01. Pennsylvania Law Firms
Top Mesothelioma Law Firms in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania asbestos victims can seek help from skilled mesothelioma attorneys. Several dedicated mesothelioma law firms work to help clients in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has historically been a popular state to file mesothelioma cases in. According to a recent KCIC industry report, Philadelphia was one of the top jurisdictions for filing mesothelioma lawsuits.
Once hired, a mesothelioma law firm will get to work building a strong case. Because of mesothelioma’s long latency period, patients may not know when they were exposed. Law firms have the expertise and resources to identify exposure sources.
After identifying potentially liable companies, a firm’s lawyers can file a lawsuit and handle the litigation process on behalf of their client.
The following top mesothelioma law firms are prepared to represent clients in Pennsylvania:
There are numerous advantages to choosing an asbestos law firm to handle a mesothelioma case. These firms have specialized knowledge of the asbestos liability landscape. This helps them build, file and resolve cases in a way that leads to the best outcome for their clients.
Resources for Mesothelioma Patients
02. Filing Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
Filing Mesothelioma Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has a high number of mesothelioma claims and lawsuits. Philadelphia, especially, has a very active asbestos docket. In a 2022 report, Philadelphia ranked as the fourth-highest jurisdiction for asbestos-related claims.
- Philadelphia and Allegheny were among the top 15 jurisdictions in the United States for asbestos filings in 2022, with a combined total of 313 new filings.
- Philadelphia had one of the largest increases in mesothelioma filings from 2021 to 2022, with a 42% rise. Mesothelioma cases made up 105 of the state’s asbestos filings.
Between 1999 and 2019, Pennsylvania ranked third in the country for the most mesothelioma diagnoses. The state also had the third-highest mortality from malignant mesothelioma between 1999 and 2020, with 3,488 mesothelioma deaths.
Pennsylvania has various industries, such as manufacturing and mining, that have historically been linked to high asbestos use. Anyone who develops an illness as a result of asbestos exposure in Pennsylvania may be eligible for legal action and financial compensation. Mesothelioma attorneys can file lawsuits and trust fund claims on behalf of asbestos victims.
Who Is Eligible to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
Individuals who lived or worked in Pennsylvania may have been exposed to asbestos at various sites. Those who develop mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases may be eligible to file lawsuits. Patients’ loved ones may also be eligible to file wrongful death lawsuits.
Exposure can also occur in communities from industrial activities. For example, Ambler, Pennsylvania, was the home of the nation’s first asbestos textile plant. Asbestos from the plant was placed in piles that posed a hazard to nearby residents.
Asbestos was also common in building materials used in homes and schools. For instance, reports showed high levels of asbestos in Philadelphia schools. Other schools in Pennsylvania faced similar asbestos issues, such as the Scranton School District.
Residents of Pennsylvania who lived in the following cities and towns have filed mesothelioma lawsuits to seek compensation from manufacturers and distributors of asbestos:
- Allegheny, PA
- Allentown, PA
- Allison Park, PA
- Ambler, PA
- Barto, PA
- Beaver, PA
- Beaver Falls, PA
- Bellefonte, PA
- Bethel Park, PA
- Bethlehem, PA
- Boiling Springs, PA
- Bradford, PA
- Bulger, PA
- Butler, PA
- Clifton Township, PA
- Coal Center, PA
- Conneaut Lake, PA
- Corry, PA
- Cranberry Township, PA
- Dalton, PA
- Drums, PA
- Eagleville, PA
- Edinboro, PA
- Erie, PA
- Fairless Hills, PA
- Fogelsville, PA
- Franklin, PA
- Gettysburg, PA
- Gladwyne, PA
- Glen Mills, PA
- Glenshaw, PA
- Greensburg, PA
- Hanover, PA
- Harding, PA
- Harleysville, PA
- Harrisburg, PA
- Hauston, PA
- Havertown, PA
- Hazleton, PA
- Hollsopple, PA
- Homer City, PA
- Hopwood, PA
- Horsham, PA
- Indiana, PA
- Johnstown, PA
- Kennett Square, PA
- Lafayette Hill, PA
- Lancaster, PA
