Asbestos & Mesothelioma
Lawyer In Tampa
Those who made you sick should be held accountable. We can help.
Historically, Tampa, Florida, was one of five sites where asbestos was processed in the state. Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance that many industries used as a fire-resistant material. Unfortunately, exposure to the substance causes serious health problems. The cancer mesothelioma and the lung disease asbestosis can arise from asbestos exposure. Workers or other people sickened by asbestos can seek compensation from the employers or manufacturers responsible for their exposure. Because this situation amounts to personal injury, the guidance of a Tampa mesothelioma lawyer could help you pursue compensation after asbestos exposure.
How does asbestos cause mesothelioma?
According to the American Cancer Society, the cancer known as pleural mesothelioma occurs most often due to breathing asbestos particles. Roughly 80 percent of mesothelioma patients suffered exposure to asbestos. The inhalation of asbestos fibers sends them far into pulmonary air passages. Eventually, the substance may reach the pleura, a membrane around the lungs. Irritation and damage to pleura cells can alter DNA and result in mesothelioma. Other forms of mesothelioma can also strike abdominal linings. The symptoms of mesothelioma often take years to present.
Other diseases caused by asbestos exposure
The chronic lung disease asbestosis also strikes people who inhaled asbestos over long periods of time in the workplace. Although asbestosis is not cancer, it can debilitate you. Lung tissue scarred by asbestos fibers makes breathing difficult for the rest of your life.
At times, cases of lung cancer are attributed to breathing asbestos fibers. Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has found a strong link between asbestos and ovarian and laryngeal cancers.
Occupational asbestos exposure in Florida
Within Florida, workers at shipyards and power plants were at a heightened risk of asbestos exposure. Chemical plants, factories, and automotive repair shops also contain equipment and parts that could release asbestos and sicken workers. Asbestos within building materials places construction workers at risk. Electricians and plumbers could also encounter asbestos.
According to Florida law, you may have experienced a “substantial occupational exposure” to asbestos if your job required you to:
- Handle raw asbestos
- Produce items containing asbestos
- Alter or repair parts containing asbestos
- Work closely with people exposed to asbestos fibers
Brief or temporary employment under these circumstances may not qualify as substantial exposure. However, all contact with asbestos is unsafe, and proving liability for your disease might remain possible.
Schools and other public buildings throughout the state often contain or did contain building materials with asbestos. People who worked within public buildings sometimes suffered exposure.
The managers of many public buildings have taken steps to remove asbestos or contain it safely in recent years. However, people who worked in or occupied such buildings in the past may have already suffered harm. Once symptoms of asbestosis or mesothelioma emerge years later, they may want legal support when trying to connect their current illnesses to previous locations.
Who can file an asbestos claim in Florida?
As a resident of Florida, you may file a lawsuit seeking compensation for illness caused by asbestos or silica, another form of dust that impacts lung function. People who now live outside of the state may still choose to take legal action within Florida courts if exposure occurred in the state.
Although most cases of mesothelioma arise from prolonged employment in workplaces contaminated by asbestos, asbestos disease can happen after secondary exposure. Family members of workplace-exposed employees may get sick as well because of the asbestos fibers carried home on workers’ clothes. People may live unknowingly in buildings that expose them to asbestos.
Should you choose to pursue compensation for mesothelioma or another asbestos disease, you need to prepare a report with medical test results. The medical records will serve as proof of the connection between exposure and illness. An asbestos attorney could advise you about how to obtain the medical evidence necessary to begin a claim for damages.
Damages related to mesothelioma
Asbestos-related diseases are disabling and require ongoing and costly treatment. Mesothelioma will very likely impair you to the point that you can no longer work. This situation hits you hard with loss of income and medical bills. For these reasons, a mesothelioma settlement should take into account your lost earning capacity and the cost of medical care, including transportation to receive medical services.
The severity of your disease and its impact on your financial life determine the size of your possible settlement. Legal representation improves the likelihood of citing all qualifying expenses and communicating them clearly to the responsible party either during negotiations or at trial.
Asbestos trust funds and lawsuits
Because many industrial companies used asbestos for decades, the need to compensate mesothelioma victims has been vast. As a result, dozens of trust funds for asbestos victims have been set up by large corporations to compensate people. These trusts hold billions of dollars. To find out if you are eligible to make a claim against one of the trusts, speak with a mesothelioma lawyer.
Even if your case does not connect with any of the trust funds, you still have the option of pursuing compensation from the entity responsible for your exposure. An investigation managed by a personal injury lawyer could collect sufficient evidence to prove liability for your health condition. Many cases resolve prior to litigation due to asbestos being a well-known safety hazard.
Talk to a qualified attorney
In Florida, you have four years from the time of diagnosis to launch a personal injury claim related to asbestos exposure or mesothelioma. Because mesothelioma can be fatal, the surviving family of a victim may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a mesothelioma wrongful death claim is two years after death.
Mesothelioma cases require careful documentation of your medical condition and the time that you spent being exposed to asbestos. The legal team at Couture Law P.A. in Tampa, Florida, has experience organizing detailed evidence. Our efforts could deflect attempts to restrict your compensation if a defendant questions the link between your asbestos exposure and current illness. We are committed to correcting the financial hardship caused by mesothelioma. Contact us today to learn more about your right to compensation.