Areas of Practice

Virginia Asbestosis Lawyer

For decades, asbestos was a popular material used in a variety of industries. This resulted in thousands of workers being exposed to the dangerous material, many of whom developed asbestosis, a chronic lung disease.

If you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos and developed an adverse medical condition like asbestosis, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for exposing you to asbestos.

At The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, our compassionate asbestosis attorneys in Virginia understand that being diagnosed with asbestosis can be overwhelming and difficult for you and your loved ones. We are dedicated to helping victims of asbestos exposure obtain the justice they deserve. Our personal injury attorneys will work to help you recover the compensation you need to pay for your medical expenses and pain and suffering caused by your employer’s negligence. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you have a case that entitles you to compensation. We provide all of our services on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no fees or costs unless we obtain a favorable outcome for your case.

Call 410-244-7005 to get started today.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that was popular in manufacturing and construction industries in the twentieth-century.

Asbestos is comprised of soft, flexible fibers that are resistant to fire, corrosion and most chemicals. This made asbestos ideal to be mixed into cloth, paper, cement, plastic and other material to make them stronger and more durable.

Between the early 1900s and the 1980s, asbestos was used in thousands of different industrial products, including furnace and pipe insulation materials, roofing shingles, floor tiles, millboard, textured paints and other coating materials.

However, after decades of using asbestos, thousands of manufacturing and industrial workers began developing deadly medical conditions, such as asbestosis.

The American Cancer Society now recognizes asbestos as a natural carcinogen. This means people exposed to the material are at risk of developing various types of asbestos cancer, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.

In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to ban asbestos use in the U.S. and ruled that it can no longer be used in certain products. However, banning asbestos did not completely end the use of the mineral. Asbestos companies appealed the EPA’s decision in 1991 and largely reversed the original ruling banning asbestos. Products can still be made with asbestos today as long as they contain less than one percent of the substance.

Additionally, other countries continue to mine and manufacture products using asbestos, including heat-resistant fabrics, building materials and friction products.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to schedule a free consultation.

What is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis is an incurable chronic lung disease that develops when asbestos fibers cause scarring in the lungs. The scarring that occurs by inhaling asbestos fibers interferes with the ability of oxygen to enter the blood stream.

Asbestosis is a life-threatening disease because it can lead to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Between 2005 and 2014, more than 13,000 people were killed by asbestosis, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unfortunately, this life-threatening disease takes several years to develop before signs begin showing. In most cases, the symptoms of asbestosis begin to appear 10 to 40 years after the victim was first exposed to asbestos. Common symptoms for asbestosis include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Chest pain
  • Nail deformities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Finger tips and toes that begin to appear wider and rounder than normal (clubbing)

Because asbestosis is a rare disease, it can be difficult for health care practitioners to diagnose. Typically, patients begin displaying signs of asbestosis when they develop a persistent, dry cough or shortness of breath. However, these symptoms are often mistaken for more common illnesses like asthma or pneumonia.

Grades of Asbestosis Severity

One of the identifying factors of asbestosis is the amount of time it takes to for patients to begin showing symptoms. Once a doctor diagnoses a patient with asbestosis, he or she will be assigned a grade depending on the severity of the disease, such as:

  • Grade 0: Scarring has affected the walls of some of the passageways (bronchioles) leading to the lungs’ air sacs (alveoli).
  • Grade 1: Scarring affects the walls of most bronchioles and some alveoli.
  • Grade 2: Scarring affects most of the bronchioles and alveoli.
  • Grade 3: Scarring is advanced and some alveoli are completely damaged.
  • Grade 4: Lung has a honeycomb-like appearance because of pervasive scarring.

The grade an asbestosis patient is assigned often depends on his or her length of exposure and the amount he or she inhaled. Sometimes, the symptoms of asbestosis are mild. However, breathing may become more difficult over time as asbestosis progresses, even after the patient is no longer exposed to asbestos. In severe cases, the disease may lead to heart failure or death.

