Since many of the companies that sold asbestos or used it in their products have long since gone out of business, people who are diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers often think it’s too late to file a lawsuit.
However, a recent report found that, not only have special trust funds been created to ensure victims are taken care of for years to come, but these funds still have approximately $30 billion in funding.
Now, attorneys are urging anyone diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma to have their case reviewed to identify whether there was past asbestos exposure and determine if they may qualify for an award.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in thousands of domestic, commercial and industrial products from the 1930s until the 1980s due to its pliability, heat resistance and durability.
However, its microscopic fibers can become airborne if disturbed or mishandled, allowing them to easily be inhaled. When the fibers become lodged in and around lung tissue over time, they can cause enough genetic and cellular damage to cause lung cells to turn cancerous.
The cancers most often associated with asbestos exposure are lung cancer and mesothelioma, which is a cancer that affects the thin mesothelium lining around the chest organs.
One unique challenge of these cancers is that they can take from 15 to 35 years to develop from initial exposure to onset of symptoms. More importantly, there is no cure for either.
Occupational exposure is the leading cause of asbestos disease. While most U.S. companies stopped using asbestos in the 1980s, asbestos materials remain in millions of older buildings.
Those who were most at risk include construction, shipyard and factory workers, as well as people in manual labor and skilled trades.
Some places where asbestos is still found today include:
Fortunately, those affected can be eligible for substantial financial compensation to help with treatment and care of their family. Awards routinely range up into the six or seven figure levels for severe cases.
The primary legal recourse is to file a claim against the companies that used asbestos in their products or put employees at risk. However, in cases where those companies are no longer in business, or if a victim is seeking a quicker award, they can file a claim against one of the victim trust funds.
These funds were in most cases created to protect victims when asbestos supplying companies sought bankruptcy protection. To date, there are still approximately 60 active asbestos trust funds with an estimated $30 billion available for claimants.
These trusts have already paid victims about $20 billion since the 1980s. However, lawyers hope they will be able to provide support for decades to come.
For more information on filing an asbestos claim, or to speak directly with a lawyer about your case, contact us today.
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