Our Boston mesothelioma lawyers understand that heath consequences of asbestos exposure are a global concern.
When thinking of asbestos and the profoundly devastating effects mesothelioma has had on hundreds of thousands of people, we often think of the later half of the 20th century. A brief review of the history of asbestos will show that it is a naturally occurring mineral that has been mined around the world for thousands of years.
It was during the industrial revolution in the later half of the 19th century that it was being used to make heat and chemically resistant textile for building. Asbestos also acts as an insulator to electricity. It has been used as insulation material, floor tiles, fire blankets, and various other consumer and industrial products. One of the reasons for its popularity was the low cost to refine the mineral.
Asbestos has been used around the world, and a recent article in the Accrington Observer describes the tragic result its use has caused in the town of Hyndburn, England. According to reports, 40 people died from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure between 1981 and 2011. To put these figure in context, the town coroner sees a total of 15 to 20 deaths in a given year.
The number of deaths per year from mesothelioma in Hyndburn is expected to increase this year and then gradually begin to decrease. This prediction is based upon the years when health authorities became aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure and its use as a building and insulation material was discounted.
In the context of mesothelioma lawsuits, it is important to keep in mind the vast evidence that asbestos manufacturers were well aware of the dangers to their own workers, builders, and homeowners long before the general public knew anything. It is for this reason that mesothelioma products liability cases often include claims of deceptive marketing and demands for punitive damages.
As your mesothelioma lawyers can explain, the typical damages in negligence actions are considered compensatory. This means that they are designed to compensate victims and their families for the loss suffered. Punitive damages are designed to punish negligent defendants for conduct that involves a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. In other words, punitive damages are designed to send a message to other potential tortfeasors that society will not tolerate this sort of conduct.
When considering whether punitive damages are appropriate, it helps to understand that, as the town’s coroner explained, people may have been exposed to asbestos decades before becoming aware of any problems. Mesothelioma can get to a stage where the patient is suddenly experiencing debilitating effects. By the time a patient is officially diagnosed with mesothelioma, they may have only a very short period of time left to live. This does not allow patients to make arrangements to help insure their family is financially prepared for the loss, as if that were ever possible.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Deadly asbestos related cancer has killed dozens, July 14, 2014, Accrington Observer
More Blog Entries:
Asbestos Pipes a Top Cause of Exposure, July 11, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog