Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has historically been widely used in commercial establishments, residences, other buildings and a wide variety of industrial applications.

USES OF ASBESTOS

Exposure to asbestos claims the lives of 12,000-15,000 Americans annually and that number is expected to increase by 2020. While occupational exposure is the main way in which people typically get in contact with asbestos, buildings erected before the 1980’s have a particularly high risk of containing the harmful material and occupants risk exposure. 

Furthermore, the poor regulation of asbestos-containing materials in the U.S. has allowed numerous construction companies to have a lenient attitude towards imported products from China or India which can pose a tremendous risk for public health.

Asbestos Lawsuits Overview

Associated ProductsAsbestos

Companies Involved:  Many different asbestos product manufacturers

Common Uses:  To insulate, fire-proof, seal, and improve handling properties of building and household materials

How Many Lawsuits: 192,000+

Major Side Effects:  Mesothelimoa Cancer, Asbestosis, Pulmonary Fibrosis

Settlement Details: $30 billion+ in Asbestos Trust Funds

Lawsuit Locations:  Nationwide

Asbestos is currently used in

  • Vehicle Parts
  • Insulation
  • Construction Materials
  • Fireproof Clothing
  • Potting Soils

OCCUPATIONS THAT ARE MOST PRONE TO EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS

  • Paper mill workers
  • Construction workers
  • Textile workers
  • Insulation workers
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Roofers
  • Toll collectors
  • Tilers
  • Linotype technicians
  • Plumbers
  • Farmers
  • Fire fighters
  • S. Navy/Military Personnel/Veterans
  • Miners of asbestos occurring from natural mineral deposits
  • Processing of asbestos minerals (millers)
  • Manufacture of asbestos-containing products like Boilermakers
  • Auto Mechanics – vehicle brake and clutch repairs
  • Marinas including Sailors, Shipyard workers and Oil-rig workers
  • Workers responsible for disposing of asbestos waste, and waste workers
  • Custodial workers – contact with deteriorating asbestos-containing materials in buildings

ADVERSE EFFECTS OF PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS

ASBESTOSIS

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease in which there is scar-like tissue formed in the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis). Shortness of breath is the most common symptom. In most cases, a common physical sign is “crackles” – sounds that can be heard through a stethoscope also known as “rales”. People with fully developed asbestosis suffer from shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, reduced lung function, finger clubbing, and bluish skin coloration.

MESOTHELIOMA

Mesotheliomas are often observed in asbestos workers and sometimes in family/household members. Case studies have found strong associations between occupational exposure to asbestos fibers and the development of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has also been reported in family members and household contacts of asbestos workers, presumably from exposure to asbestos carried home on work clothes. Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive, usually fatal cancer For mesothelioma, the dormancy is generally 30-40 years, with the longer periods seen where there had been lower levels of asbestos exposure. Workers with high degree of exposure to the mineral probably tend to swallow asbestos fibers, which may contribute to the development of mesothelioma of the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum)

LUNG CANCER

Lung cancer is generally associated with long-term exposure to asbestos, but there exist studies which show that workers with 1 to 12 months of exposure also had a high risk of developing lung cancer a number of years later. Lung cancer has also been reported in family members and household contacts of asbestos workers, presumably from exposure to asbestos carried home on work clothes.Lung cancer mostly does not cause symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms occur the cancer is often advanced. Symptoms of lung cancer include chest pain, weight loss, shortness of breath, fever, and, chronic cough.

OTHER HEALTH EFFECTS

Pleural Effects

Inhalation of asbestos fibres can also lead to pleural abnormalities like deposit of collagen and fluids in pleural space, fibrosis of the pleura and folded lungs. These pleural abnormalities are found in 10-60% of asbestos workers. Pleural abnormalities are also common in family members of asbestos workers, presumably from exposure to asbestos carried home on work clothes. In many cases, the development of pleural plaques is not seen for 20 to 30 years after exposure. Pleural effusions (excess fluid between the two membranes that envelop the lungs) usually occur within 10 years after exposure.

Retroperitoneal fibrosis

Asbestos exposure may be a causal factor in the development of a rare condition known as retroperitoneal fibrosis. In this condition a fibrous mass develops behind the membrane lining the abdominal cavity, which can result in kidney failure. There are a number of scientific reports which indicate that asbestos exposure may be an important risk factor for retroperitoneal fibrosis.

PROMINENT COMPANIES WHICH HAVE BEEN SUED FOR USAGE OF ASBESTOS

  • Vehicle Parts
  • Insulation
  • Construction Materials
  • Fireproof Clothing
  • Potting Soils
  • Johns-Manville Corporation
  • National Gypsum
  • Owens Corning / Fibreboard
  • UNR Industries

LAWSUITS WITH REGARDS TO USAGE OF ASBESTOS

The most common personal injury claim against asbestos manufacturers is that these companies knew about the strong link between asbestos and mesothelioma. However, they did not properly warn consumers about the potentially harmful effects of their products. The first big company to face lawsuits over asbestos exposure was Johns-Manville Corporation, which eventually declared bankruptcy due to the amount of asbestos litigation filed against it. A large number of companies involved in production of Asbestos related products have since gone bankrupt because of mesothelioma lawsuits, leading to the establishment of asbestos trust funds that have paid billions of dollars in claims to mesothelioma patients or their survivors.

The Mealey’s Litigation Report, published in the year 2016 calculated that the average mesothelioma trial award was $2.4 million, while the average mesothelioma settlement amount is between $1 million and $1.4 million. However, in reality every case is different, and individual circumstances could significantly raise that amount.

YOU MAY RECEIVE FOLLOWING COMPENSATIONS IN A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE ASBESTOS MANUFACTURERS

Compensation may be awarded to cover for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Funeral expenses for a deceased loved one
  • Pain and suffering

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the Defendants

Besides these damages other compensation as follows may also be provided

Veterans Benefits for Asbestos Exposure

Many personnel who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, particularly those in the U.S. Navy. These personnel who had been exposed to asbestos while on active duty and have later developed mesothelioma could be eligible for special disability benefits. These benefits offered cover both the cost of healthcare and compensation payments

Worker's compensation

Workers’ compensation is a kind of insurance that helps pay a portion of the person’s wages while they are disabled due to an injury sustained on the job. Workers who are exposed to asbestos at a work site may be eligible for workers’ compensation to help recover a part of their lost income while they are unable to work. Every state has some kind of workers’ compensation requirement for employers, though specific rules differ from state to state.

Under some specific circumstances you may be able to file for workers’ compensation even after you have left a job or retired. You should talk to an experienced attorney to find out what workers’ compensation may be available to you. An Asbestos Attorney can help you understand what compensation may be available to you based on your circumstances. If you or a loved one have suffered or are suffering from any of these life threatening diseases, after having been exposed to Asbestos and are considering filing a lawsuit, consider contacting an Asbestos Attorney for a free case evaluation.

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