New York City Courts Rule Asbestos Cancer Victims can Ask for Punitive Damages in Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Thumbnail image for iStock-460053679.jpgNew York City’s asbestos courts recently issued new orders expanding the rights of mesothelioma cancer victims to seek enhanced damages from defendants for the harm caused by dangerously designed and manufactured products. The order is a reversal of a previous New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) declaration that deferred claims for punitive damages indefinitely and deprived mesothelioma victims the opportunity to hold wrongdoers accountable for their indifference to public safety.

Until this order, claims asking for punitive damages were relegated to the court’s Deferred Docket system under the guise of promoting pretrial settlements to avoid monopolizing the court’s limited resources. Unfortunately, these types of administrative actions can hamper the rights of plaintiffs to fully recover all possible forms of damages. The order had effectively put a stay on claims for punitive damages, until such a time as the court saw fit to reverse the directive.

Currently, asbestos cancer plaintiffs with punitive damages claims in the Deferred Docket system may file an amended complaint within 30-days to either the court’s Accelerated or Active dockets and allow their case to move forward in its entirety. Furthermore, filed complaints not currently seeking punitive damages may be amended to include prayers for such relief, so long as the plaintiffs can show just cause for doing so.

The order is welcome news to many plaintiffs with active asbestos cancer claims in New York City. All too often, powerful entities are able to skirt taking full liability for the harm caused to hard working people injured by using asbestos-contaminated products. Fortunately, the court felt the time was right to reverse its previous order.

What are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are a unique type of compensation that courts may see fit to award plaintiffs for especially egregious and wanton behavior by defendants. Although each case is unique, punitive damage awards can be quite substantial, since these types of awards are meant to punish bad actors for their reckless behavior and indifference to public safety.

Most courts tend to have high pleadings standards for punitive damages and so there is no guarantee that plaintiffs can recover these types of damages. However, an experienced and dedicated mesothelioma attorney can help plaintiffs make a strong argument to the courts and advocate for the rights of injured victims to hold wrongdoers accountable for placing profits ahead of ordinary people.

Besides punitive damages, asbestos cancer victims can recover compensation for their medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of services. Surviving family members may file claims on behalf of deceased relatives who passed away as the result of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.

Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

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