Sometimes chemicals or naturally-occurring minerals that are relied on in construction projects and other industries turn out to be dangerous. One of the most famous is asbestos, widely used in products because of its natural heat resistance. If you came into contact with asbestos and later developed health problems, you need to discuss the possibility of a toxic tort case with an experienced attorney.
Potential Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) currently requires that safety procedures for handling asbestos are established at any given workplace, that wasn’t always the case. Years of studies have since shown that direct physical contact with asbestos or even breathing in asbestos fibers over an extended period leads to serious health complications.
That’s why now, many years after the original exposure, victims are still bringing toxic tort claims against the parties who negligently exposed them to a dangerous substance. This type of lawsuit is used when prescription drugs have unexpected harmful side effects, consumer products contain chemicals that cause illness, or people are harmed through long-term exposure to a substance from their workplace.
Because of the widespread usage of asbestos, there is a danger of health problems to miners, construction crews, electricians, mechanics, railroad employees, ship crews, refinery workers, and more. A variety of symptoms that significantly interfere with daily life have been reported by workers exposed to asbestos, and longer-term contact has even been linked to forms of lung cancer.
Medical problems typically occur years after the fact, and possible issues victims may experience after coming into contact with asbestos include:
- Asbestosis (lung scarring and breathing problems)
- Clubbing (widening of the fingertips and toes)
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
- Persistent, long-term cough
- Mesothelioma (malignant cancer of lung cells)
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Trouble swallowing
- Weight loss and lack of appetite
Recovering Compensation for Asbestos-Related Injuries in Louisiana
If respiratory issues are interfering with your life and you expect they were caused by asbestos, you need to consult a toxic tort attorney as soon as possible. These cases are complex, and require gathering evidence to prove where you were exposed to asbestos and then linking that exposure to your illness. Because of the long period of time typically involved in these cases, your attorney will also need to cull out other potential causes of illness.
With a lawyer’s assistance you can file a suit seeking damages for lost wages, healthcare costs, pain and suffering, or even wrongful death if a loved one died from an asbestos-related illness. Exactly who the suit should be brought against can vary depending on your circumstances, however, which is why your lawyer will identify who is liable for your damages and offers the best potential source of compensation. That could be:
- A company that stored asbestos improperly
- Manufacturer of a product containing asbestos
- Manufacturers of faulty equipment that failed to protect from asbestos exposure
- Product distributors
- Property owner of the location containing the asbestos
Because more severe consequences like mesothelioma take decades to appear, the original company who produced or installed the asbestos may be gone by the time you get in touch with an attorney. The good news is that in some cases, trust funds have been set up to specifically compensate victims of asbestos exposure, so there may still be a path towards financial recovery even if the original company no longer exists.
You must act quickly, however. There is a strict statute of limitations on this type of case in Louisiana. While it may take two or more decades of asbestos exposure for mesothelioma to develop, you only have a short amount of time to file a lawsuit after your initial diagnosis. Once there is documentation from a doctor that you know about the cancer, the clock starts ticking on your ability to hold the at-fault party responsible.
Protect Your Legal Rights by Contacting a Toxic Tort Attorney Today
If you or a loved one were harmed by contact with asbestos, you may be owed compensation. Our passion is protecting the legal rights of people harmed by negligence in Louisiana, and we want to hear your story. Set up a consultation to discuss your case with our trial-ready legal team and find out if you have a toxic tort case to pursue.