Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in a variety of products, including insulation, fireproofing, and construction materials. However, asbestos is now known to be a highly toxic substance that can cause a variety of serious health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
As a result of the health risks associated with asbestos exposure, many people who have been exposed to the substance have filed lawsuits against the companies that manufactured or sold asbestos-containing products. These lawsuits, known as asbestos litigation, have become one of the largest mass torts in U.S. history.
How Asbestos Litigation Works
Asbestos litigation typically involves a number of different steps, including:
- Filing a lawsuit: The first step in asbestos litigation is to file a lawsuit against the company that is responsible for your exposure to asbestos. This lawsuit must be filed within a certain time period, known as the statute of limitations.
- Discovery: Once a lawsuit has been filed, the next step is discovery. During discovery, both sides will gather information about the case, such as medical records, employment records, and product liability information.
- Settlement: In many cases, asbestos litigation will be settled out of court. This means that the parties will agree to a settlement amount without going to trial.
- Trial: If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the case will go to trial. A jury will hear the evidence and decide whether the plaintiff is entitled to damages.
What You Should Do If You Have Been Exposed to Asbestos
If you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Asbestos exposure can cause a variety of serious health problems, so it is important to get the treatment you need as soon as possible.
You should also contact an experienced asbestos attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, and can represent you in court if necessary.