Recent Trends in Asbestos Litigation
The longest-running mass tort in U.S. history, asbestos litigation continues to transform nearly four decades after the first lawsuit was filed. Economic consulting firm NERA used public data to investigate trends in both claims and settlements for more than 150 companies. The results showed that from 2010 to 2011, average payments per resolved asbestos lawsuit increased by a staggering 75 percent. While this may first appear like a huge blow to the defendants, the report found that payout increases were not related to asbestos liabilities, but rather by the type of injuries alleged in the claims – as most included malignancies over non-malignant types of cancer. NERA also discovered that asbestos lawsuit filings have leveled off during the past five years, with around 52,000 complaints brought each year.
New York asbestos lawsuits involving malignancies rising
According to NERA’s results, anywhere from 2,500 to 9,300 cases of mesothelioma will be diagnosed every year for the next two decades. Projection models also estimate that more than 225,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2012 – and a growing number of these cases are making their way to the courts and will likely make up the bulk of future asbestos litigation. The conclusion: in 2013 and 2014, defendants can anticipate more claims regarding malignancies and more fights over the legal basis for lung cancer claims. As the number of mesothelioma and lung cancer cases continues to grow, the total amount paid to resolve these lawsuits is also expected to increase.
Asbestos: a powerful carcinogen
Utilized in fire proofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and thermal insulation, asbestos was widely used by many industries. Known as a cancer-causing substance, or carcinogen, the material poses a serious health hazard to those exposed. Illnesses and diseases caused by asbestos often have a long latency period, sometimes manifesting ten to thirty years later. This effect is apparent today, as many individuals who experienced asbestos exposure in New York and other states are now developing lung cancer at alarmingly high rates.
Asbestos related diseases
Long-term exposure to asbestos is associated with several life-threatening diseases. The material’s tiny fibers can create both inflammation and scarring and result in major health complications, including:
- Mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer in the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen)
- Asbestosis (a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs)
- Lung cancer
There are few other scientifically proven causes of mesothelioma other than asbestos, and the treatment always involves surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. More than 43,000 Americans have died from asbestos-related diseases since 1979, and New York is ranked fourth in the nation for fatalities resulting from malignant mesothelioma cases.
New York mesothelioma lawyer
Asbestos exposure may cause severe breathing problems, chest infections, gastrointestinal problems, as well as mesolothelioma and lung cancer. Individuals who have worked in shipyards, construction sites, chemical plants and steel mills may be at increased risk for asbestos-related diseases. The Sanders Firm has helped numerous clients pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, and other economic losses associated with mesothelioma or other serious illness attributed to asbestos.
According to state law, New York asbestos lawsuits may be filed within three years of discovering an asbestos-related illness, regardless of the date of exposure. To learn more about your rights for filing a claim, contact our law offices today for a free consultation with a New York mesothelioma lawyer. Call us toll-free: 1-800-Fair-Play (800-324-7752).