Asbestos exposure is extremely dangerous and has affected millions of lives across the nation. Even in South Carolina, you may have worked with this carcinogenic substance for years without realizing it. Many cases involve decades of exposure and serious illnesses as a result.
Shelly Leeke Law Firm has attorneys dedicated to helping victims of exposure to asbestos. You could be eligible for compensation for years of medical bills, lost wages, and other damages if you have a valid claim. Our legal team will evaluate your case and determine if you need to hire a North Charleston asbestos exposure lawyer.
Our North Charleston personal injury lawyers are ready to help you take the next step in recovery. Contact our office for a 100% free consultation today. Find out more about who could be at fault when you are exposed to asbestos, how you can recover maximum compensation for your losses, and how the asbestos exposure claims process works.
Asbestos Was Useful But Deadly
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with fibers that efficiently insulate against extreme heat. First discovered thousands of years ago, it was put into widespread use in the late 19th century after large deposits were mined in Canada and the northern US. It was cheap and useful and became part of both products and the machinery used to produce them.
Products that used asbestos included building materials for schools, offices, and homes. It was also put into items such as brake shoes for cars, kitty litter, and even hot pads and gloves used in kitchens. Once we realized how dangerous this material was in the 1970s, efforts began to remove or stop using asbestos as much as possible.
However, it still took decades for it to stop, and some products are still produced with it to this day since a suitable alternative cannot be found. Most illnesses related to asbestos exposure have to do with the lungs since inhaling the fibers damages the lung tissues. You may have worked many hours each day surrounded by asbestos, compounding the risk of disease, and could even have brought fibers home on your clothing, putting your family members at risk.
Grounds for a North Charleston Asbestos Exposure Claim
When you hire a North Charleston asbestos exposure lawyer from the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we will listen to your story of how you believe you were exposed to this deadly substance. This will help us determine how to best approach your case. We will ask you about specific factors surrounding your work history, such as:
- How widespread was the asbestos use in your workplace?
- How many hours a day did you work there?
- How many days a week, and how many years did you work there?
- How long has it been since you worked at that site?
- Did you have lung or breathing problems before your exposure?
- Do you smoke tobacco products currently, or have you smoked them in the past?
Even if you only worked for a short time at a job around asbestos, the concentration of the mineral in the air around you could have been enough to make you sick. Additionally, you may not realize right away that you will become sick. Asbestos-related diseases can take up to 30-40 years to appear, meaning that you could have long since left the job that caused your illness.
Diseases Related to Asbestos Exposure in North Charleston
Many types of medical conditions correlate with exposure to asbestos. Many of these elements can be life-threatening or lead to permanent disability. Common conditions that result from breathing in asbestos fibers include:
- Cancer-related diseases:
- Lung cancer – Smoking tobacco can significantly increase your chance of developing malignant lung tumors after asbestos exposure.
- Mesothelioma – This rare cancer affects the membrane covering the lungs and chest cavity. It can also affect the membranes surrounding the abdominal cavity or other internal organs.
- Other cancers – Exposure can cause cancer in the larynx (voice box), stomach, colon, rectum, and ovaries.
- Non-cancer diseases:
- Asbestosis – Exclusively related to asbestos exposure, this appears as scarring in the lungs and makes breathing difficult. It is usually associated with very high levels of exposure.
- Pleural disease – This illness causes the membranes around the lungs to thicken or collect fluid. It can cause problems with breathing or simply reduce your lung function.
Mesothelioma is the most common illness people suffer after exposure and is a very aggressive cancer that easily spreads from the lungs throughout the chest. The Mesothelioma Center reported over 600 deaths in South Carolina related to asbestos exposure over a 14-year period, 470 of which wound up being fatal. The majority of people exposed to asbestos worked in mining, textiles, or shipbuilding.
Liability for Asbestos Exposure in North Charleston
Figuring out who should be held accountable when you have developed a medical condition related to asbestos exposure will be one of our top priorities. The responsible party will be expected to cover every expense related to your illnesses and compensate you for your emotional distress and other damages as well. The way in which you were exposed to asbestos will determine who should be sued.
For example, if you were exposed to asbestos due to your work environment, you may have grounds for a claim against your employer. You might be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits or file a third-party liability lawsuit depending on the details of your case. In some instances, you may even be able to pursue both opportunities.
However, if you were exposed to asbestos as a tenant or homeowner, your case may be more complex. You may have the right to take legal action against property owners, former property owners, or other third parties. You can rely on your asbestos exposure attorney to thoroughly investigate and identify everyone who is responsible for your suffering.
