Florida ranked second in the nation for mortality from mesothelioma and asbestosis. In Florida, asbestos removal and litigation are governed by federal and state legislation. A knowledgeable mesothelioma attorney can help Floridians file compensation claims.
1. Filing a Claim in Florida
Florida ranked second in the nation for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths, after California. However, Florida’s asbestos exposure laws and regulations tend to favor defendants more frequently than California’s.
Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Florida are subject to deadlines called statutes of limitations. Experienced attorneys can interpret how the Florida statute of limitations applies to your case.
Families dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis should consult a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible. They can assist you in filing a claim to get settlements, verdicts, or trust fund awards.
You should not depend on any of this material for determining your legal rights. Consult an attorney certified to practice law in your jurisdiction for a complete understanding of your legal alternatives.
Florida Industries Known for Asbestos Exposure
Numerous asbestos-contaminated goods were utilized in construction and other industries, despite the absence of asbestos deposits in Florida.
The following industries have very high asbestos exposure risks:
- Phosphate mining
- Power generation
- Chemical processing
- Automotive repair
- Plumbing, electrical work and other home repair
- Construction and demolition
Mesothelioma attorneys have assisted Floridians in obtaining compensation for occupational and secondary asbestos exposure.
2. Law Firms Practicing in Florida
Residents in Florida who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma should consider hiring a national mesothelioma law firm because these firms have comprehensive knowledge and reach that local law firms cannot match.
Large asbestos producers who carelessly exposed you or a loved one to asbestos can be taken on by national businesses with the necessary experience and resources. In 2022, for instance, Weitz & Luxenburg gained $43 million for a mesothelioma sufferer after a jury determined that Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. was responsible for asbestos exposure.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Law Firms
- Weitz & Luxenberg
- Cooney & Conway
- Simmons Hanly Conroy
- Nemeroff Law
- Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman
Even though national mesothelioma law companies do not have Florida offices, their attorneys will come to you for interviews and depositions.
This is one of the advantages of using a national mesothelioma firm. They will travel to your residence at no cost. In addition, they offer the best possibility of winning an asbestos case with a substantial compensation.
3. Asbestos Verdicts Awarded to Florida Workers
Although Florida’s asbestos case history is not as extensive as that of other states, mesothelioma plaintiffs have been given multimillion-dollar awards by Florida juries.
- $8.5 Million in 2017: As an employee benefits consultant from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, Dennis Britt was exposed to asbestos in several sites. He filed a lawsuit against the firms that owned the facilities after developing mesothelioma. In 2017, a Florida jury awarded the Britt estate $8,500,000.
- $21 Million in 2016: Richard Batchelor was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015 as a result of his asbestos exposure while working in Florida power plants. Richard and Regina Batchelor launched a lawsuit against Florida Power & Light Co., Foster Wheeler, and Bechtel Corp. after his diagnosis. In 2016, a jury in Florida awarded the Batchelors $21 million for pain, suffering, disability, and other damages.
- $6.6 Million in 2015: William Aubin was exposed to Union Carbide’s asbestos pellets, a 99.9% asbestos product used in drywall joint compound and textured sprays, from 1972 to 1974.
Aubin was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2008 and subsequently filed a case against Union Carbide and other makers of asbestos-containing products.
A Florida jury awarded Aubin $6.6 million in damages, but the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the judgement.
The Florida Supreme Court reinstated the verdict against Union Carbide in 2015 because the appellate court’s ruling was inconsistent with past decisions in similar cases.
These are examples of jury verdicts, however the vast majority of mesothelioma lawsuits are settled outside of court.
National mesothelioma law firms routinely negotiate mesothelioma payouts in excess of $1 million.
Additionally, seasoned law firms often collect six-figure payouts from asbestos trust funds.
4. Florida Asbestos Laws and Regulations
A combination of federal and state regulations control asbestos claims in Florida. The asbestos laws of Florida can be found in the Florida Administrative Code.
Regulations Governing Asbestos in Florida
- Chapter 62-257: Defines different types of asbestos work, describes notification procedures and includes information about fees and official forms.
- Chapter 61E1: Contains the laws governing the training, certification and licensure of asbestos workers. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation enforce these laws to protect workers and the public from asbestos exposure.
