Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Sep 19, 2017 in Personal Injury
Asbestos was commonly used in many industries during the 20th century, which caused many workers to be exposed to the dangerous mineral.
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this rare form of cancer, you may have legal options to recover compensation for your pain and suffering. The dedicated Fort Worth mesothelioma attorneys of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings have compiled this guide to help you understand the link between asbestos and mesothelioma.
How Exposure Happens
Exposure to asbestos most often occurs through direct contact with the dangerous mineral. However, asbestos is a light, fibrous mineral that easily attaches itself onto clothing and furniture, making cases of secondhand exposure common. The most frequently reported causes of exposure include:
Occupations with a High Risk for Exposure to Asbestos
People who worked in industries that regularly used asbestos are more likely to have been exposed to the dangerous substance. Occupations carrying the highest risk for asbestos exposure include:
- Factory work
- Railroad, especially working with steam engines
- Oil refineries
- Chemical plants
Nearby Asbestos Operations
Job-sites and asbestos mining operations where asbestos was regularly handled or processed often caused asbestos fibers to be released into the air, often contaminating nearby communities.
Asbestos-containing materials are often found in older homes and buildings built before the 1980’s. If these materials are improperly abated or removed from a home or building, there is a high risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibers.
If there are any asbestos-containing materials in your home, do not touch the object and follow the federal rules and regulations for removing asbestos to minimize the risk of exposure.
Secondhand exposure to asbestos occurs when someone who has recently been in direct contact with asbestos passes the fibrous mineral to those he or she interacts with.
This often occurs when workers who directly handle asbestos-containing materials interact with other people, unaware that asbestos might be present on their clothing.
Unfortunately, secondhand exposure to asbestos is responsible for a significant amount of mesothelioma diagnoses in woman and children. Common causes of secondhand exposure to asbestos include:
- Laundry: Articles of clothing worn by a person who made direct contact with asbestos could contain asbestos fibers. This provides a significant risk of secondhand exposure, and any clothing possibly containing asbestos should be avoided.
- Furniture: Asbestos fibers that latched onto a person’s arms, legs, hands or clothing could attach to any piece of furniture he or she makes contact with.
- Hugging and other direct contact: If asbestos fibers latch onto a person’s clothing or skin, any direct contact he or she makes with other people could cause them to suffer secondhand exposure. This can include hugging loved ones, shaking hands or any other form of direct contact.
Legal Claims After Asbestos Exposure
There are several legal options that may be available to mesothelioma victims to recover compensation for medical issues caused by asbestos exposure:
- Bankruptcy Trusts: Several asbestos companies that went bankrupt established trust funds to pay for mesothelioma claims brought by future victims.
- Lawsuits: A victim who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after being unknowingly exposed to asbestos may be able to file a lawsuit against the party that caused his or her exposure.
- Veterans' Benefits: Members of the military may be able to file a claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to recover compensation for their mesothelioma diagnosis.
- Workers' Compensation: If a person was exposed to asbestos through his or her occupation, he or she may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to pay for medical bills and lost wages.
Our qualified personal injury attorneys in Fort Worth will review your mesothelioma claim during a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you have legal options available to pursue compensation.
Legal Claims for Secondhand Exposure
If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe your asbestos exposure occurred through a secondhand source, you may still be able to file a claim to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
However, you must be able to trace your exposure to a corporation or individual who failed to properly warn or protect others against the exposure.
Our attorneys will investigate the past work history of your family members or anyone who may have been living with you to trace the source of your exposure. If we can identify the source of your exposure, we will work to hold the at-fault party liable for your damages.
Contact an Asbestos Lawyer Now
Mesothelioma is a dormant form of cancer that may take decades for any signs or symptoms to appear. Unfortunately, there is no cure for mesothelioma, which makes it all the more devastating to the victim and his or her family members.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe you were exposed to asbestos because of another’s negligence or recklessness, you may have a claim that entitles compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Do not hesitate to contact Stephens, Anderson & Cummings for a free, no obligation consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys. We provide all of our legal services on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.