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Florida Mesothelioma and Asbestos Laws

What is Mesothelioma in Florida

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer mostly traced to asbestos exposure.

Florida reported around 14,248 asbestos-related deaths between 1999 and 2013, with 4,429 Floridians diagnosed with mesothelioma between 1999 and 2017. Reports show that Florida has the second-highest diagnosis and deaths for mesothelioma. The industries contributing most to asbestos exposure are power plants, construction, offshore oil and gas, agriculture, and construction.

Residents who come down with asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, are usually eligible for compensation. However, they must file the lawsuit no later than four years from diagnosis. Death-related claims must be filed not later than two years after death from mesothelioma. Records of Mesothelioma lawsuits or claims are typically filed along with other Florida court records unless restricted by court order.

Florida is one of the states at the forefront of the fight against mesothelioma and other issues linked to asbestos exposure. As such, the state has enacted laws and adopted a number of federal regulations to limit the health hazards and problems arising from exposure to this substance. Asbestos Regulations in Florida include:

  • 40 CFR61 Subpart M (Code of Federal Regulations)

Provides the National emissions standard for asbestos mills, roadways, manufacturing, demolition, renovation, spraying, fabricating, insulating materials, air cleaning, etc. The chapter also describes the purpose and functions of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as it relates to limiting asbestos exposure in the country.

  • Florida Administrative Code

Florida’s Administrative Code adopts the asbestos NESHAP (which will be discussed below) in its entirety and establishes fees per material amount. It also provides for the administration of the asbestos removal program among other things.

  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) in Florida

OSHA applies to Florida and prescribes standards that employers must follow to safeguard workers against asbestos hazards depending on the industry or workplace type. It regulates the permissible exposure limits and mandates that records on exposure monitoring for asbestos be kept for a specified period.

  • Asbestos NESHAP

Florida adheres to the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) which was created by the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This provision aims at reducing the amounts of asbestos fibers that are released into the air.

  • County Codes

Some counties prescribe codes for the removal of asbestos within their jurisdiction. For example, Pinellas County's Code of Ordinances adopts and incorporates the rules regarding asbestos removal in the Florida Administrative Code. It also makes some modifications of its own that apply exclusively to the county.

What is Mesothelioma in Florida?

Mesothelioma, although rare, is an aggressive, incurable and deadly form of cancer that occurs in the mesothelium (the thin tissues that line the external surface of the majority of the body’s internal organs). Although medical practitioners may divide mesothelioma into various forms depending on the affected parts, there are generally two types of mesothelioma:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma (often malignant pleural mesothelioma) is so called because it grows in the pleural which is the membrane that lines the lung and chest walls. This is the most common form of mesothelioma, accounting for the majority of cases.

  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the rarer form of this cancer and accounts for only one-fifth to one-third of mesothelioma cases. This type of mesothelioma forms in the lining of the stomach or abdominal cavity.

Other types of mesothelioma include pericardial and testicular mesothelioma. While there are many factors associated with mesothelioma, asbestos is the primary carcinogen responsible for this type of cancer. According to the National Library of Science, the majority of malignant mesothelioma patients worked in industries where they were exposed to asbestos particles. However, because it has a long latency period, it can take 15 to 70 years after asbestos exposure for victims to develop this type of cancer. Common symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, coughing, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, nausea, and swollen abdomen.

The United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) report on Incidence of Malignant Mesothelioma from 1999 - 2018 reveals that there were 2, 875 reported cases of mesothelioma in the county in 2018. Per the report, the new mesothelioma cases affected more men than women by a wide margin. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a significant increase in the annual death tolls among women with mesothelioma. According to the statistics, the number of deaths increased to 614 in 2020 from 489 in 1999. Generally, there are 2500 - 3000 reported incidences of mesothelioma every year in the USA.

Florida is one of the U.S states with the high mortality rates from this type of cancer. Reports have it that Florida’s mesothelioma diagnosis is higher than the national average as there were 2,801 mesothelioma-related fatalities in the state from 1999 to 2015 alone.

History of Mesothelioma in Florida

The term, “mesothelioma” was coined by J.G Adami in 1909 to describe this rare form of lung cancer that affected the lung linings. However, the earliest record case of mesothelioma was far back in 1767 when Joseph Lieutand described two cases of probable mesothelioma as he studied thousands of autopsies. The earliest case of malignant mesothelioma in the U.S was reported in 1947 and it was not until the 1960s that the relationship between malignant mesothelioma and asbestos exposure was first demonstrated.

