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March 21, 2018

New Legislation Does More Harm Than Good for Asbestos Victims

In 2017, a bill was approved by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that could damage the asbestos claims process and prevent victims of asbestos-related diseases from ever seeing any sort of monetary compensation before they pass. This bill, known as the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, was written by the asbestos industry and is being pushed across states throughout the country under the pretense that it will help asbestos victims receive compensation for their injuries.

Recently, this bill passed in the Michigan House, causing a potential shift in how states will deal with asbestos injury cases. GPW attorney Jay Bedortha  spoke with Michigan Radio and believes the bill will “delay and deny” justice for those suffering from an asbestos-caused disease. Attorney Bedortha continues to explain that asbestos companies will now be able to file motions as many times as they please, which will delay overall procedures. Mesothelioma victims often do not have much time after initial diagnosis, and with court procedures delayed, many will not live to their trial date.

In addition to the FACT Act, the PROTECT Asbestos Victims Act was introduced earlier this month by three republican senators who claim that accountability measures must be made to ensure that asbestos trust funds are not “siphoned” away from asbestos victims who are in need of compensation.

However, the PROTECT Asbestos Victims Act is deceptive by name and by nature for in the end, it helps asbestos companies and manufacturers, and not the cancer victims. The legislation states that fraudulent claims are widespread and the PROTECT Act would allow the Justice Department to conduct the necessary oversight to put an end to false claims. However, all this does is delay claim payments by months to those suffering from an illness caused by asbestos exposure and allows the asbestos companies to be in control of how asbestos compensation is distributed. Furthermore, those sponsoring the bill are unable to cite instances of widespread fraud which they claim is occurring.

The average amount of time a mesothelioma victim has after diagnosis is extremely limited, therefore time is of the essence for those suffering from an illness caused by asbestos exposure. These pieces of legislation may indicate they are for the good of asbestos victims, but in the end, it is only the asbestos companies and manufacturers that benefit. Financial compensation for injuries suffered by asbestos may not restore what is lost, but with mounting medical bills often left behind for family members asbestos compensation can help alleviate some of those pressures. If you believe you’ve been injured by asbestos and are now suffering, contact us today. There is no cost or obligation for us to review your potential lawsuit.

 

Sources:

Sarah Cwiek, “Critics Say Bill Would ‘Delay and Deny’ Justice for Asbestos Victims,” NPR (February 12, 2017). [Link]

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, “ADAO Strongly Opposes the So-Called “PROTECT Asbestos Victims Act” (S. 2564),” Business Wire (March 19, 2018). [Link]

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