Lawsuits from Exposure to Asbestos
Industry relied on asbestos for thousands of years. Society became aware of its risks a century ago. However, people left critically ill by exposure to this deadly material are still filing lawsuits. Millions of claims have been made from exposure to asbestos.
People harmed by asbestos often suffer from a form of cancer called mesothelioma. It’s deadly and there is no cure. This cancer affects the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs. Mesothelioma is most likely to occur in the lungs.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber found in the ground. The use of asbestos dates back 4,500 years. It was once highly valued in industry due to its resilience and its resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage. Asbestos was widely used in the shipbuilding industry in Hampton Roads and in other trades. It was also widely used on the railroads and in building construction.
In the early 20th Century, a link between asbestos and illness became apparent. In 1918, a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found an abnormally high risk of early death among asbestos workers, states Mesotheliomahelp.org.
Asbestos contains millions of microscopic fibers. They can break apart and become airborne. When inhaled, the fibers lodge in the lungs, causing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
Because asbestos fibers travel so easily through the air, other people near the material may be harmed. Former workers contract asbestos-related diseases decades after exposure. The lawsuits for exposure to asbestos in Virginia and elsewhere are still being filed.
Despite the many warning signs, asbestos was widely used in U.S. industry until the 1980s. Many different industrial products, including pipes and furnace insulation materials, floor tiles, roofing shingles, millboard, textured paints and other coating materials contained asbestos.
The United States banned asbestos in many products in 1989. This ban did not stop the complete use of asbestos. Other countries continue to mine this product and it can still be found in building materials, heat-resistant fabrics and friction materials.
Bringing Lawsuits Over Exposure to Asbestos
The first lawsuits from exposure to asbestos were filed in the 1960s. Asbestos lawsuits are unusual in that a victim may take years or even decades to develop symptoms. That does not mean he or she will not win substantial monetary damages, either from a company that manufactured or installed the asbestos.
Although the original manufacturer may have closed down, a victim or the family of a victim can often make a claim from an insurance company or an asbestos victims' trust fund that has taken over liability for the company.
How Long Do People With Mesothelioma Have to Sue?
Mesothelioma often develops 10 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos. State laws known as statutes of limitations usually give people one to five years from the diagnosis or discovery of the disease to bring an action.
The Statute of Limitations in Virginia gives people who have been injured two years to sue.
When a mesothelioma victim has already died, his or her spouse and other heirs typically have two years in Virginia from the date of death to bring a wrongful death action. Often these cases result in the recovery of substantial monetary damages.
Mesothelioma victims do not typically join in class actions lawsuits such as those against defective drug manufacturers because each person's medical history and condition is different. Mesothelioma cases must be filed individually.
Contact a Virginia Attorney for an Asbestos-Related Mesothelioma Lawsuit
The attorneys at the Smith Law Center are familiar with asbestos-related mesothelioma lawsuits. This is a terrible condition with no known cure. Often companies continued to use asbestos products for years despite being aware of the devastating effect they had on the health of workers.
The trial lawyers are the Smith Law Center are committed to helping the injured. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about a possible lawsuit from exposure to asbestos. Call (757) 244.7000.