Asbestos is a group of minerals that was widely used in the manufacturing of building, automotive and shipbuilding products. Manufacturers were eager to use asbestos in their products because its unique qualities made it ideal for inclusion in applications that required heat and corrosion resistance.
Corporate manufacturers’ desire to churn out products (that contained asbestos) has caused immeasurable hardship to the workers who were actively involved in industries that regularly used asbestos-related products during the manufacturing and construction process.
Today, men and women who were exposed to asbestos during their careers have developed rare conditions that are uniquely attributable to asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure has been known to cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a type of cancer that impacts the lungs and other organs. It can take 15 to 40 plus years for these diseases to become apparent, as they are latent in nature but are very progressive once they begin.The medical community recognizes three types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural Mesothelioma: Affects the lining of the lungs (known as the pleura). Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma and accounts for approximately 70% of the cases.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Occurs in the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity)
- Pericardial Mesothelioma: Originates in the pericardium (lining of the heart)
Unlike other cancers that may develop due to both hereditary factors and environmental exposure, the only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. There is now evidence that manufacturers using asbestos-related products were aware of the risks posed to their employees, yet never provided any warnings or implemented any safeguards to protect them. Between 1979 and 2001 at least 43,000 people died for mesothelioma, asbestos cancer or asbestosis, though complete reporting did not begin until the late 1990’s.
As the result of corporate greed and intentional concealment, generations of skilled workers have developed — or have been put at an increased risk for the development of — mesothelioma, a cancer for which there is no known cure. According to the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America, it is estimated that over 30 million people in the U.S. have been exposed to asbestos over the last several decades.
These are mostly people who were exposed to asbestos through their jobs but they are not the only victims of this harmful agent. Other exposures have happened with family members who were exposed from particles brought home on worker’s body and clothes, people you unknowingly lived in asbestos filled buildings and even children who were exposed at school or in other places that contained asbestos. There is no “safe” level of exposure so anyone who has been exposed is at risk for possible mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases down the road.Mesothelioma rates are particularly high for the following types of workers:
- Automobile manufacturers
- Construction workers
- Factory workers
- Dental factory employees
- Maintenance workers
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma, you may have legal rights with respect to a financial recovery for you and your family. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can assist with the initial case review and advise what legal remedies are available to you. Our team is experienced in the intricacies involved with asbestos exposure cases and will do the necessary research needed to best win your case.
As with all personal injury matters, statutes of limitations impose time restrictions on the time for an injured party to pursue a claim for damages. Due to the frequent delay between exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma, we typically suggest speaking to a lawyer as soon as you believe you may have a case.