Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Supreme Court asbestos decision: What it means for you

In late May, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that plaintiffs with mesothelioma must be able to show a causal connection between the amount of asbestos to which they were exposed and their mesothelioma. Scientific testimony that claims slight exposure to asbestos can cause cancer is not proof, in and of itself, that a plaintiff's mesothelioma was caused by asbestos.

"Simply put," the Justices said, "one cannot simultaneously maintain that a single fiber among millions is substantially causative, while also conceding that a disease is dose responsive."

Will this affect your asbestos case? Probably not. This is because most asbestos litigation does not rely solely on the "single fiber theory." Instead, attorneys will build evidence that shows the causal connection.

Asbestos-related illnesses

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was commonly used in insulation, vinyl floor tile and other construction materials until the serious health risks were discovered. Asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, among other lung complications.

More than 10,000 Americans die every year from a disease caused by asbestos. The more exposure someone has to asbestos, the greater his or her chance of developing an asbestos-related disease.

The symptoms of the asbestos exposure may not appear until many years after the exposure, which makes these cases unique from other injury lawsuits. Whether you believe you have been exposed to asbestos or you are experiencing symptoms that you believe are related to asbestos-exposure, it is important to see a doctor immediately. Then, speak with an attorney familiar with asbestos litigation.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Pennsylvania High Court Tosses 'Any Dose' Asbestos Theory," Associated Press, May 28, 2012.

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