Asbestos is a fine mineral fiber that was prized for its heat and fire-resistant properties, tensile strength, and sound absorption. As a result, it was used extensively in the 19th and early 20th centuries in various industries. Asbestos companies built a highly profitable industry and hid the known dangers of asbestos exposure in order to continue using it. For decades, workers were exposed to fibers known to cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Even now, workers are exposed to hazardous conditions involving asbestos.
An estimated 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed every year in the U.S. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or another illness related to asbestos exposure, you have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence and/or misconduct. At Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc. (RCRSD), our asbestos exposure attorneys are committed to seeking justice for those who were taken advantage of by the asbestos industry, and those who have been exposed to unsafe working conditions. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, contact us today to discuss your legal options.
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive and fatal cancer caused by prolonged asbestos exposure. It develops in a thin layer of tissue, the mesothelium, which covers most of the body’s internal organs. There are three types of mesothelioma: The most common is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs; peritoneal mesothelioma, which develops in the abdomen; and pericardial mesothelioma, which develops in the heart. Due to the long latency period of mesothelioma, a worker exposed to asbestos may not show signs of the disease for up to 50 years after exposure.
Occupational Asbestos Exposure
Depending on the types of jobs you’ve held, when you held them, and whether you have been exhibiting certain symptoms, you may be a victim of asbestos industry negligence and entitled to legal action. Though the use of asbestos has been banned or highly restricted for certain uses since 1989, workers up until that point and even some workers today are still at risk of developing mesothelioma. If you have worked in the following industries and/or are exhibiting any of the below symptoms, it is important that you seek medical attention and legal support right away:
- Automobile manufacturing
- Commercial construction
- Navy or other ship-related industry
- Plumbing and pipe fitting
- Residential construction
- Barely audible or harsh breathing sounds
- Chest pain
- Dry cough or wheezing
- Fluid build-up between pleural layers
- Labored breathing or shortness of breath
- Painful cough
- Reduced/restricted chest expansion
- Unexplained weight loss
The above occupational industries and symptoms are not necessarily exclusive. If you’ve been experiencing some of the above symptoms but are not sure whether your job involved asbestos exposure, it is still in your best interests to consult with a medical professional.
Holding Asbestos Companies Responsible
The misconduct of the asbestos industry resulted in the fatal asbestos exposure of millions of people. If you have suffered illness as the result of asbestos exposure, the personal injury law firm of RCRSD can help you seek justice. To discuss your circumstances with our legal team, call us today at (888) 701-1288 for a free case evaluation.
“Stop the Whining”
July 2009, Daily Journal Article
Each year, 3,000 Americans develop asbestos cancer, known as mesothelioma, a very rare and rapidly fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs, heart, abdomen or testicles, caused only by asbestos. Nearly all victims of asbestos cancer will die within six to 18 months of diagnosis. Typically their asbestos exposure occurred on the job where they worked around construction materials that contained small amounts of asbestos.
They came into contact with asbestos from insulation aboard ships and in industrial refining facilities, or from wallboard finishing compounds and sprays, fireproofing, brake linings, cement pipe and gaskets and packings commonly used in valves and pumps, automobile engines, refrigeration and air compressors. It was even used in ordinary lawnmowers.
The workers themselves are invariably without fault in their own demise. Never warned, usually unaware that the materials they were handling contained asbestos, they unwittingly poisoned themselves by breathing invisible and odorless asbestos. Often they brought these invisible fibers home on their clothes, hair and shoes. In so doing, they exposed their wives and children to asbestos, some of whom develop asbestos cancer 20-40 years later.
Asbestos victims have recourse in California if they can prove that they were exposed in California. Many who now live throughout the United States served their country in naval shipyards located in California where they and their families suffered exposure to asbestos. When that victim can satisfy a judge and jury that a defendant’s products or actions were a substantial factor in contributing to his risk of developing asbestos cancer, he may hold the company liable for its proportion of fault in causing his disease.
To the extent his economic damages are not offset by settlements secured from responsible bankruptcy trusts or other defendants, he can hold the defendant responsible for the remainder of his out-of-pocket losses incurred because of his asbestos cancer. Since his life expectancy is measured in months rather than years, California affords him an opportunity to have his day in court before he dies. The jury must determine all of the entities at fault for causing the asbestos cancer and attribute to the remaining defendant its appropriate share of that fault.
For many people like Jim Morrison, the California system works to help compensate that which can never truly be compensated. Having never smoked a cigarette in his life, at the age of 54 he was diagnosed with cancer from asbestos and given only months to live. His primary goal was to live long enough to see his engaged daughter marry later in the year.