If you’re exposed to asbestos for a prolonged period of time, you could be at a high risk of developing asbestosis in the lungs. Asbestosis in the lungs is a chronic lung disease that can cause a wide range of serious symptoms. This inflammatory condition can ultimately result in permanent lung damage. Although asbestosis generally has a better prognosis than mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer that can result from asbestos exposure, it still causes a significant number of fatalities. Over a recent nine-year period, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that asbestosis in the lungs caused 13,024 deaths. Some individuals, on the other hand, have a generally good prognosis after they are diagnosed with asbestosis, and may live for several decades with the disease. However, even when asbestosis is not deadly, it still greatly affects a victim’s quality of life. Individuals with asbestosis often have the following symptoms:
- Frequent coughing
- Shoulder and/or chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Clubbed/swollen fingertips, which is usually most common in more advanced cases
Oftentimes, when individuals are diagnosed with a lung disorder or condition, they are surprised to hear it is due to asbestos exposure. Many people don’t even realize that they have been exposed to asbestos, when in fact, they may have been exposed to it for many years. Asbestos is a group of naturally-occurring fibers that are widely used in the production of many different products and materials, such as paper, plastic, cloth, cement, and plastic. There are also different types of asbestos that are used for various purposes, including five types of amphibole asbestos and one type of serpentine asbestos. The use of asbestos is still legal in the United States, and while asbestos is generally safe for consumer use, it is when the asbestos is disturbed and released into the air that it becomes dangerous.
Inhaling the dust from asbestos is hazardous, and it is particularly problematic if someone is exposed to asbestos in the air on a regular basis. For example, a construction worker may be consistently working with materials that cause asbestos to be released in the air. Constant exposure and inhalation of asbestos can eventually lead to serious health problems, including asbestosis in the lungs. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that currently, there are approximately 125 million individuals worldwide being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Asbestos in the lungs, which can cause cancer and mesothelioma, has also resulted in 107,000 deaths. Most of the time, asbestos exposure can take many years to manifest. It may be 20 to 30 years after regular asbestos exposure before someone starts exhibiting signs of asbestosis and receives a diagnosis.
In addition to construction, workers in the following industries may also be more at risk of developing asbestosis in the lungs due to asbestos exposure:
- Electricity generation
The WHO has also implemented recommendations for reducing asbestos exposure, particularly in the workplace, and thus reducing the number of asbestosis diagnoses and asbestos-related deaths. It is suggested that a safer alternative be used in place of asbestos. When asbestos is being used in a particular environment, it is important to take the steps necessary to protect workers from asbestos exposure; employers are responsible for providing their workers with a safe work environment. In cases where asbestosis is suspected, early diagnosis and prompt, aggressive treatment is crucial.
Most people are unaware of their exposure to asbestos, especially when it’s happening every day in the workplace. After all, you expect that your employer is keeping you as safe as possible, and many asbestos victims don’t expect to develop serious lung conditions many years down the road. Alas, it has continued to happen, and more individuals with asbestosis diagnoses are seeking the justice they deserve.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with asbestosis in the lungs, you may already be working with an attorney on an asbestos exposure lawsuit. Sometimes, they can be a little more complex than a typical personal injury lawsuit, especially when you are looking at something that took many years to develop. However, despite the complexity of some of these cases, attorneys have still successfully obtained favorable settlements for their clients. But because there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to pursuing monetary compensation in an asbestos exposure case, it is important to keep in mind that these types of cases may take a long time to finalize.
Waiting for your case to settle before receiving a payout isn’t your only option, however. At USClaims, we help plaintiffs with qualifying cases receive money sooner through a process known as pre-settlement funding. Contact USClaims today to learn more about how pre-settlement funding works and to see if your case is eligible.