Asbestos was once largely regarded as the miracle mineral. Today this may come as a surprise to many. The first thing not everyone is aware of is that asbestos is in fact a naturally occurring mineral. While it can be easily refined and used in any number of manufactured goods, asbestos itself is not man made. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is comprised of six silica elements.
It has the remarkable ability to resist heat, fire, electricity, caustic chemicals, and it even works as a soundproofing agent. This is the good thing about asbestos and why it was called the miracle mineral. The problem, as we all know today, is that it can cause cancer. It can cause the type of lung cancer we typically associate with smoking. It can also cause the very aggressive form of cancer known as malignant mesothelioma, and it can cause asbestosis and other serious respiratory illnesses, as discussed in a recent news article from Daily Commercial News.
As our Boston mesothelioma attorneys can explain, while the public was kept in the dark about the dangers of asbestos, those in the industry were well aware of this fact. They went out of their way and spend considerable amounts of money to keep this deadly secret, because they didn’t want to interfere with the money they were making off the mining, refinement, and sale of asbestos.
While it may seem hard to believe they were able to keep a secret like this, there was no Internet back then, and it took a lot longer for information to get disseminated to the public. There was also a different culture, where companies were trusted more than they are today.
This hiding of the dangers of asbestos is the basis for several claims in a typical mesothelioma lawsuit. The first point is that hiding a known defect translates into a claim known as failing to warn of a known danger. There is a direct claim for manufacturing a defective product, but the failure to warn is the crux of the cause of action. There is also a difference between not telling consumer of a known danger and outright lying or misleading consumers about the safety of a particular product. This is the reason that many verdicts in mesothelioma lawsuits have included punitive damages. These are damages above and beyond compensatory damages.
In our legal system, the main goal is to compensate plaintiffs for their loss. While it is often hard to put a number value on pain and suffering, in can be done. That is what happens in most personal injury cases. However, punitive damages, as the name implies, are designed to punish defendants. Punitive damages are also done to send a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in our society. It is the one time where jurors are allowed to send a message.
However, it should be noted that punitive damages are not available in every case, and you should speak with an experienced asbestos attorney about the facts of your actual situation.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Asbestos: from miracle material to malefactor, May 12, 2017, By Peter Kenter, Daily Commercial News
More Blog Entries:
Treating Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Cancers, Feb. 14, 2017, Boston Asbestos Exposure Attorney Blog