Asbestos Exposure Lawyers
In the middle and late 20th century, many major industries made heavy use of a mineral fiber called asbestos. Prized for its durability and heat resistance, asbestos was a cheap and effective material in the making of insulation, boilers, pipes, and more. What an unsuspecting public did not know, however, was that asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can lead to serious and deadly medical problems.
Asbestos fibers become trapped in the body and can remain dormant for an extended period. Diseases that are associated with asbestos take a while to develop, and they can be difficult to diagnose until the later stages when there are fewer options for treatment.
Since asbestos had been so widely used for many years in industrial products, it is still a problem today. People live and work in structures that were built or refurbished during the 1980s and may contain asbestos. The United States did ban the use of asbestos for specific products in 1989 but not altogether. Asbestos may remain in consumer products, especially if they are imported from other countries that have not forbidden it.
If you or someone you love has developed mesothelioma or other health problems after being exposed to asbestos fibers, working with an experienced and reliable mesothelioma lawyer can lead to a better compensation outcome for your asbestos-related injuries. Contact the attorneys of Hotze Runkle today at (877) 919-0830.
Health Consequences of Asbestos Exposure
Though science had already established a strong link between asbestos and various health problems by the early 1900s, many companies continued to use the mineral fiber with abandon. In some cases, workers and their families were deliberately kept in the dark about the true effects of asbestos exposure. In fact, asbestos is known to cause:
Asbestosis – A type of chronic lung disease that occurs when asbestos fibers enter lung tissue and cause permanent scarring. Breathing difficulty, dry coughing, chest tightness, and other respiratory problems are experienced and may increase over time.
Pleural Plaques – A condition where the pleura membrane of the lungs becomes thickened. Pleural plaques are not cancerous, but they may indicate that there is a higher risk of cancer.
Lung Cancer – The leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. Those who have had exposure to asbestos have a higher risk for it, and it can take years or even decades to appear.
Mesothelioma – A type of aggressive and deadly cancer that is located in the thin layer of tissue (mesothelium) that covers most internal organs. The primary risk factor is asbestos exposure, including second-hand exposure to asbestos dust.
At Hotze Runkle, we are committed to helping asbestos victims find justice. The health problems resulting from asbestos are long-lasting and often fatal, and we believe that those at fault should be held legally responsible for the pain they have caused.
Occupational Hazards and High-Risk Populations
Because of its wide use during the 20th century, asbestos can be found in many places and many products. When asbestos breaks down into fine dust, it can make its way into people’s airways. Everyone can be exposed to asbestos since it is even present in the soil, air, and water, but this small amount probably doesn’t pose harmful effects. On the other hand, people who worked with asbestos or asbestos products were likely to inhale the toxic dust. Regular occupational exposure to asbestos puts workers at the highest risk for developing illnesses, including those who have occupations such as these:
Thousands of products used in construction prior to the 1980s contained asbestos. Demolition crews and other building renovators are among the most in danger of being exposed to asbestos, especially if they are not outfitted with proper protective gear.
People who have occupations such as mechanics, trade laborers, chemical workers, foremen, and machinery operators may have exposure to asbestos through the materials they use. Those who work as industrial insulators are among the most at risk of exposure in the industry due to the broad presence of asbestos in insulation products.
The shipbuilding industry relied heavily on materials that contained asbestos because of its heat resistance and fire prevention abilities. Shipyard workers who built and maintained ships were exposed to asbestos while painting, welding, doing electrical work, insulating, and other such duties.
Asbestos fibers become airborne when fire damages the products that are made with it. In the past, even firefighting protective clothing was made with asbestos. In the aftermath of 9/11, firefighters were exposed to asbestos when the World Trade Center towers collapsed, and the air was filled with dust and contaminants.
In addition to the people who work in situations involving asbestos, their family members may also have exposure to this dangerous substance. Asbestos dust clings to skin, hair, and clothing, so workers can carry this dust back to their homes. When family members are exposed to asbestos regularly, they can be at higher risk for asbestos-related illnesses.
