The Week Ahead: Asbestos

By February 6, 2006General

This week, we expect the Senate to be taking up the asbestos bill. We find that too many people really don’t understand the crux of the disagreement on this issue. We find all too often when talking to people about it, they begin with the assumption that we somehow doubt that asbestos is a harmful substance. We don’t doubt it. This issue isn’t about whether asbestos is safe or not — this has long since been established. The issue is how people injured by exposure to asbestos will be compensated. We want to make sure that all the money doesn’t go to trial lawyers and healthy people. Some facts:

— The courts have been inundated with asbestos lawsuits. Some 95% of all plaintiffs show no impairment or illness. You can thank the trial bar for that.

— More than 70 companies have gone bankrupt and 60,000 jobs have been permanently lost as a result of this litigation.

— Over $54 billion has been paid out by defendant companies already.

— About 57% of every dollar awarded in these cases has gone to “transaction costs”, the bulk of it to trial lawyers.

This, in short, is a national disgrace. There are sick people out there who deserve to be compensated. Only trouble is, there’s a line of healthy people — and trial lawyers — in front of them. We’ve written about some of the outright fraud in the past — see the link here and here.

Click here to weigh in with your Senators and urge them to put an end to the trial lawyer bonanza in asbestos and to do something for the people who are actually injured, and suffering.