New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers
- Liability for Asbestos Related Mesothelioma
- Compensation Available to New Jersey Residents Diagnosed With Mesothelioma
- How Our Attorneys Can Help You File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in New Jersey
- How do mesothelioma settlements work?
- Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Trusts
- New Jersey Asbestos Laws and Regulations
- Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP Trusted New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers
- Our New Jersey Mesothelioma Attorneys
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer of the membranes around certain organs, most commonly the lungs. Mostcases of mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos. This is a mineral that was commonly used for many years in a variety of industrial and military applications because of its ability to resist both heat and chemical corrosion. Even though it can be very useful, it also poses a serious risk to human health.
Asbestos also causes other cancers as well as the potentially disabling chronic lung disease asbestosis. Besides workers themselves, the family members of workers were also put at risk for asbestos-related disease. Without proper protection, asbestos fibers can travel on a worker’s clothing, hair, or skin and enter the air in the home, exposing others who live there. This is known as secondary asbestos exposure.
After exposure to asbestos, it takes many years for mesothelioma to develop. The latency period, or the time between exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis of mesothelioma, can be 20 to 40 years or even longer. If you worked around asbestos many decades ago, you may be at risk for developing mesothelioma now. The people at highest risk are those who worked in certain industrial or military jobs.
Unfortunately, once you’ve been exposed, there’s no known way to remove the asbestos from your body or to decrease the risk that you’ll develop cancer. However, if you do develop mesothelioma, you shouldn’t have to bear the costs of your disease on your own.
Our New Jersey Mesothelioma Settlements
- $5,100,000+ 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+ 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+ 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+ for a painter/taper diagnosed with mesothelioma who was exposed to a limited number of asbestos containing building and construction products
- $2,300,000+ for a school custodian who contracted mesothelioma but was unable to identify the manufacturers of the products containing asbestos installed in the school
Liability for Asbestos Related Mesothelioma
Corporations have a legal duty to take all reasonable actions to protect their workers from known sources of harm in the workplace, including exposure to asbestos. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued guidelines that employers must follow in order to keep their workers safe. Unfortunately, many employers have failed to follow these guidelines to protect their workers from asbestos-related diseases.
When asbestos-containing products are used in a workplace, the manufacturers of these products also have a duty to adequately warn workers about the potential harm. The New Jersey State Supreme Court has recently reaffirmed that manufacturers can be held legally liable if they fail to do so. Liability in a mesothelioma case may be shared between an employer and a manufacturer.
Our mesothelioma lawyers are committed to helping people seek justice and receive the compensation that they deserve.
Compensation Available to New Jersey Residents Diagnosed With Mesothelioma
In New Jersey, financial awards in a mesothelioma case may include reimbursement for past and future medical costs, lost wages, and lost earning capacity. These are known as economic damages.
In addition, victims may be financially compensated for physical pain, emotional suffering or distress, mental anguish, lost quality or enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (the loss of one’s life partner), and funeral/burial costs. These are known as non-economic damages. Unlike many other states, New Jersey doesn’t have a cap on non-economic damages. This allows your mesothelioma lawyer to seek compensation that truly reflects all that you’ve lost due to this disease.
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded to discourage corporations from continuing to harm people through their negligent actions. Otherwise, a large corporation could simply decide that it’s more profitable to pay damages than to protect people, as many have unfortunately done in the past. New Jersey does put a cap on punitive damages, but it is set at five times the value of the compensatory award (both economic and non-economic damages), meaning that total settlements in some mesothelioma cases can be quite large.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in New Jersey
There are two main types of mesothelioma lawsuits. A personal injury lawsuit is filed by a person who experienced significant harm, such as a mesothelioma diagnosis, due to another’s negligence. A wrongful death lawsuit is brought when the person who was harmed has died and is filed by that person’s heirs.
Your New Jersey mesothelioma attorney will gather all of the information needed to file your claim. Lawsuits may be settled out of court, or they may proceed to trial. You may also be eligible to file for compensation from an asbestos trust or to file a claim with the Veterans Administration. After learning the details of your case, your lawyer will determine the best route for you to receive the compensation that you deserve.
Mesothelioma is relatively rare, and not all law firms have experience filing mesothelioma claims. It’s best to choose a mesothelioma lawyer with a track record of successful claims and the expertise required to get the best possible outcome for you.
How do mesothelioma settlements work?
Corporations recognize that they have liability for asbestos exposures in the workplace. In many cases, rather than going to court for a trial, they will choose to settle the case. A settlement is negotiated between your mesothelioma lawyer and the corporation’s legal team. Negotiating the best possible outcome takes great skill, so it’s important that you choose an attorney with experience in this field.
For people who developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure during their military service, claims can be filed with the Veterans Administration. Those who worked in certain fields, such as shipbuilding, have a high risk of exposure. In addition, those who served in areas like the Middle East may have been exposed to asbestos released from damaged buildings. There are very specific requirements for filing your claim with the VA. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you ensure that everything is documented properly.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Trusts
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases can take many years to develop. However, given the nature of business, not all corporations remain financially solvent for long enough to fully compensate everyone they harmed through asbestos exposure. If a corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, there could be many people who have not yet received their diagnosis of asbestos-related disease. When they do, they could potentially find themselves unable to receive the compensation they deserve if the corporation no longer exists or can’t afford to pay.
