People in New Orleans have no doubt heard that asbestos is a dangerous material. Much effort and money is spent to remove asbestos from older buildings. Although the likelihood of encountering asbestos today is much lower than it was years ago, the effects of asbestos are still felt by people today. This blog post will talk a little bit about asbestos and the law.
Asbestos, an industrial product, was formerly used as a fire retardant and as insulation. It consists of thin, lightweight fibers that tend to separate from larger masses of asbestos and float in the air. When inhaled by humans, the fibers end up in the lungs. These asbestos fibers in the lungs can cause health problems such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is scarring of the lungs, leading to respiratory problems. Mesothelioma is a virulent form of cancer affecting abdominal cavities or the lining of the chest.
Most items containing asbestos would today be considered dangerous products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took action in 1989 to curtail the use of asbestos in construction and industrial products. Unfortunately, many people were exposed to asbestos before 1989 and even afterward. Many of these people have been diagnosed with asbestosis and mesothelioma.
What legal options do these people – and their families – have? Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible for victims or their family members to get economic compensation roughly equivalent to the damage suffered by the victim. This could include past and future pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost past and future wages and the cost of past and future medical care.
Asbestos can have terrible health consequences, and people who have suffered because of this dangerous product should understand their legal options.