Who is Responsible for Construction Workers Exposed to Asbestos?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Greg Webb with MichieHamlett Attorneys at Law.
When it comes to work-related asbestos exposure, construction workers are typically more at risk than others. Any kind of work involving renovations, demolitions, or building activities on older structures could expose workers to asbestos and therefore increase their risk of developing mesothelioma or a related lung condition. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in construction and product manufacturing up until the 1970s when its use was largely banned due to the health consequences associated with exposure, primarily mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare lung cancer that is usually fatal and can be extremely painful. Other conditions that may arise from asbestos exposure include asbestosis and other cancers. However, these conditions can take decades after exposure to become symptomatic, which can make tracking the exposure to its initial source difficult without the help of an experienced mesothelioma attorney.
Construction companies are required to provide adequate safeguards to protect workers from asbestos.
Whenever someone owes a duty of care to another party yet fails to uphold that duty and someone is harmed as a result, the negligent party may be considered liable. This same rule can be applied to construction companies and their employees as well; if a construction company fails to take reasonable steps to protect their workers, such as abiding by industry safety standards in situations where asbestos may present a hazard, and a worker develops mesothelioma or another health condition related to asbestos exposure, the construction company could be considered liable for their damages by breaching their duty of care. Damages that may be applicable in a mesothelioma claim typically include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. In the event that a loved one passes away from mesothelioma, wrongful death damages may also apply.
Symptoms of mesothelioma typically include:
- Swelling in the face or neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry cough
- A crackling sound when breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Blood in the saliva
- Fingertips and toes appearing wider and rounder
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss
- High blood pressure
The statute of limitations for these cases typically begins when a diagnosis is made.
A statute of limitations refers to the window of time in which someone who has suffered harm due to the action or inaction of another party is eligible to pursue legal recourse. After the statute of limitations has passed, the injured party typically waives their right to pursue the issue in court.
For example, the statute of limitations for mesothelioma victims in Virginia is two years from the date a diagnosis is made; diagnoses related to asbestos exposure could include asbestosis, fibrosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related injuries and disease. Even if decades have passed between the diagnosis of the condition and the actual exposure, it’s important to document the condition, seek treatment, and contact an attorney right away to begin the process of investigation and recovery.
The good news is that most asbestos attorneys offer free consultations and work on contingency, which means clients don’t pay unless they win. Mesothelioma lawyers understand the toll a serious diagnosis can take on an asbestos-exposure victim and their families, and have the knowledge and resources to look into a person’s history and determine if negligence on the part of an employer or other party led to the pain someone is experiencing in the present.
To learn more about who may be at risk for asbestos exposure, or for help investigating your diagnosis and claim, reach out to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer in your area.