Why Is Asbestos Harmful?
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring material. People are commonly exposed to asbestos in the air we breathe and the water we drink. In its natural form, asbestos is not harmful. However, when asbestos is cut or disturbed, it releases millions of microscopic fibers into the air that can become embedded into the pleura of the lungs, causing lesions and tumors that can later develop into a form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma.
In What Products Was Asbestos Commonly Used?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos is commonly found in the following products:
- Floor Tile
- Brake Shoes
- HVAC Duct Insulation
- Pipe Insulation
- Joint Compounds
- High Temperature Gaskets
- Roofing Shingles
- Ceiling Tiles
- Fireproofing Materials
Who Is At Risk for Asbestos-Related Disease?
People who have the highest risk for developing mesothelioma are those who worked with asbestos products for a substantial period of time without proper protection. Individuals employed in shipyards, construction and building trades, and the automotive and manufacturing industries in the early-to-mid 20th century seem to have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma later in life. In addition, wives and daughters of these individuals who were responsible for clothes washing are also at risk for developing mesothelioma due to the presence of asbestos fibers carried home on a work uniform.
Who Is Eligible for an Asbestos Settlement?
If you believe you may have been exposed to asbestos, you should first visit a doctor for a medical examination in order to determine if you have any signs of mesothelioma. If a doctor finds evidence of mesothelioma, then you may be entitled to financial damages from the responsible party. However, in order to pursue financial damages, you must enlist the help of a lawyer. Before a lawyer will take your case, you must meet two requirements: you must have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and there must be a group of individuals who can be held responsible. If you meet these two requirements, then a lawyer is likely to represent your case.
What Questions Should You Ask an Asbestos Lawyer?
When looking for a lawyer to represent your asbestos case, you’ll want to ask the following questions:
- Is the lawyer/law firm licensed to practice in your state?
- Has the lawyer/law firm handled asbestos cases in the past?
- Has the lawyer/law firm been successful in obtaining asbestos settlements for their clients in past cases?
- Is the lawyer/law firm familiar with your former employer as well as the forms of asbestos that were used by your former employer?
- Will the lawyer/law firm look for other companies/individuals responsible for your asbestos exposure in addition to your former employer?
- Will your case be settled individually, or will it be settled as part of a class-action lawsuit?
- Does your lawyer charge an hourly rate upfront, or are charges withheld until a settlement is made?