Asbestos litigation, just as other personal injury litigation involves medical records review wherein medical review solutions have an important role to play. This helps to determine the medical condition caused by asbestos exposure – mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestiosis among other medical problems.
Every year the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) holds the Global Asbestos Awareness Week from April 1 through April 7, with a view to promote education and awareness about asbestos and the diseases it causes. A natural fiber that is mined for use in shipbuilding, construction, and auto manufacturing among other trades, asbestos is a deadly carcinogen. Regardless of the awareness that asbestos is a carcinogen, it is still legal in almost 70% of the world. The WHO estimates that 107,000 workers around the world will die every year of an asbestos-related disease, which equals to 300 deaths per day.
Asbestos deaths are 100% preventable and this prevention is the main objective of Global Asbestos Awareness Week. Since its founding in the year 2004, the ADAO has been able to work with the U.S. Senate to unanimously pass 12 Asbestos Awareness Week Resolutions. They have also been able to secure five U.S. Surgeon General asbestos warnings, both with the hope of preventing exposure to eliminate deadly diseases caused by asbestos.
The 2017 Global Asbestos Awareness Week will focus on the following factors:
- Banning the use, mining and manufacturing of asbestos on a global level
- Encouraging education and awareness to prevent asbestos exposure
- Improving enforcement and compliance with all existing asbestos-related laws
The ADAO has gathered substantial information on asbestos and its risks, which is shared worldwide. With the growth in the awareness movement, Former President Barack Obama officially recognized asbestos as a carcinogen. It was added to the EPA (Environment Protection Agency)’s list of the top 10 high-risk chemicals that require regulatory action. The 2017 Global Asbestos Awareness Week will feature important updates from experts and the Partners for Prevention initiative. This will include movies and works of art inspired by victims of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos exposure can be primary or secondary:
- Primary exposure is when the victim works or lives in an environment where they are directly exposed to asbestos from the source of contamination.
- Secondary exposure is when you are exposed to asbestos fibers that may have entered the surrounding air or water near the source of contamination, and also from “take-home” asbestos exposure. When a worker comes home with asbestos fibers clinging to his body and clothes, and moves closely with his family members, his family could be exposed to the deadly asbestos.
As mesothelioma attorneys point out, since it takes around 20 – 50 years for a person to become evidently sick for instance, with malignant mesothelioma, in cases one sees today the initial exposure must have happened years ago. A recent case from the California Court of Appeal involves secondary exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff in this case says that he was initially exposed to asbestos when his father would come home from work covered in asbestos and also when he visited his father at work, where he was an auto mechanic. Asbestos products are used in car parts such as brake components, hoses and belts. The victim’s father worked on clutch assemblies and brakes, which exposed him to a great deal of dust-contained asbestos fibers. The difficulty for the plaintiff in this case was to unquestionably prove that the defendant’s products were responsible for the exposure because there were many different companies making parts for clutches and brakes at that time.
As any provider of medical review services in asbestos related cases would agree, this is a real challenge in a mesothelioma case. Even when it has been proved via medical records review that the mesothelioma was caused by asbestos, plaintiffs need to establish who is at fault. They have to make a detailed list of each and every place they were exposed to asbestos and identify the specific source of exposure. While asbestos lawyers will focus on obtaining the highest compensation for the injured party, the plaintiff also has a huge responsibility to do the maximum possible to find out the real source of exposure.