In asbestos lawsuits, witnesses are an integral part of a case. A witness can help an asbestos plaintiff by providing testimony during a deposition or trial. Witnesses with certain expertise, skills or training can also offer valuable information to a jury that would not be common knowledge.
Below, our attorneys at PWHD discuss the role different witnesses can play in asbestos litigation. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease caused by exposure to toxic asbestos fibers, you may be eligible for compensation to help cover your medical bills, loss of income and more.
An initial consultation to learn more about your rights and potential legal options comes at no cost or obligation to you. We do not charge any upfront fees to take on a case.
Importance of Witness Testimony in Asbestos Cases
Witness testimony is important in depositions and asbestos trials. Depending on the testimony and legal issues presented, what is said at a deposition can help determine whether a case ever makes it to trial.
Witnesses typically include the plaintiff or his or her family members, friends, or co-workers. These witnesses are referred to as lay witnesses. Lay witnesses are those who testify based on personal knowledge and experience.
A lay witness can provide facts on how a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, such as:
- When and where asbestos exposure occurred (i.e. dates and places of employment)
- Who may be responsible (i.e. manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos-containing products)
- How exposure to asbestos has impacted the plaintiff’s life (i.e. can no longer work after being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease or requires caregiving services on a daily basis)
Such testimony can help a jury decide whether the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injury and whether the plaintiff is eligible for compensation and if so, how much he or she should receive.
For instance, in a case of occupational asbestos exposure, a co-worker could testify about working with the plaintiff on a boiler that contained asbestos gaskets, packing, refractories, or steam pipes insulated with asbestos. The co-worker can recall these products and the dates he or she saw the plaintiff working with them. This testimony could help support the plaintiff’s evidence linking the asbestos exposure to these products.
In a secondary asbestos exposure case, a spouse’s testimony could also help support the plaintiff’s claims. If the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos fibers on a loved one’s work clothes, the spouse’s testimony about his or her work could help identify the asbestos product that contributed to the injury.
How Can an Expert Witness Help?
An expert witness is someone with special knowledge, skills, experience, training, or education in a certain subject. In an asbestos case, testimony from an expert witness could help support the plaintiff’s diagnosis and establish a link between his or her health problems and his or her exposure to asbestos.
Expert witnesses could include, but are not limited to:
- Industrial hygienists
- Other asbestos professionals
Their testimony can be especially vital during settlement negotiations. Expert witnesses in asbestos cases have generally testified many times in other related cases and on behalf of either party. If a case goes to trial, they have an established reputation that increases their credibility in the eyes of the jury.
Proving an Asbestos-Related Disease
Expert witnesses are essential in asbestos cases because they can help provide proof that the plaintiff has mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease through medical records and pathology reports.
Among other things, a pathologist may testify about the diagnosis, the causal association between asbestos and the disease in question and explain the differences between cancer cell types. On the other hand, a radiologist could testify on the validity of X-rays or CT scans that show significant lung scarring and long-term inflammation. This could help support a plaintiff’s diagnosis of asbestosis, a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.
Asbestos victims must prove causation to have a chance of recovering compensation. In other words, they must show that exposure to the defendants’ asbestos products contributed to causing the plaintiff’s asbestos-related disease exposed to asbestos at work or at home.
An expert witness could help show how asbestos exposure occurred and who is responsible for this exposure. Testimony from an industrial hygienist, materials scientist, or a certified asbestos professional can be used in these cases. He or she can testify that asbestos products used during construction, overhauls, repairs, or demolition more likely than not contained asbestos or shaking contaminated clothing caused the release of asbestos fibers.
Reach Out to Our Firm for Legal Help Today
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. An asbestos injury lawyer in Hampton Roads is ready to review your situation in a free consultation.
There is no risk in calling us and no obligation to have us represent you. If you have a case and decide to move forward with our firm, there are no upfront fees to retain our services.