To address this unfair situation, Congress established section 524(G) under the bankruptcy code in 1994. This allows companies with exposure to asbestos lawsuits to create trust funds to compensate victims who may come forward in the future. There’s currently an estimated $30 billion remaining in asbestos trusts, including those established by Johns-Manville, Celotex, Eagle Pitcher, and UNARCO.
Who is eligible to access asbestos trust funds?
Several classes of people may be eligible to receive compensation from an asbestos trust fund, including:
- People exposed to mesothelioma at work
- People exposed to asbestos-containing products
- Family members of those exposed at work who developed disease through secondary asbestos exposure
- People exposed to asbestos through the environment (for example, near an asbestos mine)
- People who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma
There are very specific requirements for filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund. Make sure that you choose an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to help you maximize your chances of success.
New Jersey Sites and Industries Known for Asbestos Exposure
The U.S. Department of the Interior has documented 38 known sites in New Jersey where significant levels of asbestos are present. For decades, cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases have been more common in New Jersey than in the United States as a whole. Data from the New Jersey Department of Health indicate that around 120 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed every year.
The collapse of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 terrorist attack also caused thousands of people to be exposed. The buildings were known to contain asbestos, and when they fell, a huge amount of this mineral suddenly became aerosolized. Victims and first responders were exposed to very high levels of asbestos, and those who lived or worked in the area were exposed.
Even though the exposure only lasted for a short period of time, the levels of asbestos were so high that they created a risk for asbestos-related disease. Because of the long latency period, cases of mesothelioma related to this devastating event are just now beginning to be diagnosed. Experts expect there will be a surge in cases in our area over the next several years as people who were exposed in 2001 develop mesothelioma.
Construction workers throughout the state are also at heightened risk. Prior to 1978, the use of asbestos was common in homes and commercial buildings in New Jersey. Asbestos doesn’t pose a risk to human health unless it’s aerosolized, but maintenance or construction work on older buildings may disturb asbestos. When the fibers enter the air, they become dangerous.
Other occupations at the greatest risk include:
- Aircraft mechanics
- Asbestos miners
- Auto mechanics
- Factory and industrial workers
- HVAC workers
- Insulation manufacturers
If you’re in a high-risk group, it’s important to monitor your health closely, as mesothelioma is more treatable when it’s caught early.
New Jersey Asbestos Laws and Regulations
There are federal laws that govern the use of asbestos in the United States. The states are granted authority to enforce these regulations and can also pass laws that are more stringent. For example, in New Jersey, anyone who works in the field of asbestos abatement (removing asbestos-containing materials from older buildings) must be licensed to ensure they know how to keep themselves and the public safe.
Certain state laws affect the ability of people in New Jersey to file a mesothelioma claim.
Statute of Limitations for Filing Your Case
There’s a limit to how long you have to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. In each state, a law known as the statute of limitations governs the maximum allowable time for filing.
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations gives you two years to file a personal injury claim after a diagnosis. This means that if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you have only two years from the date you were diagnosed to file your claim. In a wrongful death case, you have two years from the date of death to file.
If you wait longer than two years after a diagnosis or death from mesothelioma, then you’ll no longer be eligible to file and will lose your opportunity to receive financial compensation for the harm that was done to you. The time period right after a diagnosis or a death is challenging, but it’s important not to wait too long to contact a mesothelioma lawyer about your case.
Recent New Jersey Ruling Requires Dual Warnings from Manufacturers
A recent court ruling could impact people who were affected by asbestos in New Jersey. On June 30, 2022, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued its decision in Fowler v. Akzo Nobel Chemicals. The court held that manufacturers of asbestos-containing products that are used in workplaces have a duty to warn not only the employers who purchase the product for use, but also the employees who will be involved in using the product.
This is a significant decision and could pave the way for more people to receive compensation for asbestos-related diseases. Previously, manufacturers tried to claim that their duty to warn was fulfilled by notifying an employer, which would provide adequate warning to its employees. Now, failure to provide adequate warnings to both employers and employees constitutes negligence, and manufacturers of these products can be held liable for the harm that they caused.
Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP Trusted New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma following workplace asbestos exposure, or if you’ve lost a loved one to mesothelioma, then you deserve justice. It’s important to choose an experienced mesothelioma attorney to handle your case. These cases can be complex, and detailed knowledge of this particular field of law is important to a successful case.
Our New Jersey mesothelioma attorneys have years of experience in this field. Our team has invested countless hours in research, and we have a proven track record of success in winning significant awards for people with mesothelioma. Contact our mesothelioma lawyers today for a no-obligation consultation. After learning the details of your situation, we’ll be able to determine whether you might have a case. It will then be your choice whether you’d like to proceed with legal action. You have only a limited time in which to file a claim, so it’s important not to delay.
Our New Jersey Mesothelioma Attorneys
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