What Are Your Legal Rights if You Have Been Exposed to Asbestos?
People who have been exposed to asbestos on the job have certain legal rights. So are those who have used products containing asbestos and developed a related condition. Read on to find out more about the laws that can enable you with compensation for the damage caused by asbestos.
How do I know if I am a victim of asbestos exposure?Asbestos poses critical dangers to human health. Exposure to this substance can lead to a series of health issues, some of which are even life-threatening. Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, or lung cancer are some of the most common conditions triggered by this exposure. If you have worked for many years in an environment that contained asbestos, your likelihood of developing a correlated disease are higher than those of people who have suffered occasional exposure. Industries like the automobiles, constructions, or shipyard are just some of the fields where asbestos was ubiquitous back in the 70's and earlier.
It's important to mention this period because, after the 70's, asbestos use has been banned given the fact that its risks were exposed.
Nonetheless, since most conditions that are triggered by asbestos have a long latency period, those who develop them can't be diagnosed for 20, 30 years, or even later.
This is the reason why many asbestos claims against companies that exposed their workers are filed nowadays, thought exposure occurred decades ago.
If you believe you've been exposed to asbestos, it's essential to get checked, especially if you report any breathing difficulties. An initial visit to your physician is the first step you should take. From there on, you'll be pointed in the right direction and specialist can ascertain whether you've developed an asbestos-related disease or not.
Who should I contact if I've been exposed to asbestos?After you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you should immediately get in touch with a lawyer who has significant experience in asbestos cases. Why should you do this? Because only a law specialist can evaluate your situation and understand if you are entitled to file a legal claim. This course of action aims to help you recover compensation for the physical injuries caused by asbestos. Therefore, it's in your best interest to work with a specialist who knows the shortcuts and the steps that can get you a favorable outcome for your cause.
What are my rights under the law?People who have suffered from asbestos exposure are legally entitled to claim compensation for the diseases they developed. Several legal solutions are available under the current States' law. Here is a brief overview of the options you can resort to.
However, before going into further details, it's important to understand what makes you eligible for these legal options.
Firstly, if you want to submit a request for asbestos exposure, you must be able to prove you've been exposed to it. For this, you need an asbestos disease diagnosis which has to be released by a certified practitioner.
Secondly, you and your lawyer have to work on linking your disease with a particular company or product that caused it. This is typically done by providing work-related evidence.
Once your lawyer starts looking into your case, he or she will tell you what is the most appropriate legal option you should turn to. The available choices are listed below.
Filing a claimVictims of asbestos exposure have the right to sue the company that caused the exposure to recover compensation for their injury. After you submit your request, the case can evolve in two distinct directions. You can either reach a settlement with the other party and accept the amount of money they will offer as compensation, or go to court for a traditional lawsuit.
There are different types of claims depending on the person who brings them and the defendant.
If victims themselves file the claim, then we are talking about a personal injury case. This means the person in question submits the request for the physical damage they suffer from.
If a family member files on behalf of a deceased person, we are dealing with a wrongful death claim. If sufficient proof can be brought in order to support the claim, chances to get the same reward are similar with those of a personal injury claim.
Frequently, the cause of asbestos exposure is linked to specific products which, handled day by day, exposed users to the hazard. In this situation, the manufacturer of the items employed by workers can be held liable for the resulting injuries. In legal terms, this is a product liability case.
Workers' compensationWorkers' compensation aims to help employees who were exposed to asbestos, provided that their exposure occurred on the job. This legal option enables victims to financial aid and medical assistance. However, keep in mind that appealing to your rights under Workers' compensation might prevent you from being able to file a lawsuit against the same company.
VA benefitsVeterans who have developed an asbestos-correlated disease while they were performing their duties during military service can submit a claim to the VA and get compensation for their injuries. The essential condition that allows you to access these benefits is to be discharged from service in conditions that are not dishonorable.