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Determining Responsibility For Asbestos Exposure

One of the primary questions in asbestos litigation is whether the plaintiff was actually exposed to the defendant’s product.   To make the defendant liable, there should be proximity between the plaintiff, and the defendant’s product. People whose work brings them into contact with asbestos and workers who renovate buildings with asbestos in them may inhale fibers that are in the air; this is called occupational exposure.  Workers’ families may inhale asbestos fibers released by clothes that have been in contact with asbestos-containing materials; this is called para occupational exposure.  People who live or work near asbestos-related operations might inhale asbestos fibers that have been released into the air by such operation; this is called neighborhood exposure.

 In civil court lawsuits for damages, legal responsibility for injuries caused by asbestos exposure is mostly determined under the law of product liability.  A product liability case arises when manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are claimed as responsible for the injuries caused by those products[1].  Products liability law consists of common and/or statutory law provisions that allow damages to be obtained against sellers or manufacturers of defective products that cause injuries.  Products liability lawsuits typically involve claims of mismanufacture, misrepresentation, defective design, or a failure to warn or instruct the consumer regarding safe use of the product.[2]  Product liability cases are usually based on one of three theories: (1) breach of warranty; (2) negligence; or (3) strict liability


[1] Wikipedia on product liability. 

[2] West Law/50 state statutory surveys/civil laws/torts

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