Though 2017 marked the highest number of mesothelioma lawsuits ever filed, noted Washington, D.C. consulting firm KCIC is reporting that since that time there has been a steady decline, and that the year 2020 marked a significant drop.
Shift Noted in Asbestos-Related Lawsuit Trends
Malignant mesothelioma is diagnosed in roughly 3,500 people each year. The asbestos-related disease is one of the rarest forms of cancer, and though most of those diagnosed were exposed to asbestos in the workplace, an increasing number are tracing their exposure to consumer products, and most notably to asbestos-contaminated talc body powders. Victims face many decisions through the course of their disease, including whether to pursue legal action against those responsible.
In 2017 there were 2,124 mesothelioma lawsuits filed, but in subsequent years those numbers fell. Some of the drop in number of claims filed may be attributed to the global pandemic, but KCIC noted that while the number of mesothelioma claims dropped by 14%, the more general category of asbestos-related lung cancer filings dropped by just 9%, with those specifically naming mesothelioma accounting for almost 51% of those and lung cancer for 40%. In 2019 lung cancer represented 33% of the overall count, and in 2018 for 27%.
Mesothelioma’s Long Latency Period Tied to Slow Decline in Lawsuits
Though it has been anticipated that mesothelioma lawsuit trends would decline as asbestos use has diminished, the disease’s long latency period has made that decline extremely slow, as people exposed to asbestos decades ago continue to be diagnosed with the disease. According to KCIC’s report, mesothelioma plaintiffs who have filed claims in the last several years date their first exposure to the deadly mineral to the years 1959 and 1960.
Because the U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries report shows 1973 as the year when the largest amount of asbestos was imported into the United States, it is anticipated that mesothelioma and other asbestos-related lawsuits will continue to be filed for at least another twelve years before a real decline occurs. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of cases being filed against consumer companies, accusing them of liability for asbestos-related diseases from talc-based powders contaminated with the deadly mineral.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, you need information about the options available to you. For access to those resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today, at 1-800-692-8608.