Asbestos and Mesothelioma
The coastal state of Virginia is known for being a harbor for ship vessels and a home to a number of industrial plants. Though that history is part of what makes our state great, it can mean danger for many families who have worked on these job sites in the 1980s. If you or a loved one has worked at a shipyard, power plant, or automotive plant in or near Manassas, Virginia, you may have been exposed to cancer-causing asbestos dust.
Asbestos is a fine mineral that can be made into fire-retardant fibers. These fibers were often used as insulation or mixed within certain materials to improve their quality. It was also commonly used in shipping yards, at power plants, and at automotive plants before it was discovered that they could lead to certain types of cancer like mesothelioma. Luckily, you or your loved ones can seek compensation for your medical expenses if you’ve worked at a s job site contaminated by asbestos. The attorneys at Ashcraft & Gerel have years of experience representing the hard-workers of Manassas, Virginia, and the surrounding areas, for their mesothelioma settlements. They can use that knowledge to help increase your chances of receiving compensation for your:
- Medical Diagnosis
- Medical Treatment & Procedures (both past and in the future)
- Loss Wages
- Pain & Suffering
As with all states, there is a statute of limitations for when you can file a claim against your employer, or the company that produced the asbestos-contaminated product you’ve had contact with. Because of this time restriction, you don’t want to delay. As soon as you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer or asbestosis, contact a lawyer to discuss the details of your case.
Have I been exposed to asbestos?
The first step to establishing whether you should file a mesothelioma claim is to determine how and win you may have been exposed to asbestos. This information is paramount for your lawyer to be able to tell you how strong your case is and whether you should file a lawsuit, settle out of court, or seek compensation from an asbestos cancer trust fund.
In the state of Virginia, there are many professions that would lead their workers to be exposed to asbestos. Prior to the government restricting the use of asbestos for construction and industry jobs, it was often used in shipping yards, power plants, and car plants for equipment or insulation. In many cases, former employees at Virginia plants have reported having to store, pack, or move raw asbestos as a regular part of their job. In addition, many of these plants had workers in cramped spaces with little air flow, increasing their risk of inhaling asbestos dust while on the job. There are a number of well-known plants and shipping yards in Virginia known to be contaminated with asbestos, so when discussing your job history with your lawyer, be sure to be as detailed as possible to let them know which job site you’ve worked at and which products you may have used while on the job.
Even if you’ve never worked at an asbestos-contaminated job site, there are still ways in which you may have accidentally inhaled or ingested the dangerous fibers. If your loved one returned home from work and had asbestos dust on their clothes, you could still be impacted by inhaling that dust. You may think the trace of asbestos on someone’s clothes is too minimal to cause a serious illness. But asbestos fibers are small and can cause serious damage – even if you’ve only been exposed to it for a month or two.
With that said, the symptoms of asbestos exposure can be very mild. You may not know that you’ve been negatively impacted until your symptoms worsen or develop into cancer. There are cases of people being exposed to asbestos many years ago who don’t develop serious symptoms until 10 or more years later.
If you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms, reach out to your health care provider as soon as possible to see if you have developed an asbestos-related disease:
- Shortness of breath
- Obstruction of the bowels
- Weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry cough
How can asbestos lead to mesothelioma or lung cancer?
Asbestos is a series of small fibers that are difficult for the body to get rid of once inhaled or ingested. If you inhale asbestos dust over a period of time, it can form a thin layer of tissue over the lung, heart, and abdomen that leads to a host of medical issues, including:
- Pleural Plaques
- Lung Cancer
- Laryngeal Cancer
As stated earlier, it can take several years for symptoms of asbestosis-related diseases to worsen to the point of needing medical attention. Once you’ve reach out to your medical care provider, they can perform a series of tests in order to diagnose your condition.
How can I file a claim for my mesothelioma?
It’s important to note that you can’t file a claim until you’ve been officially diagnosed. You’ll need proof of your medical condition from an oncologist of your doctor before you can request financial compensation from your current or previous employer for your medical expenses. After you have been diagnosed, reach out to an asbestos attorney to discuss your condition, how you came into contact with asbestos, and your current and future medical expenses. From there, they’ll be able to help you make the best decision for your interests.
The statute of limitations for filing a claim for an asbestos-related illness in the state of Virginia is 2 years from the time you’re diagnosed, so don’t delay. As soon as you know what type of illness you’re facing, you should start taking the steps to receive the compensation you deserve right away. It can take weeks or months to gather the evidence needed in order to prove that you’ve worked at a job site that was contaminated by asbestos. You’ll want to give you asbestos lawyer as much time as possible to build your case.
