Finding Out Who is Responsible
For many people who are diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses, the diagnosis comes as a shock. There have been cases where the exposure to asbestos fibers happened during a short-term summer job, or on a single project in a construction career that spans 50 years.
The combination of the enormous number of products that contained asbestos and the long latency period before any symptoms of asbestos-related illness become apparent can make it extraordinarily difficult to determine which product and which manufacturer is legally responsible for your illness.
Proving liability in any lawsuit is the most important and complex part of the case. An attorney who has worked with asbestos lawsuits and mesothelioma litigation will know how to track down the manufacturers and companies that are legally liable for your exposure to a hazardous substance.
Part of your lawyer’s job is to help determine which products and which manufacturers may be responsible for your current illness. In order to do this, he may do any or all of the following:
- Take a complete work history to determine if you worked for companies that used asbestos or asbestos products.
- Ask for every address where you’ve lived to determine if you lived in close range to plants that manufactured or used asbestos products.
- Ask for the work history of those with whom you lived or had daily contact, to determine if you may have been exposed to asbestos on the clothing or person of a spouse, parent or other person that you lived with.
- Have you go over lists of companies and check off the ones that employed you.
- Show you photographs of various products and ask you to identify any that you used in your work.
Even in a case where you know where and how you were exposed to asbestos, the discovery process can provide additional information and proof, as well as yield other defendants who may be held liable for your condition. Medical experts can often establish what type of asbestos you were exposed to, and testify to the extent of disability you have and may expect to have in the future.
Other experts in the field can identify the types of asbestos used in particular products that you may have handled or used, and help establish the probability of those products being responsible for your mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related disease.