Washington Mesothelioma Lawyer
Washington is home to numerous large employers that manufactured or processed asbestos products, resulting in a significantly higher death rate from asbestos-related illnesses than the national average. The Lanier Law Firm helps Washington residents and asbestos-exposure victims seek justice from the companies that wrongfully exposed them.
Since 1999, Washington’s annual death rate from asbestos-related illnesses has been 7.3 for every 100,000 people. The national average is 4.9.
Approximately 9,200 Washington residents died from asbestos-related illnesses between 1999 and 2017, including an estimated 1,604 people from mesothelioma and 6,416 from asbestos-related lung cancer.
The most common source of asbestos exposure is employment. From the 1930s to the late 1970s, many companies that mined, processed, and used asbestos were aware that it harmed workers but chose to conceal this information and allow workers to suffer harm rather than jeopardize profits.
The Lanier Law Firm’s Washington Mesothelioma Lawyers are dedicated to holding asbestos companies accountable.
The Lanier Law Firm Gets Results for Asbestos Exposure Victims in Washington
The Lanier Law Firm has recovered more than $20 billion in damages for injured individuals, including a $4.69 billion verdict against the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, whose asbestos-contaminated baby powder caused 22 women to contract ovarian cancer.
Our attorneys have achieved individual mesothelioma settlements in Washington ranging from $750,000 to $1 million. This represents a small portion of the compensation our deserving clients have recovered during our 25 years of asbestos litigation.
The Lanier Law Firm is nationally recognized for the results we achieve for clients. Our peers have recognized our lawyers for honors such as:
- Tier I Best Law Firm by U.S. News
- Best Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers
- Trial Lawyer of the Year by National Trial Lawyers
- Elite Trial Lawyers Award by the National Law Journal
- Top 50 Most Influential Lawyers by National Trial Lawyers
- Super Lawyers by Thomson-Reuters
Our Featured Washington
Mesothelioma & Asbestos Attorneys
Mark is a toxic tort, product liability, and personal injury litigation attorney who has represented clients in state and federal courts across the country. He has represented persons exposed to asbestos as shipyard workers, auto mechanics, electricians, and railroad workers. Mark has also represented numerous clients with unorthodox exposure histories, including spouses, children, and siblings suffering asbestos-related injuries as a result of asbestos fibers unknowingly brought home on the asbestos-laden work clothes of family members.
Megan joined the Asbestos Litigation Issues and Appeals section of The Lanier Law Firm in 2012 as a well-seasoned attorney advocating on behalf of the victims of asbestos exposure at other well-recognized plaintiffs’ firms. She is a native Texan but has represented clients all over the country.
Washington Industries With Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos was known as a versatile “miracle mineral” due to its tensile strength, fire and heat resistance, insulating properties, and chemical inertia. This made it useful for a wide array of industries. Workers facing the highest levels of asbestos exposure in Washington worked in the following industries:
- Airplane manufacturing and maintenance
- Oil refineries
- Die casting facilities
- Drywall and flooring manufacturers
- Steel mills
- Paper mills
- Power plants
- Industrial facilities
- Home construction and renovation companies
- Automotive brake and clutch shops
- Construction companies
Jobs With the Highest Risk of Exposure to Asbestos
Workers with the following job titles before 1980 may have been exposed to asbestos:
Companies That Exposed Workers to Asbestos
Companies in Washington with significant occupational asbestos exposure include the following:
- Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
- General Petroleum
- Royal Dutch Shell
- Equilon Enterprises
- US Oil
Washington is home to a quarter of the 117 shipyards located in the United States, any of which could have exposed workers to significant levels of asbestos.
What is the maximum safe level of asbestos in the workplace?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a maximum permissible exposure level of 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter over an eight-hour period. However, a permissible level does not mean OSHA considers any amount of asbestos safe. According to OSHA:
“There is no ‘safe’ level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber. Asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans. Every occupational exposure to asbestos can cause injury of disease; every occupational exposure to asbestos contributes to the risk of getting an asbestos-related disease.”
OSHA regulations require employers with asbestos in the workplace to provide personal protective equipment to workers and establish regulated areas.
Employers who fail to protect workers from occupational asbestos exposure are liable for the resulting harm and could face significant administrative penalties imposed by OSHA.
Are workers the only people at risk of
asbestos exposure in Washington?
Workers are not the only individuals exposed to asbestos. Anyone can be exposed to building components and consumer goods containing asbestos. Although asbestos is often encased in materials like cement, microscopic asbestos fibers can be released into the air through several processes:
- Wear and tear
- Drilling or cutting into the product
- Destruction of asbestos-containing materials, such as during building renovations, demolitions, or fires
Home and automobile owners who perform their own repairs may be unaware of the presence or risks of asbestos and may unknowingly cut into materials containing asbestos.
