Fraudulent Asbestos Lawsuits Harm Meso, Asbestosis And Lung Cancer Patients
Fraudulent Asbestos Lawsuits, Many personal injury lawyer will tell you that a person with mesothelioma, if given their day in court, will often collect a settlement in excess of a million dollars, sometimes much more. Since the attorney usually collects 40% or more in fees, defending meso patients is financially rewarding for the law firm. In 2003 less than 3000 people were diagnosed with mesothelioma, however 110,000 asbestos related claims were filed. Each claimant generally files against 30-60 defendants and bankruptcy trusts. Some claims were for other asbestos related conditions like asbestosis or asbestos related lung cancer. Many, and some would argue over 90%, came from individuals with minimal asbestos exposure and no detectable disease attributable to asbestos.
In one study of a group of people with no known occupational exposure to asbestos, 35% could be diagnosed with asbestosis if the standards used by the readers many plaintiff lawyers utilize for screening. Well over 100 conditions can cause fibrosis in the lungs similar to asbestosis. These include smoking, obesity, exposure to silica or other irritants and many others.
Asbestos lawsuit have become the largest game in town for personal injury. Through 2004 there have been around 845,000 claims with awards at around 70 billion dollars. The final tally may approach 250 billion dollars.
Congressional testimony by Professor Lester Brickman of Yeshiva University gives a comprehensive look at the problem.
A huge recruiting system has developed to find individuals to file claims. Several Medical providers and radiology clinics have been barred from charging for their diagnostic services because it was found that they were providing fraudulent medical exams to support the claims of asbestos injury, sometimes without even seeing the patient. Here’s a recent news story about the mass screening and litigation industry.
As companies have gone bankrupt over asbestos related lawsuits, more companies that are further away from the manufacturing process and theoretically less liable are sued. The list of defendants is approaching 8500 including stores that may have sold asbestos containing products.
Asbestos is a real problem that has caused real harm to people and continues to do so. Claims of harm by people with no evidence of harm is a large problem that hurts patients who have real asbestos related disease and deserve a settlement