Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Attorneys in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Upstate New York

Asbestos-related lung cancer is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. It has been known since the mid-1930’s that asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer. The two forms of asbestos-related lung cancer are small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.

Cigarettes or other tobacco products may also play a role in causing lung cancer. If you were exposed to asbestos and smoked cigarettes, your chances of contracting lung cancer are greatly increased. Smoking interferes with the lungs ability to remove asbestos fibers.

Lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure is a latent disease, meaning the timeframe from your exposure to asbestos to the development of your lung cancer can range from 15 to 50 years.  For example, you may have been exposed to asbestos in the 1960’s and developed lung cancer caused by asbestos today.

Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Attorneys in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, NY

If detected early, the lung cancer tumor can be successfully removed during surgery by either a lobectomy or wedge resection in which the surgeon removes a portion of your lung that contains the cancerous tumor.

Chemotherapy or radiation have also been helpful in shrinking lung cancer tumors, although these cancer treatments have side effects.

Most recently, immunotherapy, with the drug Keytruda, has been shown to shrink lung cancer tumors, without harsh side effects.

If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with lung cancer, please call the experienced attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC.

How Asbestos Causes Lung Cancer

Asbestos-related lung cancer generally takes between 15 to 50 years to develop after exposure to asbestos. Asbestos-related lung cancer is a latent disease, and most cases are caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.

At-risk occupations include plant workers, construction workers, pipefitters, electricians, veterans, shipbuilders and many other types of workers.

When a person breathes in asbestos fibers, these tiny fibers become stuck in the person’s lungs. Over time, these microscopic fibers can become cancerous. Sometimes, prior to the onset of lung cancer, these asbestos fibers irritate and scar the lung tissue. This condition, known as asbestosis, makes the lungs stiff and causes difficulty breathing.

The Modern Threat of Asbestos Exposure

These days, we know better. By 2003, lung cancer and mesothelioma had become household terms and the world became well aware of the dangers of asbestos. Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard; as a result, heavy regulations were established to protect public health by OSHA and EPA.  In 1972 the OSHA regulations were put in place in the Federal register, in the law, and asbestos was the very first substance regulated by OSHA.

Unfortunately, these regulations didn’t go so far as to ban the substance entirely. To this day, there is no asbestos ban in the United States.

Asbestos is the leading cause of work-related deaths worldwide. More than 90,000 people die from asbestos exposure each year. It is expected that the mortality rate is going to continue to increase in industrial areas.

  • Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Risk Factors & Smoking history
  • Amount of time working with asbestos
  • Amount of asbestos worked with
  • Genetics

The Industries with High Asbestos Exposure Rates

No amount of asbestos exposure is considered safe. However, we are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day.  Ambient or background air usually contains between 10 and 200 asbestos fibres in every 1000 litres (or cubic metre) of air (equivalent to 0.01 to 0.20 fibres per litre of air). Luckily, the levels of asbestos in the air are low and generally do not cause sickness.

In the late 1800s and throughout the 1900s, the material was used to create bricks, pipes, cement, and insulation. Its fireproof quality also made it the go-to material for safety coatings. As a society, we were so confident in the reliability of asbestos that even women and children participated in its mining and production.

The majority of people who contract asbestos-related diseases, such as lung cancer, worked jobs that caused them to breathe in large amounts of asbestos. Some of these occupations include the following:

  • Factory Workers
  • Electricians
  • Union workers
  • Firefighters
  • Shipyard workers
  • Construction workers
  • Building inspectors
  • Miners
  • Demolition crews
  • Navy veterans

Asbestos was used so widely for so long that the list of at-risk industries could go on for pages. In fact, even farmers and engineers have a moderate risk of exposure.

At Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC  we have worked with asbestos-affected clients from all walks of life.

How Regulations Protect U.S. Workers

OSHA has many regulations in place to prevent asbestos exposure in the workplace. The EPA also has regulatory authority and uses it to protect state and local employees who are not under an OSHA-approved safety plan.

Overall, the list of asbestos-related regulations is quite extensive. Below, are a few activities that should never take place in an area where asbestos exposure is possible:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Dry sweeping
  • Shoveling

Additionally, an employer must ensure that workers who are likely to be exposed to asbestos wear a protective layer. This outerwear must be removed and either cleaned or thrown away each day. When a worker handles asbestos-containing materials, an approved respirator must also be worn.

