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Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos Litigation
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Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation

For over five decades, Jon Gelman has represented thousands of individuals who have become ill from exposure to asbestos fiber. He is the author of a nationally recognized treatise, now in its 3rd edition, on the subject. He has lectured extensively on asbestos litigation. On behalf of his clients, he has successfully brought claims against the suppliers, manufacturers, and health research groups of asbestos fiber and products. These types of claims are usually referred to as product liability cases.

Type of actions
Resolution of an asbestos claim may involve several avenues: litigation (individual or consolidated with other cases), a class action, a court-approved settlement, an administrative claim or settlement, or a claim filed in bankruptcy. How your case is prosecuted will depend on what companies are responsible for and the present economic/legal status of the company. 

What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was widely used in the manufacture of various products beginning in the late nineteenth century. Although the majority of asbestos exposure occurred between 1940 and 1980 in occupations such as construction, shipyards, railroads, insulation, sheet metal, automobile repair, and other related fields, exposure continues to this day. Asbestos fibers are inhaled by workers and remain in the lungs where they can cause disease. Fibers are also inhaled by family members or anyone coming into contact with asbestos, wherever it may be. We believe that the evidence shows that the companies which manufactured these products knew that their products would injure people and that they actively conspired to hide this information to keep selling their products, and as a result, they are now being held liable for the resulting injuries. 

What diseases are caused by asbestos? 

It is generally medically accepted that asbestos can cause various types of lung disease, including pleural changes, with or without impairment, and asbestosis, which is fibrosis or scarring of the lungs, also with or without impairment. Also associated with asbestos exposure are certain cancers of the lung, and a very rare cancer of the lining of the lung, or lining of the stomach, called mesothelioma. In certain limited circumstances, there has been an association between asbestos exposure and other cancers of the digestive tract, such as esophageal, laryngeal, kidney, stomach, and colon-rectum cancers. 

What is a latency period? 
The time between exposure to asbestos and disease development is called the latency period. The average latency period for the asbestos-related disease is typically ten to twenty years from the first exposure. However, in some, more rare instances, diseases may develop in shorter or longer time frames. 

Product Identification
An essential element in your case is determining and proving which asbestos companies’ products caused exposure to you. This is an important aspect of the claim. 

This is the traditional legal remedy which is the filing of a lawsuit against certain companies. A lawsuit must be filed within a certain time as permitted by a Statute of Limitations. This time varies from state to state. Filing a lawsuit requires the preparation of a case for trial, including depositions and interrogatories (questions answered under oath). Settlements may occur during the prosecution of the case. Certain defendants may settle the case before trial or during a trial. 

Specific companies that may be responsible for your asbestos injury are under the protection of the bankruptcy court and may have separate claim procedures. These companies include Johns Manville, UNR a/k/a The Union Asbestos and Rubber Company (Unarco), Amatex, H.K. Porter, 48 Insulation, Paycor, Nicolet, Raytech, Raybestos, Raytech-Raybestos Manhattan, Gatke, Keene Corporation, Standard, Eagle Picher, Babcock & Wilcox, Pittsburgh Corning, and Celotex. All of these are in various stages of bankruptcy, affecting how, when, and if you will ever receive compensation from them.


The author, Jon L. Gelman, practices law in Wayne, NJ. He is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L.,  Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos Litigation, (1999),

© 1999-2023 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.

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