What to do if you exposed to asbestos at work ? Asbestos is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) and exposure to this material, which is prohibited in newer construction, can cause significant health effects including a rare cancer known as mesothelioma. The dangers of working in an environment that contains asbestos have been well established and have been known for quite some time. If you have been exposed to asbestos at work and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other health complications, you may have questions regarding whether or not you have a workers’ compensation case.
Asbestos refers to a naturally-occurring group of fibrous materials that were commonly used in construction materials because of their heat-resistant nature. However, microscopic asbestos fibers can become trapped in the body causing cancer over time. Since these fibers are so tiny, it is possible for individuals to inhale or ingest this dust over a period of time, even without realizing it. Once asbestos fibers get inside the body, they don’t dissolve. The body has difficulty expelling them. So they become trapped in the cells and cause serious illnesses, which could take decades to develop.
Most cases of mesothelioma diagnosed now may have been caused by exposure to asbestos, which occurred before modern building safety regulations were put in place – many years or even decades ago. Exposure at work is the primary cause of asbestos-related illnesses. These illnesses could also occur in those who lived or worked in a contaminated environment.
There are a number of serious health issues that can arise from asbestos exposure. The most common is mesothelioma, a type of cancer that occurs in the lining of the chest and abdomen. Those who exposed to asbestos at work may also develop lung cancer and an illness known as asbestosis, which is essentially inflammation of the lungs that could lead to coughing, breathing issues and irreversible lung damage. Jobs where the risk of asbestos exposure is high include construction, shipbuilding, mining, heating and cooling equipment repair, manufacturing industries and roofing.
If you work around asbestos as part of your job or if you are concerned about your exposed to asbestos at work, communicate with your labor union or supervisor about potential health risks and take steps to minimize those risks. Your employer is required under state and federal regulations to take necessary steps to protect workers from asbestos-related health hazards.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos related illness, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to understand your rights. You may be entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. Depending on the severity of your illness and the circumstances of your case, you may also be able to file a third-party lawsuit (against a party other than your employer), who may have caused or contributed to your illness. Proving a mesothelioma case and showing evidence of your asbestos exposure can also be challenging. A knowledgeable defense attorney will be able to remain on your side throughout the process and help you secure maximum compensation for your illness and resulting losses.
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