Juries in Illinois and across the country have been returning multi-million dollar verdicts in asbestos-related injury cases. This is in part because of the culpability of companies that exposed workers to asbestos fumes, and also in part because of the severity of illness or injury that has often resulted because such asbestos exposure has taken place.
A jury recently delivered a $48 million verdict to a former cement contractor that faced asbestos exposure while on the job. The contractor worked in the trade from 1947 until 1980, and he is now suffering from malignant mesothelioma. The lawsuit was brought by the contractor against Union Carbide and a number of other companies.
Apparently, the companies sued did understand the risks present when asbestos exposure occurred. Union Carbide had released an internal memo in 1967 admitting that even brief exposure to asbestos could cause cancer. Such an internal memo likely motivated the jury to award punitive damages against the defendants.
The difficulty in trying asbestos cases comes about in part due to the exposure occurring at more than one location. Attorneys that take on such clients often are required to file claims against any number of defendants. Unfortunately, the adverse affects of asbestos exposure may not be revealed until years after the exposure has taken place, and oftentimes it is difficult to pinpoint when and where such exposure took place.
Attorneys represent such individuals because of the significant injury inflicted due to asbestos exposure. Lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma are only some of the harmful health effects that can be brought on by asbestos exposure - and in almost all cases, there is little that doctors can do to treat the ailment once the disease is diagnosed.
Source: Baldwin Park Patch, "Former Baldwin Park Councilman Awarded $48 million in Asbestos Suit," June 21, 2012