It’s Not Just Those in Heavy Industry Who Are at Risk
Many may not have any industrial or construction work in their background, but, nonetheless, find themselves facing a diagnosis of mesothelioma – a signal tumor for asbestos exposure. With no obvious work-related exposure, mesothelioma victims can be left confused, disbelieving they have ever had any or significant exposure to asbestos at the places they have worked. However, there are sources of asbestos exposure that can be unexpectedly close to home.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the asbestos industry successfully marketed its deadly fibers for inclusion in most building materials, even those found in the local hardware or home products store. Asbestos was also almost uniformly found in brake linings, clutches, and automotive gaskets during this time, even while high school shop classes taught how to economically avoid going to a professional garage to perform routine car maintenance for your family. Never warning consumers of the dangers of asbestos, and sometimes not even labeling the products as containing asbestos, many do-it-yourself home renovators and shade-tree mechanics were subjected to significant asbestos exposure.
If your current or former home or apartment was built or renovated between the 1940s and 1980s, there is a very good chance that asbestos-containing building materials were used. If you changed the brakes, repaired the clutch or changed gaskets on your vehicle, it is likely that those materials too contained asbestos. Many people’s simple efforts to perform routine maintenance on their vehicles, improve their homes, expand the number of rooms for growing families, and make life more comfortable for their families actually exposed them to a deadly amount of asbestos. What the manufacturers of these products, advertised extensively for their ease of use, beauty, and durability, failed to warn customers about was that the very use of these products could subject the customer and their families to deadly doses of asbestos fibers during installation and removal that may result in disease only decades later.
During this time period, cutting or installing floor tiles or vinyl flooring, installing sheetrock, mixing and sanding joint compounds to put up extra walls, and cutting or installing ceiling tiles could release millions of asbestos fibers. In addition, the installation or repair of a home furnace, electrical or plumbing work that could disturb attic, wall, or crawl space insulation, or removing, adding, or replacing the insulation itself could also expose occupants to deadly asbestos.
The companies that manufactured the products are liable when evidence of such exposure can be shown. Many of the products may still remain in the home and samples thereof can be obtained by a licensed abatement contractor. Be careful not to remove or sample the products yourself – many may pose an additional danger to you and your family if not abated properly. Even when the materials are no longer present in the home, or you have moved away from the home, often, receipts from home repair kept for such reasons as tax purposes can be used to identify the products used. Left over boxes from the products may be found in the garage or storage spaces that can be used to identify the products used. If such is the case, again, this packaging may contain fibers and should be placed in a sealed container to prevent further exposure.
Of course, many simply remember what products they bought to renovate their homes – having shopped to pick out the pattern of floor tile or vinyl flooring that they desired, or having bought the same brand of gaskets or brake linings for their family cars over the years. Additionally, maintenance or repair bills for home furnaces or boiler can identify the make and model used in the home.
If you or a family member is suffering from mesothelioma, but you cannot discern a work-related cause of exposure to asbestos, the expertise of attorneys working for years to identify products containing asbestos can discern whether the particular brands and products used to renovate your home or repair your vehicle contained asbestos.
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.