In the 1970s and 1980s, asbestos insulation and gaskets were widely used in refineries. This substance is a collection of minerals that can cause dangerous health effects when it is crushed or broken. Asbestos resists heat and acid corrosion; this is why it has been used as a major ingredient in numerous construction and residential projects.
Luckily, asbestos is not harmful until it is disturbed. The worst consequences come to individuals who have had extensive exposure – this includes people who worked directly with the installation of asbestos tile or the mixture of asbestos material. These people are most likely to have inhaled the asbestos dust. Typically, people with the highest exposure to asbestos fibers were insulators working directly with asbestos insulation (cutting it, tearing it out, essentially anything that would send the fibers into the air). Construction workers are at a very high risk – these individuals are exposed to the material over long periods of time.
The use of asbestos was popular in the 1950s. Thanks to its durability, inexpensive price, and flame-retardant properties, it was often used in cars and homes. Problems with asbestos did not begin to surface until the 1980s. Around this time, the public became aware of the danger of asbestos exposure, especially the harm that it causes to the lungs. For example, lung cancer and mesothelioma are two life-threatening conditions that may affect individuals who were exposed. People with extended exposure are at a high risk of developing these types of problems.
Cases show that it takes approximately two decades from exposure to develop asbestos-related diseases. Treatment is not guaranteed, and it may take years and cause great discomfort. If you have developed cancer from asbestos exposure, you have the right to file a claim for compensation.
Learning about Asbestosis
When a person breathes in the asbestos fibers, his or her lungs may develop asbestosis. The actual condition is a severe scarring of lung tissues with inflammation and fibrosis. It tends to develop slowly and will not manifest symptoms for decades. The time between exposure and development is the latency stage. This disease gets worse with time, and individuals with the condition are at high risk of developing cancer. In this country, asbestosis is the largest cause of occupational cancer.
When a person smokes and has been exposed to asbestos, risks are heightened even further. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, when a smoker has been exposed to asbestos, they are ten times more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker who has been exposed. There are four main kinds of lung cancer that can be linked to asbestos. All the signs and symptoms are similar.
Learning About Mesothelioma
The mesothelium is a thin membrane that covers the main organs of the body. The cancer that develops on this membrane is called “mesothelioma.” The most common place for it to develop is in the lungs and chest wall. It may also occur in the lining of the stomach or heart. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Many doctors refer to it as a “signal” of asbestos exposure.
Most individuals who experience mesothelioma have been employed in careers where asbestos fibers were inhaled. Secondhand exposure is also possible if a person lives in a household with a family member who had direct exposure.
Various Kinds of Mesothelioma
There are three documented forms of mesothelioma. Each brings symptoms that should signal concern. If you experience any warning signs, it is vital to visit your physician as soon as possible.
- Pleural Mesothelioma – This is the most frequent type of mesothelioma. Even after treatments of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, a patient’s outcome is bleak. Most patients die within 12-21 months of diagnosis. It occurs as a result of asbestos fibers becoming trapped in the lining of the lungs. Inflammation results and causes fluid retention, which makes it difficult for the organs to expand properly. An affected individual will suffer from a cough, chest pain, breathing difficulties, fever, and weight loss.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma – This kind of mesothelioma accounts for up to one-quarter of reported cases. Although outcomes are usually fatal, a person typically lives longer with this form than with pleural mesothelioma. However, treatment is similar. This condition occurs when a person inhales fibers of asbestos, coughs them up, and swallows them. Once digested, the fibers become stuck and begin to damage cell reproduction. Malignant tumors often form. An individual with this condition may experience fever, anemia, blood clots, seizures, and bowel issues.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma – This is the rarest type of mesothelioma and is the most difficult to detect. When diagnosed, a person will undergo a specialized surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It occurs when asbestos fibers find their way into the heart. Victims have a short life expectancy. Signs of this condition include chest pain, breathing problems, facial swelling, and heart issues.
No matter the diagnosis, all mesothelioma patients receive a poor prognosis. There is no cure, but early detection may elongate a person’s life.
Who is at Risk for Exposure to Asbestos?
The most frequent cases of asbestos exposure occur in individuals working in the construction world. Although this material is not used in newer buildings, construction workers complete renovations or demolition in older structures that do contain the substance. Through these procedures, it is possible to disturb the asbestos and begin problems.