- Langhorne, PA
- Latrobe, PA
- Lattimer, PA
- Lebanon, PA
- Lititz, PA
- Mainsburg, PA
- Manheim, PA
- Matamoras, PA
- McDonald, PA
- McKean, PA
- McMurray, PA
- Mercer, PA
- Milford, PA
- Milton, PA
- Nescopeck, PA
- New Brighton, PA
- New Paris, PA
- Nicholson, PA
- Norristown, PA
- Northampton, PA
- Old Forge, PA
- Orrtanna, PA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Phoenixville, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Plains, PA
- Plymouth, PA
- Port Carbon, PA
- Pottstown, PA
- Quakertown, PA
- Quarryville, PA
- Ralston, PA
- Reading, PA
- S. Abington Twp, PA
- Sayre, PA
- Schnecksville, PA
- Scranton, PA
- Seven Valleys, PA
- Shamokin, PA
- Snow Shoe, PA
- South Gibson, PA
- Spring Grove, PA
- Sugarloaf, PA
- Tionesta, PA
- Union City, PA
- Wapwallopen, PA
- Warren, PA
- West Chester, PA
- Whitehall, PA
- Windber, PA
- Wyomissing, PA
- York, PA
Deadlines for Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania requires asbestos lawsuits to be filed by time frames found in laws called statutes of limitations. The time frame runs from the date of diagnosis or the date of death. The Pennsylvania statutes of limitations are two years for all asbestos-related lawsuits.
Pennsylvania Statutes of Limitations
Lawsuits must be filed within 2 years after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Lawsuits must be filed within 2 years after death from mesothelioma.
Those who cannot file a lawsuit because of a missed filing window or other reasons may still have options for getting compensation. For instance, some may be eligible to file an asbestos trust fund claim against bankrupt asbestos companies. Victims may also be able to file a lawsuit in another state.
Mesothelioma patients and other eligible individuals may file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania courts or another state. Experienced Pennsylvania mesothelioma attorneys help their clients start this process, then continue to support them throughout the lawsuit process. Lawsuits require filing in court, gathering evidence and navigating the judicial system. Mesothelioma attorneys in Pennsylvania can help protect the rights of those impacted by asbestos and handle the lawsuit process.
Did You Know?
Filing VA Claims in Pennsylvania
Veterans with service-related asbestos diseases like mesothelioma may qualify for monthly benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Historically, military service members have faced significant asbestos exposure risks. Asbestos products were commonly used throughout all branches of the military before the 1980s.
For example, the Philadelphia Navy Yard was primarily used for industrial research and development and shipbuilding up until 1990. Veterans and workers at the shipyard may have been exposed to asbestos through insulation, boilers, gaskets and other components. As a result, service members from the Navy, Marines and other military branches have developed asbestos illnesses. In 1996, the Navy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) partnered to shut down and clean up the shipyard. Asbestos was one of multiple contaminants at the site.
Veterans with mesothelioma or other asbestos illnesses may qualify for VA benefit claims and additional compensation from other sources like lawsuits.
Filing for Benefits With the VA vs. Filing Lawsuits Against Asbestos Companies
The government sets aside VA benefit money to assist veterans in acknowledgement of their service to the country. It is the government’s policy that it owes these benefits to any qualified veteran.
Mesothelioma lawsuits are separate actions that do not involve suing the government. When veterans file mesothelioma lawsuits, they sue asbestos companies that manufactured and distributed asbestos to the U.S. military.
03. Pennsylvania Settlements & Verdicts
Mesothelioma Settlements in Pennsylvania
Victims of asbestos exposure in Pennsylvania have received millions of dollars in compensation through asbestos settlements and jury verdicts. In general, settlements range from $1 million to $1.4 million, but individual cases may result in higher amounts.
In one example, a Philadelphia school teacher was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma after years of exposure to asbestos in school buildings. She obtained an $850,000 settlement from the school district.
