There is absolutely no question anymore about the harm caused by asbestos. The material, once heavily used in protective clothing, insulation and as a building material, is now conclusively known to be deadly. For this reason, the material is no longer allowed for use in any capacity, but still, unfortunately, exists in buildings constructed from the 1980s and before.
If you, as a worker, were exposed to asbestos and suffered harm as a result, you may be able to sue and collect damages for your illness or injury. Learn about the dangers of asbestos exposure on the job, how you can get compensated for your illness, and the importance of a good workers’ comp lawyer.
The Effects of Asbestos
Asbestos causes damage when the fibers break off and become airborne (called “friability”). When you inhale these fibers, they become embedded in your lung tissue and can cause a number of chronic, progressive and ultimately fatal illnesses. These include asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Asbestosis refers to scar tissue that builds up in your lungs surrounding the fibers as they cut into your soft tissue, which scrambles to repair itself. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the stomach lining which is now conclusively known to be caused solely by asbestos exposure. While there are treatments for it, there’s currently no cure. Finally, lung cancer can be caused as much by asbestos exposure as by smoking.
The problem with asbestos exposure is that it can take years for damage to present. This means many people who come down with illnesses related to this mineral don’t even realize that exposure was the source.
Asbestos Injury Cases
Most asbestos injury cases are handled under workers’ compensation, but they can also fall under standard personal injury suits based on negligence or product liability. In negligence, you need to prove that your employer had a responsibility to protect you from exposure to dangerous materials, and they failed to do so. That failure resulted in the asbestos exposure that caused your sickness.
OSHA maintains regulations specifically requiring employers to protect workers in this way, so it’s generally not hard to prove this aspect. If your employer failed to monitor asbestos levels, didn’t use proper ventilation, failed to provide the right safety equipment or in any other way violated OSHA regulations, you may have a case for negligence. The problem arises in proving where and when you were exposed.
The Workers’ Comp Lawyer: Proving Your Case
The hardest part to prove is that your injury was caused by asbestos, and by asbestos exposure at a specific job. This is because it can take decades for damages from asbestos exposure to present. Consider the case of lung cancer. Did you get lung cancer from asbestos or from some other environmental factor like smoking or pollution? Even with mesothelioma, proving that you got it at a job you worked 20 years ago can be difficult without help.
This is why you need the services of a knowledgeable personal injury and workers’ comp lawyer to help with your case. The right attorney can protect your rights and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. If you find yourself suffering from asbestos-related sickness, call Mitch Grissim & Associates for a consultation today.