Asbestos related diseases often do not develop for many decades following exposure. Prized for its flame retardant and insulating properties, US asbestos production peaked in 1973 at 136,000 metric tons per year, with consumption far outpacing production at 803,000 metric tons. Only now are we seeing the greatest spike in asbestos exposure lawsuits, as asbestos related illnesses and deaths develop decades later.
Because asbestos related illnesses such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis have such long latency periods, victims can file law suits based not on the number of years following exposure, but rather the number of years following diagnosis or death. In the United States, victims have from 1 to 6 years following a diagnosis of asbestos-related disease, and family members have from 1 to 3 years following their death to file a claim, depending upon the state in which the claim is filed.
Although safety regulations surrounding the use of asbestos in the US were implemented in the late 1970s, diagnoses of asbestos related illnesses continue to grow. In the United States, mesothelioma deaths are believed to have peaked in the late 1990s, at an incidence of about 2300 cases per year.
In the United Kingdom, mesothelioma deaths are not expected to peak until 2015, due to later introduction of asbestos safety regulations. Asbestos-related lung cancer deaths are more difficult to track, as lung cancer can be attributed to other causes, however there is good reason to believe that the incidence of asbestos-related lung cancer has yet to peak.
The Environmental Working Group estimates that US deaths from all asbestos-related diseases including asbestosis may not reach their apex until 2015.
If you or a loved one suffers from asbestos-related disease due to exposure that occurred many decades ago, it may not be too late to file a claim. Although many asbestos product manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy, in some cases victims are still able to obtain compensation from special bankruptcy trusts. In some circumstances employers, insurers, and other companies may also be held responsible for asbestos exposure.Once a patient has been diagnosed, the statute of limitations for a claim begins to toll.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma do not wait to explore legal options. Contact an experienced mesothelioma litigation firm today, to discuss your circumstances. With decades of experience serving victims of negligent asbestos exposure, Bergman Draper Oslund can help you understand your rights. Call today, for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.