Workers exposed to asbestos may unintentionally bring home asbestos fibers, exposing family members. Schoolchildren may be exposed to asbestos in buildings with worn floor tiles. Nearly anyone can be unknowingly exposed to asbestos.
What are the effects of asbestos exposure?
When a person inhales or ingests asbestos fibers, they become embedded in the bodily tissues, where they remain. They are virtually indestructible, so the body cannot break them down. Instead, they cause slow damage and inflammation of the tissues until diseases develop years and even decades later.
Asbestos-related diseases include the following:
- Pleural mesothelioma
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
- Pericardial mesothelioma
- Testicular mesothelioma
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Esophageal cancer
The prognosis for these conditions is generally poor. The overall survival of pleural mesothelioma is 12 to 21 months with treatment, depending on the stage at which the condition was diagnosed. Without treatment, the overall survival rate is approximately ten months.
Where can I seek mesothelioma treatment in Washington?
Treatment of asbestos-related illnesses should be provided by specialists with experience attending to patients whose conditions were caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that few doctors have experience diagnosing or treating.
Specialized mesothelioma treatment centers participate in clinical studies and offer comprehensive care, including the most up-to-date treatment methodologies, comfort measures, and emotional support for the patient and family.
The Fred Hutch Cancer Center at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the region’s leading cancer care center, has a mesothelioma treatment program and is rated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. U.S. News & World Report ranks it as one of the top 10 facilities in the nation for adult cancer care.
What types of compensation are available if I have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness in Washington?
Compensation for asbestos-related illnesses may be substantial, but the compensation you can recover depends on the type of claim you are eligible to file. Many of our clients have had multiple exposure sources and qualify for more than one mesothelioma claim.
Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit
If you qualify for an asbestos-exposure lawsuit, you may be eligible to claim economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages.
- These damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Can I file a lawsuit if my loved one passed away as a result of an asbestos-related illness?
In the tragic loss of a family member, your family may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death claim, you might recover the following additional damages:
- Burial expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Loss of support
- Loss of companionship
Asbestos Trust Funds
After the public became aware of the link between asbestos exposure and the related diseases, companies that exposed their workers to asbestos began to face significant liability from the vast numbers of claims filed by affected workers and their families.
Many of these companies responded by filing for bankruptcy. Section 524(g) of the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Code requires bankrupt asbestos companies to establish trust funds for the benefit of asbestos exposure claimants.
As a result, if a company that exposed you to asbestos has filed for bankruptcy, you may be eligible to file a trust fund claim.
One advantage of filing a trust fund claim is that you can receive compensation faster than filing a lawsuit. Trust fund compensation may include economic and noneconomic damages.
The number of claims received by the asbestos trust funds has far exceeded the numbers initially anticipated. As a result, many of the trust funds are paying a percentage of the claim values. In these cases, this results in claimants receiving pennies on the dollar.
The Washington mesothelioma attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm can help you maximize your trust fund claim and, in many cases, find additional sources of exposure so you can file multiple compensation claims.
If your asbestos exposure occurred while you were serving active duty in the military, you may qualify for compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs. If your claim is successful, you will qualify for free medical care and monthly disability compensation.
You cannot sue the military for asbestos exposure. However, in addition to filing a claim for VA benefits, you may qualify to file a lawsuit or trust fund claim against the companies that sold asbestos-containing materials to the military.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you were exposed to asbestos as an employee, you may qualify for a workers’ compensation claim. If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you cannot file a lawsuit against the employer because the workers’ compensation laws protect employers from additional liability.
However, in the Washington asbestos exposure case of Walston versus Boeing Co., the court ruled that you can sue an employer if you can prove the employer knowingly caused an injury. Many asbestos companies knew about the risks associated with asbestos exposure and actively concealed this information for decades.
What is the time limit to file an asbestos
exposure claim in Washington?
The asbestos lawsuit statute of limitations in Washington is generally three years from the date of diagnosis. However, this can vary. The asbestos trust funds establish their own statutes of limitations, and many use the state statute of limitations for lawsuits.
The deadline to file a workers’ compensation claim in Washington is two years from the date of diagnosis. The VA does not impose a deadline for VA claims.
Regardless of the time frame, it is crucial to contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer in Washington as soon as possible after your diagnosis rather than waiting for the statute of limitations to approach. Your attorney will need time to investigate and prepare your case before it can be filed.
How can a Washington mesothelioma lawyer at The Lanier Law Firm help with my claim?
Many asbestos-exposure clients are surprised by their diagnoses because they were unaware they had been exposed to asbestos. Identifying all sources of exposure is crucial to recovering the total amount of compensation you are due.
The Lanier Law Firm has built extensive databases of asbestos products, companies, and internal company documents, including those made public in court cases and documents our private investigators have discovered.
In addition to identifying exposure sources, The Lanier Law Firm can provide vigorous representation to ensure you receive maximum compensation. We will ensure your claim is filed timely and correctly. Contact us today for a free consultation.