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Asbestosis Diagnosis and Procedure

Diagnosing and Treating Asbestosis and Other Asbestos Illnesses

Asbestos is a heat-resistant flexible fiber, composed of six natural minerals. It was commonly used for insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos was also used in a range of manufactured goods, including building materials, heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Disturbing asbestos-containing material can release particles and fibers into the air. If people inhale these fibers, even decades ago, you could develop lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis. If you were exposed to asbestos, contact your doctor for an evaluation, and a law firm to help navigate complex asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma legal claims.

What Is Asbestosis?

Asbestos exposure, especially over a long period of time, is extremely dangerous and can potentially cause asbestosis, a chronic lung disease characterized by permanent lung tissue scarring or shortness of breath. As asbestosis progresses, the lung tissue scarring worsens. Eventually, the tissue in your lungs stiffens, causing abnormal contraction and expansion. The long-term effects of asbestos exposure typically do not appear for 10 to 40 years after initial exposure. Asbestosis symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath,
  • A persistent, dry cough,
  • Weight loss resulting from loss of appetite,
  • Digits that appear wider and/or rounder than usual, and
  • Chest tightness or pain.

There is no cure for this disease, and it has the potential to lead to heart or lung failure.  Since it may take decades to develop, many companies that produced the products that caused your asbestosis may no longer exist or may have declared bankruptcy due to the lawsuits filed against them. However, a lawyer can determine if you or your loved one can qualify for compensation through a trust fund created specifically for those affected by asbestos exposure. We understand the fear and anxiety that comes with an asbestos-related prognosis and we are here to help you navigate your legal remedies.

Who Is at Risk of Asbestosis?

The risk of asbestosis correlates with the amount and the duration of exposure to asbestos. You are at an especially higher risk if you worked in an environment that exposed you to asbestos, such as:

  • Aircraft and auto mechanics,
  • Building construction workers,
  • Electricians,
  • Mining,
  • Milling,
  • Manufacturing, and
  • Installation or removal of asbestos products.

Many construction workers and those in other industries continue to face significant workplace exposure, especially when workers handle old equipment or demolish or renovate older buildings. If someone in your household was an exposed worker, then secondhand exposure is possible as well. Asbestos fibers can come home on clothing, where others in the household can inhale them. Homes built before 1977 that contain popcorn ceilings, floor tiles, and pipes may also contain asbestos. However, asbestosis only occurs from exposure to an inhalable dust form of asbestos. Contained asbestos fibers may not harm you. Nonetheless, any potential exposure to asbestos fibers should concern you. Individuals who live close to asbestos mines are exposed to the fibers released into the air and are also at risk. If you are at risk, note any symptoms of asbestosis that arise. See a doctor immediately, then call a lawyer.

How Is Asbestosis Diagnosed?

Asbestosis is a rare disease, making diagnosis difficult. The patient typically goes through breathing tests to rule out other, more common diseases associated with the symptoms. Once doctors rule out common illnesses, a lung specialist or a pulmonologist may conduct additional tests, including chest X-rays or CT scans that can show scarring of the lung tissues. Using this information, plus your medical history and exposure history, doctors can determine how severe your asbestosis is.

Asbestosis Treatment Options

At present, no treatment can reverse asbestos damage, you can slow the progression of asbestosis and relieve your symptoms. A doctor may recommend:

  • Oxygen therapy.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation—an exercise program designed to help all patients with chronic lung conditions maintain optimal activity levels.
  • Pain medications.
  • Medications to thin secretions.
  • Surgery, and refer you to a lung transplant specialist, or hospitalization to help with breathing.

You can manage your symptoms on your own through:

  • Quitting smoking.
  • Having a well-balanced diet.
  • Staying active.
  • Massage therapy.
  • Preventing infections by taking proper health precautions.

Asbestosis treatments could cost thousands of dollars, especially if you are uninsured, need surgery, or require an extended stay at the hospital. If you were exposed through your workplace or through your home, you will want to learn about the potential remedies that could help cover the costs of treatment. We recognize the fear, anxiety, pain and suffering patients endure from asbestos-related diseases. A law firm can ease some of that pain and suffering by fighting to demonstrate the amount that you should receive due to that pain and suffering.

