Understanding Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was widely used commercially throughout the United States in the late 1800s. The substance was later banned from use in the 1970s after it was discovered that breathing in or swallowing asbestos fibers can lead to a severe form of cancer called mesothelioma.
Although everyone will be exposed to asbestos at some point in their life, those who develop mesothelioma are those who have been exposed to the mineral in significant amounts for long periods of time. This most often occurred through a job where someone worked directly with the mineral or through exposure from their surrounding environment.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma, you may have legal options and should contact a skilled New Jersey mesothelioma lawyer to review your claim for free and find out if you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.
How Exposure Happens
Exposure occurs when small asbestos fibers are broken apart and become airborne, where they can be unknowingly inhaled and swallowed. The fibers can also attach to clothing and other materials and be transported, where others can also be exposed.
Some of the most common ways exposure can happen include:
Occupational Exposure to Asbestos
Harmful exposure to asbestos commonly occurs on the job. Certain industries have a greater risk of exposure to asbestos than others. The six most common industries with highest risk of asbestos exposure include:
- Shipbuilders – Asbestos was commonly used in insulation for piping. When workers trimmed the insulation, dangerous asbestos particles were released into the air for workers to inhale them.
- Military – Many military applications utilized asbestos, including ships, aircraft, aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers, auxiliary vessels, tanks and barracks.
- Construction – Asbestos was commonly used in insulation and other building materials such as roofing and flooring.
- Firefighters – Firefighters who go into a structure to save someone may later develop mesothelioma by breathing in dangerous asbestos particles from entering older buildings.
- Railroad workers – Engineers and other railroad staff may have been exposed to asbestos, which was a common mineral used in train cars and train engines.
- Industrial workers – Industrial workers can be exposed to the mineral when working in older manufacturing plants or when working with goods that contain the mineral, such as drywall, floor tiles, paint and cement.
Many workers may have been exposed to asbestos throughout their career, including:
- Workers in oil refineries
- Railroad workers
- Glass manufacturers
- Automotive manufacturers
- Agricultural workers
Nearby Asbestos Operations
Unfortunately, those who live near asbestos operations can also be exposed to airborne fibers if the air surrounding and outside the operation becomes contaminated with the fibers.
Because asbestos was regularly used as a building material, older homes and commercial buildings have asbestos within their walls. If this material is disrupted or removed during construction or renovations, there is a high risk that the fibers can become airborne.
If proper abatement, or removal, procedures are not followed, those exposed could develop mesothelioma. It is important to follow federal safety regulations for removal and disposal of the mineral to prevent health risks.
In addition to firsthand asbestos exposure from work or environmental conditions, many individuals are exposed to the dangerous mineral through secondhand contact.
Specifically, women are more susceptible to developing mesothelioma through secondhand exposure. According to a 2012 study, more than half of women diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at home.
Indirect, secondhand exposure may be possible through the following means:
- Laundry – Workers who are employed in industries where asbestos is present may have the mineral on their clothing, which can expose those who do their laundry.
- Physical contact – If a worker returns home after being in contact with dangerous asbestos materials, he or she may expose a spouse or children to these materials. In this way, innocent hugs can become deadly.
- Furniture – Asbestos particles can transfer from a worker’s clothing to the furniture in his or her home. The fibers can then transfer to others who use the furniture.
Legal Claims after Asbestos Exposure
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to compensation through a variety of means. A seasoned lawyer can discuss the following possibilities with you:
- Bankruptcy Trusts – Many companies that used asbestos have since filed bankruptcy. Many of these companies were required to establish bankruptcy trusts to compensate unknown victims at the time.
- Veterans’ Benefits – Because the military used asbestos in many applications, the VA has established procedures to help veterans recover for asbestos-related injuries.
- Workers’ Compensation – If you were exposed to asbestos through your job, you may be able to pursue workers’ compensation for these injuries.
- Lawsuits – You may be able to recover compensation by filing a mesothelioma claim against the party that exposed you to this dangerous substance, such as an employer or property owner. Through this path, you can pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages you have sustained.
Legal Claims for Secondhand Exposure
Individuals who were exposed to asbestos secondhand may also be eligible for compensation. However, they have the burden of tracing their exposure back to a defendant who used asbestos and failed to properly warn of the risks associated with this substance.
It is important to discuss the possibility of pursuing a claim based on secondhand exposure with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.
Contact an Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer to review your potential claim. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages that you have sustained.
The Lynch Law Firm, PC provides a complimentary consultation to review your claim. We also work on a contingency basis so if you do not obtain compensation, we do not get paid.
Contact us at (800) 518-0508 to get started today.