an insulator, and natural, it can remain a threat for decades, until it is disturbed and once disturbed, it can slowly infect those exposed to its deadly fibers, which can then slowly develop into a diseases like asbestosis or mesothelioma.
The slow action and long latency period make tracking the source of the disease. A recent lawsuit from Illinois has resulted in a $1.4 million jury award to the family of a man who worked in the railroad industry.
In his lawsuit, he claimed he was exposed to asbestos-containing materials when he worked for the railroad from 1957 to 1972. He developed lung cancer and died in 2009, while the case was in litigation, but the family took over the case and a jury concluded that the railroad was liable for his contracting lung cancer.
Asbestos and mesothelioma cases are difficult, as they require a showing that the employer, here a railroad, knew that their workers were being exposed to asbestos and failed to take action to prevent the exposure.
For workers, one difficulty in a lawsuit is that it may be hard to tie the work that they did to specific exposure to material containing asbestos. As in this case, the exposure may have occurred 30 or 40 years ago and evidence may have been lost or discarded.
This is why you want an attorney experienced with asbestos and mesothelioma cases, to ensure you have the best possible arguments supporting your case.
Source: LawyersandSettlement.com, "Asbestos Lawsuit Results in $1.4 Million Award," Heidi Turner, July 22, 2013