Severe and potentially fatal diseases contracted through asbestos exposure presents obstacles to those diagnosed and their family members. Complicating critical health issues further are legal and financial matters.
Legislators in Missouri seem intent on adding yet another barrier.
Asbestos lawsuits are the number one type of mass tort with lawsuits filling court dockets over the past four decades. Long-gestating legislation would make it more difficult for people with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses to file lawsuits against companies responsible for the exposure. Specifics of the legislation include:
- Victims would be mandated to file more detailed medical histories, including information irrelevant to the specific suit
- Companies/defendants would receive an automatic delay upon the filing of a lawsuit, increasing the chance of additional extensions of time
- Restrictions on time limits and compensation
Those in support of the measure tout greater transparency in the legal process, not to mention the need for serious tort reform. Numerous lawsuits have led to multi-million-dollar verdicts for plaintiffs. Businesses, hospitals, and health care providers become easy and may look elsewhere to base their operations.
Opponents see it as creating complexities in an already complex process and adding time that many people simply do not have. Exposure to asbestos shortens lives with military personnel, police officers and firefighters the hardest hit by these life-ending illnesses. They and workers in other industries need compensation sooner rather than later. What they don’t need is companies using legal maneuvers to run out the clock.
Simply put, victims of asbestos exposure and their loved ones deserve their day in court.