Call 410-244-7005 if you have been diagnosed with asbestosis.

What Causes Asbestosis?

The only known cause of asbestosis is exposure to asbestos. When you are exposed to asbestos over a long period of time, airborne microscopic asbestos fibers can become lodged in the alveoli, which are tiny sacs inside the lungs where oxygen is exchanged for carbon monoxide in the blood.

The asbestos fibers irritate and scar lung tissue, causing the lungs to become stiff. This can result in serious medical complications and may make it difficult to breathe. As asbestosis progresses, more lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred overtime. Eventually, your lung tissue becomes so stiff that it can no longer contract or expand normally.

The risk of developing asbestosis depends on many factors, including:

  • How much asbestos was in the air where you were exposed
  • How often and for how long your exposure occurred
  • How much time has passed since your exposure began
  • If you already have a lung or breathing condition
  • If you smoke tobacco

Like mesothelioma and other lung-related diseases caused by asbestos exposure, there is no treatment that can cure or reverse the effects of asbestosis. Available treatment can only slow the progression of the disease and relieve its symptoms.

Call 410-244-7005 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation today.

Which Industries are At-Risk for Asbestos Exposure?  

Up until the mid-1970s, asbestos was frequently used in the lining of buildings, automobiles, ships and fabrics. Unfortunately, this resulted in thousands of unprotected workers being unassumingly exposed to asbestos.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict requirements for workers handling asbestos. However, these regulations were enacted in the 1980s, which means factory and production workers prior to this time were at a significant risk of asbestos exposure.

Our asbestosis lawyers in Virginia have represented cases involving workers employed in a variety of industries who have routinely been exposed to asbestos. Some industries with a high risk of asbestos exposure include:

Construction

Because asbestos is a natural insulator, the substance was widely used in many ways throughout the construction industry.

In 2004, a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine estimated that at least 1.3 million construction industry workers are still at risk for occupational asbestos exposure. In particular, this includes construction workers who perform demolition or renovations on structures built before the 1970s.

In addition, there are several construction trades at risk that our Virginia asbestosis attorneys can help file asbestosis claims. This includes:

  • Carpenters
  • Brick layers
  • Home renovators
  • Insulation workers
  • Bulldozer operators
  • Demolition crews
  • Roofers
  • Plumbers
  • Drywall hangers and tapers
  • Laborers

If you were employed in the construction industry and have been diagnosed with asbestosis, a qualified asbestosis lawyer in Virginia will work to help you hold your employer liable for your asbestos exposure.

Fire Fighting

Firefighters can be exposed to asbestos in several ways. Many buildings constructed before the 1980s are lined with asbestos-containing materials. This includes building materials such as:

  • Roofing materials
  • Cement
  • Asbestos sheets
  • Fume hoods
  • Drywall
  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Pipe insulation
  • Vinyl

Although asbestos is fire-resistant, its fibers can become airborne as the material burns. When this happens, it poses a significant risk to firefighters who operate in older structures built with materials that contain asbestos.

Additionally, between the 1930s and the 1970s, firefighters’ protective clothing, including their coats, helmets, boots and pants were lined with asbestos that could withstand and repel fire. When firefighters engaged a fire or open heat source, they were at risk of inhaling airborne asbestos fibers from their clothing.

Shipbuilding

Asbestos was a common material used in many ships manufactured during the twentieth century, particularly ships used by the U.S. Navy.

Asbestos was typically used as insulation and lining on parts in a ship located near high temperatures and areas where there was potential for corrosion. Additionally, asbestos lined parts in areas that were heavily frequented by a ship’s crew members, including the ship’s boiler room, engine room and sleeping quarter.

In a 2008 study published by the Ulster Medical Society, it was found that shipyard workers carried a mortality rate from asbestosis that is 16 times higher than the average of other occupations. The study also showed that a significant percentage of the deaths were focused along the East and West coasts of the U.S., and had a high concentration of U.S. Navy veterans.

