The Danger of First-hand Asbestos Exposure
In recent years, asbestos has become a scary word that people associate with cancer. Even if you do not know what this substance is or what it can do, you have likely heard enough to be wary of it lurking in your home. Firsthand exposure to asbestos can be dangerous and is directly linked to a handful of lung diseases and cancers.
Thankfully, laws were put in place decades ago to help regulate the amount of asbestos a person can be exposed to. Hopefully, younger generations may be spared from this deadly problem in the future. The bad news is that it can take decades for asbestos-related symptoms to rear their ugly head. This means that many Americans who were exposed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s may just now be developing mesothelioma and other health problems.
Despite the laws designed to protect people from firsthand asbestos exposure, many workers continue to be in harm’s way. Employers are negligent by not providing a safe working environment despite warnings. If you experienced firsthand asbestos exposure and are now sick, you may be entitled to receive compensation.
Phillips Law Group stands ready to offer compassionate legal support in your time of need. We have over 26 years of experience handling all different types of personal injury cases. This includes diseases caused by firsthand asbestos exposure. Our team has grown into one of Arizona’s largest consumer law firms with offices all over the state.
Call Phillips Law Group today at (800) 706-3000 for a free case evaluation. There is no fee unless you win.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that has been mined by humans for centuries. There are six types of asbestos fibers used in various industries due to their durable nature. It is also heat-resistant, fire-resistant, electricity-resistant, and chemical-resistant. This makes asbestos a valuable asset for industries that manufacture specific products.
The list of products asbestos has been used for includes:
- Sound absorbers
- Military vehicles
- Navy ships
- Electrical wires
- Duct, pipe, and furnace insulation
- Shingles, siding, and roofing
- Automobile parts, like gaskets and brake pads
- Paint and adhesives
- Fire-resistant fabrics, like blankets, curtains, and potholders
While asbestos has a bad reputation for being dangerous, it is only harmful when its fibers are released into the air. These fibers can be broken down into tiny, microscopic particles that can be inhaled and get stuck in our throats and lungs. Over time, the accumulation of these particles can cause inflammation and scarring. This often leads to mesothelioma and other diseases.
Asbestos Exposure Risk
Everyone is exposed to asbestos to some degree. While small amounts of asbestos have not been known to cause disease, there is no safe amount that can be ingested or inhaled. The fiber particles are difficult for the body to expel and can become trapped permanently.
Risk of serious medical conditions
Prolonged firsthand asbestos exposure can cause:
- Cancer in the lungs, kidneys, throat, and/or gastrointestinal tract
- Lung scarring
- Pleural effusions
Workers at high risk
Since asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, there are trace amounts of it found almost everywhere. It is even in the air, water, and soil. Those most at risk of developing severe health complications are people who worked with or near asbestos daily.
These high-risk occupations include:
- Railway workers
- Navy vets
- Auto industry workers
- Fabric milling
In recent years, 9/11 recovery and clean-up workers have been developing asbestos-related diseases some 20 years after the attacks. This is one tragic example of how airborne particles can be inhaled and settle in the body for decades. If your employer did not do enough to protect you from firsthand asbestos exposure, call Phillips Law Group today. We can get you the compensation you deserve for your suffering.
Exposure Factors That Increase the Risk of Asbestos-Related Diseases
While workers need to be protected from asbestos exposure at all costs, not everyone exposed will get sick. There are several different factors that might determine who is at higher risk. Even small amounts of asbestos can be enough for some to get sick. Others may be exposed in different ways and never get sick.
The exposure factors that can determine the risk of disease include:
- Intensity: The amount of asbestos you were exposed to at any given time
- Health risk factors: Do you smoke or have any pre-existing lung problems?
- Duration: The amount of time you were exposed to asbestos
- Industry: There are lower and higher-risk industries. For example, if asbestos was released into the air at your company, you would be at higher risk than someone who used it to bond tiles
- Genetic considerations: Some people have genes that make them more susceptible to disease than others
Symptoms of Firsthand Asbestos Exposure
The most difficult part about firsthand asbestos exposure is how long it can take for symptoms to show up. In most cases, it takes anywhere between 10 and 40 years. It would be easier to take action against asbestos exposure if symptoms became evident right away. By the time you realize you are sick, the damage has already been done.
The symptoms of firsthand asbestos exposure include:
- Blood in the sputum
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Swelling of the face and neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal pain
If you begin to experience these symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away. Early treatment can be beneficial. Most of these symptoms can be attributed to other health conditions, so it is best to understand why you are experiencing these problems.
Your health care provider may perform several tests, including:
- Chest X-ray
- Lab tests to measure the amount of asbestos content in your body
- Lung function tests
- CT scan
- Lung biopsy
How to Get Compensated for Asbestos-Related Injuries
If you have been diagnosed with an illness due to firsthand asbestos exposure, you are entitled to receive compensation. Due to asbestos being a common mineral used in many industries, you may have been exposed and did not realize it. Your employer’s negligence has put your life at risk and they should have to pay.
You can seek compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Lifelong disability
In some cases, asbestos manufacturers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. They do this to protect their business against multiple injury claims. In its place, they set up an asbestos trust fund, also known as a mesothelioma trust fund. These funds help provide the compensation victims need so they can get treatment and protect their livelihood. It is important to contact an asbestos lawyer to help you navigate the paperwork and determine whether you are eligible.
Phillips Law Group has been helping injury victims of all types for over 26 years, including asbestos-related injuries. Our team of experienced attorneys has helped our clients win over $1 billion in damages. We understand you are going through a difficult time and will do whatever it takes to help you get the money you deserve. This includes applying to the various trust funds that may be available to you.
Let one of Arizona’s largest consumer law firms fight on your behalf. Call Phillips Law Group today at (800) 706-3000 or by sending a message to one of our agents standing by 24/7. We are available at your convenience whenever you need us. There is no fee unless you win.
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