Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used throughout history due to its properties as an insulator and resistance to fire. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered asbestos to be nearly as valuable as gold, using the material in the construction of a number of buildings.
However, these ancient civilizations also noticed that exposure to asbestos could cause medical problems to arise. Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman naturalist, historian and doctor, wrote about the "sickness of the lung" in slaves that had performed work in asbestos mines. In fact, he encouraged those buying slaves to avoid those who have worked in asbestos mines, as they had a higher incidence rate of dying early.
These days, science and technology have helped us to better pinpoint the root causes and true consequences of the inhalation of the deadly mineral fibers. By the mid-1960s, it was known that exposure to asbestos could cause a wide range of deadly diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that occurs in the tissues surrounding many of the body's internal organs.
Armed with this information, many people who have been harmed by the deadly mineral fibers and developed a life-threatening disease have opted to file an asbestos lawsuit, which can allow them to receive compensation from former employers who either directly or indirectly cause their exposure.
While the use of asbestos is declining today, the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases often may not appear until decades after initial exposure, meaning many people are still being diagnosed with illnesses such as mesothelioma. A number of former workers in industries such as shipbuilding, construction, auto manufacturing and mechanics, plumbing and mining have sought legal advice and filed an asbestos lawsuit.
Asbestos lawsuits are critical for workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job because they can receive the compensation they truly deserve for not having been properly protected by their employers. Additionally, the compensation is necessary for family members who will undoubtedly suffer with the loss of a family member. Often, asbestos lawsuits seek damages for lost wages as well as physical and emotional pain and distress. When employers act negligently, workers should not have to suffer, and an asbestos lawsuit can help demonstrate that employers are responsible for the workplace safety and health of their employees.
An asbestos lawsuit is also crucial because a number of asbestos-related diseases can be life-threatening. For example, the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma include severe chest pain, painful coughing, shortness of breath and unusual lumps underneath the skin on one's chest, according to the Mayo Clinic. For many people, mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer and a cure is not possible, particularly as it is often diagnosed during an advanced stage when removal through surgery is not an option.
Unfortunately, patients who have developed asbestosis also do not have many options, as there is currently no treatment that can reverse the effects of the dangerous mineral fibers on the alveoli, according to the Mayo Clinic. Typically, treatment centers around making the patient as comfortable as possible and relieving the painful symptoms wherever possible.
Thus, if you think you have been unjustly exposed to asbestos due to the negligence of a former employee, an asbestos lawsuit may be the best path to take. While the ancient Greeks and Romans may not have had the option, an asbestos lawsuit can help guarantee that you receive the compensation you deserve and that your family will not be left out in the cold due to your former employer's lack of judgment and care.