Factory and Production Work

Factory workers often handled several different asbestos-containing materials during their shift. In particular, asbestos was often used to insulate machine parts constantly operating throughout the day, such as:

  • Asbestos-laden tiles, bricks and drywall
  • Tape and adhesives containing asbestos
  • Conveying systems
  • Lathes
  • Grinding machines

When machines containing asbestos material are operating, they wear down and loosen the asbestos lining, creating a dangerous hazard for all surrounding factory workers.

Industrial Work

Because most industrial processes generate large amounts of heat, many manufacturers used asbestos as an insulator for their products. This caused many industrial workers who carried out chemical or mechanical steps of production to be exposed to asbestos.

Industrial workers frequently used asbestos-containing products that were often heated up, torn or openly released, which resulted in asbestos exposure. These products include:

  • Asbestos paper
  • Asbestos textiles
  • Asbestos cement
  • Pipe insulation
  • Pipe wrappings
  • Vinyl sheet backings
  • Joint cements
  • Plastics
  • Caulking compound

Additionally, many industrial workers may have developed asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases through occupational exposure hazards. These hazards develop when industrial workers used power or friction tools on asbestos-containing products. This would include scoring, drilling, grinding or cutting through asbestos-containing materials that would release dangerous asbestos fibers into the air.

Responsibilities that may have created occupational exposure hazards for industrial workers include:

  • Forging metals with heat and hammers
  • Compression molding
  • Extracting metal from ores
  • Casting liquid materials
  • Soldering or welding metals together
  • Sandblasting or polishing surfaces before distribution
  • Smelting steel or copper in industrial furnaces
  • Stamping or cutting metals
  • Refining oils

Workers who were employed in a profession in which they were regularly exposed to asbestos have rights. A Virginia asbestosis lawyer can help you hold your employer liable for any medical expenses and pain and suffering related to your asbestosis diagnosis.

At The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, our Virginia asbestosis attorneys are strong advocates for the rights of workers and have represented many who were diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. If you believe you were exposed to asbestos through a past or current occupation, we will help you fight to hold your employer liable for its negligence.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to schedule a free consultation.

Could I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos Outside of Work?

Although many people developed asbestos through the course of their employment, others were at risk as well.

Many people may have developed asbestosis through second-hand exposure after coming into contact with someone who recently interacted with asbestos. The mineral’s fibers are known to easily attach themselves to objects, like a worker’s clothing, and can travel from asbestos sites to other locations. This could lead to people who closely interacted with the worker, such as members of his or her family, developing asbestosis through second-hand asbestos exposure.

Additionally, there are many known asbestos exposure sites in Virginia, such as the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and the Naval Medical Center Virginia. Virginia residents who lived near these sites and interacted with sailors, naval personnel, military contractors or other workers who were employed at these sites may have been at risk of second-hand asbestos exposure.

An asbestosis attorney in Virginia from The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl’s will work to help you identify when and how you were exposed to asbestos and which party might be liable for causing your asbestosis diagnosis.

Call 410-244-7005 to find out if you have been diagnosed with asbestosis.

How Can I Be Compensated for an Asbestosis Claim?

Although corporations and asbestos companies knew that asbestos was dangerous, they continued to use asbestos as if it were safe and harmless. This resulted in countless people being unknowingly exposed to asbestos and caused thousands to develop asbestos-related diseases.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with asbestosis, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the asbestos company that exposed you to asbestos. An asbestosis lawsuit can help you recover compensation for your:

  • Past and future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Legal fees
  • Funeral expenses

Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos trust funds were created by companies that manufactured or used asbestos in the U.S. to compensate asbestos victims and their families. Many funds were created when companies filed for bankruptcy and reorganization. They were created to ensure the companies set aside enough funds to pay for the medical bills and other costs of those who develop asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos trust funds are run by a third-party trustee who manages them and decides the amount of compensation to pay victims. This amount typically depends on the type of asbestos-related disease the victims has been diagnosed with and the severity of the victim’s or his or her family’s suffering.

