What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in building materials, insulation and other products for more than 100 years before it was banned from use in the United States in 1972. Asbestos can cause serious health problems if inhaled or ingested. It has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other diseases.
How does asbestos exposure occur?
The most common way people are exposed to asbestos is through their work environment. Workers may be exposed to asbestos by handling raw asbestos, working with asbestos-containing products, or breathing air containing asbestos fibers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates workplace exposures to asbestos. OSHA requires employers to control airborne concentrations of asbestos so they do not exceed 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air over an 8-hour period. In addition, employers must provide workers with personal protective equipment such as respirators when there is a risk of exposure to airborne asbestos.
Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace
Workers who handle raw asbestos or work with asbestos-containing products face increased risks of developing asbestos-related disease. These include:
• Lung cancer – People who have worked with asbestos-containing material at least 20 years have a greater chance of getting lung cancer than those who never worked with asbestos.
• Mesothelioma – A rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or diaphragm.
• Asbestosis – An irreversible scarring of the lungs caused by long-term inhalation of small particles of asbestos.
Many construction workers are exposed to asbestos during demolition projects. Demolition involves removing old buildings and structures to make room for new ones. This process often releases large amounts of dust into the air. Construction workers who breathe this dust are at high risk of contracting asbestos-related diseases.
What should I know about asbestos exposure laws?
In many states, including California, New York, and Texas, you cannot sue your employer for damages related to asbestos exposure unless you were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease within two years after leaving your job. However, you may still be able to file a claim against your former employer under state worker’s compensation laws.
If you do normal maintenance or repairs on automobiles or trucks, you might be exposed to asbestos. Working on automobiles that include brake pads, gaskets, hoses, or other components containing asbestos may potentially expose you to the substance. Wear the appropriate protective gear and adhere to all directions given by your employer if you work on these kinds of vehicles.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, firefighters, and police officers are often the first to arrive to an asbestos-related disaster. When responding to calls where asbestos is present, they run the danger of exposure to the substance. To avoid asbestos exposure, first responders must adopt safety measures. For instance, when approaching places with asbestos present, firefighters should don masks and gloves. EMTs should put on protective gear to avoid coming into touch with asbestos.
How can I lower my chance of being exposed to asbestos?
Staying away from asbestos is the greatest method to prevent exposure to it. Avoiding circumstances where you could be exposed to asbestos entails staying away from them. This comprises:
• Using asbestos-containing equipment and tools.
• Using an asbestos-containing hand or power tools.
You may still come into contact with asbestos even if you aren’t dealing with it directly because to secondary forms of exposure. When individuals or items with asbestos enter your home, place of employment, or school, secondary exposures happen. Secondary exposure examples include:
• The dust that automobiles’ clutches, brakes, and other moving components emit.
• Dust produced by ducting, heating/cooling units, and pipes.
• The dust that is given off by construction materials including wallboard, insulation, and floor tiles.
• Dust that is produced during remodeling and restoration projects.
• Dust produced after the destruction of buildings such as offices, warehouses, industries, and schools.
The month of Asbestos Awareness
Asbestos Awareness Month is sponsored annually by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This campaign’s goal is to increase public awareness of the risks associated with asbestos. NIOSH urges everyone to educate themselves about asbestos and how to safeguard against it.
Diseases Linked to Asbestos
Many illnesses are brought on by asbestos. These include asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. When asbestos particles harm the cells lining the lungs, a rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma develops. When asbestos fibers enter the airways and create aberrant airway growth, lung cancer results. Chronic asbestosis is a disease brought on by breathing tiny quantities of asbestos dust over an extended period of time. The lungs get scarred as a consequence, and the walls separating the alveoli become thicker.
Numerous states have enacted their own asbestos legislation in addition to federal ones. Some of these regulations mandate that businesses advise staff members of the dangers of asbestos. Others prohibit certain asbestos-related activities. In certain circumstances, only companies based in the state are subject to state legislation. Other laws are in effect everywhere.
What Has OSHA’s Asbestos Standard Changed Recently?
The asbestos regulation for building materials has been updated by OSHA. All construction goods must now adhere to the new regulation or a different approach that NIOSH has authorized. Products won’t be regarded as safe to use if they don’t comply with the new standards.
Construction Product Standards Revised by OSHA
Asbestos-containing items must now include a warning label saying that asbestos is present, per the new regulations. It is not necessary to label a product if it contains less than 1% asbestos. However, the producer is required to add an additional label to the product if it contains more than 1% asbestos. This label must inform customers that the product contains asbestos and outline any potential hazards.
