Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure Attorneys in Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo, NY

Home exposure, also known as secondary asbestos exposure or para-occupational exposure, occurs as an indirect result of working with or around asbestos materials. Prior to the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated into numerous products used in both the manufacturing and construction industries. Asbestos can cause mesothelioma or lung cancer to develop years after initial exposure to asbestos dust and fibers. Home exposure generally occurred in the home, and when wives and children came into close contact with their husbands, fathers and brothers who were covered in asbestos-laden dust from the workplace.

At Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, our attorneys assist clients in filing third-party mesothelioma and lung cancer lawsuits against the companies that wrongfully failed to warn against the hazards of asbestos exposure. It is important to act quickly in order to avoid having your claim disqualified by the statute of limitations. It is even more important to act quickly so that your case can be heard and decided before you become too ill to participate. In addition to third-party lawsuits, our attorneys can also assist you in filing claims for Veterans’ Benefits, Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability benefits.

Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure Attorneys in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse

If you are struggling in these kinds of circumstances, you don’t have to navigate the legal system alone.

New York has one of the highest rates of asbestos disease in the nation. As a result, our attorneys have become highly skilled in handling second-hand asbestos exposure cases. We’ve helped countless clients in situations just like yours.

Of course, we know that second-hand exposure can be hard to prove. Trust our team to start at the beginning and identify the liable parties. From there, we can help you pursue compensation.

Our attorneys are committed to our clients, and we will see your case through to completion. We do not refer cases to other law firms, and we have a track record of achieving success for thousands of our clients and their families. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

How Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure Happens

Asbestos fibers are extremely small and light and capable of being transported home on a worker’s clothing, hair and footwear. Because of non-existent or inadequate warnings on a variety of asbestos-containing materials used in many different industries, many individuals were exposed to asbestos prior to the late 1970s. Most often, women and children inhaled asbestos fibers that were brought home on the clothing of a family member who had direct daily contact with asbestos-containing materials. When wives and children came into close contact with their family members who were covered in asbestos-laden dust from the workplace, they had no idea that this dust could cause them harm.

Even the relatively slight exposure involved in shaking out work clothes before doing laundry is enough to cause mesothelioma to develop years after initial exposure. Medical literature contains many examples of housewives contracting mesothelioma by washing work clothes. Children of exposed workers may also contract mesothelioma as a result of asbestos contamination originating from the workplace.

In 2000, a summary review of mesothelioma from defined environmental exposures was published. It demonstrated that the overall summary risk estimate for mesothelioma for persons with household exposures was 8.1 times higher than that of unexposed persons.

Once asbestos gets into the home, it can remain in the home permanently. Asbestos gets into the rugs, curtains and bedding, and it can become suspended by movement. Family members may then be exposed to asbestos twenty-four hours a day rather than partial exposure, which occurs in the workplace. Asbestos has no warning qualities; members of a household could have substantial exposure to asbestos without knowing they have been exposed.

Second-hand asbestos exposure can be just as deadly as direct exposure. In a study of 90 women with mesothelioma (a cancer caused by asbestos), 64% were made sick by second-hand exposure.

Any time a child or young adult becomes sick from asbestos, second-hand exposure is the most likely cause. So how does it happen?

The usual suspects are construction workers, farmers, or asbestos professionals. When these individuals or their employers fail to follow regulatory protocols, they endanger the public. Leaving the workplace with asbestos-laced clothing can cause the material to become airborne.

Below, we’ve broken down who is at risk of second-hand exposure and how it happens in the first place. As always, you can let Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford LLC can answer any questions you have.

Who Is At Risk for Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure?

Today asbestos exposure happens much less frequently than it did 20 years ago. But because many countries, including the United States, do not have a total ban on the substance, exposure is still a risk. In fact, the world sees about 255,000 deaths due to asbestos each year.

Of course, only a percentage of those deaths happen as the result of second-hand exposure. Still, it’s important to understand how deadly asbestos can be in any scenario. It is currently the leading cause of work-related deaths worldwide.

The people who are most vulnerable to second-hand exposure are those who share a household with someone who works with asbestos.

Workers from any of these fields may encounter asbestos:

  • Shipbuilding and repair
  • Manufacturing
  • Firefighting
  • Construction
  • Coal mining
  • Asphalt installation
  • Factory Workers

If these workers aren’t wearing a protective layer and then removing that layer once they’re done, they may carry asbestos particles home with them. Anyone who shares the living space, including spouses, children, and elderly parents, may become exposed.

Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure: How It Happens

Asbestos is made up of fibers that become airborne when disturbed. That’s why construction workers are particularly vulnerable to exposure.

As they hammer, demolish, and otherwise disrupt old building materials,  they cause asbestos particles to enter the air.

When these workers come home with asbestos on their person, they introduce the material to the living space. The following activities are often the culprits for second-hand asbestos exposure.

Washing Laundry

It is very difficult to wash asbestos out of clothing. In fact, when you launder clothing that is covered in asbestos, exposure is the only thing you’re likely to accomplish.

If you do encounter asbestos-laced clothing, the best option is to dispose of the garment safely.

To dispose of affected clothing, place it in a clearly labeled container or bag. Then, take it to a landfill that is built to handle asbestos waste.

Sitting on Furniture

When an exposed worker comes home and sits on the couch, asbestos fibers may become embedded in the upholstery. Likewise, dining room chairs, beds, and benches can become affected.

Embracing Another Person

Naturally, the greatest risk of second-hand exposure comes from person-to-person contact. If one of these workers comes home with asbestos-ladened clothing, he may expose anyone with a hug, handshake, or clap on the back.

Of course, one instance of exposure in this way is not likely to pose a significant health risk. But if you live with a person who brings home asbestos day after day, year after year, you could become ill.

The Health Risks of Second-Hand Exposure to Asbestos

You probably know that second-hand smoke can be just as dangerous as smoking. Similarly, second-hand exposure to asbestos is just as dangerous as direct exposure. In fact, the list of possible injuries and illnesses is exactly the same between the two scenarios.

When you encounter asbestos, directly or indirectly, you become at risk for these health conditions:

  • Pleural plaques
  • Asbestosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung scarring
  • Mesothelioma

While each of these conditions can be treated, there is no cure for mesothelioma. The average life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis is 4 to 18 months. As you may imagine, these patients acquire mounting medical bills from day one.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, several factors will play into your prognosis, including, your age, gender, and health. Additionally, the stage and location of the cancer will impact the life expectancy provided. Of course, no two patients are the same and there is always cause for hope.

At Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, we understand that the diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness or injury is devastating. We want to support you by pursuing the compensation you deserve. Money doesn’t solve everything, but it can lighten your load during this difficult time.

The Average Cost of Care for Asbestos Exposure

Treatment for asbestos-related diseases can be very costly.

For many mesothelioma patients, the monthly cost of treatment is approximately $8,200. That’s assuming that the doctor orders surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Of course, with insurance, the out-of-pocket costs will be much smaller. Still, the fees are just another burden for people who are already suffering.

Unfortunately, medical bills are just the tip of the iceberg for some patients. If you are ill, you may need to take time away from work, hire a caregiver, or pay for a cleaner. And when the treatment center is located far from your home, you may also have to pay for transportation and lodging.

Fortunately, an experienced lawyer can help you obtain needed compensation. Depending on the specifics of your case, there are many asbestos trust funds that offer payouts for victims of asbestos, and/or recovery through a lawsuit.

How Do We Determine Liability?

You may already have an idea of who is liable for your asbestos-related illness, or you may need our help getting to the root of the problem. Either way, it’s important to know that proving liability is sometimes easier said than done.

The most likely culprit is an asbestos manufacturer. There is evidence that many of these companies knew about the dangers of asbestos and withheld warnings to workers and consumers.

If you are a victim of secondhand exposure, these companies still have liability for your illness or injury.

In order to win a case or obtain a settlement, we must be able to prove the other party was negligent.

To support the claim that your illness was caused by the other party’s negligence, we may need to acquire some background information. Specifically, our team will want to know how often, how long, and how closely you were exposed to asbestos.

How We Will Prepare for Your Claim or Settlement

In some cases, it may be necessary to file a mass tort or class action lawsuit in Buffalo, Rochester, or Syracuse. This is necessary when more than one individual is affected by the another party’s negligence. If multiple people become ill with asbestos-related illnesses, they may decide to file claims as a group.

Trust Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford to evaluate and discuss your legal options with you. We will help you decide how to best prepare for your case. From deposition to settlement, our team will be with you every step of the way.

Call for Your Free Consultation

We would love to provide a free and confidential consultation during this trying time. If you have any questions about a potential case or settlement, we are here to address them. Simply give us a call to get the process started.

Because our firm has been in business since 1995, you can trust us to offer proven legal guidance. Reach out to the trusted team at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford today.

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