Resolving asbestos liability can be challenging. The time between exposure to asbestos and the onset of the most deadly asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma, can be decades, and there’s no way for someone who was exposed to know whether they will fall ill in the future. And there are plenty of folks—many of whom were exposed indirectly, through asbestos on a family member’s clothing, for example—who may not even know that they were exposed in the first place. As such, it’s impossible for anyone—including companies responsible for asbestos exposure—to know who will fall ill and be entitled to compensation in the future.
The settlement in this case shows the power of workers banding together and the effectiveness and importance of partnerships between unions, advocates and tenacious public servants like Washington’s Attorney General.