Asbestos exposure causes asbestosis and pleural mesothelioma, accounting for about 10,000 deaths per year in the US. It is banned in many products but allowed in roofing and fireproofing materials, automotive gaskets and brake pads. These are exempt from the ban if no other suitable material is available.
The word “asbestos” refers to six naturally occurring silicate minerals, each made of long, very thin crystal fibers. Because of its inherent resistance to heat and fire, as well as its sound-absorbing properties, asbestos has been used in a wide range of products for centuries. All forms of asbestos are classified as carcinogens and can cause cancer, as well as other chronic conditions if inhaled or ingested.
Most people think asbestos was banned in the 1970s, back when its link to lung cancer and other respiratory ailments was first made. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the federal government made any real progress toward limiting the use of asbestos. The United States is one of a handful of countries that haven't yet banned asbestos completely.
Military veterans at risk for mesothelioma
Asbestos was used extensively in all branches of the military, meaning almost anyone who served our country is at the highest risk of an asbestos-related illness. Today, approximately one-third of all mesothelioma cases involve military veterans. Asbestos was used in military vehicles, in the materials used to build and repair equipment, and even in the construction of housing on bases. The US Navy, in particular, used asbestos extensively in ships.
Construction and renovation/demolition workers at risk for mesothelioma
It can take a long time for mesothelioma to manifest, so there are many former (and current) Milwaukee construction workers who have been exposed to asbestos and are still at risk. Those who worked as plumbers, electricians, and pipefitters during the 1950s through the early 1980s are most at risk.
We all love to see historic buildings around Milwaukee restored, but most were built during an era when asbestos was widely used in insulation, flooring, roofing, and other construction materials. Virtually all buildings built before 1980 have asbestos in them, and workers involved in restoring or demolishing these buildings are at high risk for asbestos-related illnesses.
Common building products that used to contain asbestos:
Asbestos paper and billboard
Construction mastics & gunning mix
Wall and attic insulation
Wallboard joint compound
Effects of asbestos exposure with DIY home projects
Homeowners doing DIY home improvement work on older houses in the Milwaukee area are also at risk of asbestos exposure. Even with proper respiratory protection, asbestos fibers can cling to clothing and shoes. When clothing is removed or dusted off after working, the fibers become airborne and can be inhaled by anyone in the vicinity.
Auto mechanics routinely exposed to asbestos
Because it is still legal to manufacture automotive brake pads containing asbestos, many Milwaukee area auto mechanics are routinely exposed to asbestos. Even if they aren’t the ones removing or installing brake pads, fibers that break off or are in the brake dust on wheels can easily become airborne in a shop and be inhaled by workers.
4 steps to get mesothelioma compensation
See what compensation you'd be eligible for by speaking with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who can determine the success of your case.
Work with your attorney to figure out your past asbestos exposure and what it could be linked to.
Your attorney may present several options for compensation that you'll be able to consider.
A qualified mesothelioma lawyer will have the resources needed to significantly help your case with the ability to track your exposure history. An attorney can get access to product identification books, employment records, eyewitnesses, and their own expertise from previous cases they've handled. The most important step to getting fair compensation for your asbestos-related illness is finding the best personal injury lawyer for the job.
Warshafsky offers more than just your average personal injury lawyer
Milwaukee has a tragic history of multi-million dollar lawsuits enacted against major manufacturing industries, from lead paint and pharmaceuticals to asbestos. Since before the 1960s, Warshafsky has fought and won judgments for the injured when corporations and their insurers chose to forsake health for profit. Insurers pay top dollar for lawyers and actuaries to calculate strategies to minimize their risk and maximize their profits. When a law firm has a history of preparing their cases to go the distance in trial and winning before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, insurance companies refigure those calculations. People choose Warshafsky in part because of their ability to fund and pursue a case to go the distance at trial – including an appeal. Warshafsky staffs a lawyer who is also a medical doctor, along with experienced investigators, paralegals, and attorneys to work your case.
Get compensated for your asbestos-related illness
Personal injury suits for asbestos-related illnesses are among the most difficult. You need a Milwaukee personal injury law firm with a proven history of building compelling cases, not a “sign and settle” law firm that will take the first settlement offer given. Warshafsky Law will do everything in our power to ensure you get the financial compensation you deserve from those who put your life at risk. In addition to reimbursement for your medical expenses, you may also be compensated for lost wages, physical and mental suffering, and funeral expenses in the case of wrongful death. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis, take advantage of our free, no-obligation legal consultation. In cases involving fatalities caused by negligence, our wrongful death attorneys will compel those responsible to make restitution. The workman's comp attorneys at Warshafsky ensure a just settlement is reached for your worker compensation case.
Injured? it is about the money®
What is mesothelioma?
The leading cause of malignant mesothelioma is inhalation or ingestion of asbestos. It typically affects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), although it can also spread to other internal organs in the chest and abdominal region (peritoneal mesothelioma). Tumors that develop with mesothelioma tend to spread rapidly and are rarely discovered in their early stages when there is still a chance of surgical removal. Cancer spreads quietly before any symptoms are shown, greatly reducing the odds of survival.
Is mesothelioma the same as lung cancer?
Yes, mesothelioma (malignant pleural mesothelioma) is a type of lung cancer.
What is asbestosis?
Although non-cancerous, asbestosis is a chronic, and often painful, a respiratory disease that causes breathing problems and can complicate heart problems. It is not only disabling, but it can also be fatal. Asbestosis is caused by asbestos fibers scarring the lungs—a condition known as fibrosis. Pleural fibrosis occurs when fibrous tissue develops in the pleura (the space between the two layers of the mesothelium—one surrounding the lungs, the other lining the inside of the chest cavity).
How long after exposure do symptoms appear?
The time period between inhalation/ingestion of asbestos and the first sign of symptoms ranges from 10 to 50 years. With such a long latency period, many people exposed to asbestos prior to the federal crackdown of the 1980s haven’t shown any symptoms yet. Because of this, many health experts believe the numbers of mesothelioma cases will continue to increase in the coming years.
What is an asbestos or mesothelioma trust fund?
After victims began filing lawsuits against asbestos-industry companies, they sought bankruptcy protection to ensure their company's survival. In exchange, the government required those companies to establish trust funds to compensate current and future victims of asbestos exposure.