Bringing an Asbestos Claim Against a Negligent Third Party
Asbestosis is a lung disease involving scarring and carcinoma caused by inhaling asbestos dust over long periods. Asbestos claims arise in circumstances where an individual has been exposed to asbestos dust, generally in the course of their employment. Exposure to it can also lead to other debilitating illnesses such as mesothelioma.
Since asbestos has long since been recognised as extremely harmful it is now thankfully increasingly rare but can remain in older buildings and industrial plants and become exposed during building, renovation or demolition works. In recent years, members of the armed forces were exposed to asbestos on some of the Irish naval fleets.
Asbestos claims are one of those classic cases where the date of knowledge is likely to apply. In many cases, the actual exposure, during which the injury could have arisen may have been decades ago, but the actual manifestation of asbestosis is the first time when someone realizes they’ve suffered a significant injury, and that it may be the result of a breach of duty by somebody else.
Identifying who it is that the appropriate parties are, can be quite difficult as a result of the amount of time that elapses in the meantime.
There have been a number of cases where people who have been exposed to asbestos haven’t ultimately developed the symptoms and have then tried to claim for psychological injuries as a result of the fear that they were going to become ill but didn’t. However, such cases have to date been unsuccessful.
In the event of a diagnosis of asbestosis, it would be important to go and make inquiries very quickly to find out if the sources of exposure can be identified and whether or not there may be a cause of action against whoever may be responsible.
Asbestos is becoming less and less prevalent but you will still have situations such as the demolition of old industrial buildings, etc, where people are not aware that there was asbestos present, and it’s only in the course of removing it that they realize that there’s been an exposure. Where asbestos is detected it is necessary to engage experts who can come in and remove it safely.
You may find the Health and Safety Executive’s web page on asbestos useful for further background reading.
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