How can I seek compensation for my asbestos illness?
The most common way that Virginia construction, plant, and navy vessel workers seek compensation for their asbestos-related illnesses or mesothelioma is though a settlement. A settlement allows you to hold the employer or government entity that is responsible for your history of working at a jobsite contaminated by asbestos or who produced the asbestos-based products responsible for their negligence without having to undergo a lengthy court hearing. In these cases, your lawyer will negotiate with the business’s insurance company, presenting them with the evidence of your illness and proof that they are responsible for your asbestos exposure. If the insurance company agrees that you have substantial evidence to prove your claim, they’ll offer you a financial award based on your medical expenses.
It may be tempting to accept this settlement immediately, but be sure to consult with your Manassas, Virginia, asbestos lawyer before accepting your mesothelioma settlement. They’ll be able to advise you on whether this is fair compensation for your injuries or if you should negotiate further. If you‘ve reached a point where the insurance company is no longer willing to negotiate then a traditional lawsuit may be proposed by your lawyer.
Mesothelioma lawsuits are rare because most companies prefer to settle outside of court. With that said, if their insurance company doesn’t believe you have substantial enough evidence to prove your claim, they may deny you any payment or suggest a settlement that is just a portion of what you need to cover your medical bills. In these situations, presenting the evidence of your case to a Virginia judge and jury may be the best way to ensure you receive full and fair compensation.
Mesothelioma Trust Fund
Outside of filing a mesothelioma settlement or lawsuit against your former employer in Virginia, you may be able to receive compensation as part of the asbestos trust fund. Now sitting at just over $30 billion, this trust fund was established by many of the companies that produced asbestos-based products or that had their employees work in asbestos-contaminated sites prior to the 1980s. Many of these companies went bankrupt in order to avoid the many lawsuits they predicted would come there way. Instead of settling hundreds of lawsuits at various price points, some of these companies developed a trust fund for mesothelioma victims and their families.
Just because you’ve suffered from a disease or cancer as a result of asbestos exposure doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to a share of the mesothelioma trust fund. You’ll need to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for a portion of the trust fund money, so reach out to your attorney today to discuss your options. They’ll be able to tell you which companies participate in the trust fund and what regulations or restrictions are in place for those who have filed a claim.
Mesothelioma Compensation for Veterans
As previously stated, asbestos was commonly used when building and repairing sea vessels on shipping yards in Virginia. Unfortunately, this also means that many veterans that worked on Navy vessels were often in contact with asbestos any many have developed cancer or serious illnesses as a result. If you are a veteran who is suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, then you may be able to receive compensation as part of your regular disability benefits.
What if my deceased loved one suffered from an asbestos illness?
If you a loved one that has passed is the one who developed the asbestos-based disease or cancer due to occupational or non-occupational contact with asbestos, you may still be entitled to compensation. Wrongful death claims allow for close surviving family members to receive a financial award for the damages their loved one suffered as well as for the pain and suffering they’ve experienced as a result. Consult with an attorney today to discuss how you can file a mesothelioma claim and reach a settlement with your loved one’s former employer. You may be able to recover compensation for your:
- Remaining Medical Expenses
- Funeral Expenses
- Pain & Suffering
- Loss of Income
It’s important to note that not every family member can file a wrongful death claim for their loved one. You must be closely related, such as the spouse, parent, or grandparent of the deceased. If you qualify to file a claim, be sure to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible to start the process. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is within 2 years after your loved one’s death, and your attorney will need time to gather enough evidence in order to support your claim.
Contact a Manassas, Virginia, Attorney to Discuss Mesothelioma Settlements
Whether you worked at a Virginia shipyard in the 1980s or you recently repaired a historical building and inhaled asbestos on the construction site, if you’ve developed an illness as a result, it’s time to hold your employer responsible for your injuries. The asbestos lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have experience working with clients who’ve been exposed to asbestos while on the job as well as those who have had second-hand asbestos exposure from the clothing of a loved one or a contaminated product. They can put that knowledge to work for you, building a case around your experiences and your current illness in order to prove that you deserve compensation for your medical expenses.
No matter if you choose to settle outside of court or present your case before a Virginia state judge, your legal representative will be at your side, acting as your advocate from the start to the finish of your case. You won’t know what your case is worth until you get started, so reach out to one of our lawyers today to discuss mesothelioma settlements.