Workers exposed to asbestos may consider filing lawsuits if they suffer any health problems as a result. Personal injury attorneys have helped many victims for years attain restitution for their suffering and costly medical treatment. This material was extremely popular in the construction industry for decades, prized for its resistance to shock, fire, electrical and chemical damage. It was often used as a building insulator or to help dampen sound and was especially popular from 1945 to 1980. However, research into the material has shown conclusively that it is a carcinogen and capable of afflicting people with fatal respiratory diseases.
There are six silicates in the asbestos family. Lawsuits have helped many victims exposed to any of these silicates. At first glance, each silicate looks like a normal rock, but they all produce a mass of fibrous crystals. The fibrous crystals are the real prize and are harvested off of the rock. These fibers, individually, are extraordinarily tiny, each about the size of a single bacterium. At a single micrometer, these crystals are suspended in the air when the material they are infused into is worn down. People inhale the crystals, which settle into the lungs.
Severe medical conditions often present themselves in people exposed to enough asbestos crystals. Lawsuits are often filed by those who have worked around the material or those people living in homes with asbestos insulation. The damage done to the lungs is not immediately noticeable and may worsen for years before symptoms are present. By this time, the victim may be diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma. Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the lungs caused by the presence of the material. Fibrosis is also present in people afflicted by the disease. Fibrosis is the result of the body’s failed attempts to remove the material from the lungs. Macrophages released by the immune system ingest the fibers in an attempt to remove them. These fibers resist digestion, though, so they remain even after the macrophage dies off and signals the body to create connective tissue. The cycle repeats itself many times until masses of connective tissue forms in the lungs.
Over time, mesothelioma may also develop as a result of exposure. Asbestos lawsuits are often filed in these cases because they are frequent and devastating. Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, the protective tissues that cover several internal organs. This disease is most often seen in the mesothelium surrounding the lungs, though some people develop it in the abdominal cavity.
Workers in the construction and railroad industries, as well as firefighters, electricians, miners, manufacturing laborers and shipyard workers are the professionals most likely to be diagnosed with one of these diseases. Experienced attorneys may be able to help these victims by reviewing their medical and work history.
Many attorneys will consult with a victim free of charge before filing any asbestos lawsuits, so the victim can find out if they have a case before they pay anything. In many cases, another party is responsible for the victim’s suffering, often because the victim was not aware the material was present in their home or worksite. This negligence on the behalf of employers or home builders can result in life-long medical conditions and expensive medical bills. For that reason, a victim should consider speaking with a personal injury attorney to see if they qualify for legal representation.