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 specifically true with Asbestos removal and exposure laws.
Asbestos are 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 Pennsylvania, this is no different.
Asbestos Removal and Exposure Laws
Although Pennsylvania is not an area commonly known for Asbestos exposure cases, there was a time where they had a spike in cases. In the mid-1990s, approximately 50% of the asbestos-related claims that went to trial and ended in verdicts were within Pennsylvania and most were complaints regarding improper or no timely asbestos removal or uninformed exposure to asbestos.
Pennsylvania has a slightly different scale when it comes to ruling and managing the procedures for asbestos litigation. These are the following, but are not limited to:
- Physical Impairment
- Deferring Punitive Damages
- Successor Liability
- Several Liability
In Pennsylvania, plaintiffs that do not have malignant asbestos-related diseases and conditions to file a second lawsuit in order to recover any damages in case they develop cancer in relation to asbestos exposure because of negligence or untimely/inappropriate asbestos removal. In order to do so, they must have evidence of an onset of asbestos-related conditions.
However, it must be more than just pleural thickening. In Simon V. Pacor, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendant, stating that plaintiffs are not entitled to compensation for asymptomatic pleural thickening without any physical impairment. As such, the evidence may include pleural thickening, but pleural thickening cannot be the only defining symptom.
You should read: ASBESTOS LAWS IN FLORIDA
Deferring Punitive Damages
Pennsylvania has a system based on Judge Richard Klein’s rulings in the late 1980s. During these cases, Judge Klein saw an increase in asbestos-related cases, whether they were related to negligent exposure or asbestos removal, while the defendants in these cases generally decided to file for bankruptcy. Because they decided to file for bankruptcy, they could drastically decrease the amount that would be awarded to the plaintiffs in these cases.
Because of these situations, Judge Klein started the practice of separating and deferring consideration of punitive damages in the cases, while other damages claims in asbestos cases were resolved and awarded.
Since then, this has become the normal practice in Pennsylvania. Since then, Pennsylvania has only awarded punitive damages in one asbestos lawsuit as of 2008.
Several Liability in Asbestos Removal and Exposure Cases
Several liability is the idea that a person or company can only be liable for its own portion of harm to the plaintiff, and not any more. With this theory, a defendant’s liability is only limited to the amount of damages that is allocated towards it during the trial itself. Because of this, in cases where there are multiple defendants, a plaintiff would be able to recover an entire judgment against any of the defendants.
In Pennsylvania, the act of successor liability is limited to the fair market value of the total assets of the predecessor company at the time of the merger or consolidation. This condition is imposed when a company is merged or taken over by a new company, in which case the new company inherits some of the older company’s issues and legal cases.
If you or someone you know has been affected by asbestos products, untimely asbestos removal, 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 and Mesothelioma lawyer and 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.