Asbestos Verdict

Kacy Hagerty: Last week, a jury in Tampa awarded nearly $37 million in an asbestos suit. And, these types of cases can be a little complicated because they usually involve injuries that resulted from exposure to asbestos decades earlier. Atty. Jim Higgins with the Higgins Firm recently stopped by to tell us what happened.

All right, we’ve got Jim back in the studio with us today. Jim, thanks for being here.

Jim Higgins: Thank you.

Kacy Hagerty: All right, let’s talk a little bit about this recent asbestos verdict. So, tell us what happened here and why the case was so large?

Jim Higgins: Yes, this was a $37 million verdict for a gentleman who had worked as a mechanic and had been around asbestos and things like that and got $37 million verdict, because he ended up contracting cancer, mesothelioma, and - which is caused by asbestos. And, recently this case has tried and that’s the verdict that came back. And, I think the reason you see such a large verdict and we see those in our asbestos cases occasionally is before one is it’s a horrible disease to have.

Kacy Hagerty: Absolutely.

Jim Higgins: I mean, it attacks your lungs. It attacks your heart. It’s almost always fatal. And, two, when - what comes out in these cases is the fact that when asbestos was around, you know, ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s that the companies knew it was a danger. And, despite that, they continue to let these workers around it, they didn’t warn them about it, because they were too worried about it causing their bottom line. They put these profits over people.

Kacy Hagerty: Yes.

Jim Higgins: And, so, that’s kind of a formula of a high verdict in these cases.

Kacy Hagerty: Right, absolutely. So, what is your typical asbestos case like? What do you typically see?

Jim Higgins: Well, you know, usually it’s someone later in life that was around it when they were younger. They’ll get a diagnosis from the doctor and the doctor can pretty - usually pretty quickly say this is asbestos-related cancer.

Kacy Hagerty: OK.

Jim Higgins: And, you know, there’s a lot of traits that were around it. We end up having a lot of people represent it. They were in the Navy or boilermaker, electricians, mechanics like in this case, and roofers. I mean, asbestos was in a lot of common building materials and like I said, these people had no idea what they were working around in 1960 or 1970.

Kacy Hagerty: Right, so is it - for someone out there who thinks they have it, maybe they’ve been in the doctor and gotten...

Jim Higgins: Yes.

Kacy Hagerty: ...report like that, when should they contact your office, right away?

Jim Higgins: Immediately, you know, and that’s so hard, because you get this devastating news from your doctor. But, Tennessee, unfortunately like a lot of States, but Tennessee has a really short statute of limitations, and as soon as that doctor says, “Hey, you’ve got an asbestos-related cancer.” Your clock starts running.

Kacy Hagerty: Yes.

Jim Higgins: And, you know, there’s money there to help people, and the help with medical bills, and the help with the family. But, you know, so often people will call us after their has passed and it’s too late. So, it’s really important to call early and it didn’t anything. And, we don’t mind talking to people to let them know if they have a claim or they don’t have a claim, we can usually narrow that down pretty quick.

Kacy Hagerty: OK, so the sooner, the better. Thanks for helping out a lot of people.

Jim Higgins: Thank you.

Kacy Hagerty: The Higgins Firm is serving Tennessee, give them a call at 615-924-8500 or go to higginsfirm.com.