Asbestos is the general term for a group of minerals that occur naturally. These minerals have crystals that resemble long, thin fibers and possess special characteristics. For example, they have impressive tensile strength and are resistant to a number of conditions including fire, chemicals, and heat. Asbestos is also flexible and has acoustical properties. Due to these impressive qualities, asbestos had many nicknames including the magic mineral and inextinguishable lamp. The mineral’s fascinating characteristics also made it a choice material in the construction industry even though its earliest known use was in Finland in about 2500 B.C when the mineral was used to form durable ceramics pots after being mixed with clay. Although the first use of asbestos in the USA began in the 1800s, it was only until the 1900s that the carcinogenic qualities of the substance started gaining popularity. In 1964, Dr. Irving J. Selikoff, who had examined over a thousand employees from an asbestos plant in New Jersey, presented his research at a Biological Effects of Asbestos Conference. His findings revealed that the employees had a 25% higher mortality rate than expected and a significant number of fatalities due to cancer were asbestos-related.

The EPA made Florida the primary authority for implementing and enforcing the asbestos NESHAP in 1982. Although asbestos does not occur naturally in the state, Florida receives the substance in thousands of tons for processing and manufacturing purposes in Tampa, Jacksonville, and other major cities. Many buildings in Florida contain asbestos-containing materials (ACM) thereby putting citizens at high risk of mesothelioma. Again, Floridians get exposed to fibers of this carcinogen that are distributed during repair, demolition, maintenance, and renovation projects that disturb ACMs.

Reports have it that thousands of Floridians have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and the Florida legislature has noted an increase in the asbestos related disease-related claims. Construction materials containing this toxic substance are still very much in use today and there are over 3000 legally available construction building materials containing asbestos in the United States.

Fortunately, the Florida state government and its counties have been proactive in minimizing citizens' exposure to asbestos. Besides the various asbestos-related laws and regulations in the state, some counties, like Miami Dade County, have recognized asbestos as waste materials and operate landfills for their disposal.

Mesothelioma Survival Rate in Florida

Mesothelioma has no cure and is often diagnosed late due to its long latency period. This means a mesothelioma patient will almost always start showing symptoms when the cancer is already in its advanced stage and aggressive treatments are not advisable. In fact, while surgery is an effective procedure for removing some cancer tumors and may even treat some types of cancer, it is unclear whether it is helpful in mesothelioma cases. Furthermore, a report has shown that malignant pleural mesothelioma has no universally accepted surgical therapy. This shows that the prognosis for this kind of cancer is very poor and it has a low survival rate.

Common factors that determine mesothelioma patients’ prognosis include:

  • Early diagnosis (the earlier the diagnosis, the higher the chances of surviving mesothelioma)

  • Gender (males are at higher risk of mesothelioma fatalities than females)

  • Type of mesothelioma cell (epithelioid mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma has a higher survival rate than other cell and cancer types)

  • Age (younger mesothelioma patients have higher survival rates than older ones due a number of factors including limited treatment options and poorer overall health)

  • Race (white and hispanic people are more at risk of mesothelioma than other races)

  • Treatment (the quality of a mesothelioma patient’s treatment plan, especially how well it incorporate multiple therapies may determine their survival rates)

According to the CDC, mesothelioma patients have a median survival of a year post-diagnosis. Meanwhile, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has released a 5-year relative survival rate for 2013-2019. The data puts it at 22% for females, 10.4% for males, and 13.5% for both sexes. Note that this represents the information for all ages, races/ethnicities, and stages. Meanwhile, a population-based study shows that treatments like surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy significantly increased the life expectancy of peritoneal mesothelioma patients by almost 30%. It is important to note that the survival rates are higher with peritoneal mesothelioma cancer patients than those with pleural cancer.

Thousands of people have died from mesothelioma in Florida. While mesothelioma already has a generally poor prognosis, it is clear that age is one of the factors that determine a patient’s survival rate. The older the patient, the shorter the time between diagnosis and death. According to the U.S Census Bureau, Florida ranks second in the list of states with the highest number of seniors (above 65 years old). This may put the state at a significant disadvantage in terms of mesothelioma survival rates.

