Asbestos Use and Lawsuits
Asbestos was widely used in 20th century manufacturing and construction. However, as early as the 1920s, many companies in the industry were aware of asbestos’s dangers and failed to warn employees of the dire risks.
Creation of Trust Funds for Mesothelioma Victims
In 1969, the first asbestos lawsuit was filed as a workers’ compensation claim, kicking off a flood of successful suits. In the 1970s, thousands of cases were brought against hundreds of companies and manufacturers, causing many of them to file for bankruptcy.
These companies were forced to establish trust funds specifically to compensate asbestos victims in the future. The first fund was set up in the 1980s by the John-Mansville Sales Corporation; today, over $30 billion has been set aside for victims and their families. Contact us for help on accessing these trust funds.
The government stepped in to protect workers, though it was too late for many. The United States has yet to issue a blanket ban on asbestos, as many countries have. However, many laws have regulated, reduced, and banned certain uses of the substance.
- The Clean Air Act of 1970 was the first significant legislation by Congress aimed to protect citizens from asbestos, officially recognizing the substance as a hazardous air pollutant.
- The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) banned several industrial uses of asbestos, though corporate interests successfully challenged much of the law in 1991.
- The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994 prompted the creation of many personal injury trust funds for victims to receive compensation. There is now over $30 billion available in such funds.
- The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2013 (FACT) would require asbestos trusts to file quarterly reports to prevent fraudulent claims, but has yet to become law.