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What to Do if You Have Been Exposed to Asbestos

I have been exposed to asbestos, what should I do?

If you have been recently exposed to asbestos take these steps to document your exposure now.

Who You Were With When You Were Exposed to Asbestos

Get the full particulars of all other people that can confirm your exposure. If they are willing to provide a written statement, get it now. It does not need to be lengthy just describe the circumstances of how you each came to be aware of the asbestos exposure. You should provide written confirmation to the other party(s) as well. The easiest way to accomplish this confirmation is to have them send you an email. This gives you their correct email address as a bonus.

What Asbestos Products You Were Exposed to

If you were personally removing old insulation at work or your building was being renovated and workers were removing old asbestos tiles note these facts. Maybe you arrived at work to find construction dust all over your desk. We all have smart phones; take pictures. Remember to turn on the date and geotag features.

Where Your Exposure to Asbestos Occurred

Exact address of property and location at the property. The most common questions about recent exposure that we hear are instances of older apartment buildings being renovated and construction debris being moved through the hallways and elevators without safety precautions being taken. If the property was built before 1980 ask the workers to see if they tested for asbestos before they started the project.

If you were exposed in a rental property hold onto that lease. It confirms your occupancy and gives you the details of the building owner. Note the name of the company that did the renovations. This information is often posted around the project site or on construction company vehicles.

If the exposure occurred at work think about a report to occupational health and safety. If you were on a job and you have a union, report it to your union and have them investigate. What you want to do is get the exposure documented in case you ever need to prove liability.

When it Happened

Document dates and times. This could be one day or over many days. The start and end date of the construction project would be ideal. If you were exposed at a work place, the start and end date of the job you were on. Retain a copy of your record of employment or T4 slip for the relevant time period. Renovations or repairs being carried out in workplaces, even off hours, is a common asbestos exposure concern.

How You Know the Substance You Were Exposed to Contained Asbestos

This could be a notification from your employer, Occupational Health and Safety or your union. If you have been proactive and obtained a sample of construction debris and had it privately tested hold onto that report.

And lastly, tell your doctor so the exposure is noted on your medical chart. There is no medical test that can be done to confirm your exposure or predict the chances of exposure causing you future medical problems. Asbestos does not show up in any blood tests. If you have breathed in or swallowed any asbestos dust particles there is no known test to confirm this fact until lesions form, usually a minimum of ten years after exposure.

The above suggestions are so you can prove liability in the very unlikely circumstances you become ill at some time in the future.

Next, store the documentation in a place where you will be able to retrieve it in 30 - 50 years. The chances of you ever needing this information or getting ill are miniscule but should the unthinkable happen you would be in a position to make a workplace compensation claim or sue your landlord.

Asbestos injury claims can only be made if and when you become ill. You must sustain injury or illness for a personal injury claim to be successful. Distress about being exposed to asbestos is not sufficient to warrant compensation. If you were exposed through the negligent actions of a contractor, landlord, employer or person the statute of limitations does not run from the date of exposure but from the date that you are diagnosed with an asbestos disease.

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos caused disease contact us to obtain more information and learn about your options for compensation.