Where is Asbestos Found in Florida?

Asbestos does not occur naturally in Florida. As such, there are no asbestos mines in the state. However, because of construction sites there are several Florida asbestos exposure sites. For this reason, there are many regions and localities in the state where Floridians are highly likely to become in contact with asbestos. These areas are called exposure sites and they are typically located in places with high construction, manufacturing and general industrial activities.

In other words, asbestos can be found in Florida where there are shipyards, agricultural processing industries, chemical plants, power plants, and high offshore drilling activities. These are discussed in details below:

  • Shipyards

Shipyard workers are known to have a high rate of asbestos exposure as the material widely used in the industry due to its high temperatures and corrosion-resistance. Due to its large coastal areas, Florida houses a significant number of naval and commercial shipyards, posing a huge asbestos exposure threat to Floridians in those locations. Popular shipyards in the state include Atlantic Dry Rock, Mayport Naval Station, Hendry Corporation, and Tampa Bay Shipbuilding.

  • Agriculture

Many agricultural activities, especially sugar processing, have been known to expose workers to asbestos. Florida is one of the states with the highest sugarcane production in the country and is home to numerous sugar plants including the Florida Sugar Corporation and Florida Cane Products. These companies have sites in the state that expose workers and residents to asbestos.

  • Power Plants

There is a high risk of asbestos exposure in power plants because the mineral is one of the materials used in protecting pipes, turbines, boilers and other machinery in the industry against fires. Since Florida has high power needs, there are many power generation facilities in the state that contain asbestos. Popular Florida power plants with likely cases of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma include the Lakeland Power Plant and Florida Power and Light Company.

The Florida counties with the most asbestos exposure risks include Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Lee. Meanwhile, the Florida cities with high asbestos exposure include Bartow, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Pensacola, and Orlando.

Note that asbestos is found in about 3,600 materials including:

  • Cement pipes

  • Asphalt wall tiles

  • Cooling towers

  • Chalkboards

  • Decorative plaster

  • Laboratory gloves

  • Fire doors

  • Fireproofing materials

  • Adhesives

  • Roofing shingles

When Was Asbestos Banned in Florida?

EPA issued a final ban on all materials containing asbestos on July 12 1989. However, the ban was challenged in court and overturned in October 1991. Currently, there is no asbestos ban in Florida expect for the following:

  • Flooring felt (including new uses after August 1990)

  • Commercial paper, rollboard, specialty and corrugated paper after August 1996

  • A number of sprays used for decorations

Florida Laws & Regulations on Mesothelioma

As mentioned already, the Florida Administrative Code contains regulations that govern asbestos in the state. The primary ones are included in the following chapters:

  • 61E1

This chapter regulates how asbestos workers are trained, certified and licensed. It also provides disciplinary guidelines and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is charged with the responsibility of enforcing this rule. The department must ensure that workers and the general public are protected from asbestos exposure.

  • 62-257

This rule provides for the Asbestos Program and how it must be administered. The Asbestos Program monitors and manages how the toxic substance is removed in Florida. This provision also defines the various asbestos work types, fee schedule, notification procedures for renovating and demolishing facilities.

There are also federal asbestos-related laws and regulations applicable in Florida. They include:

  • Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)

  • Asbestos Hazard Protection Act

  • Asbestos Information Act

  • Clean Air Act

  • Safe Drinking Water Act

Note that interested individuals may view a comprehensive list of Federal asbestos laws and regulations by visiting the “Asbestos laws and Regulations” page on the official website of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Departments Overseeing Mesothelioma Laws in Florida

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is one of the primary departments enforcing and overseeing mesothelioma laws and regulations as it relates to protecting air, lands, and water in the state. FDEP administers asbestos NESHAP in particular and creates guidelines for managing catastrophic emergency situations involving asbestos in Florida.

Other departments that oversee mesothelioma laws in the state include:

  • Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is the main agency responsible for maintaining the public health of Floridians. Headquartered in Tallahassee, one of the department’s functions is to enforce the NESHAP regulations in the state.

  • Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Florida’s department of Business and Regulation serves as the licensing board for the asbestos profession. This department’s functions are in accordance with Rule 61E1 of the Florida Administrative Code and Chapter 469 of the Florida Statutes.