The new regulations also list the categories of building materials that cannot contain asbestos. However, any asbestos-containing material used in combination with cementitious goods must be removed before the cementitious products are placed. For instance, cementitious materials like concrete may still contain asbestos.
The new regulations also place restrictions on the quantity of asbestos that is permitted in certain kinds of building materials. For instance, up to 5% of roofing shingles may contain asbestos. Asbestos may be found in floor tiles in amounts of up to 2%.
What Factors Determine Asbestos Liability?
You may be able to sue your employer if you think they were at fault for putting you at risk of asbestos exposure. You must speak with a lawyer who focuses in asbestos litigation to ascertain the validity of your claim.
When proving negligence, you must be able to:
• You owed the defendant a duty of care (a legal obligation)
• The defendant failed in this obligation.
• The breach was the cause of your injuries
Duties of Care
When someone willingly takes on the responsibility for another person’s safety, they owe that person a duty of care. Even though the injured victim did not request the defendant to take action, a duty of care still arises. A driver, for instance, has a duty of care to a passenger since the driver agreed to be responsible for the passenger’s safety.
When someone doesn’t act in a way that is appropriate given the situation, that person violates their duty of care. For instance, a doctor violates their responsibility to use reasonable care when they incorrectly diagnose a patient’s ailment.
When someone is harmed as a consequence of the defendant’s negligence, there has been an injury. As an example, an automobile accident victim is hurt when the other driver’s car hits him.
If there is no causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s harm, negligence is not actionable. In other words, the harm must have been brought on by the defendant’s activities. The doctor’s carelessness would not constitute the cause of death, for instance, if the patient dies notwithstanding the doctor’s faulty diagnosis.
For harms incurred as a consequence of the defendant’s breach of duty, you are entitled to compensation from them. These damages include payment for any necessary medical care, lost earnings, emotional anguish, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Certain jurisdictions hold dealers and makers of faulty goods strictly liable. A defendant will be held accountable under strict liability regardless of whether they were aware of the flaw.
A product fault is a flaw that makes the item unnecessarily unsafe. A faulty hammer could be dangerous to use, for instance.
A design fault is a problem in how a product is created. A hammer with inadequate design, for instance, may be dangerous to wield.
defect in manufacturing
A problem in the way a product is created is called a manufacturing defect. For instance, it may be dangerous to produce a hammer with a flaw.
Lack of Warning
A manufacturer has a responsibility to inform users of the risks involved with using a product if the maker knows or has cause to know that the product has such risks. A case for product responsibility may result from a failure to warn.
Products are deemed “unreasonably risky” if they put consumers at an unjustifiable risk of injury. For instance, a hammer that, when used incorrectly, results in significant harm is unreasonable hazardous.
Default in Warranty
Warranties are assurances made by a product’s seller that the product complies with particular requirements. A claim for a product fault may result from a warranty violation.
Act on Consumer Protection
In order to safeguard customers from unethical corporate activities, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) was passed in 1975. False advertising, misrepresentation, and unreasonable contract conditions are all prohibited under the CPA.
How Are Asbestos Liability Losses Reimbursed?
Due of the need for complicated legal theories and expert witness, asbestos litigation is costly. Depending on the severity of the ailments, courts provide victims of asbestos money damages as compensation. The number of years after the injury was sustained is multiplied by a percentage that represents the injured party’s life expectancy at the time of the injury by the number of years since the injury. A monetary sum known as the present value of future profits is the outcome of this computation.
Additionally, some claimants get punitive damages. Punitive damages are given to defendants who intentionally violate the law or behave carelessly with respect to the safety of others.
Class Action Lawsuits and Mass Torts
Persons may launch a mass tort claim when several people have comparable injuries as a result of the same event. The Federal Tort Claims Act is the federal act under which mass tort claims are brought. A person may sue the United States for personal injuries under this legislation since the government has waived its sovereign immunity. The FTCA, however, only applies to situations where a government employee acting in the course of his job caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In other words, not all personal injury lawsuits are covered under the FTCA.
Class action lawsuits provide numerous individuals the opportunity to join forces in a single case. A class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of a number of individuals who have experienced the same kind of damage. Each class member gets compensated in the event that a class action case is won.
Trusts for Asbestos Bankruptcy
A court-appointed organization called an asbestos bankruptcy trust is established to oversee the assets of a person or business involved in an asbestos lawsuit. A bankruptcy trustee for asbestos collects money from businesses who produced asbestos-containing items. Those who have been given a diagnosis of an asbestos-related ailment get these monies.
Get in Touch with a Top Mesothelioma Lawyer
Contact our mesothelioma attorneys right away if you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos. We will make every effort to assist you recoup your losses while providing free consultations.