Failure to enforce any of these guidelines can make an employer liable for a worker’s injuries and illnesses.

How Asbestos Exposure Can Occur at Home

Encountering asbestos in your home is less likely than encountering it on a job site. Still, it is possible to become sick from asbestos in a domestic setting.

If your home was built before the 1980s, be aware. Any work that disturbs affected materials may cause the asbestos to become airborne.

Asbestos materials were used heavily in construction until the 1980s. So if your home is on the older side, everything from your asphalt shingles to your cement foundation could be affected.

Even in newer homes, there are over a dozen home-building applications in which asbestos is still legal in the U.S.

Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC has seen countless home-exposure cases throughout the years. Typically, exposure happens when a homeowner performs any of these tasks:

  • Renovating an attic
  • Removing popcorn ceilings
  • Drilling into old drywall
  • Cleaning the brakes of a classic car in the garage
  • Scraping out old vinyl tiles
  • Laundering work clothes of family members who were exposed to asbestos at their jobs

If you are planning to work on an older home, you may be best off hiring a professional contractor. At the very least, we recommend you wear protective clothing throughout the remodel.

Common Effects of Asbestos Exposure

Unfortunately, asbestos illnesses don’t present symptoms immediately. In fact, it can take 15 to 60 years for symptoms to appear.

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen. That means it is proven to cause cancer. The most common form of asbestos-related cancer is mesothelioma. This is a rare illness that affects the lining of an infected person’s abdomen and chest.

According to the International Agency for Research, asbestos is also known to cause or increase the risk for these types of cancer:

  • Lung
  • Ovary
  • Larynx
  • Colorectal
  • Pharynx
  • Stomach

Cancer is the most common asbestos-related illness, but there are other threats to be aware of, such as asbestosis, which can lead to permanent lung damage and cause breathing problems.  .

Here is a list of the other asbestos-related injuries and illnesses to be aware of:

  • Nonmalignant lung disorders
  • Pleural thickening
  • Benign pleural effusions

Any of these conditions, cancerous or not, can lead to expensive medical bills and a decreased life expectancy. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, it may be time to consider your legal options.

Your Legal and Financial Options With Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

Because mesothelioma has a long latency period, some people who were exposed to asbestos in the ‘80s and ‘90s are only now receiving a diagnosis.

If you have recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, mesothelioma, or any other asbestos-related disease, you may be looking for support.

The experienced legal team at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC is here to guide you through your legal and financial options.

We have worked with many victims of asbestos and know just how devastating these diseases can be. Most times, workers who were exposed to asbestos received no warning about its dangers.

Taking Advantage of Asbestos Trust Funds

More than $30 billion have been allocated to asbestos trust funds. Many manufacturers of asbestos products have declared bankruptcy. In these cases, they were ordered to set money aside for compensating past, current, and future victims as a condition of the agreement.

This money sits in a trust fund until it is needed by individual victims, like you. If you have questions about asbestos trust funds, give us a call. Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Connecting with Veteran Affairs to Receive Benefits

Some service members are exposed to asbestos while in the line of duty. If you fall into this group, you may qualify for benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VA may offer you access to world-class healthcare, as well as financial support. It can also be a great resource for the family members of veterans.

Filing a Lawsuit

You may decide to pursue a lawsuit or settlement. This is a common choice for people who want to receive compensation for their injuries and illnesses.

The first step is to determine who is at fault for your condition. Some asbestos manufacturers made a conscious choice to continue endangering the public, despite knowing full-well the dangers of the material.

New York State imposes strict limitations to file a claim. The statute of limitations for a personal injury action based on asbestos exposure and disease requires that an action be commenced within three years of the date of diagnosis. In the case of death, an action for wrongful death, must be filed within two years of the date of death or the claim is barred. However, the statute of limitations often depends on the particular facts of your case. Time is of the essence, which is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Trust the legal team at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC to help you hold these types of organizations responsible.

How The Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford Can Help

If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn what your legal rights are for compensation from the companies that negligently exposed you to asbestos.

The attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC have been representing workers and their families with lung cancer for over thirty-five years, and have led the way in shaping asbestos law in New York State.  We have a full team of lawyers devoted to representing people exposed to asbestos with lung cancer, and have recovered over a billion dollars on behalf of our clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, please contact us today and we will schedule an appointment to come to your home and meet with you and your family to explain your legal rights.

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