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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How is secondary asbestos exposure proven?

    This is where a seasoned asbestos attorney can be invaluable. He will know how to investigate your case and gather the evidence in order to build the case against those responsible. Your attorney will advise you on how to gather the needed information from family and/or friends to help determine where the asbestos you were exposed to came from and which companies are liable.

  • Does a victim of secondary asbestos exposure have any legal options?

    Yes. Victims who suffer asbestos-related disease can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party or parties responsible. They may also be able to file against trust funds set up by asbestos manufacturers and suppliers who have gone bankrupt. A Virginia asbestos attorney can evaluate the victim’s case and determine the best legal course of action.

  • How does secondary asbestos exposure happen?

    Secondary asbestos exposure occurs when a person is exposed to asbestos fibers that someone else’s activity generated. For example, a husband works for a railroad and unknowingly brings asbestos fibers home on his clothing. His wife handles this clothing while laundering and is exposed to those fibers. Even hugging a family member who has asbestos fibers on their clothing can cause secondary asbestos exposure.

    Secondary asbestos exposure is just as dangerous as working directly with materials that contain the asbestos because even limited exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos fibers can be transferred onto vehicles, backpacks, lunchboxes, and even the family pets.

  • How can I be compensated if the company responsible for my mesothelioma went out of business?

    A Virginia mesothelioma attorney from Shapiro & Appleton can assist you with filing a claim for damages even if the company that uses the asbestos is no longer in business or has filed for bankruptcy. Your attorney will investigate your case to determine how you were exposed to asbestos and identify the products or building materials that contain the harmful fibers that led to the development of your disease and them use all available resources to locate the responsible parties and include that party or parties in your lawsuit.


  • How can an attorney prove a victim’s mesothelioma was caused by asbestos fibers if asbestos is no longer used?

    Although asbestos is no longer used in construction, there are still many workers who are exposed to asbestos working in older buildings with asbestos-containing materials. Workers who are exposed include construction workers, plumbers, pipefitters, insulators, minors, shipbuilders, Navy ship workers, power generation workers, railroad workers, textile workers, auto mechanics, and appliance repair workers.

  • What is mesothelioma cancer?

    Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer that first appears in the thin layer of tissue which covers the internal organs. It is a very aggressive form of cancer for which there is no cure and is always fatal, killing thousands of people each year. There are four types of mesothelioma:

    • Pericardial: Affects the tissue surrounding the heart. Symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing.
    • Peritoneal: Develops in abdominal tissue. Symptoms include pain, weight loss, excessive swelling, and tissue lumps in the abdominal area
    • Pleural: Affects tissue that surrounds the lungs. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, painful coughing, excessive weight loss, and tissue lumps on the chest.
    • Tunica Vaginalis: Develops in the testicular tissue. Symptoms include a swollen area or mass on the testicle.

  • What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

    • Pleural effusions: These are the buildup of extra fluid around the lungs and are found in 90 percent of victims. Pleural effusions are also present in conditions such as embolisms and heart failure, resulting in delayed diagnosis of the mesothelioma.
    • Fever and excessive sweating: Fevers without a cold or any other conditions indicate a possible issue, as does excessive night sweats.
    • Unexplained weight loss: This occurs in one-third of victims.
    • Difficulty swallowing: This is one of the earliest symptoms of mesothelioma and may be accompanied by reflux, hoarseness, or something stuck in the back the victim’s throat.
    • Fatigue: This is also one of the early signs of mesothelioma.

  • What occupations are at risk of developing mesothelioma?

    Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases typically develop in victims who had or have direct exposure working with materials made from asbestos or some other prolonged exposure to the material. Occupations where there is a high risk of this exposure and mesothelioma include:

    • Construction and other trade workers
    • Electricians
    • Firefighters
    • HVAC workers
    • Mining
    • Painters
    • Plumbers
    • Railroad workers
    • Shipyard workers

  • What is mesothelioma?

    Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is found in the sacs that protect many of the body’s organs known as mesothelium. The condition is caused by exposure to asbestos. It can take decades before symptoms began to present. One of the first symptoms that many victims suffer from is pain in the abdominal and chest areas.

    It is not uncommon for the condition to go undiagnosed because the symptoms are often mistaken for other diseases. Tragically, there is no cure for mesothelioma and the diagnosis is a fatal one, with no more than 40 percent of victims surviving beyond the first year of diagnosis.

  • What jobs are most often associated with asbestos exposure and mesothelioma?

    Over the years, workers from many industries and jobs were unfairly exposed to asbestos without their knowledge. Common occupations where asbestos exposure occurred were these industries: automobile, carpentry, boiler making, construction, machinists, railroad, shipbuilding, steelwork and oil refining.