Does Asbestos Exposure Fall Under Personal Injury?
May 21, 2018 11:56
Asbestos was supposed to be the greatest material that many industries had ever seen. It was an excellent choice for insulation and it was fireproof. Little did the public or people who worked with it know - until many years later - how harmful it actually was to people’s health.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was used in the electrical and construction industries. The problem is that although it’s safe when intact, if it starts to degrade or the fibers break apart, it can lead to cancer. Airborne particles can get lodged into lung tissue, and over time lead to mesothelioma, along with other asbestos-related fatal or chronic illnesses.
Asbestos was used from as far back as the 1900s until the 1980s and was prevalent in many industries across Houston. As it was not banned until 1989, it can still be found in many homes and businesses nationwide.
Manufacturers and companies who dealt with asbestos had known since it was first introduced that the inhalation of asbestos fibers could cause diseases in the long run. Yet they exposed it to their employees without explaining the harmful risks and nature of what could happen. This means millions of individuals were unwittingly exposed, without a clue that it would lead to them getting sick or that they needed to take specific precautions to limit their exposure.
And it wasn’t just harmful to the workers themselves; when they went home from work, the fibers were exposed to their families via transmission.
Is being diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma enough to bring on a personal injury suit?
If you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma or lung cancer, then you might have the ability to sue. The hardest part is knowing who to sue. Since asbestos illnesses typically take decades to surface after exposure, it is nearly impossible to know who manufactured the asbestos and what company is to blame. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, there are two ways that you can get the compensation that you are entitled to: you can file a claim with an asbestos trust fund, or you can file a lawsuit with the asbestos company itself.
Which is a better option?
If you want to receive compensation for your asbestos exposure and any resulting health conditions that you are suffering from, then the best and easiest way is to go through an asbestos trust fund. Trust funds have been set up by the companies that manufactured asbestos, which are now in bankruptcy to cover all the people who were exposed and became ill. Since there are so many claims made, it is a good idea to have a Houston injury attorney who deals with asbestos trust fund issues to help guide you through the process.
If you lost a loved one due to asbestos exposure, you are also eligible to file for compensation. You can file a “wrongful death lawsuit,” and the resulting settlement is typically a sizable amount. If your loved one worked in the military between 1935 and 1970, you also might be entitled to things like dependency and indemnity compensation, disability compensation, benefits for survivors, and healthcare services.
The problem with making a claim against an individual company is that it is difficult to know which company manufactured the asbestos that you were exposed to. Even if you can find the original manufacturer, they are most likely bankrupt and probably do not have the funds to compensate their victims. When the harmful nature of asbestos first came to light, not only did those companies stop making it, but they were sued to the point of bankruptcy and likely do not have the assets available to pay a lawsuit. Also, the process of suing the company is long and arduous, and there is no guarantee that you will win your case.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness in Houston, then you do have the right to be compensated for your injuries - or if you lost a loved one, for their untimely death. The best place to start is to hire a Houston personal injury lawyer who specializes in getting the compensation that those who have been exposed to this highly hazardous material deserve.
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