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Asbestos Exposure & Mesothelioma in Millwrights

Millwrights perform a variety of industrial machine repairs that have the potential to disturb asbestos and release it into the environment. Airborne asbestos can be inhaled and become embedded in the tissues surrounding the lungs and other bodily organs. As a result, millwrights may develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses later in life.

A 1993 study of 110 millwrights and machine erectors published in Environmental Research found that 44.5 percent of these workers developed lung abnormalities, including unilateral pleural thickening, interstitial lung disease, and reduced lung function. These abnormalities are consistent with asbestos exposure.  

The abnormalities are an inflammatory response to asbestos fibers that have been inhaled or ingested. The human body cannot break down or expel the fibers, so they become deeply embedded in the tissues, where they cause damage over the course of a lifetime, leading to mesothelioma and other devastating illnesses.

The Lanier Law Firm helps millwrights who have developed asbestos-related illnesses get justice for their occupational asbestos exposure.

Millwrights and Asbestos Exposure

Millwrights are highly skilled industrial mechanics who inspect, repair, clean and maintain industrial machinery located in factories, power plants, and construction sites. Equipment a millwright may service includes the following: 

  • Boilers
  • Generators
  • Shafting
  • Precision bearings
  • Gearboxes
  • Motors
  • Mechanical clutches
  • Conveyors
  • Hoists
  • Pulleys
  • Trucks
Factory worker

Asbestos was extensively used in industrial machinery due to its heat resistance, insulating abilities, and tensile strength. Asbestos was most abundant in the following components:

  • Wire insulation
  • Spray-on insulation
  • Insulation materials
  • Fireproofing
  • Sheet gaskets
  • Rubber gaskets
  • Packing
  • Flanges
  • Valves
  • Acoustic insulation
  • Hydraulic components
  • Industrial cement, adhesives, and sealants
  • Cylinders
  • Pumps
  • Motors

Asbestos is not used in new machinery, but industrial machinery is built for longevity and is expensive to replace. As a result, millwrights may still be exposed to asbestos while working on older equipment. 

Millwrights may be exposed to asbestos by simply accessing asbestos-containing components. Most asbestos is encased in hard materials, but asbestos used for fireproofing and high-heat insulation was often applied through spray applications. This asbestos easily crumbles when touched. 

Encased asbestos can become airborne when disturbed. This can occur as the encasement materials wear down or during the following common tasks:

  • Using grinding wheels
  • Shaping components with a lathe
  • Drilling
  • Sanding
  • Cutting
  • Welding
  • Opening machinery
  • Relocating machinery
  • Removing old machinery
  • Replacing defective parts
  • Installing industrial machinery
  • Making adjustments to machine components

Millwrights also perform general duties, such as pipefitting, carpentry, welding, and electrical work, all of which can lead to asbestos exposure, especially in older buildings.

Companies That Have Exposed Millwrights to Asbestos

The types of companies that employ millwrights in environments where asbestos may be present include the following:

Sawmills and wood preservation
Industrial repair and maintenance companies
Paper mills
Iron and steel mills
Engineered wood product manufacturers
Factories

Companies that have historically exposed millwrights to asbestos include the following:

  • A. Schulman, Inc.
  • Afton Pumps, Inc.
  • Albany International Corp.
  • BMI Refractory Services
  • Burt Process Equipment, Inc.
  • Caterpillar, Inc.
  • Cincinnati Valve Company
  • Columbus McKinnon Corp.
  • Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc.
  • Elliott Turbomachinery
  • F.B. Wright Company
  • Garlock Sealing Technologies
  • General Electric Company
  • General Refractories Company
  • Goodrich Corporation
  • Honeywell, Inc.
  • Industrial Holdings Corp.
  • Invensys Systems
  • John Crane
  • Johns Manville
  • Lamons Gasket Company
  • Mead
  • Mount Vernon Mills, Inc.
  • Norton Company
  • Owens-Illinois
  • Peerless Corporation
  • Plastics Engineering Company
  • Reunion Industries, Inc.
  • U.S. Steel Corporation
  • Union Carbide Corporation
  • Vellumoid, Inc.
  • Weir Valves and Controls
  • Wyeth Holdings Corp.

Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure

Millwrights with a history of asbestos exposure may contract mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, or other cancers. These are serious conditions that may develop 10 to 40 years or more after having been exposed.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a non-cancerous condition that causes scar tissue to develop in the lungs. As the scar tissue spreads, the lungs become stiff, making it difficult for them to expand and facilitate breathing. This prevents the lungs from absorbing sufficient oxygen. 

Asbestosis is a progressive, incurable condition that increases the risk of developing mesothelioma and lung cancer. Treatment generally focuses on slowing the progression of the disease.

