Filing a Claim in Texas
Texas has enacted a number of regulations aimed at managing and reducing the number of pending asbestos cases in the state. The most comprehensive reform came in 2005 when the state adopted measures such as modifying the medical criteria required to file a claim.
The state legislature created a multidistrict litigation procedure that designated specific courts to handle factually similar asbestos cases in 2003. And a law was enacted in 1997 to curb the filing of nonresident asbestos claims. Texas remains, however, one of the nation’s busiest states for asbestos litigation.
A mesothelioma lawyer can explain how these laws could impact your case, if it’s in your best interest to file in another state and what type of claim to file. Personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits and asbestos trust fund claims can help you cover medical bills and compensate for lost income after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Asbestos Exposure in Texas
Texas has six naturally occurring asbestos deposits, but the vast majority of exposure in the state took place in occupational settings. Certain industries, especially ones involving high temperatures or dangerous chemicals, are known for using asbestos products.
Texas Industries Known for Asbestos Exposure
- Oil refining
- Power generation
- Chemical processing
- Metal works
- Insulation installation
Veterans are at particularly high risk of asbestos exposure. The U.S. armed forces used many types of asbestos products in every branch of the military.
States such as Texas may not realize the impact that their efforts to slow down asbestos case filings may have on veterans who file approximately 30% of mesothelioma lawsuits. Veterans may file a VA claim for benefits, and they have access to VA health care in Texas.
Law Firms Practicing in Texas
Texas residents with mesothelioma should consider a nationwide mesothelioma law firm because of their extensive experience and reach. Firms that practice nationwide know the best state in which to file your claim. Their experience and reach can’t be matched.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Law Firms
- Weitz & Luxenberg
- Cooney & Conway
- Simmons Hanly Conroy
- Nemeroff Law
- Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman
Texas is among the states where the vast majority of mesothelioma plaintiffs file out-of-state, according to a KCIC industry report. That’s because Texas courts tend to favor asbestos defendants more often than mesothelioma plaintiffs.
Two nationwide mesothelioma law firms have office locations in or near Texas:
- Cooney & Conway has offices in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.
- Nemeroff Law has offices in Houston and Dallas.
One of the benefits of hiring a nationwide firm is that they regularly travel throughout the country to meet with clients, and likely will not charge you for their travel expenses to meet with you.
Asbestos Verdicts Awarded to Texas Workers
In 2022, Weitz & Luxenburg secured $43 million for a mesothelioma patient after a jury found Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. responsible for asbestos exposure.
- $11 Million in 2013: A Dallas jury awarded $11 million to a painter who developed mesothelioma after working with asbestos products during the construction of malls, skyscrapers and homes.
- $8.4 Million in 2012: A Dallas County jury awarded $8.4 million to the estate of a Dow Chemical refinery worker who developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos-containing pipes.
- $9 Million in 2011: A Dallas jury awarded $9 million to the widow of a refinery worker who developed mesothelioma after working with asbestos insulation as a contract employee for Dow Chemical.
- $11.6 Million in 2002: A Texas jury awarded $11.6 million to a man who developed mesothelioma after working with Georgia-Pacific drywall joint compound during his employment at Knox Glass Company.
- $130 Million in 2001: A jury in Orange, Texas, awarded $130 million to five plaintiffs who developed asbestos-related diseases after exposure to asbestos products made by NARCO and Dresser. All five plaintiffs were exposed during their employment at a U.S. Pipe plant in Birmingham, Alabama.
In addition to jury verdict, nationwide asbestos firms are known to get mesothelioma settlements worth more than $1 million dollars for their clients. They can also secure six-figure payouts from asbestos trust funds.
Texas Asbestos Laws and Regulations
Texas has a mix of federal and state laws that regulate asbestos.
Regulations Governing Asbestos in Texas
- Texas Occupations Code Section 1954.001: Summarizes the Texas Asbestos Health Protection Act.
State Departments Overseeing Texas’ Asbestos Laws
- Texas Department of State Health Services — Asbestos Program: Oversees maintenance, renovation and demolition of buildings containing asbestos.
Texas Laws Affecting Asbestos Lawsuits
- Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003(a): Defines the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Texas.
- Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003(b): Defines the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in Texas.
- Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 41.001: Defines Texas’ negligence laws.
If your family is facing a mesothelioma diagnosis, it’s in your best interest to work with a top mesothelioma attorney who understands the complexities of state laws and regulations and who can secure the maximum value of your case.
Asbestos Litigation Trends in Texas
Texas courts have created the following procedures to manage asbestos litigation within the state.
- Case Scheduling: Texas authorizes its trial courts to give scheduling preference to hearings and trials involving claimants with malignant mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers.
- Joinder of Claimants: Some U.S. courts have tried to move cases along faster by joining dissimilar claims, such as mesothelioma claims and claims by people with no impairments, for trial. Texas requires all parties to consent to the joining of multiple claims for a single trial.
- Medical Criteria: Texas law now limits claims by plaintiffs who do not yet have physical or functional impairments. The law requires claimants to satisfy detailed minimum medical criteria in order to proceed with their lawsuits.
- Successor Liability: Texas law also limits the liability of a company that buys or merges with — and assumes the asbestos liabilities of — another company.
You should not rely on any information herein to make a determination about your legal rights. Please speak to an attorney licensed to practice law in your area to best understand your legal options.