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A Virginia mesothelioma lawyer can guide you through the difficult legal battle you face after discovering asbestos exposure caused you to develop mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis. Thousands of Virginians were exposed to this dangerous set of minerals over several decades and are now getting sick with serious illnesses.
Most asbestos exposure in Virginia occurred in the workplace. Several industries have used asbestos in the past. Some still use asbestos, despite stricter regulations. Shipbuilding, mining, industrial and chemical plants, manufacturing plants, power plants, and construction are some industries that have used asbestos extensively.
Asbestos in Virginia
Between 1999 and 2013, Virginia saw over 6,000 residents die as a result of asbestos-related illnesses. This figure includes over 4,500 people who died from lung cancer, over 1,100 who died from mesothelioma, and more than 700 who died from asbestosis, the scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos fibers. Much of the exposure occurred on the job.
For decades, many industries used asbestos without completely understanding the harm it was causing workers. Nearly all industrial facilities used asbestos in machinery, equipment, buildings, and even protective clothing, mostly to insulate and protect against heat and fire. In Virginia, mining and shipping are big industries, and both used asbestos extensively.
Mining and Naturally-Occurring Asbestos in Virginia
With the Appalachian Mountains running right through the state, Virginia has long been an important area for mining, especially for mining coal. The state is also home to several natural asbestos deposits and former asbestos mines. Even when a mine is not specifically producing asbestos, they can disturb natural asbestos deposits during mining activities. This can result in fibers mixing into the air, soil, and water, exposing both workers and nearby residents.
Currently, there is one operating vermiculite mine in Virginia, the Virginia Vermiculite. Although vermiculite is not harmful to human health, deposits are almost always near asbestos. Because of this, mining and handling vermiculite are always risky. In 2000, a safety assessment of this mine found that the rocks contain asbestos. The mine has been putting people at risk for asbestos exposure for decades and probably accounts for many cases of asbestos-related illnesses.
Shipyards and Navy Veterans
The maritime industry is also important in Virginia. The state’s extensive coastline has made it an important location for shipping and naval operations for hundreds of years. Around the beginning of World War II, asbestos took on a major role in shipbuilding. For decades, ships were constructed with asbestos materials, putting many workers, sailors, and Naval officers at risk.
Asbestos was prized for shipbuilding for several reasons. It resists heat and fire effectively. Asbestos strengthens materials without adding excessive weight. It is also inexpensive and readily available. Because of these useful properties, at one time, asbestos was used in nearly every part of a ship. Because asbestos was used so extensively, anyone working on a ship in any position could have been exposed to this dangerous mineral. Also, anyone who built or repaired any part of these ships could have been exposed. U.S. Navy veterans have some of the highest rates of asbestos-related illnesses for this reason. Many of these veterans have won cases and received compensation after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Some won posthumous justice, allowing their loved ones to receive compensation from wrongful death suits after working with Virginia mesothelioma lawyers.
Other Sites in Virginia with Asbestos
Shipyards, naval stations, and mines have been responsible for significant amounts of asbestos exposure in Virginia. However, there have been plenty of other industries, workplaces, and buildings across the state that have put people at risk. Paper mills, power companies, and chemical companies are big industries in Virginia, employing numerous workers. These facilities have also put workers at risk of exposure. Some sites are known to have asbestos include:
- General Chemical Company, Fort Royal
- Dutch Gap Power Plant, Chesterfield
- Owens-Illinois Paper Mill, Big Island
- Saint Laurent Paper, West Point
- Allied Chemical Corporation, Chesterfield
- Hercules Power Company, Peppers
- American Electric Power Company, Glen Lyn
- Georgia-Pacific, Big Island
- Newport News Naval Shipyard, Newport News
- Little Creek Naval Base, Norfolk
- Lyon Shipyard, Norfolk
- Colonna’s Shipyard, Norfolk
Virginia Asbestos Laws
In Virginia, the Department of Labor and Industry enforces regulations set by the state’s Occupational Safety and Health department. This department also enforces regulations set by the federal government. The department must be notified at least ten days before any projects removing asbestos from spaces greater than ten square feet. Non-friable asbestos is the only exception to the required notification. Any deterioration in asbestos materials means the notification is necessary before the project can begin. Homeowners and contractors must obtain a permit before beginning work with or around asbestos. Also, professionals abating asbestos must be certified.
Cancer Care in Virginia
Receiving the best medical care after asbestos exposure is important. If you have been exposed, see your doctor for screening and regular checkups. If you receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer, you want to choose the best possible cancer care for the best treatment. In Virginia, there are two facilities designated by the National Cancer Institute as comprehensive cancer centers. These facilities have cancer experts, cutting-edge treatments, and conduct the latest cancer research. These two facilities are the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and the University of Virginia Cancer Center in Charlottesville.
Statute of Limitations
Although treatment will likely by your top priority after receiving a diagnosis, you should also consider legal action. In Virginia, you have just two years from the time of diagnosis to file a lawsuit. If you lose a loved one, the statute of limitations is just two years from the time of death. This means you have only two years to decide if a lawsuit is a course you want to take. Therefore, it is important to act quickly if you want to seek damages through a settlement, trial, or asbestos trust fund.
Find a Virginia Mesothelioma Lawyer
Filing a lawsuit and following through with it can be complicated. However, it is especially difficult if you are also fighting for your life. For this reason, finding a Virginia mesothelioma lawyer is a smart move if you are considering legal action. A lawyer who understands Virginia and federal asbestos and personal injury laws can help you gather evidence, file the lawsuit, make your case, and argue for a settlement. He or she can even represent you in front of a judge and jury. Without a lawyer on your side, you risk missing out on a chance for justice and medical compensation.
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.