Legal Action Is Possible for Asbestos
Asbestos exposure can lead to serious health problems like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. If you were exposed to asbestos and have now been diagnosed with one of these diseases, you have a right to seek compensation. An attorney from our network can help you negotiate a suitable settlement for your injuries and losses.
Before filing any legal action, you should first get an official diagnosis from a medical provider, which typically involves chest and lung function tests as well as a chest x-ray. After your diagnosis, your attorney can institute legal action against the company that exposed you to asbestos.
What Is Asbestos and How Does It Cause Asbestosis?
Asbestos is a mineral that has been used extensively in construction and other industries over the past several decades. Asbestos is preferred because it is cheap, durable, fire-resistant, and insulates well. Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by long-term inhalation of asbestos fibers.
Unfortunately, the same properties that make asbestos so desirable for construction and other uses also make it an extremely dangerous substance when inhaled. The severity of your asbestosis will depend on how often you were exposed to asbestos and for how long. The more frequently you were exposed and the longer it lasted, the higher your risk of developing an injury or illness like asbestosis.
There are over 20 different types of asbestos that have been evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and studied for their potential health risks. The most common types of asbestos are chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, and actinolite. The most dangerous is crocidolite because it is known to cause cancer.
What Are the Symptoms of Asbestosis?
Again, asbestosis is a long-term lung disease caused by breathing in asbestos fibers. Those most at risk of developing asbestosis include miners and people who work in asbestos-containing factories. If you suspect you have asbestosis, visit a doctor to confirm your diagnosis.
The first symptom of asbestosis is shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Clubbed fingers
- Tightness in chest
Symptoms Can Take Years to Appear
Asbestosis causes the lungs to gradually become scarred and stiff. Unfortunately, the symptoms do not present immediately. It can take months or years for this condition to develop after exposure. Typically, it takes 10-40 years.
Because the disease is progressive, it means that the longer someone is exposed, the more likely they will develop related conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung cancer.
How Do People Get Asbestosis?
Products that contain asbestos are usually found in buildings that were built before 1980, and inhalation is the most common way that people are exposed to this toxin. Asbestos-filled fumes can be released into the air from materials in an old building. Others may get asbestosis from working in a job that exposes them to asbestos, such as construction or pipe fitting.
As mentioned above, the inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to a number of serious health issues. If you have an irritating cough that won’t go away or you are struggling to breathe, these are indications that you may have been exposed to asbestos. It is prudent to seek urgent medical treatment.
Failure to get medical attention could let inflammation and scarring spread across your lungs, or they could collapse when inhaling deeply due to decreased lung function.
How Many People Are Diagnosed with Asbestosis Each Year?
An estimated 10,000 people will be diagnosed with asbestosis in the United States in 2022 alone. Asbestosis is just one disease that contributes to the 255,000 deaths associated with asbestos exposure each year.
Because asbestosis symptoms take so many years to present, there are likely more people who unknowingly have the condition. Therefore, checking for symptoms and visiting a doctor can be a life-saving intervention. Depending on the duration of the asbestos exposure, a person’s lung function can worsen over several years.
Ultimately, after several years of worsening lung function, the air passages narrow too much to allow even small amounts of oxygen to reach the lungs. This is called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD). COPD can cause you to need oxygen therapy, carry an oxygen tank, and in severe cases, require a lung transplant.
How Is Asbestosis Diagnosed?
Diagnosing asbestosis is often difficult because:
- The symptoms are not always severe
- The symptoms may be mistaken for other conditions
- A person may not have any symptoms for many years
Diagnosis typically involves chest and lung function tests, which are usually performed with a spirometer and sometimes an electrocardiogram (ECG). These evaluations may also be accompanied by a chest X-ray. In some cases, thoracic ultrasonography or computed tomography may be needed to better assess the nature of the condition.
After the diagnosis, treatment involves a combination of medications that reduce inflammation and aid breathing. Antibiotics, narcotics, bronchodilators, and corticosteroids are among the preferred medicines. In severe cases where there is significant impairment in lung function, intravenous corticosteroids may be administered.
How Much Compensation Can You Receive for Asbestosis?
The compensation for asbestosis depends on the severity of the condition and if it has been positively diagnosed. The severity of the disease can range from minor lung irritation to fatal lung cancer. Because the claim would be based on having asbestosis, medical documents to prove the condition would be critical.
Potential compensation also hinges on whether you have legal representation. If you have a personal injury lawyer helping you fight for compensation, then you have the upper hand.
