Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the thin layers of tissue that cover most of your internal organs. The primary risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. In the past, many occupations were exposed to asbestos in their line of work, including miners, factory workers, shipbuilders, and auto mechanics. Today, military personnel serving overseas are still at risk of exposure.
Today, OSHA has guidelines to protect workers who must handle asbestos. But prior to the mid-1970s, asbestos was a commonly used substance with little to no regulation. A mesothelioma diagnosis often comes decades after occupational exposure. The average age of diagnosis is 72 years of age. Currently, men are diagnosed much more than women, as the jobs that were exposed to asbestos were traditionally filled by men.
Mesothelioma is most commonly found in the tissue surrounding the lungs. This type is called pleural mesothelioma and accounts for 75% of all mesothelioma diagnoses. The next most common form of mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen, peritoneal mesothelioma. Rarely, mesothelioma can also affect the heart, pericardial mesothelioma, or testicles, tunica vaginalis.
Until the 1970s, asbestos was viewed as a valuable substance. It is fire and corrosion-resistant and acts as an insulator. However, when asbestos is broken up, sanded, cut, or otherwise disturbed, dust is created. This dust becomes airborne and is inhaled, settling in the lungs or abdomen and causing irritation. This is why mesothelioma most commonly affects the lungs and abdomen.
Asbestos is still in use today, but with strict OSHA regulations. Asbestos is found in automobile parts like brake pads and clutches. Asbestos is also found in construction materials like roofing material and vinyl tile. Employees working in commercial or residential remodeling and demolition of older buildings continue to be at risk for asbestos exposure.
Additionally, anyone who lived with a worker that was exposed to asbestos is also at risk for developing mesothelioma. In the decades before regulation, workers would come home with dust lingering on their skin and clothing. Their children, spouse, and other family members experienced secondhand exposure to asbestos.
Military veterans were especially susceptible to asbestos exposure. From the 1930s until the 1970s, the military used asbestos extensively, mainly due to its fireproof properties. Even today, military personnel serving overseas are exposed to asbestos, especially when buildings are demolished. Also, not all foreign countries have regulations for current asbestos usage. Military veterans currently represent 30% of mesothelioma lawsuits filed today.
According to the American Cancer Society, every year 3,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Since the cancer appears decades after asbestos exposure, many people are diagnosed in their retirement years long they were exposed.
A diagnosis is overwhelming and emotional. You worked hard to provide for yourself and your family. You were an exemplary employee or member of the military, and now you’re facing a cancer diagnosis. You likely have many questions about your legal rights and what your next steps might be. You need to speak with a law firm experienced in workplace injuries.
The attorneys at Saladino & Schaaf have years of experience representing clients in both workers’ compensation and personal injury lawsuits. If you live in Kentucky and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma after occupational asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. You are likely overwhelmed with your medical treatment, but you should pursue legal action quickly as the clock is ticking. To schedule your free consultation contact us online or call us at (270) 444-0406.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is dedicated to providing high quality, aggressive legal representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Since 1984, this firm and its predecessors have had one goal in mind – to help the victims of personal injury put the pieces of their lives back together.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is a Personal Injury Law Firm located in Paducah, KY and serves clients throughout Kentucky and Illinois.
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