Additional settlements in Pennsylvania include:
- $6.4 million for a 65-year-old shipyard worker (Maryland Drydock)
- $5.3 million for a 47-year-old laborer with talc exposure
- $4.3 million for a 69-year-old Marine Corps veteran and flooring installer
- $3.7 million for a 78-year-old plumber and boilermaker
- $3.6 million for a 61-year-old maintenance worker and electrician with secondary exposure
- $3.6 million for a 70-year-old Navy veteran and electrician (PPG Industries)
- $3.1 million for a 64-year-old laborer and home auto mechanic
- $2.9 million for an 83-year-old Army veteran and shipyard worker (Treasure Island Naval Station)
- $2.6 million for a 76-year-old railroad worker, air traffic controller and home mechanic
- $2.5 million for a 71-year-old Marine veteran and shipyard worker (Philadelphia Naval Shipyard)
Mesothelioma Verdicts in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania judges and juries have found multiple asbestos companies liable for their role in causing mesothelioma. These companies used and manufactured asbestos products, exposing workers and consumers.
Examples of mesothelioma verdicts in Pennsylvania include:
- $7.25 million to a shipyard worker’s widow: In 2014, a Pennsylvania jury awarded the estate of a deceased Navy shipyard worker $7.25 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. The jury found the defendant, RSCC Wire & Cable, responsible for his asbestos exposure and resulting mesothelioma.
- $2.3 million to a maintenance worker’s widow: In 2016, a Pennsylvania court upheld a verdict that awarded the spouse of a deceased maintenance worker $2.3 million. One of the defendants, Crane Co., made asbestos-containing gaskets that the victim installed.
Note: Each lawsuit is different, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome in the future. Contact a reputable Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyer to understand how much compensation you may be eligible to receive.
04. Asbestos Laws in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Asbestos Laws & Regulations
Pennsylvania’s history and high numbers of asbestos-related illnesses have likely influenced how the state handles asbestos now. In addition to federal laws, state legislation and regulations aim to protect citizens and address the large number of asbestos claims in Pennsylvania.
The Department of Environmental Protection and the State Department of Labor are involved in the regulation of asbestos.
The Asbestos Occupations Accreditation and Certification Act, passed in 1990, recognizes the dangers of asbestos and sets requirements for asbestos handling and abatement. The Act regulates certification programs for those who handle asbestos, such as when remodeling or cleaning older buildings. It also sets terms for when and how companies must notify the Department of Labor when working with asbestos.
Pennsylvania Laws Affecting Asbestos Litigation
Pennsylvania also has several asbestos laws related to litigation.
In 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld an exception to the state’s workers’ compensation law. Usually, Pennsylvania workers cannot sue their employers. Instead, they must file claims against the companies’ workers’ compensation policies for potentially lower payouts. The court’s ruling confirmed that most asbestos cases fall under an exception to this rule, and victims can directly sue their employer.
Other Pennsylvania laws establish rules for asbestos cases, such as medical criteria and case management.
- Case management: Pennsylvania has policies in place to prioritize more serious cases involving more serious asbestos illnesses, like mesothelioma. For example, asbestos victims with asymptomatic pleural thickening are not eligible for compensation.
- Causation: Despite medical acceptance that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, Pennsylvania courts have rejected the “each and every exposure” theory of causation. This means that a one-time exposure to asbestos is not enough to establish that exposure caused a person’s asbestos disease. Asbestos victims need to demonstrate they worked closely with asbestos on a regular and frequent basis.
- Company successor liability: When a company merges with or acquires an asbestos company, it may assume that company’s asbestos liabilities. Pennsylvania laws may limit the liability of the successor company.
- Medical criteria: Pennsylvania laws limit lawsuits from asbestos-exposure victims who do not experience physical impairment from their diagnosis. This includes emotional distress caused by an increased fear of cancer from non-malignant asbestos conditions like pleural thickening. However, people can file a lawsuit later should they develop a malignancy in the future.
- Two disease rule: Pennsylvania courts have also adopted the “two disease rule,” which allows for separate lawsuits based on separate conditions. Someone who has both mesothelioma and lung cancer may be able to file two different lawsuits.
Mesothelioma lawyers have an understanding of these laws and how they may impact a case. They can help Pennsylvania asbestos victims determine their best filing options for compensation, including where to file.