Property Damage and Sickness due to Asbestos and Mold

Asbestos and mold damage are major concerns for property owners, not only because they pose serious health risks, but because they can be costly to fix and depreciate the value of the property. If you discover that your property has asbestos or mold, it must be addressed as soon as possible. Obtaining insurance coverage for such issues can be complicated, and become more complex when an illness is involved. To help protect your interests when dealing with your insurance company, please contact our skilled NY property damage lawyers.

For over 25 years, we have helped claimants diagnosed with occupational asbestos diseases obtain multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements. These cases are difficult to litigate, since asbestos diseases can take a long time to become apparent. Our experienced and resourceful attorneys have what it takes to prove your claim and get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Whether you have suffered property damage or serious illness due to asbestos and mold, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation.

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What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a commercial name for naturally fibrous minerals. Asbestos was used throughout the 1960s and 1970s as building insulation, as well as in roofing, flooring, and hot water pipes, due to its fire-resistant properties. Before its use became heavily regulated, white asbestos was commonly used in the manufacture of heating and domestic water systems. It was also used in spray-on insulation in construction and can still be found in older buildings, cars, factories, ships, houses, and other structures.

Asbestos-containing materials include cement pipes, vinyl flooring, insulation, heating and electrical ducts, roofing shingles, textured paints and coatings, caulking and putties, and fireproofing materials.

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Is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos fibers can become airborne and inhaled into the lungs. While asbestos is not inherently a health risk in a building, the danger of breathing asbestos comes out when the material is damaged or disturbed. Negligence during renovations or damage caused by a natural disaster can cause the asbestos to break up into airborne particles.

To protect building occupants from asbestos, it is possible to have the asbestos removed or sealed off by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor. Unfortunately, asbestos damage is often excluded from most property insurance policies, which leaves the property owner liable for the cost of asbestos abatement, as well as any illnesses caused by asbestos exposure.

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What Diseases Are Caused by Asbestos Exposure?

  • Mesothelioma: The most serious of all asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. It can occur 15 to 60 years after exposure. There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma, although it can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
  • Asbestosis: Asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can scar the lungs and the lining of the lungs. Significant scarring can hamper the lung's ability to exchange gases, resulting in decreased breathing capacity for the victim. Like mesothelioma, this condition usually does not make itself apparent until 15 to 60 years after exposure.
  • Other Cancers: Asbestos exposure has also been associated with many other cancers, including throat and stomach cancer.

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What Occupations Are Associated with Asbestos Exposure?

Workers in the following occupations face a risk for asbestos exposure:

  • Bricklayers
  • Carpenters
  • Cement finishers
  • Crane operators
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Firefighters
  • Foundry workers
  • Machinists
  • Mechanics
  • Millwrights
  • Navy yard workers or "yardbirds"
  • Painters
  • Paper mill workers
  • Pipe coverers and fitters
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Sheetmetal workers
  • Welders

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I'm Not Sure Where I Was Exposed to Asbestos - Do I Have a Case?

Even if you are not sure who or what is responsible for your asbestos-related damages, you may still have a viable lawsuit. An experienced attorney can determine the source of your exposure by going through your employment history and investigating which companies have a history with asbestos. More than one company may be at fault, in which case each of them will be assigned a percentage of the damages.

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How Long Do I Have to File an Asbestos Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations in the state of New York for asbestos injury lawsuits is three years from the date of the initial diagnosis, but there are exceptions. If you have lost a loved one due to an asbestos-related illness, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of his/her death. These are just guidelines, however, so speak with an experienced attorney to determine the deadline for your case.

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What Are the Hazards of Mold?

When a property suffers water damage, it is common for mold to follow shortly after because molds thrive on wet building materials, including drywall, carpet, wallpaper, and insulation. Certain molds that grow indoors have been linked to various illnesses and adverse health issues, such as respiratory problems, nausea, fatigue, and headaches because they can release harmful spores and mycotoxins into the air.

Whether or not mold damage is covered by property insurance depends on what caused the mold and your policy coverage. An experienced lawyer will help you understand the terms of your insurance policy and navigate the options for securing coverage for removing mold from your property or relocating from the property altogether.

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Do I Need an Attorney?

Whether you have suffered property damage or serious illness, you deserve a top New York personal injury lawyer to represent you. If asbestos or mold has damaged your property or caused an illness, it is crucial that you act quickly. Please do not hesitate to call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation to discuss the legal options available to you.

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Additional Information