Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that resistant to heat and corrosion. Asbestos includes the mineral fibers chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite. Asbestos has been used in thousands of products from the early 1900s into the early 2000s. The asbestos-containing products include, but are not limited to, thermal block and pipe insulation (used on pipes, valves, pumps, boilers, turbines and other industrial equipment), insulating cement/mud (used on pipe joints, valves, pumps, boilers and other industrial equipment), drywall joint compound, ceiling and floor tile, roofing materials, as well as vehicle brakes, clutches and engine gaskets.
Unfortunately, when asbestos is inhaled, the tiny fibers can become permanently trapped and can cause serious damage to your body’s cells. For those with prolonged exposure, primarily blue-collar workers, asbestos puts them at high risk for mesothelioma. Heavy exposures tended to occur in the industrial industry (e.g., powerplants, chemical plants, shipyards, and other industrial factories and plants during its initial construction, add-ons, and/or during shut downs and turnarounds), as well as in the commercial and residential construction and remodeling industry, and in the automotive, tractor-trailer, and heavy equipment industries (e.g., professional mechanics changing brakes, clutches and engine gaskets). The exposures typically happened during the removal of asbestos-containing products during construction and remodeling, maintenance and repairs, and/or major overhauls. Workers were also exposed during the manufacturing process of the asbestos-containing products (e.g., friction products, thermal insulation, building materials, etc.).
Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Despite its singular cause, the fact that most of us have heard the term “mesothelioma” is a testament to just how much damage asbestos has done. It has also been linked to lung cancer and other illnesses and diseases.
Mesothelioma is solely caused by exposure to asbestos dust or particles. It is a rare form of cancer that is found in the body’s mesothelial cells.
Some mesothelial cells are found in the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). When these cells are affected, the condition is called pleural mesothelioma. A rarer type of mesothelioma affects tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), as well as tissue around the heart and around the testicles.
Currently, there are very few treatment options and no cure for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Though researchers are actively looking for a cure, mesothelioma remains a deadly form of cancer.
Mesothelioma is not the only disease caused by exposure to asbestos dust and particles. It has also been directly linked to the following serious lung diseases:
People may be exposed to asbestos in their workplace, their communities, or their homes. If products containing asbestos are disturbed, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they may get trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. Over time, these fibers can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation, which can affect breathing and lead to serious health problems.
Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). According to IARC, there is sufficient evidence that asbestos causes cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovary.
Asbestos exposure may also increase the risk of asbestosis (an inflammatory condition affecting the lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage) and other nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders, including pleural plaques (changes in the membranes surrounding the lung), pleural thickening, and benign pleural effusions (abnormal collections of fluid between the thin layers of tissue lining the lungs and the wall of the chest cavity). Although pleural plaques are not precursors to lung cancer, evidence suggests that people with pleural disease caused by exposure to asbestos may be at increased risk for lung cancer.
Everyone is exposed to asbestos at some time during their life. Low levels of asbestos are present in the air, water, and soil. However, most people do not become ill from this type of exposure. Rather, people who become ill from asbestos are usually those who were exposed to it on a regular basis, most often in a job where they work regularly with the material or with products that contained asbestos.
Anyone exposed to asbestos is at risk of developing mesothelioma. Schools, hospitals, and many other public and private buildings built prior to the 1980s have asbestos-containing building, plumbing, tiles, and electrical materials, putting those who work, sleep, and learn in them at risk.
Although it is clear health risks from asbestos exposure increase with heavier exposure and longer exposure time, investigations have uncovered asbestos-related diseases in individuals with only brief exposures. Generally, those who develop asbestos-related diseases show no signs of illness for a long time after exposure, because these diseases have a long latency period. On average, it generally takes between 10 to 40 years or more for symptoms of an asbestos-related disease to appear.
