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An Alaska mesothelioma lawyer can help you seek a settlement or other type of compensation for asbestos exposure and illness. Alaska has several natural asbestos deposits but one of the lowest death rates from asbestos-related illnesses, like mesothelioma. Most cases of exposure that led to illnesses in residents occurred in the workplace.Get Financial Help Now
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How to File an Asbestos or Mesothelioma Claim in Alaska
The best way to file a claim for asbestos exposure and illness is to work with an experienced lawyer. Alaska mesothelioma lawyers are experts in the related laws and have proven experience helping victims file successful claims.
Types of Asbestos Claims Available in Alaska
Victims of asbestos exposure often have more than one option for filing a claim. A lawyer can explain these in more detail, but asbestos claims include the following:
- Personal Injury Asbestos Lawsuit. Alaska allows victims to file personal injury lawsuits to hold companies liable. A lawsuit against the companies that exposed you to asbestos might end in a settlement agreement or a court case and jury verdict.
- Asbestos Trust Fund Claim. If the company responsible went bankrupt, you cannot sue them. They probably started an asbestos trust, which you can use to claim for compensation.
- VA Benefits Claims. If your exposure occurred during active military service, claim with the VA for compensation and other benefits, like healthcare from mesothelioma specialists.
Who Is Eligible for an Alaska Asbestos Claim?
Anyone negligently exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with a related disease is eligible to make a claim in Alaska. A successful claim, however, requires evidence of past exposure. This is one reason it is so important to work with the right lawyer.
Alaska mesothelioma lawyers know where exposure occurred. They have the resources to track down past employers and other companies that exposed you or your family.
Where Could I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos in Alaska?
Being diagnosed with an asbestos illness means you are eligible to make an asbestos claim or file a lawsuit. But if you don’t know where or when your exposure occurred, making a case is difficult. These are some of the most common sources of asbestos exposure in Alaska:
Alaska’s Natural Asbestos Deposits
Several sites in this vast state contain natural deposits of asbestos. Much of the state is unpopulated and undeveloped, which has protected residents from much of the damage these deposits could cause.
There are four major sites in the panhandle region, around the capital Juneau and the city of Ketchikan. These are essential sites because they are near one of the more populated areas of Alaska.
Other deposits of asbestos are found along the Yukon River, around Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, in Kubuk Valley National Park, and near Bristol Bay.
Asbestos in Distant Early Warning Radar Stations
One important source of asbestos contamination in Alaska comes from the Distant Early Warning (DEW) radar stations. The stations were set up in the 1950s and 1960s to detect and notify officials and the public of any Cold War Soviet planes or missiles threatening the area.
The radar stations stretched through Alaska and into the Arctic region of Canada. Both civilians and military personnel lived near and operated the stations, which contained asbestos materials.
Several radar stations contained contamination from several different toxic materials, including asbestos, and have had to be cleaned up. People who worked at and around the DEW stations may have been exposed to asbestos and were put at risk of developing mesothelioma.
United States Air Force Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson
Several military sites in Alaska used asbestos in buildings and facilities, putting military and civilian workers at risk for exposure. Elmendorf Air Force Base had asbestos in multiple areas, including vehicles and aircraft, electronics, insulation, and other building materials, and in especially high quantities in the power station on the base.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working with the military to clean up the site. The cleanup has involved the removal of many toxic substances and materials that contain asbestos.
Although the cleanup is helping make the site safer, the damage was already done for people who worked there in the past. The base has been in operation since 1940, and thousands of people passed through it and were put at risk of developing mesothelioma and other illnesses.
Other Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure in Alaska
Asbestos was used frequently in many different applications because it is an abundant, inexpensive mineral with many important qualities. Mostly, its ability to resist fire and heat has made it an ideal construction material for siding, roofing, floors, insulation, and fireproofing materials.
Asbestos has also been used extensively in ships, vehicles, and aircraft. Military personnel has been put at risk of being exposed to it more than other populations because of these applications.
Military personnel may have been at risk of asbestos exposure more than others, but civilians in Alaska were exposed too, especially those working in certain industries.
Any job working on or around ships and boats, construction jobs, and most industrial jobs put workers at risk for exposure and illness. Some of the known work sites in Alaska to have used asbestos include:
- Alaska Lumber and Pulp Company, Sitka
- Aurora Power, Anchorage and Aurora Energy, Fairbanks
- Salt Chuck Mine, Prince of Wales Island
- Ambler Gravel Pit, Ambler
- Eielson Air Force Base, Fairbanks
- Kodiak Naval Station, Kodiak
- S. Rubber Company, Opelika
- S. Smelting and Refining and Mining Company, Fairbanks
- Union Carbide, Kenai
- Adak Naval Air Station, Adak
- Shell Oil, Kenai
- Ladd Air Force Base, Fairbanks
- Wainwright U.S. Army Base
- Richardson U.S. Army Base
How Many People Have Been Affected by Asbestos in Alaska?
