Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawsuits and Compensation

Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawsuits and Compensation

Mesothelioma is an occupational disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Most of the individuals diagnosed with this rare form of cancer are those who worked with the toxic mineral at a variety of occupations including shipbuilding, construction work, welding, insulating, auto repair, oil refinery and chemical plant work, plumbing, and many more. They may have also been exposed at home through do-it-yourself projects. For decades before the U.S. halted all new uses of asbestos, scientists, doctors, and others knew it was toxic, yet it stayed on the market and companies continued to use it.

Though it's been more than 30 years since the government issued guidelines and warnings about asbestos use, the dangerous mineral can still be found in a high percentage of the homes and commercial buildings that were constructed prior to 1980, so exposure is still a real possibility. Furthermore, it sometimes takes up to 50 years after exposure for victims to be diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer because of the disease's long latency period. Hence, those exposed in the 60s and 70s can still be diagnosed with the disease in the near future.

It has been proven that, in many cases, owners or operators of plants, factories, or other businesses that made use of asbestos knew that the mineral was hazardous to the health of their employees yet no moves were taken to remove asbestos or to replace it with a safer material. Furthermore, those who manufactured asbestos-containing materials were also familiar with its hazardous qualities yet continued to make and market them. As a result, many individuals were wrongfully exposed to this toxic material and many were sickened as well.

During the last few decades, countless individuals who were injured by asbestos and developed mesothelioma have filed lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers and/or the owners of the companies responsible for their exposure in order to seek compensation. Treatment for this aggressive form of cancer is expensive and results in extensive medical bills and loss of income. Furthermore, victims of the disease have a right to be compensated for pain and suffering. In addition, they may wish to seek funds that will insure that their families will be secure after they pass away.

Asbestos Cancer and the Law

From the 1930s through the 1970s, tens of thousands of individuals, including union workers, were exposed to asbestos, mostly in the workplace. Those with jobs such as shipbuilder, construction worker, contractor, insulator, welder, oil refinery worker, chemical plant employee, railroad engineer, auto mechanic, and a host of other occupations were regularly exposed to asbestos on the job. As a result, many hardworking individuals developed serious asbestos diseases, including mesothelioma, a tough-to-fight cancer that continues to claim lives.

Those who worked with asbestos were rarely informed that the material was toxic and that their health was being compromised, despite the fact that executives at companies nationwide knew that hazardous asbestos was making their employees sick. Hence, no protection was provided and workers regularly breathed in dangerous asbestos fibers. Years later, many of these individuals would discover they had asbestosis - or worse - mesothelioma cancer.

The willing exposure of people to known toxins such as asbestos is, in the end, a matter of gross negligence. Employers who allowed exposure to this hazardous material were literally stealing the good health of their workers, resulting in the loss of quality of life for many individuals who would eventually be affected by mesothelioma. Furthermore, spouses, children, and other family members would also face the risk of acquiring mesothelioma through secondhand exposure. Those who grew up near asbestos plants or mines may have also suffered from exposure, not recognizing until years later that their close relationship with toxic asbestos would make them gravely ill.

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