Colorado Workers’ Compensation: Mesothelioma & Asbestos Exposure
How job-related cancers are a growing problem and what you can do about it
One of the most serious but easily overlooked risks for contracting job-related cancer is asbestos exposure. While the damage caused by asbestos isn’t instantly fatal upon the moment of exposure, prolonged and unmitigated exposure to asbestos can very easily cause lifelong health problems that are extremely unpleasant at best and outright fatal at worst.
Mesothelioma & Asbestos-Caused Cancer Statistics
One of most serious health issues caused by asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, a form of cancer that tends to emerge after several years of unabated asbestos fiber inhalation. While the condition is very slow to develop, it can become fatal at an alarming rate after it has actually developed in full.
There were over 2,000 deaths caused by mesothelioma in 2015, and experts project that the fatality figure is likely to remain consistent for at least a decade – that is 20,000+ lost lives due to mesothelioma.
In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer is another serious problem that can result from the failure to take asbestos exposure seriously enough. While the exact number of asbestos-related lung cancer cases can only be roughly estimated instead of attributed to concrete figure, experts believe that the amount of asbestos-related lung cancers is just as high as the number of mesothelioma-related deaths.
Statistics collected by England’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that there were 2,515 deaths from mesothelioma in the year 2014 alone. HSE reports that there were 431 deaths from asbestosis without any presence of mesothelioma in 2014, and 1,175 cases of asbestosis for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIBD) in the following year.
Asbestos exposure can work in tandem with the effects of tobacco to create an even greater risk of developing serious respiratory problems, which means that smokers are at an even greater risk than the general population.
How to Report Asbestos in the Workplace?
If you believe or know there to be asbestos in your work environment, you absolutely should make it known as soon as possible. Waiting until the degree of exposure to asbestos is too serious to ignore is waiting for far too long. The more proactive you are in bringing asbestos to the attention of other workers and decision makers in the workplace, the safer everyone will be in the end.
To report an incident of asbestos in the workplace, record an accurate account of the exact sites of exposure. Note the date and time that you recognized it, an estimate of the surface area that the asbestos is covering and any other relevant factors.
In addition to reporting the asbestos yourself, it pays to make sure that other workers also have an opportunity to give their account of the asbestos problem. The more coworkers who can support your report of the asbestos issue, the better chance that it will be taken seriously and actively resolved by the administration.
Who Can I Sue for Asbestos Exposure?
If you have been exposed to asbestos at work, then your top priority should be to get in contact with a healthcare professional to assess your state of health and determine the scale of any potential damage that has occurred.
In the event that your exposure has caused long-term damage, you may be entitled to seek legal action. Contact an asbestos toxic exposure lawyer or mesothelioma work injury attorney. In addition to suing the manufacturers and sellers of products containing asbestos for product liability, another option may be to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer.
Whichever option you choose, you’re going to have to build a convincing case that clearly demonstrates injury-causing asbestos exposure due to explicit negligence on the part of your employer and/or the manufacturer.
At the Babcock Law Firm, we specialize in workers’ compensation cases, making sure hard-working Coloradans receive the compensation they are owed in the event of a tragic accident in the workplace. We may be able to secure a settlement in your case. Schedule your free consultation with us today to take action.