I have had multiple exposures to asbestos throughout my career. How can I prove this and what is the maximum in money damages that I can expect?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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At this time, there are no caps on the damages that can be attained for asbestos exposure; so theoretically, the sky is the limit on damages.

However, damages in legal cases are awarded to try and put the victim in the same place he or she would have been without the illness or injury and, especially when talking about damages for things such as loss of enjoyment of life and loss of future earnings, these damages can be difficult to estimate. Punitive damages, assessed against a company as punishment for its behavior, are rarely assessed. Your claims may include damages for past, present and future medical expenses; loss of enjoyment of life and companionship; workers’ compensation; loss of economic opportunity and benefit; loss of current wages; pain and suffering; emotional distress; and necessary changes to your environment. The easiest damages to estimate are those involving personal out-of-pocket expense – for example, $80,000 for medical treatment. The insurance adjuster will use the past medical expenses as a baseline for the likely costs of future bills. See our section on pain and suffering for a more extensive discussion.

If you have had multiple exposures to asbestos, through multiple companies and with multiple manufacturers of asbestos and safety equipment, you and your attorney will want to find every possible company who was a party to any of your exposures. This means that you and your attorney will essentially reconstruct your work history. Experienced asbestos exposure attorneys know the companies involved and even if you do not know or cannot remember all the companies that might be liable for your exposures, your attorney should be able to help you determine that information.

Most often, during settlement or during a case, a monetary award is determined and then each defendant is assigned to a certain percentage of the damages. Usually the percentage of damages assigned is related to how much of the liability that particular defendant shares; however, at least part of this calculation is often based on which defendants have the deepest pockets – in other words, which defendants are more likely to be able to pay larger damage awards. Your best bet is to contact a lawyer or a law firm who specializes in asbestos lawsuits.

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