Renovation Plans? Proceed With Caution
Many people in Kentucky are proud of their older homes. If you’re one of them and you plan on doing any do-it-yourself remodeling this spring, watch out for dangerous asbestos.
Any dwelling constructed prior to 1970 probably contains asbestos in the floor tiles and pipes, because back then, asbestos was a cheap, reliable, and plentiful mineral that was essentially fireproof and had excellent heat retention properties. But beginning in the 1950s, researchers started looking into the connection between dangerous asbestos and certain types of lung disease, such as mesothelioma (lung cancer) and asbestosis (permanent scar tissue). If your project involves any tile or plumbing work, it’s probably best to contact a professional asbestos removal firm and at least have the company on standby.
Some other common hazards related to spring cleaning-type projects include poisoning from household chemicals, hearing loss from lawnmowers, and carbon monoxide fumes from pressure washers.
How Dangerous Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma
An asbestos fiber is 200 times smaller than a human hair. These airborne particles can be swallowed or inhaled, and they can even absorb through exposed skin. Furthermore, it only takes one dangerous asbestos fiber to cause mesothelioma, which is cancer in the soft lining that surrounds the heart and lungs.
Early mesothelioma signs include painful coughing and chronic shortness of breath, as the cancer essentially constricts the lungs. However, the disease has such a long incubation period (up to 40 years in most cases) that, quite understandably, many victims do not immediately associate their breathing problems with dangerous asbestos exposure that probably occurred years or even decades earlier, thus delaying diagnosis as the disease spreads.
Mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive and deadliest forms of cancer. So, as recently as a few years ago, a diagnosis was essentially a death sentence, because the victim’s life expectancy was often measured in months. Even now, there is no cure and surgery to remove the tumor is usually not an option. However, advances in chemotherapy and radiation therapy, along with gene therapy and other emerging treatments, give researchers hope that mesothelioma will at least be manageable one day.
Compensation in Mesothelioma Cases
Rather than face damage claims stemming from dangerous asbestos, many of these companies declared bankruptcy. However, as a Chapter 11 condition, federal courts forced these companies to create an asbestos trust fund, which today includes more than $30 billion. To get a share of this money, mesothelioma victims usually only need to show a link between their lung cancer and exposure to dangerous asbestos. Even if the company is no longer in business, the victim may still receive substantial compensation.
Direct legal action is possible against companies that are still solvent. This process is a little more involved but may result in a larger damage award.
Dangerous asbestos causes a variety of fatal health conditions. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Morgantown, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.