By James Parker
August 24, 2022

What Is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a chronic lung condition that is caused by asbestos. Asbestosis is one of many health complications that can be caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral family that includes serpentine and amphibole formations.

When asbestos is inhaled, the particles settle into the lungs and can cause damage to the lung tissue. Over time, repeated exposure to asbestos particles that damage the lung tissue can lead to scarring within the lungs. This lung damage, which can take years to occur, is identified as asbestosis.

Asbestos has been used in many products historically, most notably building materials. While asbestos was initially utilized for its resistance to heat and corrosion, health hazards, including asbestosis, lead to the restriction and regulation of asbestos. In the modern day, government regulations require that workers who could be exposed to asbestos must wear protective equipment to prevent complications, including asbestosis.

Asbestosis can occur anywhere from 10 to 40 years after exposure with various symptoms. Symptoms of asbestosis include:

  • Clubbing of the fingertips or toes
  • Crackling sounds when inhaling
  • Persistent, dry coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness or pain in the chest

There is no cure for asbestosis. Instead, treatment focuses on mitigating symptoms and preserving the remaining functionality of the lungs.

Key Takeaways

  • Asbestosis is a chronic lung condition that is caused by asbestos exposure and can result in severe and permanent lung damage.
  • Asbestosis is caused by exposure to high levels of asbestos which lead to inhaled asbestos minerals lodging in the lungs and scarring the alveoli.
  • Symptoms of asbestosis include crackling sounds when breathing, shortness of breath, or clubbing of the fingertips and toes.
  • If you have been exposed to asbestos and have developed asbestosis as a result, an experienced Personal Injury attorney may be able to improve the outcome of your case by utilizing experience and expert knowledge.

Asbestosis and Personal Injury Law

When discussing asbestosis, it is important to know which industries have the highest risks of developing asbestosis. Individuals who are more directly exposed to asbestos without protection are more likely to develop asbestosis. Individuals most likely to be exposed to asbestos include:

  • Asbestos miners
  • Aircraft mechanics
  • Auto mechanics
  • Boiler operators
  • Construction workers
  • Electricians
  • Metal refinery workers 
  • Mill workers
  • Railroad workers
  • Shipyard workers

People who worked in these industries before 1970 are at some of the highest risks of developing asbestosis because of the lack of knowledge about the dangers of asbestos.

The greater the level of asbestos exposure a worker experiences, the greater the chance of developing complications, including asbestosis. If an individual is potentially exposed to asbestos and is not provided the correct equipment to protect themselves from asbestosis and other complications, the worker may be able to pursue legal claims. 

In some cases, asbestosis can also develop from secondhand asbestos exposure. For example, the household members of people who work in jobs with asbestos exposure or people who live near asbestos mines may also be exposed to asbestos particles. Additionally, certain health decisions such as smoking can increase the risk of asbestos complications due to increased retention of asbestos fibers.

While modern science has become increasingly aware of the complications, risks, and consequences of asbestos exposure, there are few ways to mitigate the effects of asbestos beyond prevention. This means that the most effective way for a person living in a home with asbestos is to pay for asbestos abatement. For workers who must come into contact with asbestos, the best way to remain safe is to utilize protective equipment. If an individual is working in an environment with asbestos and is not provided with adequate equipment to prevent exposure, they may have a legal claim against their employer.

Bottom Line

If you have been exposed to any form of asbestos and have developed any cancers, including mesothelioma or asbestosis, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the costs of medical expenses, pain, suffering, or lost wages. In order to file and prevail in your personal injury lawsuit, you will need the help of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney.

With their legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses, your Personal Injury attorney will be able to zealously advocate for you in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Additionally, since Personal Injury attorneys work on contingency, if you don’t win, you don’t pay.

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