  • Florida Agency for Health Care Administration

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) was created by Chapter 20, Florida Statutes as the state’s primary health policy and planning body. Besides managing Florida’s medicaid program, AHCA also engages in activities that aid the enforcement of health laws in Florida.

Note that several federal and reputable nonprofit organizations also play essential roles in enforcing asbestos and mesothelioma regulations in the state. Examples of these federal regulators include the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Mines Safety and Health Administration, and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Occupational Regulations for Asbestos-Related Jobs in Florida

Several reports show that many professions have been associated with asbestos exposure. They include construction, shipbuilding, ceramics, mining, cement manufacturing, automobile mechanics, oil refining, mining, insulation, plumbing, and roofing. As a result, there are many occupational regulations for these high-risk occupations in Florida at the federal, state, and county levels.

At the federal level, the Occupational and Safety Health Act is one of the primary asbestos-related regulations, and has created these bodies to further its regulatory purposes:

  • Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA)

The primary goal is to ensure that US workers perform their official roles in safe and healthy conditions. As such, it sets occupational safety and health standards that regulate toxic and hazardous substances in the work environment, including asbestos. This regulation defines asbestos-containing materials as those that contain more than 1% asbestos and prescribes the permissible exposure and excursion limits for these materials. OSHA also regulates the implementation of the Hazard Communications Standard for asbestos for chemical manufacturers and other stakeholders in the industry.

  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH is essentially a research agency that concentrates on studying employee safety and health while providing employers and workers with resources to create safe work environments. The agency provides occupational professionals and employees with best practices to recognize and control asbestos and other chemical hazards.

There is also the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act that regulates and sets safety standards for operating mines in the country.

At the state level, Florida does not have a state-owned department of labor that regulates asbestos-related jobs in the state. The Agency for Workforce Innovation, which is the state's lead workforce body, is more concerned with driving Florida's workplace development programs, unemployment compensation, and Labor Market Statistics Program. However, the Florida Department of Health runs an Occupational Health Surveillance program that, among other things, aims to reduce and prevent workplace health hazards including asbestos-related ones. Meanwhile, the Department of Business and Professional Regulations handles the training, licensing, and certification of asbestos contractors.

Mesothelioma Infection Rate in Florida

As mentioned earlier, Florida has a higher mesothelioma diagnosis infection rate than the national average and thousands of people have died from mesothelioma-related causes in the state. Besides the aged population, one of the primary reasons for Florida’s mesothelioma infection rates is its high construction activities. Due to its favorable climate for construction, many building products and materials containing asbestos have been shipped in large amounts to various areas of the state.

In fact, occupational employment and wage statistics for May 2022 analyzed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that apart from California and Texas, Florida has the highest employment level in construction and extraction occupations in the country with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach as its top employment areas.

Since asbestos exposure accounts for up to 80% of mesothelioma cases and people in construction trades are the most heavily exposed to this mineral, it is safe to say that Florida has one of the highest mesothelioma infection rates in the country.

It is worthy of mention that asbestos-containing materials are widespread in coastal areas of which Florida is one. Statistics from the Florida Office of Coastal Management shows that about 15 million people live in the coastal portions of the state. This may be another contributing factor to the high mesothelioma infection risk in the state.

Mesothelioma Treatment in Florida

While numerous mesothelioma treatments exist in Florida, patients must be aware that this type of cancer still remains incurable. The approach to treating mesothelioma largely aims to control the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease for as long as possible. That said, these are the most common mesothelioma treatments in the state:

  • Surgery

While surgery is still effective in managing mesothelioma symptoms and removing some cancerous tissues, patients must be in good health to undergo a procedure. As such, only early-stage mesothelioma patients are typically eligible for surgery.

  • Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is one of mesothelioma’s standard treatments. It involves the use of high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells and force tumors to shrink. Often, radiation therapy is combined with other treatments and used for advanced-stage or localized mesothelioma patients. It is also one of the most common options for patient who cannot undergo surgery or chemotherapy.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy kills and prevents the growth of cancer cells using drugs. It is a common option for patients at any diagnostic stage and who are ineligible for surgery.

  • Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a relatively new treatment option for mesothelioma. It uses body or laboratory-made substances to boost the immune system and improve its ability to locate and kill cancer cells.

