Power Plant Workers and Asbestos Exposure: Frequently Asked Questions
Workers employed in power plants before the 70’s suffered from massive exposure to asbestos. Consequently, they developed conditions like mesothelioma or asbestosis that are not only difficult to cope with but also life-threatening. If you are one of the victims, learn more about your legal rights.
How could I have been exposed to asbestos?Back in the 70's and earlier, power plants were an environment that posed particularly high risks of asbestos exposure. This substance was present everywhere in the plant. The equipment workers had contact with was a source of exposure because it contained asbestos. This substance was highly efficient as an insulator, and it was present in valves, pipes, pumps and other items. Performing works in these plants on a daily basis implied an elevated risk of inhaling asbestos particles.
Keep in mind that asbestos effects don't show suddenly. It might be a matter of years before a person is diagnosed with a correlated condition.
Will I develop a disease if I was exposed?No one could offer a precise answer to this question because it is still unknown how much asbestos a person can inhale to cause them an illness. If you worked in a power plant for long years, there is indeed a higher risk of suffering from an asbestos disease because this environment was contaminated. Nonetheless, not all workers who were employed in this field report symptoms that might be traced back to asbestos exposure.
One thing is clear, however, if you experience any breathing difficulties, it's recommended you seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Shortness of breath or frequent coughing can be a sign that you have been affected by asbestos. Since the correlated illnesses are usually severe, it's important to detect them early so you can start a suitable treatment.
What conditions are triggered by asbestos?Asbestos particles are particularly dangerous. They are invisible and therefore easy to inhale involuntarily. Once they get inside the human body, they cause scarring of the lung and lead to conditions like asbestosis, mesothelioma, diffuse pleural thickening, or lung cancer. As previously mentioned, it usually takes a long time before one of these diseases starts to manifest itself. It can take 20, 30, 40 years or more for power plant workers to feel the first effects of the exposure.
This long latency period is also the reason why many victims find it hard to determine who is responsible for their disease, especially if the changed multiple jobs through the years.
Can I get compensation for my illness?Workers who were employed in these plants were unknowingly affected by the hazardous effects of asbestos. However, their employers were most likely aware of the critical impact of this substance and continued to use it despite the warning. Consequently, the state laws allow victims to bring a legal claim against these companies and obtain compensation for their injuries.
Once your claim is filed, and the other party is aware of your request, the case can develop in two directions. You can either reach a settlement which implies that the company offers you a specific compensation for your physical injury, or you can have a court trial if they refuse to settle.
Often, asbestos victims have the option to file their claim with asbestos trusts. These were created by companies which were frequently sued for asbestos exposure and went bankrupt. The funds process asbestos claims and offer victims monetary compensation based on the severity of the illness they developed. Other factors such as the number of dependents and the cost of medical treatments victims must undergo also influence the compensation's amount.
What is the easiest way to make a claim for compensation?Working with a lawyer who specializes in asbestos cases is the most appropriate option for someone who has a request of this kind. A legal specialist will make sure that the legal procedures are smoothly taken care of with minimum involvement from your side. If you worked in a power plant and developed an asbestos-related illness, it's recommended you reach out to a lawyer as soon as your disease is diagnosed.
This person will start working on your case immediately, making sure that all the necessary evidence is submitted promptly.
What documents & evidence do I need to make an injury claim?The basic condition that entitles you to this benefit is to suffer from a disease caused by asbestos exposure. A correlated diagnosis is the most important proof that will support your claim. Other medical documents might include the results of pulmonary examinations or doctor's statements.
Besides this, you also need to demonstrate that your exposure occurred in a specific power plant, or in several if applicable. To do this, you'll have to provide work-related records like proof of employment. Your lawyer will indicate what type of documents you need to bring and help you obtain those you lack.
How long does it take to get compensation?This is a delicate matter only your lawyer will be able to clarify. As a guideline, remember that it's far faster to settle the claim out of court than to have a traditional lawsuit. We are talking however about several months from your first encounter with your lawyer and the moment when you receive the money.
If your only option is the trail, then it's difficult to make a prediction because it's hard to make your way through the court. Your case can be finalized anywhere between a couple of months and a couple of years.