In 1910, there were 5 cars in America for every 1000 people. By the year 2000, that number exploded to 800 cars for every 1000 Americans. Along with this incredible increase in demand for automobiles came a huge demand for skilled workers to build and maintain them.
Unfortunately, those who manufactured, sold and profited off of automobiles and automotive parts such as brakes, clutches and mufflers had a dirty secret: their products contained asbestos; a substance that the corporations and trade associations to which they belonged knew was extremely dangerous. Regardless, those same corporations and trade associations put profits ahead of social responsibility and kept on putting their unreasonably dangerous product on the market. In some of the more despicable cases, corporations actively conspired to hide this health hazard from the public.
Hundreds of thousands of automotive professionals around the country were exposed to asbestos during the twentieth century. The most common source of exposure to asbestos for those who worked around automobiles was in brake pads and clutches. Because asbestos fibers are heat resistant, manufacturers determined they would be an inexpensive and effective ingredient in high friction automobile parts. Because of the high friction nature of these mechanisms, they created a lot of dust. Typically mechanics would use an air hose or brush to remove the excess dust from the brake drum or shoe. That process would cause the dust to become airborne and settle on the clothes of those in the vicinity. Or worse, they would inhale the dust and it would settle in their lungs.
Many of those people (or those who were exposed to asbestos fibers that stuck to the clothes of their auto worker friends and family members) developed serious asbestos-related illnesses such as asbestosis (lung scarring), lung cancer, or in the most severe cases, mesothelioma. Because it takes anywhere from 20 to 50 years for asbestos-related diseases to become symptomatic, people who worked on brakes and clutches in the mid to late 1900s are just now being diagnosed with diseases caused by asbestos exposure.
If you or somebody you know has a history of working around automobiles, and now experience breathing problems or shortness of breath, it is extremely important to speak with a doctor about potential asbestos exposure. The sooner asbestos-related diseases are diagnosed, the more likely doctors will be able to control them.
You should also be aware of your legal rights. Levy Konigsberg LLP has decades of experience representing hard-working individuals exposed to asbestos products from automotive parts against those companies who put their profits ahead of worker and consumer safety.
Under the law of most states, pain and suffering from mesothelioma may be compensated through the award of money damages, usually obtained with the help of experienced mesothelioma attorneys. In some states other types of damages may also be recovered.
Asbestos litigation affords mesothelioma victims the opportunity to receive financial compensation and hold accountable the companies that caused their asbestos exposure.
- Preserve your rights to bring a legal action against the responsible parties within the limited time frame allowed by law, known as statute of limitations;
- Obtain maximum compensation in your case by being able to:
- Preserve evidence and establish facts of the asbestos exposure while the claimant is still alive and able to provide information;
- File and resolve a lawsuit against the responsible parties before they file for bankruptcy or, if they already have, to obtain compensation before their bankruptcy trust funds run out of money;
- Expedite your case, as courts tend to give higher priority to mesothelioma lawsuits where the claimant is still alive.