Every year, doctors in the US diagnose thousands of new patients with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Many mesothelioma cases are terminal, although treatments can improve quality of life and lifespan for patients. The cause of these diseases, asbestos, is a dangerous carcinogen that used to exist widely in America due to its natural fire-resistant properties. Although many countries have banned asbestos, several industries in the US continue to utilize this dangerous substance.
Today, a victim could come into contact with asbestos in the workplace, at school or right at home. Since asbestos can take 10 to 70 years to cause irritation, form tumors and show related symptoms, patients diagnosed today could have been exposed decades ago. At Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, our Boston asbestos lawyers can help patients who have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma and related illnesses. We may be able to achieve financial compensation for you or a loved one after a thorough investigation of your case. Contact our asbestos lawyers in Boston today for a free initial consultation.
Asbestos is a mineral that naturally occurs in the Earth’s surface. It is a known carcinogen, meaning scientists have confirmed that exposure to asbestos can cause cancer in humans and other mammals. Asbestos is a fine dust with particles and fibers that can be too small to see. If these thin, needle-like fibers enter the air and someone breathes them in, that person could keep the particles inside his or her tissues for years. Over time, asbestos fibers lodged inside the body can aggravate the surrounding tissues and lead to scarring, irritation, malignant tumors and respiratory problems.
In America, many industries still use asbestos. Some friction products (e.g. brake pads), gaskets, roofing materials, fireproofing products and other items continue to rely on asbestos as a main ingredient. Although the US government has some asbestos restrictions in place, studies have shown that no amount of asbestos is safe for human contact. Ingesting or inhaling even a minuscule amount of asbestos could lead to serious and life-threatening diseases.
You may have grounds to file a personal injury claim if you or someone you love has any type of asbestos-related cancer, disease or illness. Our lawyers at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP accept clients with asbestos and mesothelioma claims in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. We can look into the source of the exposure to help you identify who may be financially responsible for your damages.
The Massachusetts state government has passed related statutes and regulations to reduce the number of mesothelioma and asbestosis cases. The Commonwealth created the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) Asbestos Program to regulate asbestos exposure on the job in the state. This DLS program works with employers and employees to create safer conditions despite the use of asbestos. It establishes certain restrictions surrounding asbestos exposure in Boston.
Unfortunately, not all workplaces and employers obey state and city asbestos regulations. Negligence on the part of an employer, such as the failure to provide personal protection equipment, could lead to exposure and related illnesses. Whether you know the source of your asbestos exposure or need a lawyer to investigate, we can help. Our lawyers can identify the defendant in your asbestos case in Boston.
The person you will file an asbestos claim against – the defendant – will be the person or entity most responsible for the asbestos exposure that caused your illness or a loved one’s death. This could be the government (if exposed while in the US Armed Forces), your employer, a product manufacturer, a property owner, a negligent asbestos removal company or multiple parties. The identity of the defendant will depend on the location of your exposure to asbestos. Determining the source of an illness often requires a thorough investigation from an asbestos lawyer in Boston due to decades having passed since the date of exposure.
It is important to recognize whether your workplace in Boston could put you at risk of asbestos exposure. While it is your employer’s legal obligation to learn this information, warn employees and take proactive steps to protect workers, understanding the risk on your own could improve your safety. Although federal laws exist to regulate the use of asbestos in the country, many industries today continue to use this dangerous material.
If you are in one of these high-risk industries or occupations, discuss the possibility of asbestos exposure with your employer. Ask what the company is doing to protect its workers from mesothelioma and asbestosis. If a doctor recently diagnosed you with an asbestos-related disease, think back to previous occupations you held years ago that may have exposed you to asbestos. Even if the company is now out of business, you may qualify for compensation through a federal asbestos trust fund.
The long incubation period for asbestos-related diseases makes for a unique statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a deadline by which an injured person must file a related civil claim. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is three years from the date of the accident or injury. However, the discovery rule will apply to most asbestos exposure claims in the state.
The discovery rule tolls, or extends, the statute of limitations to the date of injury discovery. With the discovery rule, you will have three years from the date a physician diagnosed you with an asbestos-related disease to file a claim rather than from the date of exposure. If you are filing for the death of a loved one, you will have three years from the date of death or the date you reasonably should have realized the death was from asbestos exposure. Speak to a lawyer at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP to learn your exact deadline to file.
Asbestos may exist in dangerous quantities in your own home. For decades, manufacturers relied heavily on asbestos for building and insulation materials due to its fireproofing properties. Many elements of a home, including its insulation, drywall, concrete foundation, pipes, heating elements and plumbing could contain asbestos. The odds of asbestos being within your walls is higher if you live in an old home that has never undergone major updates or renovations.
Protect yourself and your loved ones from asbestos exposure by having a professional examine your home for traces of asbestos. Trained experts can visit your home and use special tools to search for unsafe levels of asbestos. Then, they can carefully remove and properly dispose of the asbestos to make your home safer. Asbestos may also exist in consumer goods manufactured before 1980, such as wood-burning stoves, hairdryers, toasters, appliances and irons. Replace older products with modern versions to reduce your risk of asbestos exposure at home.
Preventing asbestos exposure is always better than dealing with its consequences. The illnesses related to asbestos exposure are often chronic and irreversible. In the most severe cases, they can be fatal. If you were unable to prevent exposure to asbestos, however, and believe you might have breathed in asbestos particles at work or home, visit a physician immediately. See a doctor if you live in an older home, work in an old building or your children go to an old school. Explain that you believe you or your loved ones might have suffered asbestos exposure.
For the most part, a doctor cannot diagnose an asbestos-related condition until you already start showing symptoms. Unfortunately, at this point, it may be too late to reverse or stop the condition. Early detection can, however, lead to greater success with treatments. For instance, early diagnosis can be critical for life-prolonging treatments for terminal conditions such as mesothelioma. If a physician diagnoses you or someone you love with an asbestos-related condition, contact an asbestos attorney without delay.
An asbestos-related claim could be worth a lot depending on its factors. Since asbestos often causes life-changing and deadly illnesses, a patient could be eligible for significant financial recovery. The amount recoverable will depend on factors related to the specific case, such as the victim’s age, income and the severity of the illness. Our lawyers at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP can accurately estimate the value of your asbestos claim in Boston during a free review. A positive settlement or jury verdict could repay you for several damages.
If the party that negligently exposed you or a loved one to asbestos still exists, your lawyer can name this party as a defendant in your lawsuit. If it was a company that has since dissolved or gone bankrupt, your lawyer may be able to seek compensation through a federal mesothelioma or asbestos fund instead. Either way, your attorney can aggressively negotiate for maximum compensation on your behalf. You can rest assured you will obtain fair and full compensation with a lawyer representing your best interest.
Exposure to asbestos affects thousands of people in the US annually. If you or someone close to you recently received a mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer diagnosis, contact an attorney at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP for free legal advice. Our Boston asbestos lawyers can examine your case, listen to your story and list your legal options.
Our Boston personal injury attorneys may be able to help you obtain financial compensation from one or more parties responsible for asbestos exposure. We will search for all available outlets for financial recovery on your behalf, including an insurance claim, personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, and federal trust funds. Call (617) 391-9001 or contact us online today to speak to an asbestos attorney in Boston about your case.