Asbestos FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about asbestos injury and exposure

Who may have been exposed to asbestos?
Asbestos was used in many products and in many industries prior to 1980. People who worked in shipyards, aluminum smelters, construction, refineries, power plants were exposed to asbestos. Even dentists and jewelers were exposed to asbestos! Companies continued using asbestos in some products after 1980, such as cement sewer pipe, molten metal marinite, brake shoes, and gaskets, but to a lesser extent.

Is my family at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease?
If you were exposed to asbestos at your job and came home in your work clothes, then your family may be at an increased risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. While that risk is quite small, women who washed their husband’s or father’s asbestos-contaminated clothes have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and lung cancer. If you have a family member who may have an asbestos-related disease, please contact an attorney right away.

Can I receive compensation if I smoked?
Yes! A prior smoking history does not prevent you from receiving compensation for your injury. In fact, smoking and asbestos exposure together increase the risk of lung cancer by 50 times or more, and the companies knew that back in the 1950’s.

What diseases are scientifically linked to asbestos exposure?:
Mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis are the most common asbestos-related diseases. Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Other cancers related to asbestos exposure include esophageal, laryngeal, colon, stomach and ovarian cancer.

How much exposure to asbestos does it take to cause disease?
According to OSHA and the World Health Organization, there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure. Scientific literature shows that as little as 2 weeks of exposure to asbestos significantly increases the risk of developing mesothelioma.

How long does it take to develop an asbestos-related disease after exposure?
The amount of time between the first exposure to asbestos and the development of an asbestos-related disease is called the latency period. The latency period is usually at least 15 years, and can be as long as 50 years or more, depending on the amount of exposure. Generally speaking, the more exposure a person has to asbestos, the shorter the latency period.

Is there a time frame in which I have to file a claim for my asbestos-related injury?
Yes. This time frame is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, so the sooner you contact a lawyer about a potential claim, the better.

Do I have to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for my asbestos-related injury?
No. In many cases, it is more beneficial to you to file your claims with the bankruptcy trusts that have been set up by the bankrupt asbestos companies. Every case is different, so you should contact an attorney to determine what is best for your specific situation.

What if I don’t know where I was exposed?
Exposure prior to 1980 to asbestos may happen in situations where it is known that the product contains asbestos. Visiting with someone who has knowledge about what products may have contained asbestos and who has the ability to further study that question will many times yield a pertinent exposure history. If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, we would be happy to work with you to figure out where the exposure may have occurred.

Exposure is a key factor – think back and write down any/all possible scenarios. Ask yourself, did I ever work with and/or around products such as insulation, brick, cement, joint compound, plaster, castables, refractories, pipe covering, rope packing, sheet gaskets, valve packing, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, roofing materials, textured paint, brake or clutch linings brake drums or shoes, boilers, furnaces, air compressors, marinite, fiberboard, etc.? Was I ever in contact with a person’s dusty, dirty work clothes who had work with products containing asbestos?