Asbestos Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a more common health effect of asbestos exposure than mesothelioma. When compared to lung cancer brought on by other factors, asbestos-related lung cancer may present with the following distinctive pathologies:

  • Asbestosis
  • Pleural plaques
  • The presence of asbestos fibers in lung tissue
  • History of asbestos exposure

The treatment for asbestos-related lung cancer is no different from lung cancer with other etiologies. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, or a combination of modalities.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is cancer of the lining surrounding the internal organs. This form of cancer is aggressive and difficult to treat. Approximately 3,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, which makes it a rare form of cancer that should generally be treated at a specialized mesothelioma treatment center.

The four types of mesothelioma are as follows: 

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type with an average life expectancy of approximately one year after diagnosis. 

What legal options do millwrights have for asbestos exposure?

If you have been exposed to asbestos while working as a millwright and subsequently contracted an asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible to file multiple mesothelioma claims, depending on the circumstances of your exposure.

Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure

The following damages may be available in a mesothelioma lawsuit:

  • Economic damages – Medical expenses and lost income
  • Non-economic damages – Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages – Damages awarded to punish the defendant

If your family member has passed away as a result of an asbestos-related illness, your family may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover economic, non-economic, and punitive damages on behalf of the deceased and your family.

You may qualify to file a mesothelioma lawsuit if the following circumstances are true:

  • You have contracted an asbestos-related illness.
  • You can prove how you were exposed to asbestos.
  • You are not a statutory employee required to file a workers’ compensation claim.
  • The responsible company is not bankrupt.
Factory worker

Workers’ Compensation Claims for Asbestos Exposure

Workers’ compensation provides the following benefits to employees who suffer an occupational injury or illness:

  • Medical care
  • Partial wage replacement
  • Death benefits

If you are required to file a workers’ compensation claim, you generally cannot file a lawsuit against the employer, but you may still be able to file a lawsuit against the companies that supplied asbestos to your employer. Independent contractors are not covered employees and can generally sue employers.

Asbestos Trust Fund Claims

If you were exposed to asbestos by a company that has been granted bankruptcy protection, you cannot file a civil lawsuit. However, bankrupt companies with asbestos liabilities must establish asbestos trust funds for the benefit of the individuals they exposed to asbestos. 

Trust fund claims pay economic and non-economic damages to the asbestos exposure victims and their families in the event of their death. Claims are made directly to each fund rather than through the court system. Currently, the asbestos trust funds hold approximately $30 billion in funds. 

VA Claims

Millwrights with asbestos-related illnesses stemming from asbestos exposure in the military may be eligible for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA benefits include the following:

  • Medical care
  • Monthly disability payments
  • Family benefits
  • Death benefits

VA claims must be filed directly with the Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify, you must be able to prove the following:

  • You were not dishonorably discharged.
  • You were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military.
  • You have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.

How can The Lanier Law Firm help?

The mesothelioma lawyers at The Lanier Law Firm take whatever measures are necessary to win the highest compensation available for our asbestos exposure clients. When you retain The Lanier Law Firm, you can count on us to accomplish the following:

  • Help you identify your sources of exposure to asbestos
  • Gather the evidence needed to prove your case
  • Calculate your case value, considering present and future damages
  • Negotiate the maximum settlement amount available
  • File one or more civil lawsuits in the most favorable jurisdictions possible
  • File one or more asbestos trust fund claims on your behalf
  • File a workers’ compensation claim on your behalf
  • When necessary, present a compelling case to a jury

How much does an asbestos exposure lawyer cost?

The Lanier Law Firm takes on the upfront costs and risks associated with your case until after we successfully recover your compensation. You pay nothing up front. This arrangement prevents financial limitations from standing in the way of justice.

When should I contact a mesothelioma lawyer?

It is important to contact a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after you receive your diagnosis. This will ensure your case can be thoroughly investigated and prepared well ahead of the statute of limitations, which varies from state to state.

Why is The Lanier Law Firm the best choice?

The Lanier Law Firm is a nationally recognized mesothelioma law firm with more than 30 years of experience successfully standing up to large companies on behalf of asbestos exposure victims. Our attorneys have been rated as Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Elite Trial Lawyers by our peers.

Most importantly, we have achieved consistently successful case results for our asbestos exposure clients, including the following:

  • $2.577 million settlement for a man exposed to asbestos while working on oil rigs and in the automotive brake industry
  • $2.256 million settlement for the family of a deceased papermill worker
  • $1.9 million settlement for the surviving spouse of an engineer who worked on cruise ship engines
  • $1.452 million settlement for the family of a deceased servicer of pumps, boilers, and valves that contained asbestos

Our mesothelioma lawyers regularly receive feedback from our clients like the following:

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I lost my husband to mesothelioma. The Lanier Law Firm was there for me from the moment my husband passed. Their kindness and support during this difficult time helped me to deal with all the issues going on in my life. They were my only friends, and I am glad they were there to support me. — Debra Doyle

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My mother, my two sisters, and myself have benefitted, and continue to benefit, greatly from The Lanier Law Firm’s tenacious quest to seek justice from negligent entities responsible for my father’s illness and untimely death from mesothelioma. — Mike Mooney

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If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. The statute of limitations limits the amount of time you have to file a claim. Contact The Lanier Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.

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