When people think about personal injury lawsuits, they typically assume it involves two parties: the victim and the person who hurt the victim. However, in cases like those that stem from asbestos exposure, there are often multiple parties accused of contributing to a victim’s injuries.
For instance, recently, the family of one woman who died from mesothelioma filed a wrongful death claim. They named about 40 defendants in their lawsuit, including a school where she had worked for a year. While this might sound unusual or heavy handed, there are often multiple parties named as defendants in asbestos-related lawsuits.
One reason for this is that people commonly worked in many occupations where they were exposed to asbestos. Teachers, for example, often work in several different schools and buildings during their career. If they are exposed to asbestos at each of those sites, multiple parties would be named in a lawsuit alleging toxic exposure.
Another reason why multiple defendants are often named in these claims is because asbestos was so widely used up until about the 1980s. So even if you had the same employer for 30 years, you could have still used a number of different products that contained asbestos.
Finally, asbestos-related illnesses develop over time. Unlike a car crash, for instance, there is not just one single event that causes damages. This means that there are typically going to be several sources that contributed to a person’s illness, and they can all be named in a lawsuit.
There are benefits and drawbacks to having so many defendants involved in these types of asbestos lawsuits. It can increase the likelihood that victims and their families will actually receive what they are awarded since the financial obligation will be spread across so many parties, but it can also require considerably more work to support a claim against each one. Because of this, legal representation and support will be crucial.