There are moments in life when a diagnosis seems to echo loudly, bouncing off every corner of our existence and changing everything we know. If you or a family member have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you understand this feeling all too well. From countless medical appointments and expensive medical bills to your lost wages and physical pain, asbestos-related diseases wreak havoc on many aspects of your life.

At Vinson Law, we understand the challenges related to asbestos claims and how important it is that you recover compensation for your illness. We take asbestos cases from across the United States and use our vast knowledge and experience to help our clients find justice. We are your advocates, your guides, and your dedicated support in the pursuit of financial relief. Call us today at (888) 752-7582 or complete our contact form for a complimentary case review.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that people have mined and used for thousands of years. It consists of flexible, soft fibers that are resistant to electricity, heat, and corrosion. These characteristics make it an incredibly versatile substance.

Historically, companies lauded asbestos as a “miracle material” and used it in numerous industrial applications. Construction companies favored it for insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors of buildings, as well as for fireproofing. Many companies also heavily used asbestos to manufacture automotive parts such as brake pads and clutches because of its heat resistance. Additionally, many shipbuilding companies used asbestos extensively for its fireproof properties. Even household items like hairdryers and toasters contained asbestos. While asbestos was prevalent in much of the world during the 20th Century, we now recognize the severe harm asbestos can cause.

What Diseases Does Asbestos Cause?

Research shows that asbestos exposure causes several severe and life-threatening diseases. The most notorious of these is mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that primarily affects the lining of the lungs but can also target the lining of the abdomen, heart, and testicles. The American Cancer Society says about eight out of ten people with mesothelioma were previously exposed to asbestos. The four types of mesothelioma are:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma: This is the most common form of mesothelioma and accounts for about 75 percent of all cases. It develops in the pleura, the lining of the lungs, causing symptoms such as chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath.
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma: This form of mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen and accounts for about 20 percent of cases. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, weight loss, and swelling due to fluid buildup.
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma: This is a rare form that develops around the heart. Symptoms may include chest pain, heart murmurs, or irregular heartbeats.
  • Testicular Mesothelioma: The rarest form of mesothelioma affects the lining around the testicles, causing swelling or lumps.

Aside from mesothelioma, asbestos exposure can lead to other forms of cancer, including lung and laryngeal cancer. Lung cancer, in particular, has been significantly linked to asbestos exposure, especially among individuals who smoke.

In addition to these cancers, asbestos exposure can lead to non-cancerous diseases, such as:

  • Asbestosis: A chronic lung condition characterized by scarring of lung tissue. This scarring makes breathing difficult and can lead to heart failure in severe cases.
  • Pleural Plaques: These are areas of thick, hardened tissue on the pleura. Though not cancerous, pleural plaques can cause breathing difficulties.
  • Pleural Effusion: This refers to the buildup of fluid between the layers of the pleura, which can lead to chest pain and breathlessness.

How Asbestos Exposure Occurs

Asbestos exposure typically occurs when tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air and subsequently inhaled or ingested. This can happen during the mining, processing, or use of asbestos-containing materials, or when those materials become damaged or disturbed. Here are some of the most common ways people are exposed to this hazardous material:

  • Occupational Exposure: This is the most common method of asbestos exposure. Many industries have historically used asbestos extensively. Employees who work or used to work in construction, building, manufacturing, and other industries, particularly before officials implemented tighter regulations, face a high risk of exposure.
  • Home and Environmental Exposure: In the past, many companies used asbestos in residential construction materials such as insulation, roofing, and flooring. Disturbance of these materials during renovation or demolition can release asbestos fibers into the air.
  • Secondary or Take-Home Exposure: Friends and family members of those who work directly with asbestos can also be at risk. Because asbestos fibers can cling to clothing, hair, and skin, workers might unintentionally spread these fibers to their loved ones.

While asbestos use has dramatically decreased due to increased regulations, its historical prevalence means that the risk of exposure remains, especially in older buildings or industries with a history of asbestos use.

Who Is Most at Risk of Contracting an Asbestos-Related Illness?

While anyone exposed to asbestos has a risk of developing an asbestos-related illness, certain groups are more vulnerable due to the nature of their exposure. These at-risk groups include:

  • Industrial and Construction Workers: Those who have worked in heavy industries such as power generation, construction, manufacturing, and shipbuilding have historically been exposed to asbestos in large amounts. Even years after officials tightened regulations, many of these workers are now at risk due to the latency period of asbestos-related diseases.
  • Veterans: Military veterans, especially those who served in the Navy or in shipyards, were often exposed to asbestos used in ships, vehicles, and buildings. A disproportionate number of veterans developed asbestos-related illnesses as a result.
  • First Responders: Firefighters, paramedics, and police officers can be exposed to asbestos while responding to emergencies, especially when working in or around older buildings.
  • Home Renovators and DIY Enthusiasts: Those who renovate older homes can unknowingly disturb asbestos-containing materials, releasing fibers into the air.
  • Family Members of At-Risk Workers: As mentioned earlier, asbestos fibers can be unknowingly brought home on workers’ clothing, hair, and skin, posing a risk to their family members.
  • Residents Near Asbestos Mines or Factories: People who live near asbestos mines or factories that manufacture asbestos-containing products may be exposed to asbestos fibers released into the air.

Potential Compensation from an Asbestos Claim

Between medical bills, lost income, and other expenses, the financial burden of an asbestos-related illness is just as heavy as the physical and emotional one. However, compensation from an asbestos claim can help alleviate these burdens. Here’s what such a claim might cover: medical expenses, lost income and lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and funeral and burial expenses.

The value of each asbestos claim can vary greatly depending on the severity of the illness, the extent of the financial losses, and other factors. The experienced attorneys at Vinson Law are here to help you understand what compensation you could recover through an asbestos claim.

Deadline to File an Asbestos Claim

The timeline for filing an asbestos claim is governed by laws known as statutes of limitations. These laws set strict deadlines for when you must file a lawsuit. However, these rules vary significantly from state to state, and the clock usually starts ticking from the date of your mesothelioma diagnosis or the date of death of a loved one from an asbestos-related disease.

Some states allow only a year to file a claim, while others may allow several years. Additionally, certain circumstances can extend these deadlines. For example, if you were exposed to asbestos decades ago but were only recently diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, the “discovery rule” may apply, which means the statute of limitations would not begin until the date of your diagnosis when you “discovered” that your exposure led to illness.

Due to the different rules in each state and the potential severity of missing the deadline, it is essential to reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible following your diagnosis. Acting promptly maximizes your chance of meeting the necessary deadlines and securing compensation.

Our Dedicated Asbestos Attorneys Will Fight for Your Rights

Navigating an asbestos claim can be complex and emotionally taxing. With an attorney from Vinson Law by your side, you gain a committed ally who is experienced in fighting for justice and compensation. We can handle the legal intricacies of pursuing the money you need, allowing you to focus on your health and spend time with your loved ones. For a consultation or to start your claim, call us today at (888) 752-7582 or fill out our contact form.

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