  • NovoTTF-1001

This therapy is the first FDA-approved treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma in 15 years. NovoTTF-1001 uses a non-invasive system that leverages electrical fields to limit tumor cell growth.

Note that research into a cure for mesothelioma is still ongoing and the efficacy of new treatments are being tested. Patients who have exhausted their treatment options may take to these clinical trials as a last resort. Individuals wishing to seek the best mesothelioma treatments in Florida may visit the health department’s cancer center of excellence designation page. There, they can view a list of cancer centers that the state has recognized as the best cancer care providers.

Florida Mesothelioma Lawsuits

As of 2019, there were about 316 diagnosed mesothelioma patients alive in Florida. It does not help that there are thousands of reported new asbestos cases across the country every year. Each confirmed case poses the potential for additional Florida asbestos lawsuits. Since many of the residential/commercial structures that were built prior to 1980 in the state were made with asbestos-containing materials and the toxin has been imported into Florida in high amounts over the years, Floridians are still at significant risk of asbestos exposure and as a result, mesothelioma.

Fortunately, Florida laws, especially the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Act, allow eligible mesothelioma patients to receive financial compensation for their ailment if they do so within the applicable statute of limitations. The Act aims at streamlining asbestos-related legal claims processes and empowering the state courts in controlling and supervising asbestos litigation.

To be eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit, victims must prove certain facts including:

  • Residence in Florida or that they were exposed to the toxins (asbestos) that caused their mesothelioma in Florida

  • Their illness meets the legal requirements (they will submit a written report to this effect with supporting test results)

  • They passed through the expected latency period for their type of mesothelioma (if the period between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis is too short, it is likely that another factor caused the cancer)

Florida courts have been known to award millions of dollars as compensation to mesothelioma victims for the economic and noneconomic damages and medical expenses they suffer due to their illnesses. Popular cases include:

  • Dennis Britt, whose estate received $8.5 million in 2017 after filing a mesothelioma lawsuit against the corporation that led to his asbestos-exposure between the late 1970s and mid-1980s

  • William Aublin, who was awarded $6.6 million in 2015 after being exposed to asbestos pellets from Union Carbide and other manufacturers of asbestos products

  • Richard Batchelor who was awarded $21 million in 2016 after his 2015 mesothelioma diagnosis

Note that mesothelioma lawsuits are often brought under the umbrellas of personal injury (which may include product liability) or wrongful death lawsuits.

Mesothelioma Claims & Settlements in Florida

A Florida mesothelioma claim refers to the legal action that patients and their families take against the party responsible for their mesothelioma in order to receive compensation for their injuries. Meanwhile, Florida mesothelioma settlements refer to the agreement refer to a resolution by the disputing parties in a mesothelioma claim that terminates further court proceedings. It is noteworthy that while mesothelioma lawsuits are filed with courts of competent jurisdictions, mesothelioma claims are handled between the opposing parties without recourse to the courts. The eligibility requirements for a Florida mesothelioma claim are similar to those in mesothelioma class action lawsuits and claimants can receive monetary awards from the negligent parties responsible for their asbestos exposure without going to court if they can reach an agreement.

Besides this, Florida allows for other methods for mesothelioma victims to receive compensation for their injuries without recourse to the courts. For example, eligible veterans can receive VA benefits if they came in contact with asbestos during their military service. Again, depending on the specifics, qualified employees can file a claim under the state's workers compensation law if their mesothelioma was due to toxin exposure in their place of work. Claimants may also be eligible to receive compensation from asbestos trust funds and social security disability insurance. They should speak to their own mesothelioma compensation attorneys to determine the most suitable option for them.

Florida Asbestos Certification

The DBPR is also responsible for regulating the licensing of asbestos companies, and individuals who specialize in removing asbestos from regulated structures or demolishing them.

Asbestos workers who need Florida asbestos certification include:

  • Professionals in asbestos business

  • Asbestos CE providers

  • Asbestos consultants (engineers, industrial. hygienists, etc)

  • Asbestos contractors

  • Asbestos financial officers

The provisions for the licensing of workers who handle asbestos-containing materials in the state is enshrined in Chapter 469 of the Florida Statutes and requirements for licensing can also be found therein. It is important to note that licenses are renewable every two years. This ensures that the professionals responsible for handling asbestos containing products remain up-to-date in the best approaches to safely handling the toxic substance.

