The dangers of asbestos have been known for a long time. Yet, the painful effects of its use in products and services continue to take its toll on unsuspecting individuals. Those who have been exposed to asbestos can develop a number of illnesses, including mesothelioma. Treating these conditions can be physically and emotionally painful, and the costs associated with that treatment can be completely overwhelming. All too often, these medical conditions prove fatal, leaving a gap of love and support in families. This is unfair and unacceptable, which is why courts have been receptive to lawsuits against companies that continued to utilize asbestos even with evidence of its harmful properties.
We’ve spoken previously on this blog about the lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson, where a class of individuals claimed that its baby powder was pushed to consumers despite the company’s knowledge that the talc utilized in the product contained asbestos. The plaintiffs, including many women who developed ovarian cancer based on the product’s use, succeeded at the trial court level, which gave those exposed to asbestos hope that other suppliers of other talc-based products could be held to account for the damage they have caused. That hope was on fragile footing, though, as everyone knew that Johnson & Johnson would appeal the verdict.
Now those who have been affected by asbestos exposure related to talc can breath an even bigger sigh of relief. Just recently, a court of appeals in Missouri upheld the verdict in the case, holding Johnson & Johnson liable for its actions, which included knowing about the potential dangers of asbestos in its product for decades. Although the court reduced the amount awarded to the plaintiffs, it still ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $500 million in actual damages, which speak directly to medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering, with another $1.62 billion in punitive damages. These punitive damages are meant to punish the company for its wrongdoing and act as a deterrent to others who are considering acting in a similar fashion.
Those individuals who are harmed by exposure to asbestos, whether through contact with a product or while performing one’s job duties, often don’t know where to turn for help. They sometimes feel hopeless, especially given that they’re going up against companies that far more resources to fight the battle than they do.
Also, many times those who are affected by asbestos have a misconception about the process. Some people see ads on television that seem to say that victims of asbestos-related illnesses will automatically be entitled to money from trust funds that have been established, but it’s critical to note that recovering this money, as the case discussed above highlights, isn’t freely given. Instead, it has to be fought for aggressively.
The good news is that families affected by asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma don’t have to navigate this complicated process alone. Instead, they can seek out help from an attorney who will guide them every step of the way while clearing up misconceptions along the way. A law firm that is experienced in this arena can help these families build the cases they need to stand a chance of finding accountability and recovering compensation. Misconceptions can be cleared up along the way, giving them the confidence they need to stand up to aggressive companies and their teams of attorneys.