Exposure to asbestos can lead to a range of health problems, including the development of mesothelioma. Depending on the facts of your case, you could possibly receive compensation for your asbestos-related injuries. If you were exposed to asbestos, here are some steps you should take now.
Get a Diagnosis
Just as other personal injury law cases, asbestos-related cases have to adhere to a statute of limitations. However, determining when the statute of limitations starts can be tricky in asbestos cases.
Injuries are usually not immediately evident. According to the National Cancer Institute, it can take up to 40 years before the symptoms related to asbestos exposure develop. Since the statute of limitations generally starts after an injury occurs, pinpointing exactly when the injury occurred can be difficult due to the long time it takes for asbestos-related diseases to develop.
If you have been exposed to asbestos in the past or you are experiencing any symptoms, seek a medical professional for testing. Symptoms of an asbestos-related disease include persistent coughing, difficulty swallowing, weight loss, and fatigue.
Identify the Plaintiff
It is imperative that you send a notice of your intent to take legal action against the party who is responsible for your exposure to asbestos. However, determining who is responsible can sometimes be challenging. In some instances, more than one party might be responsible.
For instance, if you worked in a foundry and were exposed to asbestos during that time, your employer is most likely responsible. It is responsible because it failed to take action to protect you from exposure. However, there might be another party you can hold responsible.
In some asbestos cases, the responsible party is also the manufacturer of the products containing the hazardous materials. For instance, if you worked with floor tiles and they consisted of asbestos, you could also file a claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer for using a hazardous material.
Once you have identified the plaintiff, you need to send notice of your intentions to it. You do not have to demand a certain amount of payment right now. Sending the notice helps to preserve your right to take action within the state's statute of limitations time period.
Due to the complexities of asbestos-related personal injury cases, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help with obtaining a diagnosis, filing the necessary documentation with the court, and negotiating a settlement with the plaintiff.