Edward W. enjoys life. He recently took his wife to Hawaii for their anniversary, and he loves to visit with his children and grandchildren. But just three years ago, Edward was not feeling so fortunate. In November, 2005 he went to his doctor because he was having trouble breathing. Several tests later, Edward and his family learned the unfortunate news – he had two types of lung cancer related to asbestos exposure and asbestosis. Asbestosis is the build up of scar tissue in the lungs, a condition that is quite painful and causes severe shortness of breath.
When asbestos fibers lodge in the deepest parts of the lungs, they create scar tissue. The body’s natural defenses cannot expel asbestos fibers, so the scar tissue continues to build over years. The latency period for asbestos diseases of the lung is typically 20 to 30 years. The lungs become incapacitated and no longer expand and contract correctly.
Serving His Country
Edward worked as a U.S. Navy Welder and honorably served his country from 1956 to 1968. He unfortunately was exposed to asbestos performing repairs and maintenance to marine equipment. While this portion of his service was only 6 years of the total 22, it was more than enough to expose Edward to dangerous levels of asbestos while working with specific valves. These valves were insulated and packed with asbestos and also contained asbestos gaskets.
Believing in the System
For decades companies have known that asbestos was dangerous and could potentially threaten the lives of workers in contact with it. And while the government has also known of these dangers, it was the 1980′s before regulations were passed to ban asbestos use. Edward is a victim of a company’s desire to make more money and ignore the safety of anyone using their product.
Edward and his family decided to pursue legal avenues and hired an attorney familiar with the legal issues surrounding asbestos. Making sure you have an attorney versed in the litigation and legislative issues around asbestos diseases is critical to getting what you need for you and your family. The family was awarded a nice sum for economic and non-economic damages. The money helps offset the large number of medical bills, as well as allowing for the family to be cared for.
A Second Chance
Edward had surgery for his two lung cancers. Because the surgeons were able to re-sect both lungs, the surgery was successful and presently Edward is cancer free. While pain and suffering cannot be alleviated by the financial compensation, the family did have the opportunity to confront those who wronged them and many others. It is difficult to go through the grueling process of a trial, but in the end Edward received his day in court and tackled a company who needed to be brought to justice for their actions.
(The story is true, but the names were changed to respect the family’s privacy.)