Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace
Hundreds of worksites contained asbestos from the 1930s to the 1980s. Now, the deadly mineral is known as a proven cause of mesothelioma. Those exposed to asbestos in the workplace are at risk of getting sick decades after the fact. Learn more about asbestos exposure in the workplace below.
Why Was Asbestos Used in the Workplace?
Before the dangerous health effects were widely known, asbestos-containing materials were extremely helpful. They made everything from construction materials to insulation stronger and more durable.
Asbestos was thought to be a miracle material because it is:
- Chemically stable
- Resistant to fire
- Thermally inert
Asbestos also didn’t conduct electricity and didn’t dissolve in water. Further, asbestos was widely available and extremely affordable.
How Did Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace Occur?
Asbestos exposure in the workplace could occur in a number of ways.
For example, some workers directly handled asbestos-containing products that could release microscopic fibers into the air around them.
Other workers could have been put at risk if asbestos-containing products were used at their job — even if they didn’t directly use them.
Some work sites centered on extracting asbestos right from the ground, which could send microscopic fibers flying into the air.
High-Risk Work Sites
It’s nearly impossible to list every American work site exposing workers to asbestos — hundreds, if not thousands of sites used this deadly mineral.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) classifies over 75 worker groups who were at risk of asbestos exposure in their work sites.
Top sites that exposed workers to airborne asbestos fibers included:
- Asbestos mines
- Construction industry work sites, exposing trades like carpenters, electricians, masons, and plumbers
- Factories that made asbestos-based products
- Industrial sites that used asbestos materials for insulation and fireproofing
- Military service members, since all military branches heavily relied on asbestos
- Power plants that used asbestos for heat control
- Ships and shipyards, as ships heavily relied on asbestos-containing materials
- Textile mills that spun asbestos fibers into fabrics
If asbestos-containing products weren’t being used directly on a worksite, they could be found inside offices, schools, factories, or vehicles.
Even those who worked around asbestos-containing products could be at risk of health problems decades later.
Did You Know?
Some are still at risk of asbestos exposure in the workplace today. For example, older buildings sometimes have asbestos-containing products that can put workers in danger.
Secondary Asbestos Exposure from Work Sites
Many job sites also put people at risk of secondary asbestos exposure when workers who directly handled asbestos interacted with other workers and their family members.
Microscopic fibers could cling to workers’ hair and clothing without notice and settle in the home.
Asbestos-Exposed Workers and Health Issues
Although most of today’s worksites are asbestos-free, those who were placed at risk decades ago are most at high risk of developing mesothelioma today. This is because it takes 20-50 years before asbestos-related diseases become noticeable.
Did You Know? Asbestos is easily dislodged from a stable form and can crumble quite easily. Asbestos dust clouds can be hard to see in a work site, preventing workers from being able to protect themselves.
Once asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they do not instantly cause health problems. Instead, the fibers get stuck in the body and slowly irritate healthy tissue.
Over the decades, this causes scar tissue to form, and, in some cases, malignant (cancerous) tumors to develop.
Asbestos-caused cancers like mesothelioma are extremely aggressive and are often not diagnosed until they have spread throughout the body.
Victims of mesothelioma may be able to pursue compensation to help pay for treatments and hold accountable the manufacturers of the asbestos-containing products they used on the job.
Asbestos exposure does not always lead to cancers like mesothelioma.
Sometimes, asbestos can cause non-cancerous diseases like asbestosis, which causes shortness of breath, pain, and reduced lung function.
Compensation for Workplace Asbestos Exposure
If you suffered from asbestos exposure in the workplace and got sick, you may be eligible for mesothelioma compensation from the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products.
Manufacturers Hid Asbestos Health Risks for Decades
Manufacturers knew that asbestos exposure could cause life-threatening health problems back in the 1930s — if not earlier.
Yet instead of keeping workers and the general public safe, these corporations hid the health risks since they could make millions. They put profits over human life.
You may be able to take legal action against these companies if you developed mesothelioma.
Get a free case review to learn more about receiving compensation from asbestos exposure in the workplace.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (n.d.). Asbestos Toxicity: Who Is at Risk of Exposure to Asbestos? Retrieved April 2, 2020, from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=29&po;=7
- Killeen, K. (2020, March 13). Asbestos victim pushes job site reform to protect others. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://kmox.radio.com/articles/news/asbestos-victim-pushes-job-site-reform-to-protect-others
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). OSHA Fact Sheet: Asbestos. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3507.pdf
- Province of Ontario, Ministry of Labor. (n.d.). List of Suspects Asbestos-Containing Building Materials. Retrieved April 3, 2020 from https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/asbestos/asbst_app2.php
Easier Than It May Seem
Your individual situation may merit an actual lawsuit. However, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Trusts have been set up to benefit victims of mesothelioma in such a way that lawsuits and court appearances aren’t needed. Contact us today and you’ll see how easy it can be to get the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a mesothelioma claim?
A person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma – as well as their spouse, child, or family member – may be able to file a claim to recover compensation from manufacturers of asbestos products. If the mesothelioma patient passes away, a family member or estate representative may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
How much money is in the asbestos trust fund?
An estimated $30 billion has been set aside in asbestos trust funds to compensate mesothelioma patients. Many companies that made asbestos products later filed for bankruptcy, so they created these trust funds to pay out future mesothelioma claims. If the company responsible for your asbestos exposure no longer exists, you may be entitled to money from their trust fund.
How do I file a mesothelioma claim?
To file a mesothelioma claim, contact an attorney who is experienced with these types of lawsuits. They will know where and when to file your claim, how to build the strongest case possible, and the best way to maximize compensation on your behalf.
What is the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims?
The statute of limitations (deadline to file) for mesothelioma claims will vary depending on the state in which you file. In many states, it’s 2-3 years from the date of the mesothelioma diagnosis – though it may be longer if the mesothelioma patient has passed away. A mesothelioma lawyer can make sure your claim is filed within the required time frame.
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
Every mesothelioma claim is different, with circumstances and factors that are unique to that mesothelioma patient’s story. Though there’s no way to predict exactly how long a claim will take, an experienced mesothelioma attorney will ensure the process is handled as efficiently as possible.
Many claimants start to receive compensation in as few as 90 days after settling their mesothelioma claims.
What is the average payout for mesothelioma?
There is no guarantee of compensation when you file a mesothelioma claim, and countless factors affect how much money you might be able to recover (assuming your case settles). That said, 95% of these lawsuits are settled out of court, and the average settlement amount is $1-1.4 million.
How much is my mesothelioma claim worth?
Your mesothelioma case value depends on the specifics of your situation, such as the duration of your asbestos exposure, and the total cost of your mesothelioma treatment (as well as travel expenses and other related losses). The best way to figure out how much your claim is worth is to speak with a mesothelioma lawyer.
What type of mesothelioma claim do I have?
Most mesothelioma claims fall under one of four categories:
- Personal injury: You were exposed to asbestos (often through your job, or your loved one’s), so you file a lawsuit against the company that made the asbestos products.
- Asbestos trust fund: Similar to a personal injury claim, only the company in question went bankrupt, so you can’t sue them – but you may be able to access a trust fund they set aside for mesothelioma victims.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits: U.S. military veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their service may qualify for related health care benefits through the VA.
- Wrongful death: When a mesothelioma patient passes away, their family member or estate representative may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf, seeking money to pay for past medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, etc.
A mesothelioma attorney can determine which type of claim makes the most sense for you and your family. (Some clients qualify for more than one.)