Other occupations that are at high risk for exposure include:
- Plant Workers
It is not necessary to work in one of these fields to be affected. Secondhand exposure is possible as well. Spouses and offspring of individuals working around asbestos may develop mesothelioma through indirect contact.
If you are suffering from mesothelioma or a similar condition that was caused by asbestos exposure, the lawyers at Broussard & Hart will fight for your rights. For years, we have dealt with clients who were negatively affected by asbestos exposure. We are prepared to file a lawsuit on your behalf so that you receive the compensation that you deserve.
Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
Since men usually work in jobs likely to involve asbestos exposure, it is less likely for women and children to be at risk for developing mesothelioma. However, secondhand exposure is possible; this happens when an individual who is exposed to asbestos carries home fibers that are inhaled by family members or loved ones.
Secondhand exposure, also known as domestic or bystander exposure, often occurs as a high-risk worker comes home at the end of the day with fibers on his or her clothing, hair, or skin. As contact family members, fibers spread and cause a loved one to inhale them. Simply hugging a loved one or washing an exposed uniform with other clothing may spread asbestos fibers and cause exposure. Due to the lengthy latency period, it is challenging to pinpoint exactly when or where a person became exposed. If you or someone you know has developed symptoms of exposure to asbestos, but has not had direct contact with it, secondhand exposure may be to blame.
What is Involved in an Asbestos-Related Lawsuit?
Although every case is different, there are five basic parts of an asbestos lawsuit.
Preparation. The basis of any solid case begins with research. It is essential to gather evidence, including information about your work history that links your illness to past asbestos exposure or exposure to someone who was tied to asbestos. A lawyer should have a solid understanding of a client’s work history and medical records.
- Filing a Claim – Based on research, your lawyer will determine who should be included in the lawsuit and when it should be filed. A complaint will be prepared, which will entail all damages and who is potentially liable.
- Handling Lawsuit Responses – After a lawsuit is filed, the other party has the chance to respond. Usually, these cases involve denials of responsibility and requests for dismissal. Most times, courts decline the dismissals.
- Discovery – When the case is moved forward, the discovery phase begins. An attorney will depose defendants and uncover proof that strengthens all evidencelinks the defendant to your condition. The other party’s attorney will commonly ask to review your medical history and may take a deposition as well.
- Settling or Going to Court – Asbestos litigation may be settled or fought in court. During a settlement, both sides will go back and forth until satisfactory compensation is reached. If the suit goes to trial, a judge or jury will decide whether or not the defendant is liable. If found liable, a financial award will be determined. The defendant has a right to appeal.
A lawsuit may take years to complete. If your health is in extremely poor condition, the claim may be expedited. However, Louisiana state law dictates that a person has one year to file a lawsuit after being diagnosed. Failure to comply may leave a person without the chance to receive adequate compensation.
Reasons to Seek Assistance From an Asbestos Attorney
As with any court case, filing an asbestos lawsuit can be tricky. Since asbestos-related cases are quite common, a defendant is usually prepared to fight. Defendants will do whatever it takes to keep you from recovering the compensation you deserve. A defendant will be filled with excuses and may blame your condition on your family’s medical history or bad habits like smoking and drinking.
Having a lawyer’s help will ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly. A legal professional will carefully document your medical records so that it is clear your condition was caused by asbestos exposure or secondhand exposure.
Reasons to Choose a Lake Charles Attorney Over a Television Lawyer
Commercials are everywhere, and they can be very persuasive. When you see a lawyer on television begging you to contact them about asbestos exposure, you may be tempted to make the call. However, many of these firms have little experience fighting asbestos lawsuits. They often refer the cases to other attorneys who are located in other parts of the country. This spells trouble for many reasons. To begin, you may be hiring a law firm that is not properly trained to deal with asbestos-related cases. Also, they may not be familiar with your state’s laws. You may end up paying high legal fees to various law offices resulting in a lower compensation.
You need an experienced team of asbestos lawyers by your side. Broussard & Hart wants to help members of our community get full and just compensation for their health problems. Dealing with mesothelioma or a similar condition is serious. Make sure that you have the best representation possible. Try not to be persuaded by ads that sound good, but do not deliver. Our team will work hard to get you and your family all the compensation you deserve.
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