In the past few decades, American standards for construction of homes and businesses have radically improved, with tighter regulations on building materials, zoning and safety codes. However, older buildings still stand, and in many of them, you will find asbestos in the walls, or in the ceiling. Asbestos exposure is the major cause of mesothelioma, and all its comorbid illnesses. Many people are not even aware they have developed the disease until diagnosis, given how long it takes to mature. It is important to know the risk factors, and to know if you may have a case to hold someone liable for your exposure.
A History of Asbestos in South Carolina
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in the mesothelial tissue, which is the membrane which covers several internal organs. It most often appears in the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), heart (pericardial) and stomach (peritoneal). Signs and symptoms vary depending on where the cancer develops, but all the symptoms can generally be written off as minor, giving very little clue to an underlying condition. For example, shortness of breath or unexplained weight loss may be chalked up to a chest cold or a stomach bug.
South Carolina sees a slightly higher percentage than the rest of the country in terms of deaths from mesothelioma, if not asbestos-related illnesses as a whole. Between 2000 and 2010, almost 500 citizens of the state had a cause of death listed as mesothelioma. One of the reasons for this is that South Carolina leads the nation in vermiculite mining. Vermiculite ore is an industrial material that often contains “large amounts” of asbestos. Given the extensive presence of the mining industry in the state, more workers than average tend to contract asbestos-related illnesses.
Those At Risk
While older homes absolutely may contain asbestos fibers, it is most common for those who develop mesothelioma later in life to have been exposed extensively at their place of work. If this is the case for you, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim for your illness, or even a personal injury claim if you can argue that your employer was willfully putting you in harm’s way. The South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control has extremely strict regulations on how asbestos and items containing asbestos must be handled, and if they are broken, it may be probative evidence as to how much exposure you experienced.
Be advised that currently, South Carolina does have some of the most restrictive laws in the nation about how and when one may bring suit due to asbestos exposure, if you decide to bring a personal injury suit. The statute of limitations on bringing a personal injury suit is three years from the date of diagnosis, after which you are not permitted to bring any action. Workers’ compensation must be pursued even quicker – the rule of thumb is to inform one’s employer ‘as quickly as possible,’ but the more concrete number is within 30 days in most states.
Contact A Mesothelioma Attorney Today
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or another condition you believe is due to work-related asbestos exposure, you need a good legal professional on your side. The experienced North Charleston mesothelioma attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse are well-versed in these areas of law, and are happy to help you get what you need. Contact our office today to discuss your options.