Compensation for the many thousands of people who have already contracted mesothelioma is a controversial topic. A million more cases of asbestos-related disease are expected in the coming years in the United States alone, making asbestos the root of an occupational disease crisis of monumental size. How to compensate so many people for their asbestos-induced cancers and lung diseases is a very pressing question that has long vexed lawmakers, policy experts, insurers, and advocates for those suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related tragedies.
To learn about your eligibility for mesothelioma compensation, contact an experienced attorney today.
Millions of Asbestos Cases
It's estimated that nearly 19 million Americans were subjected to high levels of asbestos at their jobs in manufacturing, construction, shipbuilding, mining, and a wide range of other industries from 1940 to 1979. Asbestos-related cancers and lung disease have affected hundreds of thousands of workers, including many veterans of the U.S. military.
As the civil cases for damages due to mesothelioma and other asbestos-induced diseases began crowding court dockets, U.S. lawmakers and the Supreme Court started to attempt to deal with the issues of how to compensate all the victims of asbestos exposure. In 1991, a Supreme Court panel stated that the asbestos-disease crisis had reached a critical point, and that the courts were not equipped to deal with the thousands of asbestos claims in an effective manner.
Asbestos-Disease Trust Fund Attempts
Several attempts to make a trust fund for asbestos and mesothelioma claimants, with the intention of taking claimants' civil lawsuits out of the courts, were proposed and eventually abandoned in Congress. The latest such proposed litigation is the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act of 2005, introduced by Senator Arlen Specter.
The purpose of the FAIR Act is to create a privately funded, publicly administered $140 billion trust fund to compensate mesothelioma and asbestos claimants, and to remove claimants' right to pursue compensation for their damages in court.
More Delay, More Chance of No Compensation
Defendants in asbestos cases and their insurers would finance the “FAIR” trust fund. If the fund ends up not being able to meet its financial obligations (which is entirely possible given the huge numbers of claimants plus the defendants' and insurers' reluctance to pay), then all asbestos claims would return to the existing tort system. In other words, there would be even more delay, and even more uncertainty about a claimant receiving any compensation, let alone fair compensation.
Although it is very unlikely that the FAIR Act will pass and become law in light of its timing and poor reception in Congress, its provisions should be noted, because it's possible that a similar piece of legislation will arise in the future.
A Lawyer to Fight for Mesothelioma Compensation for You
Your interests and rights to compensation as a victim of asbestos exposure are best protected by an experienced mesothelioma law firm. Attorneys have already recovered millions of dollars (not thousands) in compensation for mesothelioma victims, and you can be among the people who at least receive decent compensation for the damages wreaked by this tragic disease.
Contact a mesothelioma attorney today to discuss your case and your legal options.