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Could Court Ruling Affect Florida Asbestos Cases?

A recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court could make it easier for Florida asbestos case plaintiffs to pursue justice, as the court decision rejected part of a law dating back to 2005, a law which limited plaintiffs’ ability to sue for injuries caused by asbestos. According to some legal experts, the court decision could make it easier for thousands of Florida personal injury claimants affected by asbestos to pursue cases which have been stalled in lower courts. Interests representing companies and defendants noted that the decision could create a flood of lawsuits which could burden Florida’s justice system.

The decision by the Florida Supreme Court determined that the 2005 law was unconstitutional because it violated the right to due process. The 2005 law demanded that plaintiffs in asbestos cases show physical injury through lung capacity, chest x-rays and other means before pursuing a lawsuit. More worryingly, the law also meant that the legislature tried to apply these requirements retroactively to cases filed before the law came into effect. Another troubling thing about the requirement is that in many cases, asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma occur many years and even decades after exposure to asbestos, making discovery and evidence-gathering very challenging.

Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, Jorge Labarga, Peggy Quince, and James E.C. Perry agreed to reject part of the 2005 law while Chief Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston in the Florida Supreme Court dissented. Justice R. Fred Lewis noted that people who have sustained injuries due to the actions or negligence of a party can pursue a legal claim, without prejudice to the level of their injury or symptoms. Justice Charles Canady, however, argued that Florida law does not allow plaintiffs in asbestos cases to sue if their health has not been damaged.

Asbestos is a material that was frequently used in building and construction industries decades ago. Asbestos was especially prized for its resistance to high heat and fire, making it popular in a variety of construction projects. However, research eventually showed that asbestos particles could be inhaled. Once inhaled, they can remain in the body for years and eventually cause cancerous growths. In some cases, asbestos exposure eventually causes mesothelioma, a type of cancer that attacks the linings of major organs such as the lungs.

The new decision could make it possible for asbestos victims to pursue cases in court, without having to extensively prove debilitating injuries. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the cancer caused by asbestos exposure, now is a good time to discuss your case with a Florida personal injury attorney. As well, if you have suffered other injuries due to asbestos exposure, you may wish to speak with a qualified, experienced mesothelioma attorney in Florida about your case.

Do you believe that your injuries may be caused by exposure to asbestos? You need a powerful personal injury attorney to represent you and to gather evidence about your illness and exposure. Contact the Flaxman Law Group today to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. The compassionate and experienced legal team at the Flaxman Law Group has handled thousands of Florida asbestos and personal injury cases in Miami, Homestead, Hollywood, and throughout South Florida. Find out what our decades of experience can do for you; contact the Flaxman Law Group today to discuss your case.