An asbestosis lawyer will likely describe mesothelioma as an indivisible disease, in legal terms, i.e. it cannot be exactly determined who was directly responsible from a number of defendants, for exposing the claimant to asbestos, and as a consequence, had led to the contracting of mesothelioma.
The law does state, however, that a defendant who can be proven to have exposed the claimant to asbestos will be held responsible for 100% of the mesothelioma compensation for damages. In many cases, the claimant will have been exposed by a number of defendants, some of whom – or their Insurers – may have ceased trading and be untraceable.
However, as long as one defendant, and/or their insurers – who has negligently exposed the claimant to asbestos can be identified, then the claimant will receive 100% of the mesothelioma claim.
The test for a mesothelioma claim is to determine whether the exposure at a particular defendant workplace was significant enough to have materially contributed to the risk that the claimant would have contracted an asbestos disease.
Medical practitioners cannot prove whether exposure at a particular defendant’s workplace had caused mesothelioma beyond stating that exposure will have materially increased the risk and any more than minimal exposure will have materially increased the risk so that that defendant can be held responsible.
Thus, just because the claimant cannot establish which defendant had caused the mesothelioma, the argument that none of the defendants could therefore, be held responsible, can be dismissed if can be established against a particular defendant that exposure was more than minimal.
Asbestosis and pleural thickening cases are said, in law, to be divisible diseases, i.e. every defendant who has exposed a claimant to asbestos will have contributed to the asbestosis or pleural thickening. However, the contribution will be linked to the extent of asbestos to which the claimant was exposed at each defendant’s workplace. The emphasis will be on ‘cumulative’ exposure which has been the cause and/or contributed to each of the diseases.
A claimant may recover a certain percentage only of the claim when not all of the defendants – including Insurers – can be found liable or found.