Airborne asbestos can also expose people within the vicinity. Environmental exposure can occur from simply working, living, or regularly visiting such areas.
If you have worked or lived near any of the following, you may have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos without your knowledge:
- Paper Mills
- Chemical Plants
- Steel Mills
- Brass Plants
- Industrial Job Sites
When there is exposure to asbestos, various factors can contribute to whether or not you will experience harmful health effects. Such factors include:
- The dose – how much you are exposed to
- The duration – the length of time you are exposed
- The method – how you were exposed
- The other risk factors – such as whether you smoke or have a pre-existing condition
What a Hotze Runkle Asbestos Attorney Can Do for You
Your asbestos-related illness is more than enough for you to handle, so let us help you and your family. We will take the burden off you and oversee all aspects of your claim while keeping you informed of the process.
These are some of the many tasks we manage for you:
- Evaluating your injuries to calculate the extent of your losses
- Securing the evidence needed to build your claim
- Negotiating and communicating with the parties responsible for your illness
- Litigating to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to
Filing an asbestos claim can be lengthy and complicated, but the accomplished attorneys at Hotze Runkle have experience representing people nationwide who have been affected by asbestos. We will handle all the work and make it easy for you.
Compensation for Asbestos Illnesses
While you focus on taking care of yourself, let us do the fighting for fair compensation. We can pursue restitution for asbestos-related illnesses from these sources:
- A trust fund claim
- Settlement or verdict from a lawsuits
- VA claim
- A workers’ compensation claim
Compensation amounts vary in each case, but the types of compensation you may be able to receive include:
- Medical treatment costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
Each situation is unique, so there is no way to accurately predict the size of an asbestos claim award, but these are some of the factors that influence the amount of compensation:
- Occupational history
- Age at the time of diagnosis
- Loss of wages
- Medical expenses
- Number of dependents
Frequently Asked Questions about Asbestos
Am I at risk for asbestos exposure at work?
In the past, asbestos was used in many different industries and occupations. Even today, it continues to be found in certain products. If you work or have worked in the mining, metalworking, shipbuilding, demolition, or construction industries, you may have been exposed to asbestos without your knowledge.
Who is responsible for my asbestos exposure?
The dangers of asbestos have been concealed by many companies, and sometimes employees were unknowingly working with materials that contained asbestos. The liable companies can include the product manufacturers and distributors, the employers that used the products, and the property owners of sites where asbestos exposure occurred.
How long do asbestos symptoms take to surface?
Asbestos-related diseases are notoriously difficult to diagnose. Not only do many of their early symptoms resemble those of other medical conditions, but asbestos-related illnesses may have long latency periods. Mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos, may take anywhere from 30 to 50 years to become apparent.
Why did companies make and use products with asbestos?
Despite the knowledge of asbestos being harmful, businesses were able to make a lot of money manufacturing and distributing asbestos products. They may have assumed that the harm was minimal or that any ill effects would occur long after exposure to their products, so people would not be able to hold them responsible.
What should I do if I have mesothelioma?
The most important thing is to take care of your health. Seek out medical attention and advice immediately. You may also want to consider taking legal action against those responsible for your illness. If you were wrongly exposed to asbestos, for example, you may be able to recover financial compensation to pay for your medical bills and other related expenses.
What are my legal options after being diagnosed with mesothelioma?
Because it can be proven that companies knew about the dangers of asbestos but still promoted its use, they can be held accountable and have been for decades. Many of these companies were forced to establish trust funds that would compensate the future victims who were sure to emerge. There is still a large sum of money available to mesothelioma victims and their families. Even victims who are not eligible for funds from the trust funds may be able to file a claim with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, if they are a veteran.
If I was exposed to asbestos and developed an illness, but I am also a smoker, can I still take legal action?
You can still seek compensation for an asbestos-related illness. Even smokers who have exposure to asbestos are still much more likely to develop lung cancer than smokers who are not exposed.