The Goldberg Law Firm Co., LPA

The Goldberg Law Firm Co., LPA

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Legal Issues about Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos litigation is the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history, involving more than 6,000 defendants and 600,000 claimants. Current trends indicate that the rate at which people are diagnosed with the disease will likely increase through the next decade. Analysts have estimated that the total costs of asbestos litigation in the USA alone will eventually reach $200 billion. Due to the prevalence of asbestos, it is normally part of the scope of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to inspect for potential asbestos in a building which is being sold.

Many buildings contain asbestos, which was used in spray-applied flame retardant, thermal system insulation, and in a variety of other materials. Asbestos was sometimes “flocked” above false ceilings, inside technical ducts, and in many other small spaces where firefighters would have difficulty gaining access. Structural components like asbestos panels were also used. In residences, asbestos was often a component of a type of flocked acoustic ceiling called “popcorn ceiling”, until its production was banned in the U.S. in 1978. However, the ban allowed installers to use up remaining stocks, so houses built as late as 1986 could still have asbestos in their acoustic ceilings. The only way to be sure is to remove a sample and have it tested by a competent laboratory.

Depending on how and where asbestos was applied, it might not pose any risk to most users of the building. If the fibers cannot become dislodged, they cannot be inhaled, and thus the asbestos poses no risk.

However, some methods of applying asbestos, particularly flocking, allow asbestos fibers to gradually drop off into the air. Asbestos poses hazards to maintenance personnel who have to drill holes in walls for installation of cables or pipes.

Even if the workers are protected, such maintenance operation may release fibers into the air, which may be inhaled by others. Interventions in areas where asbestos is present often have to follow stringent procedures. If removal is to be performed when users are still present in the building, it is usually necessary to relocate some users temporarily. Typically, the part of the building from which asbestos is being removed has to be sealed off in order to prevent contamination of the other areas. If the building is closed to normal users, it may be necessary to seal it off from outside atmosphere so that no accessible air is contaminated.

An asbestos-containing building that is to be torn down may have to be sealed, and to have its asbestos safely removed before ordinary demolition can be performed. The asbestos removal may take longer and cost more than the actual demolition.

The first lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers were in 1929. Since then, many lawsuits have been filed against asbestos manufacturers and employers, for neglecting to implement safety measures after the link between asbestos, asbestosis and mesothelioma became known (some reports seem to place this as early as 1898). The liability resulting from the sheer number of lawsuits and people affected has reached billions of dollars. The amounts and method of allocating compensation have been the source of many court cases, and government attempts at resolution of existing and future cases.

History

The first lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers was brought in 1929. The parties settled that lawsuit, and as part of the agreement, the attorneys agreed not to pursue further cases. It was not until 1960 that an article published by Wagner et al first officially established mesothelioma as a disease arising from exposure to crocidolite asbestos. The article referred to over 30 case studies of people who had suffered from mesothelioma in South Africa. Some exposures were transient and some were mine workers. In 1962, McNulty reported the first diagnosed case of malignant mesothelioma in an Australian asbestos worker. The worker had worked in the mill at the asbestos mine in Wittenoom from 1948 to 1950.

In the town of Wittenoom, asbestos-containing mine waste was used to cover schoolyards and playgrounds. In 1965 an article in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine established that people who lived in the neighbourhoods of asbestos factories and mines, but did not work in them, had contracted mesothelioma.

Despite proof that the dust associated with asbestos mining and milling causes asbestos related disease, mining began at Wittenoom in 1943 and continued until 1966. In 1974 the first public warnings of the dangers of blue asbestos were published in a cover story called “Is this Killer in Your Home?” in Australia’s Bulletin magazine. In 1978 the Western Australian Government decided to phase out the town of Wittenoom, following the publication of a Health Dept. booklet, “The Health Hazard at Wittenoom”, containing the results of air sampling and an appraisal of worldwide medical information.

By 1979, the first writs for negligence related to Wittenoom were issued against CSR and its subsidiary ABA, and the Asbestos Diseases Society was formed to represent the Wittenoom victims.

Compensation For Asbestos Exposure Injuries –There Still May Be Time To Make A Claim

Many people who have suffered injuries from asbestos did not know of the health risks at the time of exposure. As a result, some states have enacted laws allowing people to file lawsuits for certain amount of time after the date when their asbestos-related illness was detected, rather than from the date of the exposure.

Many effects of toxic asbestos exposure are permanent and irreversible. Although the law seeks to place an injured person in a position he or she was in before injury, this usually is not possible for those suffering from malignant mesothelioma. Instead, economic compensation thought to be equivalent to the victim’s damage may be awarded. A plaintiff who can prove that he or she was exposed to asbestos may be able to recover for both the economic and non-economic consequences of that exposure, including:

  • Cost of past and future medical care;
  • Cost of necessary rehabilitation;
  • Lost past and future wages;
  • Lost earning capacity;
  • Lost enjoyment of life;
  • Emotional distress; and
  • Past and future pain and suffering.

No matter how long ago your exposure to asbestos occurred, we can help you.

The fact that Mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer is little consolation for those who have it. At Goldberg Law Offices, we have over 18 years of experience in helping victims of asbestos related cancers. We are not afraid to go up against any responsible party for payment to you — no matter how large, wealthy or powerful they may appear to be. We are the law firm of choice in Ohio for representation for malignant mesothelioma cancer. We know the products, the worksite, and the medicine — everything necessary to obtain a successful result.

If you are the victim of Mesothelioma or lung cancer related to asbestos exposure, or if someone in your family has been affected, financial assistance can be vital to help you cope with the devastating effects of the asbestos-related cancer. Wherever you live in the United States, we offer no-charge consultation and will be happy to travel to your home within 48 hours to discuss your potential claim.

The Goldberg Law Offices are committed representing individuals that have been harmed by asbestos exposure. All clients are represented on a contingency fee basis, rather than an hourly fee, and clients are not responsible for out-of-pocket expenses unless there is a recovery.

Dependent on where the case arises, our firm may partner with a prominent national law firm. This arrangement will not increase the percentage or amount of fees paid by our clients. Our goal is to ensure that clients receive the most effective legal representation.