Alaska is sparsely populated, which means the number of deaths related to asbestos is low. However, the death rate is significant based on the population in the state.
According to statistics, 512 people in Alaska died from asbestos-related illnesses between 1999 and 2017. These people encountered asbestos decades earlier.
Among the 512 deaths are 96 people who died from mesothelioma, 38 from asbestosis, and nearly 400 people from asbestos-related lung cancer.
Alaska Laws That Affect Asbestos Claims
Laws related to personal injury and asbestos are complicated. Alaska laws can have a big impact on your claim or lawsuit and might even prevent you from collecting compensation. Know the laws and talk to a lawyer who can explain what you need to do for the best chance of a successful claim.
Statute of Limitations
All states set a statute of limitations for lawsuits filed over asbestos exposure and related illnesses. According to the law in Alaska, a suit must be filed within two years of a plaintiff’s diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease.
Since asbestos diseases are often latent for long periods, the law allows for lawsuits to be filed up to two years from the discovery of the disease, not after the first symptoms appeared or after the disease should have been discovered. For wrongful death suits, there is also a two-year statute of limitations that extends from the time of death.
Asbestos Standards Bill MakesAlaska Mesothelioma Lawsuits More Difficult
In 2012 the governor of Alaska, Sean Parnell, signed a bill that may make pursuing mesothelioma lawsuits and getting compensation for victims more difficult. The bill includes asbestos standards that allow construction companies and other construction-related businesses to use extracted materials that contain some level of naturally occurring asbestos.
This could consist of gravel, for instance, which often contains natural asbestos. The law will also mean that companies using these materials would be protected from legal liability if anyone gets sick from asbestos exposure.
The law was passed and signed to help remote communities. These areas may have naturally occurring asbestos that would otherwise prevent them from developing and expanding, building roads, and expanding sewage lines. Unfortunately, while it may help with economic revitalization, the law gives victims who get sick from the asbestos dust stirred up no recourse for claiming compensation or justice.
Asbestos Claims for Alaska Veterans
Many veterans were exposed to asbestos during active duty. The U.S. Navy in particular used asbestos extensively and put service members at risk. Ships, bases, vehicles, and equipment were all potential sources of exposure.
How to Make a VA Asbestos Claim
The Veterans Administration offers several types of benefits for veterans who can show they encountered asbestos while serving in the military.
You can file online or visit the Veterans Benefits Administration office in Anchorage to make a claim for disability and compensation. For healthcare, contact the Alaska VA Healthcare System in Alaska.
Getting Help with a VA Asbestos Claim
The process of filing a successful claim can be long, complicated, and fraught with potential errors that could limit your benefits. You can work with experts to get through the process more quickly and for a better chance at success.
A Veterans Service Officer (VSO) is trained in applying for benefits and approved by the VA to help veterans. In Alaska, you can contact a VSO through veterans’ groups like the VFW and others in Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Wasilla, Palmer, Kodiak, and Jasper.
An Alaska mesothelioma lawyer can also represent you when filing a VA asbestos claim. They will complete the necessary forms, explain your rights, and give you the best chance of proving past exposure and making a successful claim.
Asbestos Safety Laws in Alaska
People living and working in Alaska must follow federal and state laws to manage asbestos and protect people living and working around it. As in most other states, anyone removing, disrupting, or abating asbestos must be professionally trained and licensed through the state of Alaska.
Safety gear is required, including respirators, to do this work. There are also special regulations for how asbestos must be transported and disposed of in landfills. It must be moved in fully sealed containers with warning labels and disposed of only in authorized landfills.
How to Find an Alaska Mesothelioma Lawyer
Although Alaska has the lowest death rate from asbestos-related diseases of any other state, people here have still gotten sick and suffered from asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one needs assistance in finding compensation or filing a lawsuit, an Alaska mesothelioma lawyer can help.
A professional experienced with asbestos and mesothelioma laws can guide your decisions and make sure you file within the statutes of limitations and the state’s laws. A good lawyer will give you the best possible chance to get a settlement or compensation.
To find the right legal team, look for firms advertising expertise and experience working with asbestos victims. Request a free consultation so they can review your case. Ask for proof that they have worked with and won for past victims. Don’t settle for a lawyer without the relevant experience and results.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Rod De Llano was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics, and earned a law degree from the University of Texas. After working for an international law firm for several years, Rod formed a law firm dedicated to representing persons injured by exposure to asbestos products. For over 20 years, Rod has fought for persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. His clients have recovered over $1 billion over the years.