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Asbestos Exposure in Schools

David C. Thompson, P.C.  Oct. 16, 2023

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, was once used in construction due to its heat resistance, durability, and insulating properties. It was especially prevalent in schools built before the 1980s. However, this seemingly advantageous material has proved to be a significant health hazard, particularly for those who were consistently exposed to it in school.

Are you dealing with an asbestos exposure issue? Reach out to legal guidance as soon as you can. David C. Thompson, P.C. is an asbestos and mesothelioma law firm in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with an experienced and detail-oriented team. Contact the firm right away if you or a loved one has any questions or concerns about asbestos exposure from school. The firm's skilled trial attorney is proud to serve clients across the state and the country.  

What Is Asbestos and Why Was It Used in Schools? 

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral known for its fire resistance and insulation capabilities. These properties made it an attractive choice for various components in school buildings, including insulation, pipes, and floor tiles. Unfortunately, when these materials deteriorate or are disturbed, they can release asbestos fibers into the air, posing a significant risk to those present. 

It's estimated that approximately one-third of all American schools still contain asbestos, putting millions of students and staff at risk. Teachers, administrators, aides, janitors, and maintenance workers are particularly vulnerable due to their prolonged exposure.  

The Health Consequences of Asbestos Exposure 

The health implications of asbestos exposure are severe and long-lasting. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can become lodged in the lungs, leading to inflammation and scarring over time.  This can result in serious diseases such as:  

The more you’re exposed, the more likely you are to be affected. So for anyone who was exposed at school—a place people go to learn and work nearly every day—the risk of illness is even greater.  

One of the other alarming aspects of asbestos-related diseases is their long latency period. Symptoms may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure, making early detection and treatment exceedingly difficult. Moreover, the costs associated with diagnosing and treating these conditions can place considerable financial strain on victims and their families. 

Liability and Legal Options for Victims 

School administrators, construction companies, asbestos manufacturers, and even state governments can be held liable for asbestos exposure in schools. If you or a loved one have been affected, it's crucial to know that you have legal options.

Victims of asbestos exposure can pursue compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. But to secure the financial justice you deserve, you should work with an attorney to identify the liable parties, prove their fault, and hold them accountable for your losses. 

Elements of a Successful Asbestos Claim for Exposure in School 

Proving fault or negligence in an asbestos claim is a complex process that entails establishing several key elements: 

Asbestos exposure took place. 

First, one must establish that they were indeed exposed to asbestos. If you attended a school that's known to have asbestos-containing materials, any records from news reports or investigations could be crucial pieces of evidence for your case. 

The exposure led to illness. 

Next, it's necessary to link the exposure to an asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer. Medical records can play a significant role here. Early screening and diagnosis are also crucial, given the long latency period of these diseases. 

The responsible party failed to take appropriate action. 

Once exposure and its link to illness are established, it's time to identify the responsible party. As mentioned above, a variety of entities could be considered liable for a school asbestos lawsuit. To confidently determine the negligent party in your case, it's crucial to consult an attorney.

Once the responsible party is identified, the last thing to prove is that they knew (or should have known) about the dangers of asbestos and failed to take appropriate action. For instance, if a school district was aware of the presence of asbestos but failed to follow the AHERA regulations or other relevant laws, they could be held liable. Evidence of negligence might include failure to provide adequate warnings, inadequate maintenance of asbestos-containing materials, or failure to adhere to safety regulations.  

Why Choose an Experienced Attorney? 

Asbestos litigation is complex and requires a deep understanding of personal injury law, premises and product liability law, and the science behind asbestos-related diseases. It's in these cases that choosing a seasoned attorney is key. 

An experienced asbestos attorney will have developed an authentic understanding of the unique challenges that you're facing. Furthermore, they can provide much-needed support and guidance during a difficult time, allowing you to focus on your health and well-being. Some other vital ways an asbestos and mesothelioma attorney can help you include:  

  • gathering the necessary evidence,  

  • identifying the responsible parties,  

  • filing a claim within the required time frame,  

  • negotiating with insurance companies, and  

  • representing you in court if necessary. 

Start Seeking Justice Today 

The issue of asbestos exposure in schools is a silent but significant threat. It's an issue that needs immediate attention and action. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, you have the right to explore your legal options for recovery. Remember, an experienced asbestos attorney can guide you forward.

The attorney at David C. Thompson, P.C., isn't just a legal representative; David C. Thompson is a steadfast advocate who will fight tirelessly for the justice you deserve. Contact his firm in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to schedule a free consultation about your case. Practicing since 1984, he serves clients throughout Minot, Bismark, Fargo, and the rest of the state.