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Florida Mesothelioma Lawyers

Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and potentially disabling chronic lung diseases. People in Florida may have been exposed to asbestos due to their work in a variety of industries, including shipbuilding, power generation, phosphate mining, and the aerospace industry. Those who have been harmed by asbestos due to a corporation’s negligence can seek compensation in a variety of ways, including filing a lawsuit or filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund. A Florida mesothelioma lawyer can help you learn more.

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Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that’s usually caused by exposure to asbestos. This is a mineral that was widely used for many years in a variety of military and industrial applications. Asbestos can be a very useful mineral because it’s highly resistant to fire, heat, and chemical degradation. However, it’s also very dangerous to human health. Exposure to asbestos is known to cause a variety of diseases, including:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Pleural disease

These diseases have a very long latency period, which means that they take many years to develop. Mesothelioma commonly occurs 20 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos, and it can be even longer in some cases. Many people who experienced asbestos exposure decades ago are now developing asbestos-related diseases. The average age for a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma is 72, meaning that most people have already retired by the time they’re diagnosed.

Although asbestos can occur naturally in the environment, the most common way to be exposed to dangerous levels of this mineral is through the workplace. Workers themselves might be at risk if they worked in certain industries, including shipbuilding, phosphate mining, and power generation. Their families may also be at risk because microscopic asbestos fibers can travel home on a person’s hair, skin, or clothing and can then become aerosolized, leading to asbestos exposure for the people they live with. This is known as secondary or para-occupational asbestos exposure.

How Our Attorneys Can Help You File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Florida

The process of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can be complex. In general, there are two main types of lawsuits that may be filed in mesothelioma cases. A personal injury lawsuit is filed by a person who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, while a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the deceased person’s heir(s).

In many cases, a mesothelioma lawsuit will be settled out of court. This means that a financial agreement will be reached through negotiation. Our Florida mesothelioma attorneys are often able to get substantial settlements for our clients. In some cases, however, it’s necessary to proceed to trial in order to seek the full amount of financial compensation that our clients deserve. 

Corporations may try to pressure people to settle for a much smaller sum than they’re entitled to, hoping that they’ll be intimidated by the idea of a trial or won’t realize that what the corporation is offering is much smaller than what they could likely win in court. With our detailed knowledge of how mesothelioma cases usually proceed, we understand how to protect our clients from these types of tactics.

A mesothelioma lawyer will be involved in every step of taking your case through the legal system. This includes handling a number of tasks, including:

  • Thoroughly investigate your workplace and residential history to determine all possible sources of asbestos exposure. This is greatly facilitated by having access to databases, where we can determine where asbestos was known to be present.
  • Gather evidence to support your claim. This may include tasks like finding expert witnesses and collecting all of your medical data.
  • Handle all of the legal paperwork necessary to draft your lawsuit and file it in the appropriate court.
  • Represent you at hearings related to your case.
  • Conduct settlement negotiations and manage correspondence with any companies that are involved in your case, including insurance companies.
  • Represent you in court if your case should go to trial.
Meso diagnosis

Our Florida Mesothelioma Settlements

Our Florida mesothelioma attorneys have a proven track record of success. We’ve won millions for clients in asbestos cases. Some of our most notable successes include:

  • $32,000,000+ asbestos exposure verdict at the conclusion of a trial involving secondhand exposure claims. Jurors assigned liability to both premises defendant Kraft Heinz and contractor defendant Metal Masters Inc.
  • $5,100,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a Navy machinist’s mate who went on to be a civilian maintenance mechanic and contracted mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure
  • $4,000,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a Puerto Rican sugar mill mechanic and laboratory equipment engineer who contracted mesothelioma from asbestos exposure; this case was initially declined by another law firm specializing in asbestos litigation.
  • $3,400,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a Navy boiler tender who went on to be a boiler-room operator and contracted mesothelioma, but was unable to testify on his own behalf
  • $3,150,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a painter/taper diagnosed with mesothelioma who had exposure to a limited number of asbestos-containing building and construction products
  • $2,300,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a school custodian who contracted mesothelioma but was unable to identify the manufacturers of the products containing asbestos installed in the school

We’ve also had success with other asbestos-related disease cases, including those related to asbestos-related lung cancer, the chronic lung disease asbestosis, and pleural disease.

