Asbestos is a scary term, and it’s something that most people tend to think of as a ghost of our past, a horrible substance that once, a long time ago, ate people alive but isn’t around any longer. Unfortunately, asbestos is still present in more buildings than people realize, and the dangers of exposure can stretch out for decades. You could get sick from asbestos even 30 years after your initial exposure, and it’s a real danger, especially for workers in the construction industry. Learn what happens when you’re exposed to asbestos on the job and when you should seek help from a qualified and experienced workers’ compensation lawyer for help.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a substance that is known for its properties as a fire retardant and insulator. For many decades it was used in fireproof clothing worn by factory workers and as filler for concrete and insulation. Its use has long been outlawed, but it can still be found in many buildings that were constructed up through the 1970’s and in some cases even into the 80’s.
Asbestos only becomes dangerous when it is friable—literally when it can break apart and microscopic fibers become airborne. This happens with insulation, ceiling and floor tiles and the like, usually when old buildings are demolished.
What Are the Dangers to Workers?
Asbestos causes three deadly ailments: mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. These illnesses can take years and even decades to develop as the microscopic fibers, once inhaled, can sit in your body, doing quiet damage over the years without you even realizing it.
While lung cancer can have many causes, mesothelioma is now considered automatically to result from asbestos exposure. Asbestosis, too, results from exposure but can be harder to diagnose as it consists of scar tissue that could be caused by several factors.
Asbestos and Personal Injury Cases
Asbestos-related lawsuits can be tricky for several reasons. First, you’ll need to prove that your illness was the result of exposure and then track the exposure, which can be tough so many years after it happened. You may not even be aware you were ever exposed. Second, you’ll need to prove negligence, that someone responsible for your safety at that time failed to take the necessary steps to prevent exposure and that it was this failure that caused you to eventually get sick.
If for example, a construction company failed to monitor the conditions at the site, failed to properly ventilate the air, didn’t provide monitoring or filtration equipment, or the like, they have placed you in danger negligently.
Asbestos and Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Most asbestos cases fall under personal injury law, but retroactive workers’ compensation claims may sometimes be filed to help pay your medical bills. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos and need help seeking compensation, you should talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer for help. In Odessa, Texas, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert White have helped West Texas victims of work-related injury for years, and we may be able to help your case, too. Give us a call for more information or to discuss your case today.