Potential Value of an Asbestos Exposure Claim
When you are sick and struggling to live a normal life, the thought of pursuing legal relief from a job that exposed you to asbestos can seem overwhelming. You may think it is not worth the effort or that you may not win enough compensation to really help. At Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we are here to educate you about how valid your claim can be.
Hiring an asbestos exposure attorney in North Charleston, SC from our firm will open avenues for financial reimbursement you may not have considered. We can develop a complete listing of damages, both economic and non-economic, that you can pursue in a lawsuit and evaluate everything about your work history and lifestyle to discover how you were exposed and who is at fault. Instead of facing bills you cannot pay, we can help you obtain restitution owed to you for expenses such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost income if you are disabled
- Prescription medications
- Travel costs for doctor visits
- Skin scarring and permanent disability
- In-home care or nursing facility bills
- Physical therapy expenses
- Ambulance fees
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Mental health counseling
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Diminished earning capacity
- Loss of care and guidance for your children
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of employee benefits
- Medical home accommodations
- Indignity, embarrassment, and inconvenience
- Damage to personal and professional reputations
You may also be interested in finding out whether you are eligible for punitive damages. Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages are not a loss that every claimant is awarded. This is because punitive damages are reserved for instances of malicious intent and gross negligence that require punishing the defendant for their conduct.
Your asbestos exposure attorney will consider whether the at-fault party knew of the risks or had previous complaints of asbestos exposure to determine whether punitive damages may be appropriate in your case. If they are, we can request punitive damages from the judge and jury. If punitive damages are awarded, they could dramatically increase the value of your claim, but you should never plan on punitive damages being included in your settlement terms.
Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits
While most personal injury cases in South Carolina must be filed within three years from the date of the injury, asbestos exposure lawsuits are different. The state allows three years from the date you were diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease. In circumstances where you have lost a loved one who was exposed, you can also file a wrongful death lawsuit within three years of the date of their death from the asbestos-related illness.
This deadline may not always be clear. If you are hoping to recover compensation by filing a claim with the insurance company, you may have much less than three years to get started on your case. It is important to get your claims filed before these deadlines, otherwise, you could be prohibited from pursuing your case at trial.
In fact, the insurance company and liable party may be counting on you making deadline mistakes or waiting to get started on your claim. For this reason, it is critical that you get an asbestos exposure attorney on your side as soon as possible. This way, we can start working on your case and ensure your asbestos lawsuits and insurance claims are filed well before time runs out.
Ways to Recover Compensation for Your Suffering
You may have multiple ways to recover compensation after suffering from asbestos exposure. Filing insurance claims and bringing your case to trial or two of the most popular options. However, both types of claims can be incredibly complex.
You may need to file insurance claims and bring your case to trial as well. Insurance settlements typically only compensate victims for damages that are covered in the policy terms. For example, you might be able to recover compensation for a portion of your lost wages and your medical bills through the insurance company, but none of your non-economic damages or other out-of-pocket or monetary losses.
For this reason, it is always in your best interests to plan to bring your asbestos exposure lawsuit to trial. South Carolina does not place limits on the amount of compensation you can recover for your damages. This gives you an opportunity to be made whole and start to rebuild your life.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
You may have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible for your asbestos exposure. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you must be able to prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. Your asbestos exposure lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation and gather compelling evidence against the at-fault party so we can meet the burden of proof and recover the compensation you are entitled to.
File an Insurance Claim
You could also file a claim with the insurance company. The liable party may have some type of insurance coverage in place, or you could seek workers’ compensation benefits depending on how your asbestos exposure occurred. If you qualify for workers comp, you could receive benefits that include wage replacement funds, vocational rehabilitation benefits, and total coverage of your medical expenses.
Speak with an Asbestos Exposure Lawyer in North Charleston, SC Today
Debilitating diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis can severely affect your life and ability to provide for your family. While you are tending to your medical care for these illnesses, it is critical that you do not neglect to care for your financial needs. Pursuing justice from companies or manufacturers who exposed you to a deadly substance could be the best way to recover the compensation that is rightfully yours.
Do not wait to begin learning about your options for justice. A North Charleston asbestos exposure attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm is ready to speak with you and guide you through the complex legal system. We will litigate tirelessly on your behalf so you can recover fully from the harm done to you.
Our personal injury law firm is here to help you get through these trying times and access the financial compensation you need to cover your costs and rebuild your life. Schedule a no-risk, no-cost consultation using our convenient online form today. Or call our office to discuss your specific concerns in greater detail.