Laws can vary in different parts of the United States. Depending on where you live or work, a specific law may have different implications and consequences if they are broken. Because of this, it can be difficult to determine what can be considered breaking the law, and what can be considered a consequence for the law being broken.
This is especially true with Asbestos laws. Asbestos is minerals that can be used for a multitude of applications and purposes. However, when in concentrated forms in things like tiles and roof shingles, they can lead to long-term complications that may not be seen until many years down the road. Because the onset can be so much later on in life, states tend to have difficulty determining the appropriate punishment, and in Florida, this is no different.
Asbestos Laws Within Florida
Just behind California, Florida ranks as one of the highest areas for mesothelioma and asbestos-related deaths in the nation. Florida’s regulations on asbestos exposure are not exactly as strict as California. However, they do come with their own stipulations and conditions known as the Asbestos Program or Asbestos Removal Program. These regulations can be found in Chapter 62-257 of the Florida Administrative Code and work to define and regulate different types of asbestos processes and workplaces.
Criteria for Medicine
Unlike most states, which have a general process and sometimes require physical proof of an ailment or complication, Florida has more detailed specifications for meeting medical criteria. Depending on the situation, the criteria for a case to be approved and allowed to move forward depends on how damaging the injuries and ailments are for the plaintiff.
Since each claim is based on a case by case basis, there is no specific level of severity that the claimant must meet. Instead, the claimant must prove that the physical impairments, both short- and long-term, match with medical reports and prima facie evidence shown to the courts. If the reports do not align with the claims, the case can be dismissed.
Unlike other states, defendants in Florida have a larger chance of challenging the evidence brought forth by a plaintiff. In such cases, the evidence procured by the plaintiff may be subject to further investigation, or the defendant may request an independent medical examination by a different medical doctor.
Different Cases of Asbestos Claims
Nonmalignant asbestos claims
Florida has different processes depending on the type of case brought to them. If the case is a nonmalignant asbestos-related case, then there may only be one lawsuit filed by the claimant if they provide evidence that the impairment or complication was due to asbestos exposure.
Specifically, the claimant must provide the courts with the following:
- Evidence of the impairment or complication approved by a qualified physician that indicates the symptoms and complications are due primarily by asbestos exposure.
- Evidence from the qualified physician that they have taken a detailed medical and smoking history of the plaintiff.
- A diagnosis by a qualified physician of asbestosis or diffuse pleural thickening based on pathology or radiology reports.
- Evidence that at least a decade has passed between the first exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis of the nonmalignant complication.
If one or more of these conditions are not met, the state courts may dismiss the case entirely.
Lung, Larynx, Esophageal, or Pharynx Cancer Claims
If the claimant has made a claim with regard to items such as lung, larynx, esophageal, or pharynx cancers, then there is a chance that their case may get an easier time moving through the pipeline. If the claimant is a nonsmoker, however, these types of cases do not need to provide prima facie evidence of physical impairment.
- A diagnosis by a qualified physician that the primary cancer was caused by asbestos exposure.
- Evidence that at least a decade has passed.
- Evidence of substantial occupational asbestos exposure.
- Evidence of asbestosis or diffuse pleural thickening that is approved by a physician.
Just as in most states, case scheduling can be made if you are a resident of Florida, or if you were a resident of Florida at the time of exposure.
However, when it comes to filing the actual claim, there is a deadline. Those that currently have mesothelioma, or have had a diagnosis of this sort, have 4 years from the date of diagnosis to file a personal injury claim. Those that are filing on behalf of a loved one’s death have 2 years to file a wrongful death claim.
If you or someone you know has been affected by Asbestos products or is currently suffering from mesothelioma, then it may be time to take action against those that have caused the suffering. If you are starting to build a case, it is important to search for and hire, an experienced and knowledgeable Asbestos attorney. These attorneys can help protect and assist you against the defendants, who may try to settle your case for less than you deserve. Don’t settle, and hire your experienced Mesothelioma attorney today.