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Large asbestos settlement result of attorney leg work

Many people in North Carolina still suffer the debilitating effects of exposure to asbestos fibers. A recent settlement of an asbestos lawsuit for $10.8 million shows that claims for exposure to asbestos-containing products can succeed if enough work is put into preparation of the case.

In 2012, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an especially lethal form of lung cancer whose only known cause is exposure to asbestos fibers. The man died three months after his diagnosis at age 45. According to the attorney who represented the plaintiff, the key to the case was tracking down the man's former co-workers, all of whom were auto mechanics. By "knocking on doors from the day after Christmas through Valentine's day," the attorney was able to locate six co-workers, who knew the plaintiff and were familiar with the work that he did. The co-workers described the deceased man's work space, the kinds of jobs that he did, the number of brake jobs he performed, and the level of asbestos dust in the work space. The identity of the defendant is confidential pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement.

Co-worker testimony is often crucial to the success of an asbestos claim. Such persons can help identify the asbestos-containing products that produced the asbestos fibers and the manufacturers of these products. In this case, the co-workers apparently witnessed the actual incidents of the plaintiff's exposure to airborne asbestos fibers.

A lawyer experienced in handling asbestos claims understands that identification of the asbestos-containing products to which the claimant was exposed is perhaps the most important phase of the entire case. Many lawyers who represent asbestos claimants maintain extensive files on manufacturers of asbestos products and the places where these products were used. Any person contemplating a claim for damages caused by exposure to asbestos fibers should seek the advice of a lawyer with extensive experience in handling such claims.

Source: Kansas City Business Journal, "Accurso wins $10.8M asbestos settlement," Brianne Pfannenstiel, Nov. 12, 2014

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