Although the widespread use of asbestos ended a long time ago, many industry workers are falling ill to asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma decades after their initial exposure.
If you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, it is important to seek skilled medical and legal guidance as soon as possible. Although mesothelioma is a fatal disease, our Tampa attorneys can fight to hold those who exposed you to asbestos years ago responsible for their negligence, and will seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. Fill out our free case evaluation form today, if you would like to learn more.
The Hidden Danger of Asbestos
Valued for centuries, asbestos is the name of a group of naturally occurring minerals known for their fibrous strength and resistance to high heat.
Some types of asbestos fibers can be woven into cloth while others are compounded into products as diverse as shingles, joint compound, brake linings, and linoleum.
The needle-shaped fibers that give asbestos its strength make it a silent, unbeatable killer. When inhaled, asbestos fibers typically lodge in the lungs. Asbestos fibers can also enter the pleura, the tissue that surrounds and lines the lungs and your chest wall. Less commonly, asbestos fibers make their way into the tissue that lines the abdomen.
Because of their strength, asbestos mineral fibers do not break down, but remain in place, piercing the lungs and body membranes. Protecting itself, the body launches an inflammatory response against the fibers, leading to swelling and scarring of the area around the fiber, or fibers, that remain in the body.
There are no safe limits of exposure to asbestos. Whether a one-time exposure to a few fibers, or a career of industry exposure, some people develop the asbestos-associated disease, while others do not.
Mesothelioma is an Asbestos-Associated Disease
In the mid-1800’s, the dangers of asbestos began to emerge. Asbestos litigation remains the longest running personal injury litigation in the United States.
Well-experienced with the dangers of asbestos, our asbestos lawyers offer knowledgeable guidance if you or a loved one is diagnosed with a disease related to exposure.
The latency period between exposure and emergence of symptoms of asbestos-associated diseases can be upwards of 20 years.
Diseases caused by exposure to asbestos include:
Pleural Plaques: When asbestos is lodged in the tissue surrounding the lungs, or in the abdominal cavity, the immune system may surround the tissue with scar tissue, leading to calcifications called pleural plaques. The presence of pleural plaques usually indicates exposure to airborne asbestos fibers earlier in life. Pleural plaques are benign, but could be a marker for later development of lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Asbestosis: Caused by inhalation of asbestos, asbestosis is the term used to describe a progressive hardening and thickening of the lungs over time. This toughening of the lungs eventually makes it hard to breath. Patients may experience pain, shortness of breath, and increasing symptoms as organs are starved of oxygen.
Mesothelioma: Usually forming in the thin membrane that surrounds body organs and cavities, mesothelioma is a usually fatal cancer. Although it is considered a rare type of cancer, mesothelioma is diagnosed in over 3,000 people per year in this country. Approximately 80 percent of cases of mesothelioma are associated with exposure to asbestos earlier in life. Treatment of mesothelioma is generally palliative.
Because of the long latency period between exposure and symptoms, many people do not know they have an asbestos-related illness. By the time of diagnosis, the early employers of many mesothelioma patients have gone out of business—or filed for bankruptcy due to legal claims for asbestos exposure.
Did You Work in an Asbestos-Related Industry in Florida?
Despite its known nature as a human carcinogen, the use of asbestos is not banned in the United States. Many asbestos-containing products remain in structures, schools, and homes throughout the United States. As long as asbestos in the environment is not aerosolized or disturbed, it is not dangerous.
If you are replacing old linoleum, pipes, or other suspect materials in a building or your home, always seek professional advice or remediation services if the material must be moved.
For most victims of mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos occurs in the workplace or when family members are exposed to workers returning home from an asbestos-associated job. Typically, those who launder asbestos-laden clothing are exposed to airborne fibers that cause asbestosis or mesothelioma decades later. For years, asbestos has had a checkered history.
From the mining town of Libby, Montana, asbestos contained in vermiculite was processed in Tampa in the 1950’s. Libby was eventually named a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Some of the industries well-known for use of asbestos-containing products include:
- Ship building and repair
- Electrical and wiring
- Car parts
- Fireproofing parts
- Industrial plants
Do You Need a Florida Mesothelioma Attorney?
Florida is one of the few states that enacted laws to limit the number of pending asbestos cases. The Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act of 2005 made the threshold you need to cross much higher than in the past. Victims of asbestos exposure need both strong evidence and a strong advocate to obtain the compensation they deserve.
Handling asbestos-related claims throughout Florida and the United States, Morgan & Morgan is an experienced mesothelioma law firm. We understand the impact of a diagnosis associated with an asbestos-associated illness. Our attorneys in Tampa work hard to quickly and effectively investigate your case.
The compensation we may seek for you includes:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses
- Quality of life care
- Compensation for lost enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering
Contact Our Tampa Office Today
When you need answers about a mesothelioma claim or lawsuit in Florida or the Southeastern United States, contact Morgan & Morgan at (813) 223-5505 or fill out our free case evaluation form. Whether through negotiated settlement, or lawsuit, we fight to achieve maximum compensation on your behalf for the injury you suffered the way your mesothelioma attorney should.