An attorney from our network who knows personal injury law can ensure that your compensation includes:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Other related expenses and losses
How Much Can You Sue for After Asbestos Exposure?
Many people wonder what the average payout or settlement is for an asbestosis case. There are various factors that determine how much you can sue for after asbestos exposure, such as the severity of your exposure and the resulting injuries. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the asbestos manufacturer or against any company that exposed you to asbestos.
A personal injury lawyer from our network can advise you on your rights and help you file a lawsuit. The expected damages will depend on what you can prove in court. For example, if you claim medical expenses, you should have documented evidence to show how much you have spent on hospital stays, doctor visits, and other costs to treat your asbestosis. However, you can also claim non-economic damages like pain and suffering, which cannot be quantified by documentation.
If the company that exposed you to asbestos is bankrupt, you can still file a lawsuit against them and get compensated by an Asbestos Trust Fund (ATF). ATFs are large amounts of money set aside by asbestos manufacturers to pay for claims against companies that may declare bankruptcy to avoid paying asbestosis settlements.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Asbestos Settlement?
The process of getting an asbestos settlement can be lengthy and complicated. There is a lot of paperwork involved and many steps that need to be taken before you can receive your money. The first step in the process is figuring out if you have a case. If you do, then you will need to file a claim with your state’s court system. Once you have filed your claim, you will need to wait for the court to set a date for your trial.
Once the date has been set, the discovery process begins. This is when both parties must share any evidence they have with one another. Once the discovery phase is complete, it’s time to go to trial. The trial process varies based on the type of case you are involved in and the evidence you have to use in court.
A Settlement Can Help You Avoid Going to Trial
All too often, a person is diagnosed with asbestosis and they want to fight for justice in court. However, many cases end up settling before they go to trial. An asbestos settlement is an out-of-court settlement often initiated by the defendant to avoid litigation.
For example, if a factory worker develops asbestosis, they may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the asbestos manufacturer. If the defendant agrees, they could opt to settle out of court by paying the plaintiff’s medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Some settlements are paid over a period of time, while others are lump-sum payments.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with asbestosis, you may be eligible for compensation. A personal injury lawyer from our network can help negotiate a favorable asbestos settlement for those who may be entitled to compensation.
What Are My Mesothelioma Compensation Options?
Like asbestosis, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. This rare form of cancer is very aggressive, and most patients succumb after 12-14 months. Therefore, it’s important to know your legal rights if you or your loved one were exposed to asbestos.
The best way for mesothelioma patients and their families to learn about their compensation options is to contact a lawyer who specializes in this field. A lawyer can help ensure that you understand your legal rights, take all the necessary steps to fight for justice, and maximize your chance of receiving compensation.
Seeking Compensation After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
In general, mesothelioma lawsuits and other asbestos-related lawsuits are based on what is called causation. This means there is enough evidence to link the person’s asbestos exposure with the disease. It does not matter if the company that caused the exposure is still in business because you can get compensated from an Asbestos Trust Fund.
When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they might want to consider a personal injury case against the company that caused their exposure. A mesothelioma lawsuit can compensate you for both economic and non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to seek legal advice for your situation.
What Is the Average Settlement Amount for Mesothelioma?
Like asbestosis , the settlement amount in a mesothelioma case often varies depending on the severity. Your specific symptoms typically dictate how much of a settlement you might receive. If you suffered a significant injury that left lasting physical or mental damage, then you will likely be eligible for more compensation.
The average mesothelioma settlement is calculated based on the severity of the illness and the number of dependents. The company responsible for the asbestos exposure should be held liable for the damages caused by it, no matter how high or low the exposure was.
One of the most severe forms of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which is also caused by exposure to asbestos. While settlement amounts are never guaranteed, pleural mesothelioma patients can usually expect to receive $1 million or more.
Working With a Personal Injury Lawyer
To get the optimal mesothelioma or asbestosis settlement, you may want to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you throughout the negotiation process. People exposed to asbestos through no fault of their own should be compensated for their losses, including:
- Medical care and treatment costs
- Loss of income due to time away from work while they were sick
- Loss of earning capacity due to illness, permanent injuries, or death
- Funeral or cremation expenses for your loved one
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer in Our Network Today
Frequent medical tests are recommended for anyone working or living in an environment with a high risk of asbestos exposure. If you suspect that you have asbestosis or mesothelioma or are at risk of developing an asbestos-related condition, the mass tort attorneys in our network are here to help. We offer free case evaluations so you can learn more about your legal rights and options for compensation. To get started, contact us online today.