Liability for Asbestos Related Mesothelioma

Corporations have a duty to take reasonable actions to protect their workers from known health risks in the workplace. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always occur. Even though the risks of asbestos have been known for many years, corporations sometimes choose increased profits over protecting their workers. This has led many people to be exposed to this dangerous mineral unnecessarily, putting both workers and their families at risk.

In addition, corporations have a duty to ensure that their products are reasonably safe and to provide adequate warnings about any known dangers so that people can take action to protect themselves. In some cases, corporations have manufactured asbestos-containing products and have failed to warn the people using the products about the dangers. In other cases, asbestos contamination has occurred in a product that should not contain asbestos; talcum powder is a significant example of this.

When a corporation fails in its legal duty to protect its workers or consumers, and this results in significant harm, then the company may be held legally liable for paying financial compensation to those who it harmed. Although money can never truly compensate you for all that you’ve lost due to mesothelioma, it can make a huge difference in relieving the burden on your family caused by this disease.

Compensation may include:

  • Economic damages, such as past and future medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, and funeral expenses.
  • Non-economic damages, such as physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium (the loss of one’s life partner).

Compensation Available to Florida Residents Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

Depending on the specifics of the situation, people in Florida who were exposed to asbestos may be able to receive compensation in a few different ways.

Those who were exposed as part of their military service may be eligible to file a claim with the Veterans Administration (VA). Those who were involved in activities like shipbuilding in the Naval facilities along the Florida coast have a high likelihood of having been exposed. Filing a successful claim with the VA can allow you to access monthly benefits as well as medical care and other benefits. There are some specific details that are important in the paperwork; our experienced mesothelioma attorneys can help you to file your claim to maximize the chances of success.

Florida residents with mesothelioma can also file a personal injury lawsuit. This may name one or more corporations that contributed to causing the person’s cancer. People who have lost a loved one due to mesothelioma can file a wrongful death lawsuit; again, this can name one or more corporations that contributed to causing the death.

Florida Asbestos Trust Funds

An asbestos trust fund is established when a corporation undergoes bankruptcy. The purpose of the trust fund is to help ensure that funds are available to anyone who later files an asbestos-related claim against the company. Because mesothelioma takes many decades to develop after asbestos exposure, a corporation that goes bankrupt may still owe compensation to many people that it has harmed. A trust fund helps to protect people from being denied the compensation that they deserve because the corporation that caused their disease has now gone bankrupt.

In order to receive money from an asbestos trust fund, a person must file a claim with the fund. This requires quite a bit of paperwork, and it’s important to get the details right in order to be successful. If we determine that you’re eligible to receive money from an asbestos trust fund, our mesothelioma attorneys can help you to file your claim. 

Who Is Eligible to Access Asbestos Trust Funds?

Anyone who has developed an asbestos-related disease due to the actions of a company may be eligible to receive compensation from that company’s asbestos trust fund. This could include:

  • People who worked for the company and were exposed to asbestos.
  • People who used the company’s products and were exposed to asbestos.
  • Family members of a worker who developed an asbestos-related disease due to secondary asbestos exposure.
  • People who were exposed to asbestos through the environment due to the corporation’s actions (such as those who live near an asbestos mine).
  • The heirs of a person who died of asbestos-related disease, which was caused in any of the above ways.

Known Asbestos Sites in Florida

Asbestos does not naturally occur anywhere in Florida, and the US Geological Survey has not found any asbestos mines or sites of natural exposure in the state. Despite this fact, a study published in 2015 in the International Journal of Occupational Health found that Florida was among the five states with the greatest number of mesothelioma cases. 

This is because asbestos has historically been shipped to Florida for use in a variety of industrial and military applications.

Industries in Florida Known for Asbestos Exposure

A number of industries that are important to Florida’s economy have also historically carried a high risk of exposure to asbestos. If you worked in one of these industries, or if you lived with someone who did, then you may be at an increased risk for asbestos-related disease.

