Thousands Who Suffer Diseases Due to ASBESTOS Find Help at RK&M

Rose, Klein & Marias LLP is one of California's most experienced law firms in handling both workers' compensation cases and civil action lawsuits related to asbestos exposure. No attorneys in California have worked in this area on behalf of claimants longer than RK&M attorneys.

Our principals in asbestos-related law include Robert B. Steinberg, who handled California's first civil action lawsuit against an asbestos manufacturer in 1975; also a member of the Asbestos Litigation Group, and former plaintiffs' liaison counsel to the Court for Los Angeles County Asbestos Litigation.

The three attorneys head a team of more than 20 lawyers and other professionals who focus on asbestos lawsuits. Additionally, partners Howard Lehman and David Galperson certified specialists in workers' compensation, head a department of more than 15 lawyers and other professionals who have practiced exclusively in asbestos exposure workers' compensation since 1984.

Our team has won more than $600 million in awards for our asbestos clients.

Widespread Exposure Endangered Millions

Asbestos is a mineral that was used from the early 1930's until it was mostly outlawed in the U.S. in 1974. (Some countries still use this material.) Because it was inexpensive to mine and is able to withstand extremely high temperatures, it was used extensively to make insulation against fire or heat. It was finally banned by the government because it created severe health risks.

Anyone who worked in construction or maintenance before 1974, or who worked as an electrician, plumber, air conditioning and heating installer, repair person or who installed security systems in buildings built before 1974, has been exposed to asbestos.

Also exposed were shipyard workers and people who worked as mechanics, especially on auto or other kinds of brakes, or who were custodians or janitors in commercial buildings, hospitals or schools built before 1974. People in military service, especially the U.S. Navy, may have been exposed, and the spouses or children of anyone working in those trades or the military may have been exposed, as well.

Asbestos and asbestos materials are dangerous because when they are handled, microscopic fibers are released into the air. These fibers can severely damage the lungs. Part of what makes this damage so terrible is that it can take 20 years or more before it shows up and there is no medical treatment for this damage.

What To Do If You Have Been Exposed?

People who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos - especially if they did or do smoke - and who suffer shortness of breath, should see a doctor. People who smoked and worked in asbestos are at greater risk than people who did not smoke. Doctors can tell if your disease is asbestos and/or smoking-related. Even people who have no symptoms or sickness at this time should see a doctor if they believe they have been exposed and should be checked every 12 to 18 months. Because this damage may not show up for many years after exposure, anyone who thinks they have been exposed should be alert to the fact that they may become sick in the future. It's important to tell the doctor about the asbestos exposure.

What Kinds Of Illnesses Result From Exposure?

Asbestosis is a scarring of the lungs and is the most common disease caused by being around asbestos. When asbestos is handled, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air and inhaled into one's lungs, causing the scarring. The symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing. Other diseases also cause these symptoms, so it is important to have a diagnosis from a physician who knows about your asbestos exposure. Other symptoms include clubbing of hands caused by not getting enough oxygen in the blood.

Pleural plaque is also caused by asbestos. It is a thickening of the lungs' lining and can interfere with a person's ability to breathe and can cause other pulmonary problems. While asbestosis usually can be seen on a chest X-ray, pleural plaques are usually diagnosed by a CAT scan.

Some cancers are related to asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is the most serious of these and is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. It is a rare, but very serious cancer. Lung cancer also is often connected to asbestos. However, it also has other causes such as smoking. Other cancers that may be related to asbestos exposure include gastrointestinal cancer, throat, larynx or colon cancers.

What Should You Do If You Are Ill Because Of Asbestos?

If you are diagnosed with any asbestos-related disease, you should speak with a lawyer experienced in handling asbestos-related cases. Generally, there may be two kinds of actions that may help you if you have an asbestos-related disease. If you are disabled by an asbestos-related disease caused by exposure on the job, you have the right to file for workers' compensation to make up for your lost ability to work and for medical care. Moreover, because it has been proven that manufacturers of asbestos products knew the materials created health risks, but did not put warnings on their products, they can be held responsible for health problems caused by working with asbestos. You have the right to sue these companies for their negligence, whether you were exposed to their asbestos at work or somewhere else.

You also may call our offices and talk to one of our attorneys who specialize in this area of the law. Do not delay in asking for legal help if your doctor confirms that you have an asbestos-related disease. It costs nothing to talk with us about your legal rights.

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