In addition to state asbestos regulations, federal statutes, such as the Clean Air Act, add a layer of regulation. The Asbestos Removal Program was initiated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 1982 to safeguard the public from asbestos released during repair and demolition of damaged structures.
State Departments Overseeing Florida’s Asbestos Laws
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
The Asbestos Removal Program is administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Certain facilities are required to notify the department before asbestos removal. Notification of asbestos removal must be submitted at least ten days before the start of the job.
DEP’s Asbestos Letters, Determinations, and Clarifications contain information regarding compliance with state asbestos regulations.
Florida Laws Affecting Asbestos Lawsuits
- Florida Statutes and Constitution Chapter 95: Defines statutes of limitations in Florida.
- Florida Statutes and Constitution Chapter 768: Defines Florida’s negligence laws.
An experienced Florida mesothelioma attorney can interpret how these laws affect your case. In Florida, a competent attorney can win the best possible compensation for your case. They have the knowledge and ability to take on the firms who caused you or a loved one’s mesothelioma.
5. Asbestos Litigation Trends in Florida
The state of Florida’s courts have created procedures and legal standards to manage asbestos litigation. A mesothelioma lawyer can assess whether or not these guidelines apply to your case.
Florida’s asbestos litigation statutes are quite basic and consistent with those of the majority of other states. A handful of statutes differ from the norm, such as Florida’s position on punitive damages.
Punitive Damages Are Restricted in Florida.
Most states do not limit punitive damages, which are intended to punish a defendant from committing similar actions in the future and to deter others from doing so as well. In asbestos disputes, Florida law precludes punitive damages outright.
2005 Asbestos and Silica Compensation Equity Act
Florida accounted for 4% of the nation’s new asbestos lawsuits in 2000. Five years later, the state created legislation to regulate asbestos cases and began to limit these claims.
As with asbestos litigation reforms enacted in Texas, Ohio, and Georgia, Florida’s law was enacted to minimize the number of pending asbestos claims and restrict new filings to those brought by plaintiffs with the most severe illnesses.
The statute, known as the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act of 2005, established a higher bar for plaintiffs to clear when making a claim by requiring greater evidence, including asbestos exposure evidence, at the time a lawsuit is filed.
No Strict Liability for Asbestos Vendors
When Florida passed the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act, the focus in asbestos claims switched to the conduct of the seller. The law stipulates that a defendant who sells asbestos but does not produce it is only liable if the plaintiff proves the following:
- Plaintiff was harmed as a result of the seller’s failure to exercise reasonable care with regard to the product.
- The plaintiff was injured due to the seller’s breach of an express warranty (a guarantee on the quality of the product).
- The seller engaged in intentional wrongdoing.
Before 2005, Florida required strict culpability for injuries caused by defective products. Regardless of responsibility, everyone in the distribution chain of a defective product was liable for any subsequent damage. In other words, the product’s defect, not the seller’s conduct, determined culpability.
Additionally, Florida limits the liability of a corporation (the successor) that merges or consolidates with another company whose liabilities involve asbestos (the predecessor). At the time of the merger or consolidation, any possible liability is capped at the fair market value of the predecessor’s entire gross assets.
Nonmalignant Asbestos Claims
Claimants with nonmalignant asbestos claims — such as asbestosis or pleural thickening — may only file lawsuits in Florida if they provide evidence of a physical impairment caused by asbestos exposure.
A claimant with a nonmalignant asbestos-related illness, such as asbestosis, has a limited amount of time to initiate a lawsuit in Florida. However, the same individual is not automatically precluded from filing a new claim if he or she gets asbestos-related cancer in the future.
Different diseases have various statutes of limitations. As a condition of settlement, defendants cannot demand nonmalignant asbestos claimants to waive any future claims of asbestos-related cancers.
When and how a claimant may submit a claim with an asbestos trust fund is governed by state legislation. Florida is among the states who permit setoffs.
If a plaintiff has received money from a trust fund, the defendants they sue may subtract that amount from the court award. An experienced mesothelioma attorney in Florida can provide the finest advice regarding how the state’s trust fund statutes may relate to your case.