Can I Sue For Asbestos Exposure From a Pennsylvania Job Site?

If you or a loved one has recently received an asbestos-related medical diagnosis, you may not know where to turn. More than likely, you’re experiencing a mix of feelings as well, including anger, confusion, fear, and sorrow.

At the Halpern Law Firm, our team of experienced Pennsylvania mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers understand how complicated the diagnosis and treatment process is. To make your next steps a bit easier, we created this in-depth guide to filing an asbestos exposure lawsuit. Here, you’ll find more information on asbestos, who qualifies for an asbestos-exposure claim, and the asbestos litigation process.

For additional help, please contact our Halpern Law Firm team today at (800) 505-6000 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options in Pennsylvania.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a type of mineral that consists of flexible, heat and corrosion-resistant fibers. The dense fibers made asbestos a useful addition to construction, manufacturing, and industrial equipment in the early-to-mid-1900s. As a result, numerous companies added asbestos to products like insulation, cement, plastic, and paper to improve their strength and durability before they understood the risks of asbestos exposure.

What Are the Risks of Asbestos Exposure?

When undisturbed, asbestos is harmless to people. However, a slight disturbance can send asbestos fibers flying into the air, making it easy for workers, homeowners, or others to inhale them. Even short-term exposure to airborne asbestos fibers allows the mineral to lodge in your lungs, heart, or abdomen.

In time, the lodged fibers can cause inflammation, scarring, chronic illnesses, or lung cancer, such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer primarily caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma spreads rapidly, though patients may respond to treatments like surgery and radiation.

Other common asbestos-related illnesses include:

  • Pleuritis
  • Asbestosis
  • COPD
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer

Based on the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry data, more than 25 million workers suffered from exposure to asbestos between 1940 and the late 1970s. However, many asbestos-related diseases take decades to develop, and most patients who have received an asbestos-related diagnosis are above the age of 65.

Can I File An Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit?

If you or a loved one have received an asbestos-related diagnosis, you likely have many questions, including, “Can I file an asbestos exposure lawsuit?”

At Halpern Law Firm, we’ve found that patients who suffer from exposure to asbestos often don’t pursue asbestos litigation for two reasons:

  1. They don’t know who to sue.
  2. They believe that they can’t sue their employer for an asbestos-related injury.

We know that determining who you can sue – or if you can sue at all – is a complicated process. That’s why we recommend working with experienced mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers in Pennsylvania, like those on our team at Halpern Law Firm.

We’ll work with you to understand your case, your exposure circumstances, and your prognosis to determine if:

1. You can sue the job site owner

Yes, you can sue your employer or the job site owner of a job where you suffered from asbestos exposure. In Pennsylvania you can sue your employer if you suffer from a workplace related asbestos exposure illness. In addition, if you or a loved one worked as a contractor or subcontractor, you may be able to sue the owner of the jobsite. For example, if you worked at a manufacturing plant for Company X, but your direct employer, Contractor Y, signed your paycheck, you may be able to initiate the asbestos litigation process against the owner of the plant.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set laws regarding worker safety and asbestos exposure. If the owner of your jobsite failed to protect you and other workers from exposure to asbestos, you might qualify for a negligence claim.

2. You can sue an employer who intentionally harmed or endangered you

If you were exposed to asbestos at your place of work, you may have a case against your employer. You also may have a claim against the manufacturer, distributors or suppliers of asbestos products that were at your work site.

3. You can sue another person at your workplace

As mentioned above, many industries hire a combination of employees, contractors, and subcontractors to complete tasks. If you worked for a subcontractor whose employer did not enforce OSHA regulations at the jobsite, you may be able to sue the negligent employer.

4. You can sue the manufacturers

Depending on the nature of your asbestos exposure, you may be able to sue the manufacturing company. For example, you may qualify for a product liability claim if:

  • A defective product exposed you to asbestos fibers
  • A product at your jobsite contained asbestos
  • A product or product package lacked an asbestos warning
  • Your personal protective equipment failed to prevent exposure to asbestos fibers

5. You can file a claim through a bankruptcy trust

Finally, you may be able to file a claim through an asbestos bankruptcy trust fund.

In some cases, courts order companies to set up asbestos trust funds if a large number of employees developed asbestos-related diseases. These funds exist to pay future asbestos settlement claims filed by employees who developed an illness years after exposure. However, you will need a Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyer to process and file your claim.

How to File an Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit

Following asbestos exposure, you may be able to file one of three types of exposure lawsuits:

  1. A civil lawsuit
  2. A worker’s compensation claim
  3. A bankruptcy trust claim

However, before filing a claim on your own, we recommend speaking with an asbestos litigation team in Pennsylvania. In many cases, you’ll need strong evidence and an experienced prosecutor to take your case to court and receive compensation.

Who May Qualify for an Asbestos Settlement?

To succeed in the asbestos litigation process, you will need to prove that you suffered from exposure to asbestos fibers and that you’ve developed an asbestos-related illness due to that exposure.

Keep in mind that asbestos-related illnesses can take ten to forty years to develop due to the latency of the illnesses. As such, it’s critical to understand your legal options and keep an eye out for asbestos-related diseases following exposure.

Hiring a Pennsylvania Asbestos Lawyer

If you or a loved one have become sick due to asbestos exposure, you may qualify for compensation.

Please reach out to our experienced Pennsylvania asbestos lawyers at Halpern Law Firm for more information. We’ll work with you to understand your case and file a detailed claim on your behalf.

Call the Halpern Law Firm today at (800) 505-6000 to schedule your free consultation.

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