Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that are toxic for humans. Once thought of as a “magic mineral” and used in a variety of applications – particularly in construction – research now proves the high level of risk humans face around asbestos. Asbestos exposure at work, in school, or in an old building could lead to severe health problems in the future. If you or someone you love is suffering health complications due to asbestos exposure in New York City, you may have grounds for a civil claim.
The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos quickly became one of the most popular building materials in the 1900s. Its natural durability and resistance to fire, plus the ability to pull strands of asbestos to form a fluffy material, made it seemingly ideal for insulation, piping materials, shipbuilding, and more. Over time, however, health complaints connected to asbestos exposed the truth: this mineral is highly toxic when ingested. Asbestos in the air at manufacturing facilities and other workplaces could lodge in the lungs and internal tissues of workers, forming tumors over the years.
Someone exposed to asbestos could form a serious type of cancer, mesothelioma, within 10 to 50 years after the date of exposure. Mesothelioma is generally terminal, although new treatments are in development. Asbestos can also cause a range of other serious health problems, including asbestosis, pleuritis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. No amount of asbestos exposure is safe; yet the U.S. government still permits almost all items to contain less than 1% asbestos. Consumers could still be suffering unsafe levels of exposure today.
Asbestos is a deadly substance. It is the number one cause of work-related cancer in the world. Microscopic fibers circulating in the air can accumulate in the sensitive membrane that lines the lungs (the pleura). It is impossible to see, smell, or taste these fibers. Asbestos exposure does not have any immediate symptoms. This makes treatment nearly impossible, since the victim will not recognize exposure until the particles have already formed tumors or other illnesses. Once asbestos fibers enter the body, they never disappear.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in NYC
Between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma arise in the United States every year. Thousands of other cases arise involving other asbestos-related illnesses. Each day, another 30 people in the U.S. lose their lives from asbestos-related causes. Although nothing will take back the tragedy that has befallen victims of asbestos exposure, civil claims may be able to provide financial assistance and stability for them and their families.
The U.S. government has an asbestos trust fund with around $30 billion available for victims. This trust fund exists because many of the companies at fault for exposing their employees to asbestos decades ago are no longer in operation, or have gone bankrupt. Even if the company responsible for exposing you or a loved one to asbestos no longer exists, you have the possibility of financial recovery. It is important to speak to an NYC mesothelioma lawyer about your claim options as soon as possible upon a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness.
Claims involving asbestos exposure have longer than usual deadlines for filing. A typical New York injury victim has three years from the date of injury to file a claim. Since it can take decades for the health hazards of asbestos exposure to surface, most states treat it as an exception to the statute of limitations. In New York, you have three years from the date of your diagnosis to bring a claim, rather than three years from the date of asbestos exposure. A successful lawsuit could result in payment for your related medical expenses, lifelong pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.