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Raising Awareness of UK Rights to US Justice in Asbestos Litigation

The Royal Courts of Justice of England and Wales

The Royal Courts of Justice of England and Wales

An asbestos case is worth about ten or more times more in the United States than in the United Kingdom.  Yet many British citizens remain unaware of the very valuable rights they have under United States law.

Requirements for US Rights

Any British asbestos disease victim who meets one of the following qualifications could have the right to proceed with litigation in the United States, as well as under British law for any UK asbestos exposures.

  • The victim has worked with asbestos in the United States or its territories

How Asbestos Litigation is Handled in the United States

Asbestos litigation is handled on a “no-cost no-fee” basis in the United States. This means that the attorney advances all the expenses of the litigation and is only paid by collecting a negotiated percentage of any money recovered. There is essentially no risk to the victim in pursuing a claim under US law.

How Asbestos Liabilities are Paid after a Bankruptcy

Many US asbestos manufacturers and distributors have gone bankrupt, just as Turner & Newall did in the United Kingdom. Almost all of these companies have emerged from bankruptcy by funding a Trust to evaluate and pay for their asbestos liabilities. Some of these companies are still undergoing reorganization and will emerge in the years ahead with their own Trust Funds.

Several of these Trusts have published lists of work sites at which they recognize their products were used:

  • 5 Trusts have acknowledged responsibility for asbestos exposure at a total of 36 work sites in the United Kingdom.
  • 14 Trusts have acknowledged responsibility for asbestos products on 15,440 ships, many of which have traveled all over the world.

Any British resident who worked at any of these approved sites or on any of the approved ships at the appropriate times has gone a long way towards proving a claim against the particular Trust Fund involved.

The absence of a work site from these approved lists does not mean there is no claim. It does mean that work needs to be done to establish credible evidence of the presence of appropriate products at work sites at a time when the injured person was there and in a position to be exposed to asbestos from those products.

Why Bankruptcy Expertise is Vital

The bankruptcy claiming process can be complicated, with many built-in traps for the unskilled and unwary. Senior partners at Kazan Law:

  • Have served on the Bankruptcy Court-appointed creditors’ committees in virtually every asbestos bankruptcy reorganization
  • Currently serve as members of the victims’ Trust Advisory Committees that work with the Trustees managing virtually every current Bankruptcy Trust Fund

This experience has provided us with:

  • An intimate knowledge about the operations of these Trusts
  • How to efficiently present claims
  • How to negotiate maximum values for the claims

Just as in the United Kingdom, asbestos litigation in the United States requires skilled and experienced counsel – it’s easy to say you can do it, but it’s not at all easy to do it right.

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