What do I do if I've been exposed to asbestos?

By: LawInfo

If you've been exposed to asbestos it is important to tell your doctor! Even if you don’t feel sick, the fact is that people usually don’t show any signs or symptoms of asbestos-related disease for 10 to 20 years or more after exposure. A doctor can order a chest x-ray, lung function tests and other screening to be able to tell if you have any health problems due to asbestos exposure.

If you have developed health problems from asbestos, you may have a legal claim depending on the circumstances of your exposure to it.  An attorney can tell you what legal options may be available for your situation.

How much compensation have other mesothelioma victims received in past lawsuits?

The amount of money awarded to victims of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma depends greatly on the particular facts of the lawsuit. People who have died or suffered more severe injuries than others generally stand to receive more financial compensation. For example, some plaintiffs have received hundreds of millions of dollars for their asbestos-related injuries, while others have received much smaller sums. The amount of damages to be paid also depends greatly on the financial assets of the defendant being sued and other considerations.

What kinds of compensation or other relief can be awarded in an asbestos lawsuit?

Generally speaking, lawsuits alleging asbestos-related injuries are seeking financial compensation intended to cover a plaintiff’s medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. These are called compensatory damages, since they seek to compensate injured parties for their out-of-pocket expenses associated with the injury. Injured plaintiffs may also seek punitive damages, which a judge or jury may impose on a defendant to punish them for particularly willful, reckless, or egregious conduct. Plaintiffs may also seek an injunction to prevent a defendant from similarly harming more people in the future.

Where is asbestos found?

In the United States, asbestos has been used in a variety of industries and products. Some examples of products that contain asbestos include:

•Building materials, like cement and plastics;
•Heat insulation and fire proofing; and
•Brake shoes and clutch pads in vehicles and airplanes.
There are several general categories into which ACM can be classified:

•Surfacing materials, such as the acoustical material on the ceilings of many homes, schools, and other buildings;
•Thermal System Insulation (TSI), such as the wrapping around boilers, pipes, and duct systems; and
•Other materials, such as floor tile, electrical panel insulation, and caulking.

What is the mesothelium?

The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.

The mesothelium has different names, depending on its location in the body. The peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The mesothelial tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

Additional Asbestos Articles

Search LawInfo's Asbestos Resources

Lead Counsel Rated Law Firm

Click Here to Learn More