Environmental injuries are especially dangerous because they don’t necessarily occur instantly. Instead, contact with toxic materials during the course of your job or at home can seem completely harmless at the time, then cause health problems years down the road. If you have suffered any illnesses or diseases due to exposure of a toxic environmental substance, you may be entitled to compensation.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be separated into fine threadlike fibers. These fibers are heat, fire, and chemical resistant, so asbestos was a favorite among many commercial industries for decades. It was commonly used to make roofing shingles, cement floor tiles, and insulation until the 1970s, when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned its use. Over the next decade, the Environmental Protection Agency placed stricter bans on asbestos usage, eventually eliminating its usage altogether.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
As long as asbestos is not disturbed, it generally doesn’t pose a health problem. However, because the fibers that make up asbestos are so small, products containing asbestos release the fibers into the air when touched or moved. When these fibers are inhaled, they can become lodged in the lungs and cannot be easily broken down, causing an accumulation of fibers and scarring of the lungs over a period of time. The longer these fibers are inhaled, the higher the risk of health problems.
Exposure to asbestos can cause many types of diseases, most commonly including:
- Lung cancer
- Mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the the tissues surrounding the lungs and abdomen
- Asbestosis, or thickened lung tissues leading to trouble breathing
- Damage to the lining of the chest cavity
Beryllium is a metal that is favored in the manufacturing industry because it is strong, lightweight, and is an excellent conductor. It is most popular in the telecommunications, medicine, transportation, oil, and gas industry, but the list goes on.
Why is Beryllium Dangerous?
Beryllium is a known carcinogen, and can cause a variety of health problems. When you breathe in beryllium or come into contact with beryllium with your skin, you can develop health problems such as:
- Skin rashes from coming into direct contact with beryllium
- Beryllium sensitization, where your body’s immune system attempts to rid your body of beryllium
- Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD), a lung disease that is caused by inhaling beryllium
- Lung cancer from inhaling microscopic particles of beryllium
Benzene is a liquid chemical that is colorless and has a sweet odor. It evaporates very quickly and is extremely flammable. It is very popular in the chemical industry, ranking as one of the top 20 chemicals produced in volume in the United States. It is widely used to make Styrofoam®, plastics, resins, and fabrics.
What makes Benzene Dangerous?
The problem with Benzene is that your body tries to absorb the chemical and use it when you come into contact with the chemical. This can lead to many symptoms, including:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Death, when coming into contact with extremely high levels
Long-term exposure to benzene has a negative effect on bone marrow, leading to anemia, excessive bleeding, damage to reproductive organs, and cancer.
I Was Exposed to a Toxic Substance Years Ago. Can I Still Pursue a Claim?
Under a law called the “statute of limitations,” an injured person has to file a lawsuit within a certain period of time after he or she was hurt. The problem with this rule is that with environmental injuries, the injury might not be immediately apparent—it could even take decades before the health problem exposes itself.
This does not preclude you from pursuing your claim, however. For environmental injury cases, the statute of limitations does not begin until after you discover your injury. This means that if you have recently been diagnosed with an illness relating to a toxic substance, it is most likely not too late to file a lawsuit. Time is of the essence, though, so you should contact a lawyer immediately to make sure that your case is filed in time.
I Can’t Afford a Lawyer. What Should I Do?
It’s no secret that lawsuits can be an expensive process. Paying for an attorney can be an overwhelming thought to worry about. Moreover, how do you pay your attorney if you lose your case and don’t win any damages?
At Hughes & Coleman, our lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if you get paid. That’s right—if you lose your case, you don’t owe your lawyer a penny. There are no retainer fees and no expensive hourly rates, so if a fear of how to pay your attorney is holding you back from obtaining the justice that you deserve, then wait no longer. Call or fill out a case evaluation form today to speak with one of our experienced team members about the specifics of your case.
Don’t Wait—Let Us Help You Today!
Environmental injury lawsuits are an especially difficult type of personal injury case. They often require a single victim or small group of victims taking on a gigantic conglomerate such as a manufacturing or mining company that caused the contact with the toxic substance. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to fight these companies alone. The attorneys at Hughes & Coleman have decades of experience in representing victims of environmental injuries. We are prepared to fight these corporations so that you don’t have to.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a toxic substance, call or fill out a case evaluation form today. It’s entirely free to talk to one of our team members about your case, and the sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can help you get the compensation you deserve.