Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous mineral that has the propensity to become trapped in a person’s a lungs. If asbestos accumulates to even a fairly minimal degree in a person’s lungs, the substance can lead to the development of cancer. There are a number of factors to understand about asbestos-related lung cancer and the legal rights of a person who contracts this disease.
Who is at Risk for Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer?
The reality is that even at this juncture in the 21st century, people from all walks of life are exposed to at least low levels of asbestos at some juncture in their lives. Asbestos is naturally found in the air, water, and soil. In addition, asbestos remains in a good number of residential and commercial structures at this time.
As an aside, asbestos that may be contained somewhere in a residential or commercial structure usually doesn’t present a health hazard when left alone. Asbestos becomes a health issue when items in a home or business are disturbed, releasing asbestos into the air. For example, if a person elects to undertake a home remodel project, tearing out some existing materials at the property may result in the release of asbestos.
In this day and age, individuals who are most at risk for asbestos-related cancer are individuals who have been or even currently are in certain occupations. These include:
People involved in the shipbuilding trades
Individuals involved in asbestos mining
People who work in asbestos milling
Workers in the asbestos textiles industry
Workers in other asbestos products industries
People who work in insulation placement
Individuals in the building trades who have dealt with asbestos
Asbestos remediation workers
A note needs to be made about automobile mechanics. There have been certain mechanics who have had to deal with brake products that contain asbestos. The level exposure to asbestos by these individuals is thought to have been minimal. However, there are cases in which this exposure has resulted in asbestos-related cancer.
Nothing Beyond Incidental Exposure to Asbestos is Considered Safe
Since the 1940s, exposure to asbestos has been under consideration, at least to some degree. Ultimately, research into the incidence of asbestos-related cancer led to a widespread banning of the use of asbestos in many settings in the United States.
As a result of this observation of the impact of asbestos on health through the years, only truly incidental exposure to the substance appears to be generally harmless. Anything more than incidental exposure to asbestos is deemed to put a person at risk of cancer.
Legal Rights after an Asbestos-Related Cancer Diagnosis
If a person is diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, the first place a person needs to look for the cause of that disease is a current or prior employer or current or previous military service, particularly in the Navy or Marines. The reality is that at this point in history, with a wealth of information about the risks of asbestos exposure available to employers and even the general public, a typical employer is going to be deemed on notice of the risks associated with asbestos exposure.
An employer is apt to bear legal liability for asbestos-related cancer in many situations. The legal responsibility of an employer is also likely to be enhanced if it can be demonstrated that a business had actual knowledge that workers ran the risk of being exposed to asbestos.
If a person’s asbestos-related cancer can be traced to an employer, the injured individual may be able to seek compensation for a number of different losses. These include:
Medical bills and expenses
Pain and suffering
Mental anguish and emotional distress
A claim based on injuries associated with asbestos-related lung cancer is likely to include not only the need for compensation for existing losses but also those reasonably expected to occur in the future. For example, a person diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer will nearly always need ongoing medical care and treatment. Pain and suffering may endure throughout a person’s life following diagnosis. These represent a pair of examples of ongoing losses for which an individual may be able to seek compensation.
Asbestos-related lung cancer claims can be challenging. There are attorneys that specialize in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. This includes claims and cases involving asbestos-related lung cancer.