Should asbestos-related lawsuits be harder to file?

In our last post, we talked about the increasing “industry losses” that are occurring due to asbestos-related lawsuits. However, much of that post — and, indeed, the source material for that post — was dedicated to the perception asbestos-related lawsuits have. The implication is that asbestos lawsuits have a good chance of being successful, and thus anybody who has been significantly exposed to asbestos should seek such a lawsuit. As a result, asbestos lawsuit costs are up and payouts to plaintiffs are increasing.

But that sentiment is very superficial, as if people who are living with asbestos-related medical conditions or mesothelioma (and need to sue to recoup the financial losses associated with such things) are not suffering. These lawsuits are not money-grabs: they are essential to the plaintiffs, who have been victimized by a dangerous substance that they were either not aware of or not better protected from.

Along the same lines, there is a story developing out of Wisconsin that also touches on this notion that asbestos-related lawsuits somehow need to be curbed, or made more difficult for the plaintiff. The state is considering some new bills that would make it more difficult for people to sue for asbestos exposure.

While the specifics are not entirely clear, the source article says that “additional reporting and procedural requirements” would be applied to people suing companies for asbestos exposure.

To be fair, asbestos-related lawsuits need to be well documented by the plaintiff, and they need to provide substantial evidence. This is a fact of most lawsuits, but it can be especially important for asbestos lawsuits to prove the time and dates you were in a building that contained asbestos or around the substance in other forms. However, that does not mean these lawsuits should be harder to file or process than other personal injury cases.

Source: Sheboygan Press, “Money and Politics: New asbestos lawsuit rules criticized as excessive,” Nov. 7, 2013