Asbestos is a group of minerals with thin microscopic heat resistant fibers widely used in the construction, automotive, and other industries. When these tiny fibers are released into the air they are frequently inhaled or swallowed, leading to debilitating health problems.
Maryland Asbestos Deposits and Exposure
Maryland is home to more than 20 naturally occurring asbestos deposits, including four areas that have been mined. In addition, as the home to numerous shipyards, steel mills and power plants the State of Maryland is the home to numerous labor jobs that pose a high risk of asbestos exposure.
The Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard and Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock are two yards where the existence of asbestos has been confirmed.
Industries at Risk of Exposure
75% of mesothelioma cases are work related. Trades typically exposed to asbestos include: offshore rust removal, tile cutters, steel workers, auto repair technician, roofers, miners, insulation trades, building trades and construction workers. Symptoms often take 15 to 50 years after exposure to manifest. Approximately 2,500 to 9,300 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year. Three out of four mesothelioma cases arises in the outer lining of the lungs, but also can arise in the linings to the heart, abdominal cavity, or testis. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, cough, chest pain, fever, and unexplained weight loss. A diagnosis may be suspected based upon chest x rays, CT scans, and confirmed with a biopsy. Despite treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery, mesothelioma carries a poor prognosis. The five year survival rate is around 5% to 10%. Most patients with mesothelioma die as a result of respiratory failure or pneumonia.
Products containing asbestos include:
- Brake linings,
- Insulation materials,
- Deck covering materials,
- Mortar, and
- Various packing materials.
Maryland courts are considered favorable to plaintiffs in Mass Tort Litigation such as mesothelioma lawsuits. State lawmakers have streamlined the litigation process creating active and inactive dockets.
Most companies and manufacturers dealing with asbestos have known for almost a century that the inhalation of asbestos fibers is a contributing factor in mesothelioma lung cancer. This has contributed to higher verdicts and the creation of a settlement fund. According to the US Government Accountability Office $30 Billion Dollars has been set aside in a fund by corporate defendants for mesothelioma victims and you may be permitted to make a claim even if you previously filed an action for a different malignant asbestos related disease.
It is projected that approximately 52,000 new mesothelioma lawsuits will be filed nationwide in 2016. According to litigation reports settlements prior to trial average $1 million dollars, and trial awards average $2.4 million. Maryland courts have seen numerous multi-million dollar jury verdicts. Individual cases and recovery amounts vary significantly.