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Frequently Asked Questions about Asbestos
The law firm of Rudolph F. X. Migliore, P.C. serves as co-counsel to large, New York City-based law firms and is your local and convenient go-to law firm for asbestos, asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer related matters. Below you will find answers to questions our clients frequently ask about asbestos and the diseases that may be caused by working with the fire and chemical retardant material.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is chemical and fire retardant mineral, which was first advertised as a “miracle product.” Manufacturers claimed it would revolutionize the insulation industry. Research has shown that when asbestos was marketed in the 1920s, manufacturers hid knowledge that asbestos can flake off and find its way to the lining of the lungs, causing scarring. Because there were few regulations in place until the early 1970s, asbestos use continued without safety precautions to protect workers from inhaling the dangerous fibers.
What are the sources of asbestos exposure?
Workers may have been exposed to asbestos in a variety of trades including, but not limited to:
- Steel mills
- Oil refineries
- Power plants
- Asbestos manufacturing
Asbestos was also found as late as 1980 in common household appliances such as hairdryers, toasters and other items. It was also utilized in many homes, in the form of duct tape, heating ducts, stove top pads, fireproof gloves and textured paints.
How can asbestos harm you?
Asbestos is extremely dangerous when the fibers are inhaled. The fibers get caught in the lining of the lungs where they cause irreparable scarring. In many instances, the scarring can be fatal by itself, but can also cause several types of lung cancer, such as mesothelioma. The number of deaths from asbestos related diseases has skyrocketed since the beginning of the 21st century. While it is very important to take care of yourself and see your medical doctor for checkups, regular medical attention is critical if you fall into one of the career categories known for asbestos exposure.
How long does it take for asbestos-related lung cancer to develop in workers who handled the product on a daily basis?
Decades of statistics show that it can take 15-30 years after exposure for asbestos-related cancer to develop.
What is the difference between asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma?
The diseases are all forms of lung cancer that develop from breathing asbestos fibers. Doctors categorize the diseases by levels of severity.
How long do I have to file a claim?
State law, called a statute of limitations, specifies how long you have to file a claim to recover damages. Statutes vary from one state to another. In New York, you must file an asbestos-related claim:
- 3 years from the date of diagnosis
- 2 years from the date of death
Who is liable for the harm asbestos has caused and where does the money come from to pay for settlements?
Compensation for damages comes from one of several places:
- An asbestos manufacturer or installation company
- An insurance company
- An asbestos victims’ trust fund
What are asbestos trust funds?
Asbestos victims’ trust funds refer to asbestos bankruptcy trusts and compensation funds. Because of an avalanche of asbestos-related personal injury claims, many manufacturers of asbestos or of products that contained asbestos filed for bankruptcy, sold their businesses or simply closed their doors. One condition the courts set for granting corporate bankruptcy was for companies to set up trust funds for payment of valid claims.
How much money is available in the asbestos victims’ trust funds?
As of 2013, more than $30 billion was available in trust funds to compensate individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer and the families of individuals who died from the disease. The money paid from the trust funds provides much needed financial support for patients and their families. It is estimated that about 27.5 million people were exposed to asbestos in their jobs and of that amount, only 730,000 (2.5%), have filed claims for compensation. From 1980-2002, $70 billion was paid to victims of asbestos-related illnesses.
What does legal compensation cover?
Recoverable damages generally cover:
- Current and future lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Travel costs for medical treatment
- Restitution for physical and mental distress
- Funeral bills
What are my chances of obtaining a settlement or verdict?
With the help of an experienced attorney, your chances of recovery are excellent. The average settlement is between $1 million and $1.4 million.
How can our firm help you recover legal compensation?
To receive maximum compensation from an asbestos trust fund settlement or through litigation, you will need an attorney who has experience with mass torts such as asbestos-related personal injury. At the law firm of Rudolph F. X. Migliore, P.C., our attorneys and associates have won over 1,000 asbestos cases and recovered damages for the victims, including many multi-million dollar verdicts. We work with other very successful law firms to provide you with the highest caliber of legal help available and take every step necessary to obtain the maximum compensation for you and your family.