Asbestos has wrought havoc on thousands of people's health and the court systems of dozens of states. Compensation for use of the hazardous fibrous material as an insulator or construction material has cost manufacturers and governments hundreds of millions of dollars over nearly five decades of constant litigation.
Asbestos has been off the market for years and removed from most buildings and vessels, but the danger still remains for some. In one case, a Louisiana court ruled the claimant waited too long to sue a shipyard for an asbestos-related illness and death because of a state law requiring such cases must be initiated within a year of a person's death.
The daughter of a woman who died of mesothelioma, a lung disease often associated with asbestos exposure, waited nearly six years after her passing to take her mother's husband's employer to court over the family's exposure. The plaintiff claimed she filed in the same year that she learned of the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma, but the court dismissed the suit.
The only exception to Louisiana's statute of limitation is if the plaintiff may have learned the facts later, but the court believed the only explanation for her lack of awareness was "willfulness or neglect." This highlights the importance of making a claim as soon as possible after exposure, illness or death.
An attorney can help judge the facts of a case of asbestos exposure leading to illness. Legal representation as early as possible can increase the chances of a lawsuit's success through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict in civil court.