Two companies, Northlake Capital & Development and 3917 Densmore LLC, are facing thousands of dollars in fines after the Washington Department of Labor and Industries cited improper and unsafe asbestos handling at a Seattle home-flipping site.
The Department of Labor and Industries initially receive complaints from neighbors near the residential project. Neighbors noticed employees improperly removing exterior asbestos titles from the house during the weekend. Residents approached the leaders on the site, but the inappropriate actions continued.
Eventually, the companies' owners, James Thorpe and Chris Walters, received 11 violations for four separate investigations; the violations totaled to $789,200 in fines. The citation included problems such as improper removal of asbestos, not using a certified asbestos supervisor and not obtaining an asbestos good faith survey before work began.
Why is proper asbestos removal so crucial?
Almost 3,000 people every year are diagnosed with mesothelioma - a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. If asbestos is mishandled, workers are at a higher risk for developing mesothelioma and other diseases, including lung cancer and asbestosis.
Employees only need one exposure to suffer complications of asbestos, and it may take decades for symptoms show. It makes it critical for employers to follow proper protocol and use an asbestos supervisor to remove building materials containing asbestos.
Workers exposed to asbestos need to visit a healthcare professional and consider seeking compensation for damages caused by mesothelioma or an asbestos-related condition. It may offer financial relief to you or your loved ones.
A mesothelioma diagnosis is very serious and life changing. From the moment you are told you have this terminal condition, your life is likely going to revolve around treatments to try to do away with the cancer and help extend your life expectancy. It is important that you remember to live your best life despite this horrible diagnosis.
One of the most important things to do when you are told you have mesothelioma is to ask questions. Find out what treatments you need and how those might impact you. There are three common options that doctors usually turn to in these cases – surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Try to remain positive
A devastating diagnosis can have a negative impact on your ability to remain positive. Even though you know you are in for a long course of treatment, you can still try to remain positive. The issue with thinking negatively about what you are going though is that you can make yourself more miserable than what's necessary. Positivity doesn't have to mean that you are happy about your diagnosis. Instead, it means that you have made the decision to live despite the state of your health right now.
Don't automatically refuse any option
Some patients automatically refuse specific treatment plan components based on a concern that they will be negatively impacted by it. Surgery is often a source of concern. A study done by Loyola University Health System found that people who had a pleurectomy and decortication were much more likely to enjoy a better quality of life following the surgical procedure. Discuss the potential side effects and impacts of any treatment option with your doctor so you know how it might affect you.
Make follow-up care a priority
When you finish your treatment plan, don't think that you are done with doctors. You need frequent follow-up visits to monitor your health. It is possible that the cancer will return, but there is also a chance that you will have side effects from the treatments that you had for the mesothelioma. You might notice anything amiss for weeks or months, but make sure that you alert your doctor immediately if anything concerns you.
Because mesothelioma is often due to asbestos exposure, sufferers might opt to seek compensation for the damages caused by the condition. While this won't change the diagnosis, it can help to alleviate some of the financial strain.
Asbestos-caused diseases are commonly the result of working for many years in environments like brake shops, shipyards and the construction industry – where there's a chance of asbestos particles contaminating the airspace. The cancer mesothelioma is one of the most common types of these asbestos-related illnesses.
Patients usually don't discover they have mesothelioma until after they have difficulty breathing. These patients may end up in the doctor's office for a routine exam, only to discover after various tests that they are suffering from this life-threatening cancer.
The patient's work history: Did the patient work in an industry or an old building where asbestos could have been present? If yes, what was the length of time the patient was employed in this position?
Results of various exams: The most common preliminary testing methods used by doctors hoping to rule out mesothelioma include:
Pulmonary function exams
Magnetic resonance image scans (MRI)
Computer tomography scans (CT)
Analysis of a biopsy sample: After analyzing the above information, a treating physician who suspects his or her patient is suffering from mesothelioma will order a biopsy to definitively test for the condition. If the biopsy tests positive for mesothelioma, the doctor will begin treatment immediately.
When treating mesothelioma
Treatment for mesothelioma may not be completely successful. Doctors do their best to slow the progress of the mesothelioma cancer and stunt or halt the growth of additional cancer cells. In some cases, doctors will treat a patient with various cancer therapies, and even perform surgery.
Research physicians are constantly developing new and more effective treatments for mesothelioma so it's important that patients stay up to date on their treatment options in case of new medical approaches to the condition.
