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Who Is at Risk for Exposure to Asbestos?

We like to assume we’re reasonably safe in our homes and workplaces. And, when potential dangers do arise, we can address them quickly to mitigate their effects. However, not all dangers are known to us, and the most insidious are those that quietly creep in on us and cause damage before we’re able to stop them. Unfortunately, this is the case with chemical exposure due to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was used for half a century in construction and consumer products. Only when it was already too late did people start to take action, and although these cases have been around for decades, they are still affecting those who’ve experienced an exposure injury due to asbestos. 

If you or someone you love is interested in filing a claim for an exposure injury, and you’re in the Grand Forks, North Dakota area, including Minot, Bismarck, or Fargo, contact David C. Thompson, P.C. to schedule a consultation. For over 40 years, David C. Thompson has committed his law practice as an exposure attorney helping those who need it most.

The Harmful Effects of Asbestos

Asbestos began being used in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until 1970 that cases of toxic exposure started to come up. It was clear at this time that asbestos was causing long-term exposure illness in those who worked with the material or came into contact with it. Those affected started to bring workplace injury lawsuits against their employers. However, in a couple of important Supreme Court decisions, it was decided that the impact against victims wasn’t uniform (meaning the illness and injuries from asbestos affected each person a bit differently), and because of this, defendants are unable to file class action lawsuits, so individuals must now pursue litigation on their own. Victims are now able to sue using strict liability instead of negligence against asbestos manufacturers individually, production facilities, and employers. However, because asbestos litigation has gone on for so many decades, many of these potential plaintiffs have since declared bankruptcy which can make it harder—but not impossible—to file new cases, but you will need an asbestos exposure attorney working on your case.

Long-term asbestos exposure is caused by inhaling small, fibrous particles, which then become lodged in your lungs. This causes scarring in the lungs, shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing, and can ultimately lead to diseases like Asbestosis and Mesothelioma, a type of cancer. In some cases, it has also been shown to cause ovarian cancer because asbestos fibers can show up naturally in some talc products. Almost all of these ailments occur slowly over time and can take years or decades to make themselves known.

Where is Asbestos Usually Found?

Although asbestos is now known to be a toxic mineral, it is still found naturally throughout the world and once was harvested in mass due to its natural insulation properties. It was then used in buildings and consumer products for decades in insulation, ceilings, floor tiles, roofing material, paint, wood-burning stoves, soundproofing material, paper, appliances, and some automotive parts. Because of its widespread use, asbestos exposure was far-reaching. Asbestos is also found in some talc products like baby powder and beauty products. And although these levels in talc appear to be low, it has still been linked to some cases of ovarian cancer.

Occupations Exposed to Asbestos

Many people want to know, “who is at risk for exposure to asbestos?” but this question can be difficult to answer completely. There are several occupations exposed to asbestos, primarily from the 1930s through the late 1970s, such as construction, auto mechanics, electricians, railroad workers, shipyard workers, mill workers, heavy industry, and mining. Also, many people who worked for the United States military during this time may have been exposed, especially those who worked on Navy ships.  

It’s also worth noting that asbestos can be transferred quite easily on clothing and other materials, so there are a considerable amount of second-hand exposure cases. These are primarily family members, including children and spouses of employees who worked for a long time with asbestos, and it was repeatedly brought into the home by those unaware of its dangerous side effects. Because this also constitutes long-term exposure, these victims also have grounds to bring forth a lawsuit.

Asbestos Exposure Attorney in Grand Forks, North Dakota

Filing an asbestos-related lawsuit or third-party claim for workplace injury due to exposure to asbestos can be very difficult. This is due to the long-term nature of the diseases it causes and that many plaintiffs have now gone bankrupt. Regardless, you still have an opportunity to seek compensation if you or a loved one has been adversely affected by their exposure. To speak with a qualified personal injury attorney about your situation, reach out to David C. Thompson, P.C. in Grand Forks, North Dakota, today for knowledgeable legal guidance. He proudly serves clients throughout Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo, North Dakota.