When asbestos exposure leads to mesothelioma, it may be the time to contact an asbestos attorney. They may be able to assist afflicted individuals and their families in recovering financial losses resulting from this aggressive and sometimes lethal type of cancer.
Asbestos is a mineral that continues to pose a grave danger to certain trade professionals. Once used in the residential and commercial construction industries, the material has been banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 1989. Nevertheless, homes and public facilities built prior to the ban may still contain this extremely harmful substance.
Formerly used in floor tiles and roofing shingles, as well as in the insulation of pipes and heating ducts, tradesmen like roofers, electricians, firefighters, construction workers, shipyard employees, and miners are most vulnerable to exposure. But occupants of older homes and offices may also place their families or employees at risk unknowingly. When the material’s fibers are disturbed by renovation work or remodeling, the substance may be released into the air and inhaled into the lungs. Fibers can catch on hair or clothing and, during the wash cycle, transfer to the belongings of others. Mesothelioma can develop as a result of extended exposure or from brief contact. Children, especially, are very susceptible to the material’s devastating effects.
By law, the presence of asbestos must be disclosed during the sale of a building. But the material is a silent killer that is usually hidden and not apparent to the naked eye. Its removal is extremely expensive due to the hazards involved, and there have been times when sellers chose to disregard the disclosure mandated by law and knowingly placed unsuspecting building occupants in the path of cancer or even death.
In its most common form, mesothelioma attacks the lungs and chest cavity (pleural mesothelioma). Less common types affect the stomach (peritoneal mesothelioma) or the lining of the heart (pericardial mesothelioma). A lot of mesothelioma patients die within a year of learning of their illness. In a sometimes futile and often desperate search for a cure, they usually undergo a harrowing treatment plan that includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. An experienced asbestos attorney knows the laws associated with this potentially deadly material, and how it can protect people who have been exposed to it, or fallen ill because of it.
An asbestos attorney will begin work on the case by determining where the exposure may have occurred. This may include investigating the patient’s home and place of business in an attempt to pinpoint the likely location of exposure. Once the source has been established and sufficient evidence has been gathered, the asbestos attorney will draft a civil complaint and demand accountability from the responsible parties. The lawyer may try to reach a settlement with the defendant(s) or, if a settlement cannot be reached, take the case in front of a judge or jury.
An asbestos attorney cannot undo the actions of irresponsible building owners or sellers. But he may be able to assist families in obtaining some monetary relief in the form of damages to ease the financial burden of medical bills, as well as compensation for pain and suffering, for victims and their loved ones.