Florida Asbestos License Lookup

Florida's DBPR maintains a database of licensed asbestos attorneys, contractors and consultants. The public can search these licenses by performing a Florida Asbestos License Lookup on the "verify a license" page where they will be able to search DBPR-licensed individuals by the following parameters:

  • Name

  • License number

  • City or county

  • License type

A license search result will include the following information:

  • License type

  • Name

  • Name type

  • License number/rank

  • Status

  • Expiry date

  • Main address

For questions relating to asbestos licensing in the state, individuals are advised to reach the department at 850-487-1395.

Florida Asbestos Disclosure

Florida’s asbestos disclosure law mandates property sellers to divulge information about all material facts within their knowledge (and are not readily observable) that may affect the value of the property being sold to the potential buyers. This was the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. Davis 480 So. 2d 625 (Fla. 1986). While Florida Statute 404.056(5) expressly mandates the disclosure of the existence of radon gas, it is difficult to find a law expressly mandating asbestos disclosure. However, it is clear from case law that sellers must disclose the presence of asbestos in a building as it can affect the property value. In fact, buyers can sue property owners for failure to disclose asbestos in a building as long as they can prove that the seller knew about it before the sale.

The Florida Association of Realtors has endorsed a seller’s real property disclosure document that covers the areas of disclosure mandated by State laws. It aims at helping sellers meet Florida’s disclosure requirements and contains a section where they must disclose facts that will materially affect the value of the property.

Florida Asbestos Regulating Agencies

The following Florida asbestos regulating agencies have been charged with the responsibility and legal process of regulating asbestos in the state:

  • Florida Department of Health

Florida's Department of Health is the primary health agency in the state with the goal of protecting, improving, and promoting the health of all Floridians. To this end, the department plays significant roles in regulating asbestos exposure including educating the public on asbestos risk and controlling the use of the substance in the state.

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)

FDEP's primary role is to ensure a safe environment for everyone living in Florida and this includes guaranteeing minimal asbestos levels in the air, land, and water. The department administers the state’s Asbestos Removal Program, helps businesses and residents to comply with asbestos-related regulations, and educates the public about the toxin. DEP also oversees multiple divisions with similar purposes including the Florida Bureau of Air Pollution.

  • County-Level Programs

Various Florida counties oversee programs that help to enforce asbestos regulations. Excellent examples of these are the Miami-Dade County Asbestos Safety Program and Hillsborough County Asbestos Program run by the county’s Environmental Protection Commission. Individuals may contact their county's health department to verify if similar programs run in their communities.

Florida Asbestos Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

Florida statute of limitations refers to the period within which a defendant is allowed to file a lawsuit in the state. If the time limit elapses, the party will no longer be eligible to seek redress via a lawsuit or compensation claim. Per Section 95.11 (3)(a) of the Florida Statutes, the statute of limitations for asbestos-related claims, as with many other personal injury cases in Florida, is 4 years.

Generally, the time starts counting from the date of the underlying accident or discovery of the cause of action. The Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act stipulates that the limitation period for asbestos-related claims start to run from the time the defendant became aware or should have been aware of their physical impairment due to the condition. Meanwhile, if the mesothelioma claim is brought under wrongful death, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of the wrongful death lawsuit.

Note that there are exceptions to the 4-year statute of limitations as contained in Section 95.051 of the Florida Statutes.

How to Choose a Mesothelioma Lawyer in Florida

Mesothelioma or asbestos-related claims and lawsuits can be complicated and time-consuming especially for those who are ignorant of how Florida’s legal system works. As such, victims who wish to get the best settlement need assistance from the right Florida mesothelioma lawyers.

There are numerous factors to consider when choosing a mesothelioma attorney and adequate experience is chief among them. Due to the complex and unique nature of mesothelioma cases, it is important that claimants employ the services of lawyers with proven track records in this area of practice. Victims should also consider location, national reach, professional fees, and access to strong resources.

Individuals can find qualified mesothelioma lawyers by referrals from other cancer victims who have already hired legal services. They may also leverage the several online attorney directories in the state and choose a lawyer after reading client testimonials. Other options include contacting the American Bar Association, National Lawyers Guild, or the Florida Bar for guidance and legal team.