If you are afflicted with a severe lung disease, you may have a claim for money damages if your disease was caused by the negligence of someone else. Diseases like pulmonary fibrosis, any interstitial lung disease, silicosis, bronchiolitis obliterans, sarcoidosis, berylliosis, or chronic beryllium lung disease, metal lung disease, pneumoconiosis and non-smoker’s lung cancer, often are brought on by circumstances outside the victim’s control.
Interstitial Lung Disease
Interstitial Lung Disease, or ILD, is a severe medical disease brought on by exposure to lethal pollutants, chemicals, and other toxins such as asbestos. ILD can lead to difficulty in breathing and scarring of the lung tissue. ILD can be caused by prolonged exposure or by exposure for even a brief period of time. Unfortunately, lung scarring is difficult to heal and is often permanent.
Common symptoms of interstitial lung disease include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, and in certain cases, clubbed fingers. However, some forms of ILD, such as that brought on by asbestos exposure, can take decades to show up in the form of symptoms. Doctors often have a tough time diagnosing ILD as it mimics other lung ailments. In order to diagnose ILD, your doctor may want you to undergo chest x-rays, a CT scan, or may even take a tissue sample. Catching the disease at an early stage improves the chances of survival.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is another form of lung tissue scarring where air sacs are damaged and become thick and hardened. This leads to an inability of the lung to do its job in pumping oxygen in your blood. Although pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by several reasons including radiation exposure, chronic diseases, and medications, exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins like asbestos can also result in Pulmonary Fibrosis. The medication Dostinex has also been linked to Pulmonary Fibrosis. Here again, the lung tissue scarring is permanent. Common symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis include symptoms similar to ILD, including shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and an ongoing bad cough.
Silicosis is medical ailment caused by breathing in silica, which is essentially breathing in fine sand particles. When you breath in silica dust, your lungs develop nodules and scarring of lung tissue. This potentially fatal condition also causes shortness of breath, chest pains and general discomfort. Patients who have silicosis are at a high risk for developing tuberculosis. Lung nodules can also become enlarged, leading to further complications. By some estimations, over a million people are exposed to toxic levels of silica dust each and every year.
If you work in an oil field or gas refinery, construction, mine, or foundry, or you come in contact with silica dust regularly, your risk for Silicosis may be heightened. Other at-risk occupations include sandblasters and masonry men, and quarry workers are also commonly afflicted by Silicosis. Workers may develop chronic, accelerated, or acute forms of the disease. If you have been exposed to silicosis in your work and have developed Silicosis, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and other money damages.
In addition to having fire and explosion risks, e-cigarettes or “vapes” put users at risk of developing Bronchiolitis or “popcorn lung.” Although vaping has helped some people stop smoking, it causes great harm to others. Bronchiolitis develops in the lungs of some e-cigarette users based on flavoring chemicals used by manufacturers. Some of the chemicals of the flavorings have been linked to lung disease. Bronchiolitis obliterans causes scarring in the lung tissue and narrows your breathing passages. This can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, fatigue, chest pain, and other symptoms. If you developed bronchiolitis and have used an e-cigarette, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.
Sarcoidosis is another chronic disease that develops as a result of exposure to workplace chemicals and toxins. Sarcoidosis is essentially inflammation of body tissues (often in the lungs). The effects are similar to other lung diseases making it potentially difficult to diagnose: persistent coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and abnormal breathing.
However, Sarcoidosis is found in other parts of the body as well. Other common symptoms include rash and red bumps on the face or extremities. Sarcoidosis may impact your ability to work and may cause significant health problems. Sarcoidosis can develop quite quickly, or may take years to show up.
Berylliosis is a severe lung disease that results in scarring to the lungs and is caused by prolonged exposure to beryllium. Symptoms may include an ongoing couch, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and chest pain. The onset of berylliosis ranges from months to decades. People who develop berylliosis are often exposed to it in their work.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), up to fifteen percent of workers are exposed to beryllium on a regular basis. If you work in an industry that regularly comes in contact with beryllium, such as mining, or metal processing, you may be at an increased risk for developing berylliosis.
Pneumoconiosis is commonly called black lung disease. It is the notorious disease of coal mine workers and is brought on by prolonged exposure to coal dust over years. When your lungs cannot get rid of the coal dust, they eventually turn black and scar. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, labored breathing, painful breathing, chest pain, and heart problems. Serious cases result in death. Even though the government has attempted to reduce workers exposure to the dust, many workers still experience lethal doses every day.
When coal companies fail to meet standards for ventilation and safety equipment, your risk of developing pneumoconiosis is heightened and you may have a claim for money damages including pain and suffering, and medical bills. Additionally, you may qualify for benefits under the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. Contact the Department of Labor for an evaluation on whether you qualify.
If you suffer from one of the severe lung diseases listed above, or developed lung disease and were a non-smoker, contact our experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C. today for a free case evaluation.