Filing a workers' compensation claim for mesothelioma
Finally, if you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma, you may be facing stiff medical bills. However, if the condition is job-related then patients may be able to pursue a workers' compensation claim to help pay for medical care and time spent unable to work as a result of the disease.
If your parent suffers from mesothelioma, there is a very good chance that he or she developed the condition because of exposure to asbestos, a substance used in numerous industrial and household products for decades before the public learned that it led to high rates of cancer. In many cases, previous generations endured years upon years of regular exposure to asbestos without realizing the risks associated with it, often leading to severe illness later in life.
Of course, just like any other injury, if a person develops mesothelioma because of the negligence or direct action of another party, it is usually worth considering a personal injury claim to compensate the victim fairly and relive the weight of lost income and medical expenses. If your parent developed mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure, then the party that exposed your parent may still hold legal liability for the illness.
It is wise to carefully research the specifics of your parent's experience to determine whether or not the evidence supports an injury claim. If it does justify a claim, your parent may need a great deal of help dealing with treatment and also filing and pursuing a claim to protect his or her rights and dignity.
When did asbestos use end?
As you may have guessed, asbestos is not commonly used in either industrial or consumer products in the United States these days. However, asbestos was heavily used in production and construction until the mid-1970s, meaning that buildings erected previously may still contain significant asbestos.
Asbestos is not a simple substance to contain, as its fibers may travel through air currents in certain forms. If your parent worked in or near a building or facility that contained asbestos, there is a very good chance that it affected them.
Identifying sources of exposure
It is not always easy to identify asbestos exposure in the body, and, in many cases, it is only possible to observe symptoms of mesothelioma rather than find asbestos itself. If your parent receives a mesothelioma diagnosis, it is time to figure out where they experienced exposure.
Most commonly, exposure happens one of three ways:
Exposure on the job
Secondhand exposure to asbestos through another person experiencing direct exposure
Neighborhood exposure to those living and working near asbestos-rich locations
If you can identify periods of your parent's life where he or she suffered significant exposure, or might have, this is a good place to start.
Pursuing a claim
Building this type of claim is akin to solving a murder mystery. You must collect as much information as you can and then assemble a narrative of exposure that justifies the claim while supporting that narrative with as many verifiable facts as you can. The more research and evidence that you provide, the stronger the claim and the greater chance you have of seeing justice for your parent.
Do not hesitate to use high quality legal resources and guidance to build a strong claim that protects your parent's dignity and keeps his or her rights secure.
Asbestos exposure is a very serious experience that may lead to a serious, life-threatening illness — mesothelioma. Its victims face a a very difficult road ahead, and certainly deserve full, fair compensation for their suffering and medical expenses. But it is not always simple to determine where asbestos exposure occurred to help identify a liable party.
If you or someone you love recently received a diagnosis of mesothelioma caused by asbestos, you are probably very concerned with finding the source of the asbestos in order to hold the responsible party liable. In some cases, it is not always possible to know with certainty where asbestos exposure occurred, or to collect sufficient evidence to build a strong claim. However, asbestos does not usually cause mesothelioma with only an instance or two of casual exposure. If you can narrow down the source of asbestos you interacted with regularly, you are well on your way to building a strong claim.
Three common sources of asbestos
Part of what makes asbestos so troublesome is that its fibers are very light. If asbestos enters an area and is airborn, it can hang in the air for a long time, making it breathable. Longterm exposure generally occurs one of three ways.
Often, people may not realize they suffer exposure because it takes place in neighborhood exposure sites where those around asbestos may inhale it. This may mean neighborhoods built near factories, or simply those who live in and near a building that contains the material. This is known as neighborhood exposure.
Of course, those who work in factories that use the material or perform installations of asbestos-laden parts can also suffer exposure. This is known as occupational exposure.
Finally, those who live with individuals who experience occupational exposure to asbestos may also suffer paraoccupational exposure. This category includes spouses and children of those who work with asbestos, especially if they handles the workers' clothing.
Narrowing down the sources of exposure
As you consider the possible sources of exposure that affect you, begin with the most obvious possibilities. Did you ever work, live or study in an environment that contained asbestos? If not, did you ever live near an exposure site? Did anyone around you work or live in an exposure site?
Only you know the full details of your own experience, but it is wise to consult with those around you at various points in your life to see if anyone else suffered similar effects. They may share a source of exposure, or may simply remember a source of exposure that has not occurred to you.