Individuals suffering from asbestos exposure or mesothelioma face a long, hard health battle. In some situations, there is very little warning that exposure has occurred. In other cases, exposure happens as a result of poor business practices or OSHA violations. In all cases, individuals or their families should seek out support from asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers to determine if negligence occurred.
At Johnstone & Gabhart LLP, we work with people facing all types of personal injury losses. This includes those with asbestos exposure or mesothelioma. We can help you.
What Is Asbestos and Mesothelioma?
Asbestos is a highly dangerous material, previously used in home and commercial insulation products. It is a natural, mineral product. It was used in insulation products because it is highly resistant to corrosion and heat. It was also used in some cement and flooring products.
However, the material is dangerous because its very small fibers can enter the lungs. Exposure to these fibers can cause lung tissue scarring. The fibers embed deep into the lung tissue. They can remain there for decades, slowly damaging the lungs. When this occurs, it can worsen to asbestosis, a type of chronic lung disease. It can also advance to mesothelioma, a type of cancer brought on by this exposure.
The most common cause of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer often presenting with severe, end-stage symptoms, is asbestos exposure. Typically, symptoms of exposure and lung damage are limited during the initial years. Sometimes, it can take 20 years or more for symptoms to occur. Over time, symptoms become severe, leading to the development of end-stage cancer and shortness of breath. There is no cure for mesothelioma.
Who Is at Risk of Asbestos and Mesothelioma Losses?
Mesothelioma remains a rare condition, especially as laws have improved to reduce and eliminate the risk of exposure. According to the American Cancer Society, there are 3,000 new cases of malignant mesothelioma diagnosed each year.
Risk factors for the development of this condition are numerous but include:
- Exposure to asbestos material, including in workplaces
- Living in and remodeling older homes
- Working in areas such as automotive, shipbuilding, railroad, insulation manufacturing, insulation installation, plumbing, construction workers, and gas mask manufacturers
What Are West Virginia’s Laws on Asbestos and Mesothelioma?
All states have laws regarding asbestos material. Specifically, these laws relate to the proper removal and demolition processes required when asbestos material is present. Most states have outlawed the use of this material, but it still lurks in older homes and buildings. Thus, laws are in place to require proper protection to determine if asbestos is present and, if so, proper methods for removing it to reduce the risk of exposure.
In West Virginia, the Department of Environment Protection has very specific rules and guidelines in place to govern this process. Specifically, the department enforces Federal Asbestos NESHAP rule, known as 40 CFR 61 Subpart M.
What Happens in Employee Situations?
As with the federal guidelines, OSHA has specific requirements for employers who deal with the material. OSHA asbestos rules define what it is, what the hazards are, and what responsibility employers have in protecting employees from exposure. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Employers must take precautions to eliminate exposure. OSHA provides specific information about this.
If an employer violates these requirements, and employees are exposed, they may face consequences. This may result in a form of workers’ compensation loss. It may also be negligent behavior on the behalf of the employer.
It is important to note other types of personal injury cases can occur outside of the employment limitation. Individuals may knowingly expose others to the material, for example, by doing home improvement projects.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Exposed Through Negligence?
Individuals facing exposure should seek out legal support. Our goal is to determine why the exposure happened, and, as a result, if someone is responsible for the losses. If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation. This may be through a workers’ compensation claim.
In all cases, our Charleston asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys will work to help you obtain compensation for losses. This may include losses from medical bills, loss of work ability, loss of quality of life, and much more. If your loved one has died as a result of this type of exposure, immediate family members may be able to pursue financial compensation as well. Working with our team is essential to providing your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Mesothelioma and Asbestos Attorneys
Johnstone & Gabhart LLP provides one-on-one support and legal representation to individuals struggling after an asbestos exposure or those with mesothelioma. We work with individuals exposed themselves as well as families who have lost a loved one to this condition. We encourage you to take advantage of our skilled, aggressive attorneys who have over 50 years of experience to protect your rights. Contact us for a free case review at 877-416-5457 or fill out our online form, and we’ll call you.