Federal Asbestos Laws

In 1955, Richard Doll conducted an epidemiological study that found a connection between asbestos and lung cancer. In the 1960s, Dr. Selikoff documented asbestos-related diseases among industrial workers and some of the people in their household. This led to federal and state restrictions on asbestos that began in the 1970s. While the U.S. has not outright banned asbestos, the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration have put many regulations put in place. These regulations include:

Asbestos Lawsuits

Asbestos lawsuits first began in the 1960s after the dangers of asbestos became known and some employers tried to hide the connections between asbestos and certain diseases. Victims experiencing symptoms initially sought relief from state workers’ compensation programs, which failed to provide adequate relief because those programs compensate workers for traumatic injuries like broken bones, not slowly manifesting occupational diseases like asbestosis. As the danger and the consequences of asbestos exposure became more well-known, the number of lawsuits increased. By the early 2000s, an estimated 730,000 claims were filed targeting over 8,400 companies. Many defendants in the asbestos litigation declared bankruptcy, a process that allows a company to re-organize in a bankruptcy proceeding, discharge certain debts, and then exit bankruptcy and continue to operate. However, as mentioned, many of these companies created asbestos trust funds to reimburse patients. A lawyer can help you determine whether you qualify to receive compensation through one of those trust funds. While many federal regulations protect the public from asbestos, too many instances leave people exposed. Companies and employers will not always take steps to protect the consumer or worker from exposure, which often leads to more liability and lawsuits. For example, recently, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay over $100 million to settle more than 1,000 lawsuits claiming the talc found in baby powder caused cancer.

Other Asbestos-related Conditions

Asbestosis is just one of the many diseases that asbestos exposure can cause. Other diseases include malignant mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung linings, and other organs. Mesothelioma has a higher mortality rate than asbestosis and can lead to larger settlements and judgments. Inhaling asbestos fibers can also lead to pleural plaques (when the lining of the lungs thicken and harden), and pleural effusion (when fluid builds up around the lungs). Regardless of the disease, an individual gets from asbestos exposure, you have potential legal remedies. Consult an experienced law firm to learn about how you can recover compensation for your asbestos exposure.

Legal Considerations for Asbestosis Lawsuits

State law primarily governs asbestos-related lawsuits. If you want to bring an asbestos-related lawsuit, you will need to consider your state’s statute of limitations. All states set deadline for bringing a suit after a person finds out that asbestos exposure caused their condition. If you do not bring your case within the deadline, then the statute of limitations could keep you from bringing a case against the company, entity, or individual that caused the exposure. If you want to recover damages from someone that injured you by negligently or unlawfully exposing you to asbestos, contact an asbestosis attorney to make sure the law protects you. You will need to demonstrate the financial and non-economic damages you or a loved one endured due to asbestosis. When filing a claim, an experienced attorney or law firm can organize all of the required documents to support your case. These documents can include or relate to:

  • Medical records and test results
  • Medical expenses
  • Workplace history
  • History of the building where the exposure occurred
  • Length of exposure
  • Contact with witnesses who can confirm the facts of exposure
  • Documentation relating to the exposure or proving who caused it (for example, the manufacturer of materials in the building of exposure, your employer, etc.)

Another major factor to consider is the burden of proof that an injured party will have to overcome to succeed against the defendant. Again, this largely depends on the state that you are bringing suit in. However, to prevail in an asbestos-related product liability action, the victim typically has to prove the defendant exposed the victim to asbestos and that such exposure was a substantial contributing factor in causing the victim harm.

Seek an Experienced Asbestosis Lawsuit Attorney

Sexual Assault Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Matthew Dolman, Asbestos Lawyer

An attorney can help you with these steps and can also determine whether you can receive compensation through an asbestos trust fund. You need to gather as much information and documentation as possible to prove the exposure, the length of exposure, and the party responsible for the exposure leading to the subsequent asbestosis diagnosis. Further, you need a firm representing you that can demonstrate the pain, suffering, anxiety, and fear you’ve endured due to the exposure. The responsible party may settle and you need an experienced firm evaluating whether the settlement adequately compensates you or if it is wise to go to trial. If you have asbestosis or believe you may have asbestosis, contact an experienced asbestos attorney to discuss your claim.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 N Belcher Rd Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/product-liability-attorneys/