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What Should I Do if I Have Asbestos Symptoms?

What Should I Do if I Have Asbestos Symptoms?

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What Should I Do if I Have Asbestos Symptoms?

We now know the dangers of asbestos exposure. Still, years ago, asbestos was commonly used in construction because of its insulation capabilities. Manufactured commodities like cloth, paper, cement, plastics, and other materials were made stronger when asbestos was added. Furthermore, the mineral is resistant to corrosion, electricity, and heat, which made it very popular to use in the power and chemical industries as well as being used for automobiles and manufacturing. 

Even though significant medical evidence as early as the 1930s linked asbestos to lung damage, the material has yet to be totally banned in the United States. It wasn't until the 1970s that the United States government even took steps to limit exposure. Now, we know when asbestos fibers are inhaled, it can cause scarring and inflammation in the lungs. If the exposure occurs over a long period of time, it can result in asbestosis, which is a lung disease, or the rare and aggressive cancer known as mesothelioma among other diseases.

If you're asking what to do if I have asbestos symptoms and know you've been exposed to asbestos, you should contact your doctor, who will likely refer you to a specialist that works with lung problems. Next, reach out to one of our mesothelioma lawyers, who will be able to guide you on how to seek compensation for medical bills and other asbestos symptom-related expenses.

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FAQ

Morgan & Morgan

  • What are the symptoms of asbestosis?

    Asbestosis can take years to develop after long-term exposure to asbestos. It can take some individuals up to 50 years to develop the condition after exposure. For others, it can take as little as ten years. Here are the most common symptoms people may develop:

    • Chest tightness
    • Chest Pain
    • Pain in the abdomen
    • Shortness of breath
    • Persistent dry cough
    • Coughing up blood
    • Weight loss from loss of appetite
    • Wider and rounder than normal fingertips and toes
    • Dry crackling sounds in the lungs while taking a breath
    • Fatigue
    • Anemia
    • Swelling of neck or face
    • Difficulty swallowing
  • How will a specialist diagnose me?

    You'll likely be referred to a pulmonologist to diagnose asbestosis or mesothelioma. This specialist will review your medical history and will need to know about your exposure to asbestos. They'll perform a chest X-ray or CT scan to reveal any scarring of lung tissues, as well as give you breathing tests to determine how severe your condition is and what kind of lung function you have left. 

    Be prepared to share all aspects of your work history, such as the type of work you've done, the time spent at each job, and the nature of your duties. It would be helpful if you could provide the names of the materials you were in contact with and if you wore protective equipment while working. They'll also want to know your smoking history, as smokers who are heavily exposed to asbestos are up to 90 times more likely to get lung cancer.

  • Can asbestos exposure cause immediate symptoms?

    There are no known side effects from short-term exposure to asbestos. Even if you were exposed to high amounts of asbestos, you should not experience symptoms in the short term. A deadly and incurable cancer known as mesothelioma, which is connected to asbestos exposure, can take up to 50 years to develop. However, your doctor would be the best person to talk to if you're wondering, "What should I do if I have asbestos symptoms?" They can discuss the risks of exposure in the long term. 

  • Who is most at risk for disease caused by asbestos?

    Since asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, we've all likely been exposed to asbestos at some point in our lives and won't become sick from it. Still, millions of Americans have been heavily exposed to asbestos through their line of work. Here are some jobs that are known to be high risk.

    • Automobile jobs
    • Demolition work
    • Insulation work
    • Asbestos mining and milling
    • Manufacturing of asbestos commodities
    • Shipbuilding trades
    • Drywall removal
    • Asbestos removal
    • Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces

    Workers who were present at the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center are also at risk for asbestos exposure such as:

    • Firefighters
    • Paramedics
    • Police officers
    • Construction workers
    • Ground Zero cleanup workers
  • Workplace exposure to asbestos

    Today, asbestos exposure is the number one cause of workplace-related deaths in the world, with more than 39,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. Even now, about 1.3 million U.S. workers are at risk of asbestos exposure. The deadly mineral can still be found in buildings, homes, roads, schools, factories, ships, automobiles, and trains. Some products like automobile brakes, gaskets, and roofing materials are currently being manufactured using asbestos. 

