November 7, 2011

Asbestos Settlements

It has been proved that asbestos is responsible for a host of deadly diseases, including cancer. Settlements worth billions have been given in asbestos litigation; settlements worth billions more are pending in various American courts.

The purpose of asbestos settlements is to help the victim of asbestos related diseases with money to cover medical expenses. In worse cases, it was meant as a compensation for the loss of income over the years, and the potential earning capacity of an individual.

The government has set up regulations that limits asbestos exposure with the permissible limit for exposure being 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter for an eight hour workday. For every 30 minutes of work period, fibre exposure should fall below 1.0 fibre per cc. Statutory health protection measures such as these have been mandated.

The process of asbestos settlement puts the onus on the employer to compensate victims of asbestos related health problems. In case the company fails to adhere to these stipulated protection rules, resulting in adverse effects for its workers, the company is legally bound to pay settlement to the affected workers as compensation.

There have been numerous cases of asbestos settlements in the United States, after the awareness towards asbestos as a health hazard grew. Two of these famous cases happened in 1997 and 1999. Both these cases involved huge settlement class actions. In the end, both these settlements were overturned by the court.

There are also allegations of asbestos settlements having become a full-fledged industry, where the party benefiting the most are the attorneys, as they get a part of the settlement as fees for fighting the cases.