How to File a Legal Claim in Virginia

Virginia residents and those who have worked or lived in Virginia may be eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit if they’ve been exposed to asbestos and have a related medical diagnosis. A Virginia mesothelioma attorney can help victims of asbestos exposure who became ill from sources of asbestos throughout Virginia.

Virginia Legal Statistics for Asbestos
  • Average Verdict: The average mesothelioma trial verdict is between $5 million and $11.4 million.
  • Highest Verdict: A Virginia jury awarded a former shipbuilding worker who developed an asbestos-related disease $25 million in a 2011 lawsuit against Exxon.
  • Number of Claims Filed: The latest available data covering 1999 – 2018 indicates 1,677 people in Virginia diagnosed with mesothelioma may have been eligible to file a claim.
  • Ranking in Mesothelioma Deaths: According to the latest data available, 1,466 people in Virginia died from mesothelioma between 1999 and 2018.
  • Ranking for Plaintiff Favorability: The 2019 Ranking of State Liability Systems, the latest available information, placed Virginia as the 12th best state to file a legal claim.

Several legal options are available to asbestos victims and their families in Virginia, including personal injury claims, wrongful death claims and trust funds. However, individual circumstances and conditions can determine compensation amount, such as the statutes of limitations in Virginia. 

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Common Sources of Asbestos Exposure in Virginia

Virginia’s most frequent sources of asbestos exposure occur at mining and other job sites throughout the state, such as shipyards, chemical plants, mills and refineries. Inhaling asbestos is the most significant risk for mine workers. Family members and nearby residential areas may also have been at risk of exposure.

Virginia Vermiculite, LLC, in Louisa County operates one of the last open pit vermiculite mines. Vermiculite is a nontoxic mineral but often forms naturally alongside asbestos which has historically contaminated many vermiculite products. 

Virginia’s primary mining sites for asbestos were the Franklin County Mine and the Bedford County mine along the Blue Ridge near Richmond. Miners and workers at these sites have the highest risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. 

In 2011, the Surry Power Station in Isle of Wight County exposed more than a dozen workers to airborne asbestos after a tornado damaged aging pipes throughout the site. Other Virginia job sites with potential asbestos exposure risk include Maplewood Recycling and Waste Disposal Facility, E Luke Green Company, Inc., Garlock Sealing Technologies and many others. 

Departments Overseeing Virginia’s Asbestos Laws

Virginia follows national guidelines and federal regulations for asbestos. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) and The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) enforce these rules that dictate how asbestos should be handled, removed and destroyed during demolition. 

Law Firms Practicing in Virginia

Virginia mesothelioma lawyers often work for national law firms with experience in all types of asbestos claims. These firms assist mesothelioma patients and their families in Virginia, expertly navigating the legal process.

Mesothelioma law firms in Virginia include:
  • Weitz & Luxenberg: For more than 30 years, Weitz & Luxenberg has helped mesothelioma patients and their families. The firm has worked on more than 33,000 asbestos cases and secured $8.5 billion through verdicts and settlements for their clients.
  • Simmons Hanly Conroy: Founded in 1999, Simmons Hanly Conroy has recovered more than $9 billion for victims of asbestos exposure. Its lawyers secured the most significant single plaintiff mesothelioma verdict in U.S. history with a $250 million-dollar verdict for a steelworker.
  • Cooney & Conway: Since 1973, Cooney & Conway has recovered billions of dollars in compensation for its clients, including thousands of million-dollar settlements and numerous multimillion-dollar asbestos verdicts.
  • Nemeroff Law: Nemeroff Law has recovered more than $500 million for families facing mesothelioma, including several verdicts exceeding $10 million each.
  • Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman: For more than 35 years, Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman has served mesothelioma victims and developed an unparalleled evidence database against asbestos products manufacturers.

National mesothelioma law firms can travel anywhere in the nation and have experience with asbestos cases in every state. When filing a lawsuit in a different state than where you live, asbestos lawyers consider various factors to achieve the best outcomes.

Asbestos Verdicts Awarded in Virginia Courts

Every mesothelioma diagnosis and lawsuit is different. However, there is a history of significant financial rewards and mesothelioma settlements for people exposed to asbestos in Virginia. 

In March 2011, Bert Minton, a Newport News Shipbuilding worker in Virginia, was involved in a lawsuit against Exxon after he developed an asbestos-related disease. He worked as a shipfitter and repair supervisor on 17 Exxon oil tankers throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He developed mesothelioma after decades of asbestos exposure. 

Minton’s attorneys argued that Exxon knew of the asbestos exposure risk to its employees since the 1940s but failed to warn shipyard workers and crew members. Ultimately, the Virginia jury awarded Minton $25 million. Exxon’s neglect resulted in one of the largest jury verdicts ever handed down in Virginia.

In another case from 2008, surviving family members of a former Newport News Shipbuilding employee were awarded $10.4 million after he passed away from mesothelioma. 

In 2009, a widow of a Virginia worker was awarded $5.5 million against John Crane, Inc. and Garlock Sealing Technologies. Her husband was also a Newport News Shipbuilding employee who died of mesothelioma after handling asbestos-containing gaskets and sealants while building Navy aircraft carriers.

Asbestos Litigation and Regulations in Virginia

Statutes in Virginia State Law specify several legal requirements for asbestos, lead and home inspection contractors and workers. These laws help protect Virginia residents from unnecessary and toxic asbestos exposure. 

The Code of Virginia includes the Virginia Asbestos NESHAP Act (National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants), which outlines rules and regulations for the Safety and Health Codes Board and laws that the Commissioner of Labor and Industry enforces.

Penalties for noncompliance often result in hefty fines for companies or sanctions for businesses preventing operations until standards are met. In 2022, the Code of Virginia updated several administrative codes potentially related to asbestos, including agriculture, health, housing and mines.

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