The following careers tend to result in more significant asbestos exposure, which in turn are more likely to yield higher percentages of mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases:
You may be eligible for a personal injury asbestos claim or lawsuit if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. Additionally, if you have lost a loved one to mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
If someone with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease files a claim or lawsuit but dies before it is resolved, their claim can be adjusted to become a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Their estate or surviving heirs can continue the pursuit of the claim and will be awarded any compensation the claimant would have received, in addition to any claims brought because of the wrongful death.
To file a mesothelioma or other asbestos related disease claim or lawsuit, you will need documentation to verify your medical diagnosis. This can include medical reports from a hospital or cancer center where you were diagnosed or treated.
If you need assistance obtaining these records, our OnderLaw team of legal professionals can help. While anything you can provide will be helpful, we will also do the legwork to obtain much of the medical and background information needed for your claim.
You may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one died from mesothelioma or another asbestos related disease. You would also need to prove that you are next of kin and/or were appointed as the administrator or representative of your loved one’s estate.
The estate of the deceased person or next of kin (depending on the jurisdiction) may be awarded compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
About half of the U.S. miners and/or suppliers of raw asbestos and/or manufacturers of asbestos containing products have filed bankruptcy to set aside large amounts of money to handle all the asbestos related injury claims resulting from their negligence. Through those bankruptcy proceedings, asbestos trust funds were established to pay eligible asbestos exposure claims. About 60 asbestos trust funds remain active. There is an estimated $30 billion left in the funds. OnderLaw can help you file these claims when applicable.
In both personal injury and wrongful death asbestos claims, claimants must file their claim or lawsuit within a set time from the date of medical diagnosis. States and asbestos trusts have differing statute of limitations (e.g., usually 1 to 3 years). In some instances, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the injury is discovered/determined to be related to asbestos exposure. In most asbestos cases, though, the statute of limitations usually begins running when the mesothelioma or other asbestos related disease is diagnosed.
It’s not just asbestos manufacturers who are liable for the damage done to hundreds of thousands of people. The following defendants have been named in asbestos lawsuits:
All these entities profited from a product that has and continues to ruin, and ultimately destroy lives. They all are being held accountable for their negligence.
Navigating the dynamic landscape of mesothelioma and other asbestos related claims and lawsuits can be tricky. A large number of defendants have been named in these lawsuits, and many have established specific procedures for filing claims. The asbestos trust funds also have specific guidelines and procedures that must be strictly followed. Understanding who, what, and how to ask for and actually obtain compensation is complicated, to say the least.
A specialized OnderLaw asbestos lawyer will:
There are a number of factors that determine how long it will take to receive compensation once a claim is submitted for an asbestos-related cancer lawsuit. In general, you can expect to wait anywhere from 9 months to two years for compensation.
Like all lawsuits of this type, we always tell clients that this is a marathon and not a sprint. There are many factors out of our control, including administration of trust funds, delays in obtaining medical and other records, court schedules, and other factors that can delay justice.
Our pledge to you is that, regardless of how long it takes, we will not stop fighting for you.
It’s easy to believe the lie we’ve been fed that, because so many things cause cancer, we should quietly accept our fate when we do get sick. After all, we can’t fight everything, right?
But what if we told you that the corporations who made asbestos products knew about the dangers and hid them from as early as the 1930s? And what if we told you that those same companies lobbied in the 1980s and even more recently to overturn the rules regulating asbestos so that they could continue to count the piles of money they earn from selling this dangerous product every year?
Compensation received as the result of an asbestos lawsuit can help alleviate financial stress and provide money to pay bills that likely mounted as a result of mesothelioma or other related diagnoses. Nothing can bring back the health of you or your loved one, and no amount of money can make up for what has been lost, but we can hold corporations responsible so that they don’t hurt others.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related cancer or injury, not only do you deserve justice, but you deserve to know that future generations will not suffer the same fate.
The only way to create change in industries like this is to hit them where it hurts most — in their profit margins. Asbestos-related injury lawsuits do just that. By forcing corporations to pay millions or billions of dollars for the harm they have caused, we’re making them change the way they do business.
We are proud to join you in being part of the solution.