Despite the documentation of the hazards of asbestos and the subsequent requirements to remove it, many individuals continue to develop asbestos related illnesses each year. While the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has stepped in to put standards in place to protect workers, continued exposure to asbestos can be responsible for various respiratory diseases ranging from asthma to lung cancer. Gaining an understanding of asbestos and how it affects the body is important when deciding if contacting an Oklahoma asbestos lawyer is a smart move for you.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used for its fire resistant properties. It is found in products that require a heat resistant material. When asbestos breaks down, it can become microscopic. It is these microscopic particles that can enter the lungs and cause disease.
Asbestos has been used in thousands of products from including fireproofing, insulation, caulk and brake lining. While some individuals were exposed during construction or automotive work, many more are affected by working in buildings where the asbestos is deteriorating or while remodeling or demolishing an existing structure.
Asbestos Exposure and Symptoms
Asbestos generally enters the body through the respiratory passages. Even with the use of OSHA mandated respirators and protective clothing, individuals can be exposed to asbestos. Most of the larger particles are trapped either in the respirator or in the nasal hairs or mucous lining of the respiratory tract. Many of the asbestos fibers are so small they can enter the body even with the use of OSHA approved equipment. When fibers are this tiny, they can go deep into the lungs and become trapped. These trapped fibers eventually scar the lungs. Eating in an area contaminated with asbestos can lead to it being ingested, eventually causing digestive problems.
Unlike other types of hazardous exposure, asbestos exposure does not have any immediate symptoms. In fact, symptoms of asbestos exposure often don’t appear until decades after exposure. Symptoms of asbestos exposure include
- Persistent cough with mucus
- Chest pain and/or tightness
- Loss of appetite
- A dry, crackling sound in the lungs when inhaling
There are physicians who are experienced in dealing with asbestos exposure and the related disease. They will take a detailed history and assist you in documenting your exposure and symptoms. If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, but have no symptoms you can seek a “baseline” exam. In the event you develop an asbestos related illness, the baseline establishes the decline in your health.
Asbestos Related Illnesses
Asbestos related illnesses could range from those causing difficulty breathing to various types of cancer. Additionally:
- Asbestosis is an inflammatory condition of the lungs causing shortness of breath and coughing that leads to scarring of the lungs making it difficult to breath.
- Lung cancer is five times more prevalent in those exposed to asbestos than the general public. Smoking increases this risk to fifty times.
- Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma affects both the respiratory and digestive systems. Patients with mesothelioma must under both chest and abdominal biopsies to monitor the progression of the disease.
- Thickening of the lining of the lungs, scarring of the lungs and accumulation of fluid around the lungs are also potential problems.
- Asbestos exposure can lead to increased incidence of gastrointestinal, throat, kidney, brain, bladder and gallbladder cancers.
Often, individuals exposed to asbestos often have to turn to lawsuits in order to obtain the compensation they deserve. In order to navigate the maze of the judicial system, it is advisable to seek the counsel of an experienced Oklahoma asbestos lawyer.
Asbestos lawsuits can result in receiving monetary damages even if the company has gone out of business or the exposure was a few decades ago. In the event you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you must file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations for the state. An Oklahoma asbestos lawyer can explain these statutes as well as the process of the lawsuit.
Many asbestos related suits are settled out of court, but it varies greatly, as each case is so different. Attorneys are aware of the insurance company or trust funds that provide payments to victims, as well as the legal technicalities of what each case could go through. In the event that asbestos exposure has taken the life of a spouse, an Oklahoma asbestos lawyer can also assist the surviving spouse in seeking a wrongful death lawsuit, which can help the plaintiff seek payments to assist with medical expenses and the mental anguish that accompanies the loss of a loved one.
Considering Speaking With an Oklahoma Asbestos Lawyer? Contact Us For a Free Consultation
At Attorney Group for Oklahoma, we charge no upfront fees. We want to help you understand what your legal options are based on your individual case, and connect you with an experienced Oklahoma asbestos lawyer that can help you through the legal process of seeking compensation for your injuries. Asbestos exposure and the damage it causes lead to physical and emotional damages. By contacting Attorney Group for Oklahoma, you can find an experienced Oklahoma asbestos lawyer who can answer your questions.