Asbestos is a scary word. We all have heard about the dangers of this toxic substance at one point or another. Despite this, many people are exposed to it while working certain jobs. Due to the hazardous nature of asbestos, it has been the subject of litigation in personal injury law. If you believe you suffer from exposure, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recoup damages.
We know that asbestos can be dangerous, but what is it exactly? Asbestos is a fibrous material that is often used as an insulator. In the past, it was commonly used because it is resistant to heat and doesn't corrode. The danger with asbestos lies in the dust it produces. When a person inhales the fine particles in the air, they enter the lungs. The particles stick to the walls of the lungs and cause mesothelioma or asbestosis. Usually, long, consistent exposure is needed to produce illness. Yet, it's possible to suffer the effects from just a brief exposure.
How to Know If You May Have Been Exposed
Exposure is possible when you handle certain items composed of asbestos. Many of these products are used on a regular basis in the construction industry. Yet, due to a previous ban on asbestos many manufacturers have avoided using it in products. Nonetheless, it is still possible that some construction items still contain asbestos.
If you have ever worked with the following items, you could have been exposed to asbestos:
- Roofing materials
- Vinyl tiling
- Cement products
- Piping insulation
- Car parts, such as brake pads
- Shipbuilding materials
It is difficult to tell if you have inhaled a dangerous amount of asbestos. Many of those exposed will not show signs of illness immediately after. Generally, it takes years to develop the diseases associated with exposure. In some cases, it can take several decades to realize you are suffering from the effects. In any case, you should take immediate action once you determine that an asbestos-related disease is responsible.
Timing of a Lawsuit
It may seem like it is impossible to file a lawsuit decades after asbestos exposure. Some people assume that the statute of limitations will bar their claim. This is not totally true. Many jurisdictions allow the statute of limitations to begin at the time you discover the illness. This means your cause of action can be valid even if many years have passed. Thus, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you become aware of the problem.
There are many types of recoverable damages available in an asbestos case. These include economic, as well as non-economic damages. For example, you may be able to recover the expenses of medical care, lost and future wages, lost earning capacity and rehabilitation costs. You may also seek damages for mental issues such as emotional distress. In some cases, it may even be possible to recover punitive damages for extremely dangerous behavior by the defendant.
If you have suffered an asbestos-related illness, contact an experienced lawyer at Spencer and Jensen, PLLC. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with your case.