It’s a sad fact that more and more people are being diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses. Companies and construction firms regularly used asbestos up until the 1980s, and because many asbestos-related illnesses can remain latent for years before their victims begin to exhibit symptoms, several people who were exposed to asbestos while on the job or at home had no idea that they were sick until it was too late.
Qualified legal help can draw links between a person’s employment history and their asbestos exposure. High-risk occupations have included Navy yard workers, construction workers, painters, auto mechanics, electricians, power plant workers and hospital workers. Because asbestos was used in home construction, if a person ever performed a significant home renovation prior to 1980 where insulation was exposed, they were also at risk for asbestos-related illnesses. Several household products were known to contain asbestos as well, including products and materials that were fireproof or were otherwise related to fire safety. According to a Rand Corp. report, it is estimated that around 27.5 million people were exposed to asbestos through their occupation between 1940 and 1979.
Asbestos is so poisonous that even second-hand exposure to it could cause health complications in others. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, family members of workers who were directly exposed to asbestos also have a high rate of mesothelioma cases. Asbestos dust can stick to clothes and even hair, which means anyone in close contact with someone who was exposed to asbestos or who washed the clothes of someone in direct contact with asbestos is at risk to develop mesothelioma.
If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to get a thorough initial medical examination. Your doctor will need your help in compiling your medical and occupational history, and he or she may perform several diagnostic tests in order to determine whether or not mesothelioma is present.
People should hire an asbestos lawyer as soon as they are diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. The state legal systems have imposed a strict “statute of limitations” that determines how long a victim has to file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit. This period of time differs from state to state, and an asbestos lawyer can help to inform you as to how long you have to pursue legal action and what legal rights you have.
Mesothelioma lawsuits can take a long time to resolve, and they aren’t something that should be taken lightly. Many of the companies that are responsible for exposing their workers to asbestos either have gone bankrupt or have been bought out by other companies, which can make determining legal responsibilities difficult for anyone who is not a mesothelioma and asbestos law expert. Be sure to find a law firm that has extensive experience in dealing with asbestos and mesothelioma cases.
Being diagnosed with mesothelioma can be life-altering, and because mesothelioma can lie latent for 50 or more years, it’s likely that the number of reported cases due to negligent asbestos exposure will only increase. Make sure that you and your family get the compensation you deserve by acquiring the services of a good asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer. Most asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys work on a contingency basis, so you only pay for representation if you collect a settlement.
About the Author: Jeremy, an independent writer for LawyerLocator.com, with a particular interest in personal injury law.