Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber that is heat- and fire-resistant. It is a material widely used in a variety of industries, particularly within the home and construction industry.
Unfortunately, it is also one of the most toxic substances known to man. In fact, it has already been established as a known carcinogen by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
What are Shaker Cases?
Just like there is secondhand smoking exposure, there is also secondary exposure to asbestos. This is what we call the “shaker cases.”
These cases involve people who do not have any direct contact with asbestos but got exposed to it by being in contact with people who have been directly exposed.
How Exposure Occurs
Secondary household exposure to asbestos, also called “domestic exposure,” is prevalent among women. They usually got exposed through their husbands, fathers, children, and brothers who were working in factories, petro-chemical plants, mines, and shipyards that made use of asbestos. Asbestos fibers were found in those locations’ building materials including insulation, roofing, sheetrock, pipes, boilers, and other materials.
When these men were about to go home from their jobs to their families, they usually did not bother with cleaning themselves up, nor changing into a fresh set of clothes. Even if they wanted to change their clothes, most employers did not provide a changing room for them to remove their contaminated work clothes.
They were then welcomed home by the women in their lives, who will then “shake” off the dust and wash their clothes, unaware that they are also inhaling toxic asbestos fibers in the process. The fibers would also be embedded in chairs, bedding, couches, carpeting, and other household items. This is where the term “shaker case” got its name.
How Much Exposure is Dangerous?
All forms of asbestos exposure are dangerous. Even just the slightest and smallest hint of exposure does not make you in any way safe. Every instance of contact, whether direct or secondary exposure, is considered enough for the development of mesothelioma (a type of cancer that affects many vital organs of the human body, particularly the lungs), lung cancer, or asbestosis in the future.
Individual risk factors should also be taken into account, such as age, smoking, and pre-existing lung conditions.
What to Do if You Have Been Exposed
If you think you or someone in your family has been exposed to asbestos, schedule an immediate checkup with your primary care physician.
Take note that this disease takes decades to develop. It is latent, so doctors have a difficult time diagnosing cases of mesothelioma.
However, even if you are not showing signs and symptoms, this does not mean you are completely safe.
Avoid complacency, take the necessary precautions in the future, and remain vigilant while watching out for signs of mesothelioma.
While there is no known cure for mesothelioma, you can always take proactive steps toward improving your overall health. If you smoke, then stop doing so. Smoking weakens your lungs, making you more susceptible to developing mesothelioma later on in life.
On the other hand, if you have been exposed, you need not live your life in constant fear and always be looking over your shoulder. You should not allow this incident to get in the way of living a full life.
Taking Legal Action
The statute of limitations for most states is usually 1 to 5 years after the discovery that one has mesothelioma. However, for Louisiana, the statute is only one year after the discovery.
Due to its time-sensitive nature, it is important for you, your family members, and your loved ones to act quickly when it comes to filing a claim. You also need to make sure that the lawyer you choose to hire for your case is someone who is well-versed in filing asbestos lawsuits.
The lawyer will file the case on your behalf and will do everything to make sure that you get the best offer during the settlement. Almost all mesothelioma claims don’t go to trial because these are settled out of court. But there are also times when an asbestos claim does go to trial.
If you are looking for a law firm that will expertly guide your asbestos claim, look no further than Landry & Swarr. While we are based in New Orleans, we are a Louisiana law firm that has many years of experience successfully handling asbestos claims.
When it comes to taking on these cases, our mesothelioma attorneys will aggressively pursue the rule of law and exhaust all legal ways to make sure you receive the benefits you are qualified to receive, for you and your family.