Florida Mesothelioma Lawyer
Florida has the awful distinction of ranking second out of the 50 states for number of asbestos-related deaths. Between 1999 and 2013, more than 2,600 people in Florida died from mesothelioma, 1,239 died from asbestosis, and more than 10,000 died from lung cancer likely associated with asbestos exposure. A combination of industrial workplaces and shipping activities led to the high rate of asbestos exposure and related deaths in the state.
A Florida mesothelioma lawyer can be a powerful ally for anyone in the state in the terrible position of having been exposed to asbestos. If you get sick or you lose a loved one to any of the diseases triggered by asbestos, you have the right to file a lawsuit and to ask for both justice and compensation. With a lawyer experienced in the state’s asbestos laws, you have the best chance of winning both.
Asbestos in Florida
Florida has more asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits than many other states because so many people have been exposed to asbestos all over the state. Another reason for such a high incidence of asbestos exposure and lawsuits is that Florida is a populous state with many industries that use or have used asbestos in the past. With such a long coastline, for instance, Florida has long had many ports, shipyards, and military maritime installations. Asbestos has been used extensively in ships and this is a major source of exposure for people who have ever worked in or around ships.
Florida also has a lot of industrial workplaces that have used asbestos and that may continue to put workers at risk for exposure. These include power plants, chemical plants, manufacturing facilities, and others. Construction is also big business in Florida and another industry that has long used asbestos for insulation and other materials. Any workers renovating, repairing, or demolishing older buildings in the state are put at risk of being exposed to damaged asbestos that may contaminate the air.
Processing Asbestos in Florida
Many states received contaminated vermiculite from the infamous W.R. Grace mine in Libby, Montana, and Florida is no exception. The vermiculite was distributed from the Montana mine to multiple states and multiple processing plants, including the Zonolite and W.R. Grace and Company Exfoliation Facility located in Tampa. Workers in Tampa processed vermiculite contaminated with asbestos starting in the 1950s and many were harmed as a result.
Known Sites of Asbestos Exposure in Florida
The list of sites in Florida that are known to have caused asbestos exposure and to have put workers and nearby residents at risk of illness is long. It includes military bases, power plants, shipyards, paper plants, and many others. These are just a few:
- Rayonier Paper Company, Fernandina Beach
- Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral
- Bellinger Shipyard, Jacksonville
- Mayport Naval Air Station, Mayport
- Florida Power and Light Company, Miami
- Florida Pulp and Paper Company, Pensacola
- International Paper Company, Panama City
- Pensacola Naval Air Station, Pensacola
- Tampa Shipyards, Tampa
- Lakeland Power Plant, Tampa
- Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Jacksonville
- Saint Regis Paper Company, Jacksonville
- Miami-Dade Drydock, Miami
- Eglin Air Force Base, Valparaiso
- Patrick Air Force Base, Brevard County
- Pensacola Naval Shipyard, Pensacola
- Tampa Bay Shipbuilding, Tampa
- Jacksonville shipyard, Jacksonville
Asbestos Regulations in Florida
As in other states, Florida has laws and regulations in place that are designed to limit harm caused by asbestos. These include requiring that notification be sent to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection before work is done on a facility that contains asbestos. Work with asbestos, such as abating, securing, or removing and disposing of it, must be done by someone licensed and trained in the safety protocol. Employees that may be exposed to asbestos must be given adequate protective and safety gear. Schools and government buildings have to be inspected for asbestos regularly.
The Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act
Florida has some of the highest rates of deaths related to asbestos exposure, and also some of the highest numbers of related lawsuits. In response to the high number of new cases related to asbestos, the state legislature passed the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act (ASCFA) in 2005. The law sets a bigger hurdle for plaintiffs to jump in order to file a lawsuit. In other words, it increased the amount of evidence victims of asbestos exposure needed to produce to make a claim.
The ASCFA requires stricter medical proof of mesothelioma. It also requires that people who suffer from asbestosis, pleural thickening, or other non-malignant medical issue related to asbestos, to provide proof that the condition causes physical impairment. A diagnosis of the condition is not adequate. There is also more of a burden put on smokers to provide evidence that asbestos was a contributing factor to a diagnosis of cancer. The law also prohibits punitive damages and restricts who can be deemed liable for harm caused by asbestos.
Statute of Limitations
In spite of some of the restrictions placed on victims seeking compensation for asbestos-related illnesses, the state has a liberal statute of limitations of four years. A person has four years from the time of diagnosis to file a lawsuit. The statute applies to different diseases separately, like asbestosis and mesothelioma. For a wrongful death lawsuit related to asbestos, the statute of limitations is four years from the time of death.
Working with a Florida Mesothelioma Lawyer
The law in Florida related to mesothelioma and other asbestos lawsuits can be complicated and confusing. Even with a four-year statute of limitations it can be easy to make mistakes and miss deadlines. If you are facing an asbestos illness or have lost a loved one to one of these diseases, make sure you find a good Florida mesothelioma lawyer to work with.
An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer understands the laws and rules, including the complex requirements of the ASCFA, and can help give you the best chance of winning a settlement or jury award in your case, along with the justice you deserve as a victim of asbestos. Make sure you look for a lawyer or legal team that has had experience and success in the area of asbestos and mesothelioma litigation.
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