Asbestos Litigation Allows People to Commit Fraud (Myth Busted)
Companies and manufacturers that embraced the use of asbestos as a cheap fireproofing material are now being held accountable for their actions but are trying to shirk responsibility.
In the past, these companies hid evidence that workers were being sickened and now they’re trying to blame the victims by claiming that they’re filing fraudulent lawsuits.
In the final installment of our 12 part campaign on asbestos myths, we’ll reveal the truths and fallacies about asbestos litigation fraud.
Myth – Asbestos litigation allows people to commit fraud.
Fact – Asbestos litigation has one of the lowest levels of fraud of any type of litigation – it’s estimated to be just 0.35%, a negligible amount.
Fact – Lobbyists are using trumped up fraud charges to try and pass the FACT Act, a piece of legislation that would put asbestos victims’ private information online and make them vulnerable to identity theft.
Fact – One of the untruths associated with asbestos litigation is that people who are healthy file for asbestos compensation. This rarely happens and lawsuits like this are likely dismissed straight away because there is no evidence to support it. A reputable attorney would not accept an unsubstantiated case like this.
Fact – Another part of the asbestos litigation myth is that it’s clogging up our already over-burdened court system. First, asbestos cases fall under the umbrella of personal injury cases. Less than 5% of personal injury cases ever make it to trial and asbestos cases are a very small percentage of personal injury claims. As with other types of injury cases, the vast majority of asbestos claims are settled before reaching the litigation stage so they do not take up the court’s time.
Fact – Asbestos victims are not scamming companies. These are the companies that took the lives of untold numbers of workers by intentionally exposing them to a substance they knew caused cancer and failed to warn workers of the risks. No amount of compensation can give these workers back their lives, but the compensation can help offset medical costs and some of their pain and suffering. That’s no scam.
Fact – Many manufacturers chose to file bankruptcy to avoid accountability for all the workers they sickened. This has been twisted in the media. The New York Times wrote that asbestos litigators “took down one company after another.” If these companies hadn’t poisoned their workers knowingly and knowingly withheld information about the health risks of asbestos, they would never have been in that position, but many companies went out of business simply to cut their losses and run.
Fact – The sole and only reason there are so many asbestos lawsuits is that companies that mined, manufactured and distributed asbestos parts and components knowingly exposed untold numbers of workers to a dangerous substance and kept them in the dark about the health risks. These companies caused this circumstance and, without their actions, the litigation would be unnecessary because worker health would never have been impacted.
Fact – Another myth about asbestos litigation is that people get fraudulently large settlements. First, only people that can substantiate their illness are paid. Remember, payout fraud happens in less than one half of one percent of cases. Second, there is no way to properly compensate someone for a terminal illness, nor to compensate a family for the loss of a loved one. No amount of money can do that, period.
Fact – Lobbyists fighting to harm the cause of asbestos victims claim that they are double dipping when claims against multiple companies are filed. In fact, many asbestos victims have been exposed to multiple asbestos products.
For instance, a construction worker that installed asbestos insulation, worked with many different brands of insulation that all contained asbestos and later developed mesothelioma would be justified in pursuing a claim against these companies. This is not fraud. This is the same as if you were attacked and beaten by four different people – they would all be responsible for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, Bergman Draper Oslund is ready to help you. We’ve dedicated our practice to mesothelioma victims and have won more than $700 million for those sickened by asbestos.