    According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an estimated 27 million workers had been exposed from 1940 through 1979. Although government regulations have reduced the risk of workplace exposure, any exposure at all can cause health problems. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for regulating and monitoring asbestos exposure in the workplace. If you work with asbestos, employers are legally responsible for providing protections such as:

    • Employee training for those working with asbestos
    • Suitably ventilated workstations
    • Monitoring of asbestos exposure levels for employees
    • Protective gear such as gloves, face shield, coveralls, footwear, and goggles
    • Respiratory protection gear
    • Medical surveillance for workers that are exposed to higher levels of asbestos
    • Proper warning signs and instructions around asbestos-related works sites
    • Separate decontamination and lunch areas
  • Who can be held legally liable?

    Generally, when an employee becomes sick from asbestos exposure, the following parties could be responsible for providing compensation to the victim:

    • The manufacturer of the asbestos-containing products or the manufacturer of any failed protective gear
    • Owners of the premise where you worked under premise liability law
    • Contractors and sub-contractors engaged in the work
  • What can I do if I develop a work-related illness from asbestos exposure?

    Almost all employers have to provide workers' compensation coverage for their employees in case of a work-related accident or illness. The challenge of claiming workers' comp for work-related illnesses is proving there was a causal link between your condition and the work performed. If you worked in an industry that is known for asbestos exposure, it might be easier than, say, if you worked as a janitor in an old school. In almost any kind of claim for asbestos-related illnesses, it's best to have legal representation.  

    The insurance carrier will determine if the recommended medical care your doctor proposes is necessary and reasonable to treat your illness and if it is related to your working conditions. Suppose the insurance carrier concludes you became sick due to workplace exposure. In that case, you could be entitled to medical benefits and disability benefits based upon whether you are partially or totally disabled. 

    If you're denied benefits, you can appeal the decision. However, the appeals process varies from state to state. Often, the denial will contain information about how to appeal the decision. If not, you can contact your state's labor department or the state board of workers' compensation. Beyond an initial appeal, you may have various other steps you can take to move the claim up the chain of command.

  • When should I contact a lawyer?

    With something as complex and serious as a claim for workers' compensation for industrial disease, we always recommend clients come to us right away. There may even be funds already allocated for victims of asbestos exposure in specific industries. Our asbestos injury lawyers can help you determine if a workers' compensation appeal is the best course of action or whether a lawsuit is warranted. Either avenue has strict deadlines to adhere to once the illness is discovered. 

    Our workers' compensation attorneys only get compensation if you win your case, so there is no risk of owning fees should the claim ultimately be denied. With that being said, it's essential to work with a lawyer that specializes in these kinds of cases. Workers' comp law is specific, so it wouldn't help to hire a lawyer that also mostly handles real estate law, for example. 

    In rare instances, a lawsuit may be the correct route to gain compensation instead of a workers' compensation claim. In that case, you should know that our lawyers aren't afraid of a courtroom and have the experience to battle it out with the best. When big businesses bypass laws that are put in place to protect workers, they should be held accountable. Our law firm has been doing this for more than 30 years, and we've recovered billions for our clients. 

    Employers that use asbestos are often billion-dollar companies. They'll have high-powered attorneys who will work to make sure their client doesn't have their reputation harmed and protect them financially. Shouldn't you have the same on your side? Morgan & Morgan Law Firm is one of the largest in the U.S., with the staff and resources needed to cover clients in every state. You have the right to seek compensation for the harm that's come to you. You should be able to have your medical bills and lost wages covered when you get sick from working in dangerous conditions. 

    Suppose you've lost a spouse from asbestos exposure. In that case, you may also be entitled to up to two-thirds of your spouse's average weekly wages up until the point you remarry, plus funeral and burial expenses. We can help. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation. 

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