My friend has been exposed to asbestos repeatedly on construction projects and is now severely ill as a result. What should he do?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Whether the injury is from asbestos, mold, lead or other toxins or dangerous substances on a construction site, an injured worker deserves a good recovery. Case law and precedents are currently being established in this area.

Asbestos is known to lead to lung disease, especially mesothelioma, caused by an irritation to the lining of the lungs. Mold can cause deathly illness, too, especially the kind of black mold that often grows in a building that has been flooded or retains moisture. And lead found in paint, though now illegal, is still found in older buildings. In fact, being old and chipped makes it more dangerous for babies who tend to put everything in their mouths. As is often the case with other toxins, lead wreaks the worst havoc on the lives of young children, whose nervous systems are still developing, causing developmental disorders. But to an adult exposed over a period of time, it can be lethal as well.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) continues to get complaints about these substances, despite legislation protecting consumers. There are attorneys who specialize in toxin injuries, some even limiting their practice to a particular toxin. Lawsuits generally favor plaintiffs, making it easier to collect big settlements. And there could be punitive damages, such as when a big corporation hides responsibility for a highly toxic substance.

Even if your friend’s exposure to asbestos was many years ago, the law generally provides that the statute of limitations begins when he first became aware of his injury. So he probably still has time to file a lawsuit. If he was involved more recently in removing asbestos from older buildings, and was not provided adequate safeguards, he has a good case as well. He needs to see the right doctors and make his health a priority. Your friend may want to discuss his options with an environmental hazards attorney.

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