Filing Claims in Florida

Florida has the unfortunate privilege of being ranked second in the country for deaths from mesothelioma.

Despite this, Florida takes a less strict approach to asbestos exposure than other states including California, the state with the highest incidence of asbestos-related deaths. California and other states favor defendants notably less and are more strict in their laws.

Like other states, Florida has a statute of limitations for filing claims for personal injury or wrongful death. For asbestos exposure, this limit is 2 years for wrongful death and 4 years for personal injury

Consulting with a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible is vital for the outcome of your case when you or a loved one is working through a mesothelioma diagnosis or recent asbestos-related death and these lawyers can help to get the deserved payouts from verdicts, lawsuits, or trust funds.

Though Florida has no natural asbestos deposits (or mines, as a result), raw asbestos is shipped into the state by the tons and an incalculable number of asbestos-contaminated products for construction and other industries have been used. 

Industries in the State Known for Exposing Workers to Asbestos

  • Aviation
  • Auto repair
  • Chemical processing
  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Electrical work
  • Home repair
  • Phosphate mining
  • Plumbing
  • Power
  • Shipbuilding

Law Firms Practicing in Florida

Patients who have received a diagnosis of mesothelioma should make use of a mesothelioma firm with a nationwide practice. These law firms have extensive experience and resources available that local ones don’t and these resources and experience which will work for you as they attempt to bring you the justice and compensation you and your family need and deserve.

Mesothelioma Law Firms Who are Established Nationally

  • Cooney & Conway
  • Galiher DeRoberts & Waxman
  • Nemeroff Law
  • Simmons Hanly Conroy
  • Weitz & Luxenberg

Their lawyers, even without a location in Florida, will typically travel to you as they conduct interviews and collect dispositions—which is just one of the benefits of using an experienced, nationwide mesothelioma law firm.

Verdicts Awarded to Florida Workers in Asbestos Cases

Despite Florida lacking the strong history of asbestos cases that other states have, juries in the state have awarded mesothelioma plaintiffs verdicts in the millions of dollars. 

$9 Million in 2017: Having been exposed to asbestos from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, Dennis Britt was exposed to asbestos at a number of facilities while working at his job in employee benefits. After receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma, Britt filed suit against the owning corporations. Though the plaintiff died during the trial, “a jury awarded his wife, Rosa-Maria Britt, $8.5 million in compensatory damages and his estate $519,265 in medical and funeral expenses.”

$21 Million in 2016: Diagnosed in 2015 after working at Florida power plants, Richard Batchelor filed a suit against Florida Power & Light Co. for pain, suffering, and disability, the jury awarded the plaintiff $21 million in damages.

$70 Million in 2019: Charles Thornton, diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016 after exposure to “asbestos-containing products he encountered when performing maintenance work on biopharmaceutical equipment while working at a number of facilities over his 40-year career,” was awarded this sum by a jury who found GEA Mechanical Equipment to be responsible for his exposure and resultant cancer.

Though most mesothelioma lawsuits are settled outside of court, these verdicts were from trials. Experienced, nationwide firms often retrieve settlements of over a million dollars as well as trust fund payouts with six-figure sums. 

Asbestos Laws and Regulations in Florida

In Florida, both federal and state laws regulate asbestos.

The federal law known as the Clean Air Act and others help to regulate asbestos in addition to the state’s own laws. In an effort to protect the public from asbestos exposure in 1982, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection began its Asbestos Removal Program to assess asbestos which can be released during the course of the demolition and renovation of buildings contaminated with the mineral.

The Florida Administrative Code contains its asbestos statutes.

Florida Regulations Which Govern Asbestos

Chapter 61E1: The laws contained here control how asbestos workers receive certification, training, and licensure.

Chapter 62-257: This regulates the various kinds of asbestos work and defines the procedures for notification procedures as well as fee and form information.

The State Departments Which Oversee the Asbestos Laws in Florida 

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Overseeing Florida’s Asbestos Removal Program is the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which requires that the department receives notice prior to the removal of asbestos from specific buildings. This notification must be submitted no later than ten days before a project commences. 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Asbestos Letters, Determinations and Clarifications page is where the asbestos regulations can be found.

Laws in Florida Which Affects its Asbestos Lawsuits

  • Florida Statutes and Constitution Chapter 95:  Outlines the statutes of limitations
  • Florida Statutes and Constitution Chapter 768: Defines the state’s laws regarding negligence

The manner in which these laws affect your individual case is something your attorney will be able to provide guidance with. 

Litigations Trends in Florida Asbestos Cases

The courts in Florida have their own procedures and standards in resolving asbestos litigation. Though they are more or less in line with those of other states, some differ, like the way the state treats punitive damages.

Punitive damages, which are a means by which a defendant can be deterred from committing offenses in the future similar to those for which they were previously to be liable, does not allow these to be used in asbestos lawsuits. This is not the case in the majority of states.

The Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act of 2005

This act raised the threshold for filing plaintiffs by imposing stricter requirements regarding evidence, including exposure to asbestos, when filing a lawsuit.

Asbestos Sellers and Liability

A law set into motion in 2005 changed the focus from products to the conduct of the seller. It eliminates “strict liability for defendants who sold, but did not manufacture, asbestos or silica. Under the act, a seller of asbestos or silica will only be liable when its acts or omissions injured the plaintiff.”

Successor Liability

Florida sets limits on the liability of a successor company which merges with a predecessor company which has liabilities related to asbestos. The liability has a cap for the fair market value of the assets of the predecessor at the time for the merger.

Claims Involving Non-Malignant Asbestos Diseases

Asbestos diseases which are non-malignant may only file Florida suits if proof can be provided that the illness was caused by exposure to asbestos.

Two-Disease Rule

With different statutes of limitations for each, non-malignant diseases have a limited time in which to file, but if cancer develops, they may be able to file a different claim.

No requirement may be made by the defendant for the plaintiff to release future claims of cancers as a settlement condition.

Trust Funds

Florida, unlike some states, allows a defendant to deduct trust compensation from a claimant’s awarded compensation if said claimant sues the defendant.