Our knowledgeable Virginia asbestosis lawyers have handled numerous asbestos-related claims and know how to reach an accurate estimate of the compensation you may be owed. We will conduct thorough assessment of your pain and suffering and financial losses to understand the value of your claim.

Find out what you claim may be worth by calling 410-244-7005.

Why Should I Hire a Virginia Asbestosis Lawyer?

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with asbestosis, it is in your best interest to consult with a skilled asbestosis attorney in Virginia for help with your case.

Because it can take several years or decades for the signs and symptoms of asbestosis to appear, it can be difficult for victims and their families to handle an asbestosis lawsuit on their own.

However, The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl’s asbestosis lawyers in Virginia have decades of experience helping victims and their families hold asbestos companies liable for their negligence. A seasoned attorney can help represent your claim in several ways, such as:

Investigating Your Claim

In order to file an asbestosis claim, you must know when you were exposed to asbestos and which party is responsible for the exposure. This can be difficult, as it often takes several decades for asbestosis to be diagnosed.

However, your skilled Virginia asbestosis lawyer will work to trace the development of your disease. He or she will review the extent of your interaction with asbestos, whether you suffered occupational exposure or were exposed second-hand.

Handling Every Aspect of Your Case

Dealing with an incurable lung disease and filing an asbestosis lawsuit can be overwhelming for victims and their families.

However, our compassionate asbestosis attorneys in Virginia are dedicated to handling every aspect of your case so that you can focus on treating your asbestosis diagnosis. Our Virginia asbestosis lawyers will:

  • Help you file your asbestosis claim against the company or employer responsible for your diagnosis
  • Handle all communication with the at-fault party’s insurance company and attorneys
  • Build a case that proves the at-fault party is responsible for your diagnosis
  • Negotiate with the asbestos company and its insurer to reach a fair settlement that reflects your pain and suffering
  • Represent your case during an asbestosis lawsuit and help you prepare for trial, if necessary

Additionally, Virginia imposes a two-year statute of limitations for you to file a claim against the party at fault for your asbestos exposure. This means you have two years from the date of your asbestosis diagnosis file a claim.

Our Virginia asbestosis attorneys will work to help ensure your case is properly handled to meet this deadline so you are able to pursue maximum compensation from the at-fault party.

Working on a Contingency Fee

As compassionate asbestosis attorneys in Virginia, we understand the difficulties you may be experiencing. For this reason, we will handle your entire case on a contingency fee basis and charge you no upfront legal fees or costs for our services. This includes providing you with a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your asbestosis claim and the circumstances behind your diagnosis.

The only time we assess fees or costs is if we are able to recover compensation for your claim. If this occurs, we will only charge a percentage of the settlement or award. If you decide not to proceed with your claim, you will not be charged for our services. There is no risk in contacting us to find out if you have a case.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started.

Contact Our Virginia Asbestosis Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Asbestos companies knew that asbestos was dangerous, but continued to expose thousands of people to a deadly carcinogen for decades.

For this reason, The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl’s asbestosis attorneys in Virginia are dedicated to helping victims obtain justice they deserve. We will work tirelessly to hold asbestos companies liable for their negligence and help you recover the compensation you need.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with asbestosis, contact us for a free, no obligation consultation. We will help you determine if you have a case against an asbestos company at no upfront cost. All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means you will have no fees or costs unless we recover compensation for your case.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to find out if you have a case. 

Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation if you have been injured by another’s negligence. You may be entitled to compensation.

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410-244-7005

Our Offices

Maryland
Local phone 410-244-7005
36 South Charles Street, Suite 1700
Baltimore, MD 21201

Virginia
Local phone 757-397-6424
355 Crawford Street
Portsmouth, VA 23704