  • Shipyards. Florida’s extensive coastline makes it ideal for this activity. There are both military and industrial shipyards that are known sites of asbestos exposure, including the Mayport Naval Station, Pensacola Navy Yard, Atlantic Dry Dock, Hendry Corporation, and Tampa Bay Shipbuilding.
  • Power generation. Asbestos was considered ideal for use in power plants because it could resist fire as well as chemical corrosion. Many different power plants are known to have exposed workers to asbestos, including Big Bear Powerhouse, Crist Power Plant, St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant, Lakeland Light, Vero Beach Municipal Power Plant, Florida Power and Light, and more. We have a complete database of power plants that are known sites of asbestos exposure and can search it to determine whether your job caused you to be exposed to asbestos.
  • Phosphate mining. Asbestos-containing products are commonly used in this industry. Mulberry Phosphate Mine is a major known site of exposure.
  • Chemical processing. Because it can resist chemical breakdown, asbestos is commonly used in this industry. The DuPont chemical plant is a known source of asbestos exposure.
  • The aerospace industry. NASA used asbestos for fireproofing equipment, particularly for the space shuttle.

In addition, asbestos is found in many homes and office buildings throughout the state. People who work in the construction, maintenance, or demolition of buildings may be at risk for asbestos exposure, including specialist workers like plumbers and electricians.

Florida Asbestos Laws and Regulations

While there are certain federal laws that govern the use of asbestos, state laws also govern the use of this mineral within each state. State laws can also have an impact on asbestos litigation proceedings. For example, Florida state law sets a relatively high standard of proof in asbestos-related disease cases. This requires a mesothelioma lawyer to do some extra work to ensure that adequate documentation is provided to meet the required standards.

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Statute of Limitations for Filing Your Case

Every state has a law known as the statute of limitations. This governs how long you have to file a lawsuit after an injury or a death. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases is between two and four years, depending on the specifics of the case. This is how long you have to file after a mesothelioma diagnosis or a death.

An attorney can determine how the statute of limitations applies in your specific case. It’s important to be aware that you don’t have an unlimited period of time after a diagnosis or a death to file a claim. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to find out more about your legal options. If you wait too long, then you may lose your opportunity to seek the compensation that you deserve.

Florida Courts & Asbestos Litigation

Florida state law does not allow punitive damages in asbestos-related cases. Punitive damages are awarded by a court in order to punish a corporation for its negligence and to make it less likely that companies will simply decide that it’s cheaper to pay damages to people with mesothelioma than it is to protect people’s health. However, given the volume of asbestos-related claims, the Florida state legislature decided to explicitly prohibit punitive damages in cases related to asbestos. Even with this restriction, we’re still able to get significant awards for our clients by seeking compensation for economic and non-economic damages.

Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP | Trusted Florida Mesothelioma Lawyers

If you developed an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma, or have lost a loved one to this disease, then you deserve justice. It’s important to choose an experienced mesothelioma attorney to handle your case. There are certain details that can make a significant difference in these cases, and it also takes a great deal of skill to negotiate with corporations. A lawyer who has experience with this particular field of law will give you the best chance of successfully recovering all of the compensation that you deserve.

Our mission is to fight for justice for every client. We have a proven track record of success in mesothelioma cases. Contact our mesothelioma lawyers today for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. You won’t be charged any legal fees for talking with us; our firm works on a contingency basis, which means that we only get paid from your settlement or verdict award. We simply want to learn more about your situation, so we can help you to decide whether taking legal action is right for you. Contact us right away to get the process started.

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Choosing Sam and Dan to represent us in my father’s Mesothelioma case is one of the best decisions we could of made as a family. Their honesty, integrity, and compassion is unsurpassed. After interviewing with other law firms they were a clear and unanimous choice for my family. While no amount of money can compensate us for the loss of our dad, Sam and Dan have fought hard on our behalf which has helped us greatly in caring for our mom and her future needs. I highly recommend Sam and Dan and all the kind, compassionate members of their team.
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