When lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers were first filed in the late 1970s, the majority of the victims were those who had applied asbestos products directly or had worked in a related trade and came into regular contact with the product. Asbestos insulators, boilermakers, sheet metal workers, and shipfitters were typical victims of asbestos-related illness.Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma
In recent years, however, asbestos fibers have claimed a toll in a broader range of victims, including those individuals who had only a brief or "bystander" exposure, such as spouses or children who came into contact with the clothing of asbestos-exposed wage earners. New cases of asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma are being seen in individuals who never worked directly with asbestos products.
Restrictions or bans on the use and application of new asbestos products and the screening programs which have been in place for a number of years are of little use to those who have already inhaled asbestos fibers a decade or more ago. Asbestos fibers which are in the lungs of victims continue to harm.
Persons who have previously been told "you have nothing to worry about" continue to develop asbestos-related diseases. Persons who feel they have an asbestos-related disease, or feel that a death in the family has occurred as a result of asbestos exposure, should consult a qualified physician in order to obtain an expert medical opinion.Helping Victims of Asbestos and Asbestos-Related Illnesses
Asbestos victims, or their survivors, may have the right to file a claim for benefits, including worker's compensation or Social Security, and may have the right to file a claim for damages against the manufacturer of the asbestos products which caused the disability or death.
Many, if not most, of the major manufacturers of asbestos-containing products have filed for bankruptcy protection, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts have created out-of-court claims processing facilities with special rules that must be followed if injury victims and their survivors want to receive compensation for asbestos-related injuries. Unlike many other states, where lawsuits against entities other than manufacturers of asbestos-containing products can still be brought, Washington State has gone through "tort reform" and the rights of asbestos injury victims is somewhat limited. Because there are strict time periods for bringing asbestos-related injury claims, if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it is imperative that you immediately call a lawyer with experience handling asbestos claims.
There is no class action for victims of asbestos exposure. In order to protect victims' rights, certain steps must be taken and they must be taken in a timely manner. Failure to take these steps may result in the forfeiture of a claim.Contact a Seattle Mesothelioma Attorney
Kraft Davies, PLLC represents a large percentage of asbestos victims in Washington State and can offer advice and representation to victims. There is no charge for the initial consultation. Contact us online or call 206-624-8844.