As you may know, Silver & Silver has been representing clients in disability, accident, and employment matters for more than 40 years. But recently, we have received an increase in inquiries concerning medical and legal problems associated with long term exposure to asbestos in insulating materials. While such materials are no longer in use, such prior exposure over the course of decades can cause major health conditions down the line.
During their working lives, many people have been occupationally exposed to asbestos. Additionally, many others have been exposed to asbestos while doing things that are not related to work, such as maintaining their cars or remodeling their homes. Up until the mid-1980’s, many types of commonly used products such as automotive brakes, clutches, and gaskets contained asbestos. Further, some varieties of products such as joint compounds (spackle) and caulk also contained asbestos. If you ever worked with or around asbestos on the job or outside of work, you are potentially at risk for developing an asbestos-related condition or disease. This will serve to summarize your legal rights under Pennsylvania law if you have been exposed to asbestos and develop a related disease/condition.
First and foremost, exposure to asbestos can cause five different types of cancer, including:
- Lung cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Colorectal cancer
If you have been diagnosed with any of these cancers, or if at any time in the future you contract one of these cancers, you should contact us immediately.
Under Pennsylvania law, a claim for asbestos-related disease must be brought within two years of the date the disease was diagnosed.
Asbestos exposure also causes two types of non-cancerous conditions. The first condition is known as asbestos-related pleural disease (also known as pleural thickening or pleural plaques), and the second condition is known as pulmonary asbestosis. Pleural thickening and pleural plaques are areas of scarring or fibrosis that develop on the pleura, which is the lining around our lungs. Asbestos-related pleural thickening and plaques often do not cause any symptoms or problems, because the scarring is on the outside of the lungs. Pulmonary asbestosis is a scarring or fibrosis that develops inside the lungs, and often causes severe breathing problems and lung impairment.
There is also the unfortunate fact that many spouses and children of asbestos victims are now developing asbestos-related diseases as a result of the asbestos that was brought home on the clothing of workers. Accordingly, if one of your family members has contracted any of the five cancers noted above, or have been told that they have any type of asbestos condition, you should contact us immediately because your loved one would have their own independent right to file a claim.
Although we certainly hope that you remain in good health, one of the harsh realities about asbestos is that if you were exposed in the past, you will continue to remain at risk for developing an asbestos-related condition in the future. We therefore recommend that those who have had prior asbestos exposure have regular medical check-ups. Most lung specialists recommend that individuals who have had significant asbestos exposure undergo chest x-rays every two years. You should consult with your doctor regarding your individual situation.
If you believe that you or a loved one has a potential claim for asbestos exposure, give the talented and experienced legal team at Silver & Silver a call today at (610) 658-0500 for a free consultation.