In our view, a lawsuit should be a last resort and should only be pursued if someone acted in a way that was dangerous and caused serious harm. One of the reasons we represent people who have mesothelioma is because it is a cancer almost always caused from exposure to asbestos. We know when someone has this disease that there was some exposure to asbestos.
The next question is whether the company that made, sold or used the asbestos product knew that it was dangerous. What we have found is that company after company knew that asbestos caused this deadly disease but continued to sell it during a time frame when there was no legitimate excuse.
The final question we would ask is whether is any hope that the responsible company or companies will do the right thing and apologize for what they have done and take steps to make it right. In our experience, this has happened but is very rare and almost always requires the help of a lawyer to locate the company and let them know what happened. Asbestos cancer is a type of cancer that does not show up for years after the exposure. So, unlike many types of cases where the person who hurt you is around at the time you were injured, in these cases, years go by from the time you are exposed to when you get sick.
Identifying and locating the companies that caused the problem can be challenging. Then an investigation begins to determine what the company knew when they sold the asbestos product and why they made the decisions they made. Many of the asbestos companies knew of the hazards of asbestos as far back as the 1930s and 1940s and chose not to take precautions and chose not to tell the people who worked with the asbestos.
Most people who worked with asbestos did not know it was dangerous. There is nothing about the substance that alerts you to danger – it does not sting your eyes, burn your throat or smell bad. It is one of those poisons that you only know is dangerous if someone tells you. The problem is worse because it is a toxin that affects people differently. A group of people can work with asbestos and most will not get cancer, but what is known, and has been known for over half a century, is that if you expose people to asbestos some of them will get cancer. Asbestos is also particularly dangerous because even short exposures can result in death for some. It is not just the asbestos worker who gets sick but also the co-worker working a few rooms away and the wife that washes his clothes. What we have learned is that many companies understood these hazards and chose to keep that knowledge to themselves in order to continue using and selling asbestos products.