Washington's motto is 'Justice for All,' which seems rather apt when looking at the topic of mesothelioma lawsuits. Statistically, Washington D.C. is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the country. It is commonly described as the political capital of the world, home to the U.S. Federal Government and various other political institutions. Given its history, Washington D.C. boasts magnificent landmark buildings, many of which contain asbestos.
Mesothelioma Cases in Washington D.C.
As the capital of the United States, Washington D.C. has a population of around 640,000, though the D.C. metropolitan area has over 6 million residents. Between 1993-2013, a total of 37 people lost their lives due to mesothelioma. This is a much lower figure than other states in the U.S.. Though D.C is not known as a hub for asbestos, it has had its fair share of mesothelioma lawsuits.
Most of the asbestos in D.C. comes from the historic buildings, which were built long before the dangers of asbestos were realized.
Asbestos Use in Washington D.C.
Most industrial areas in the world used asbestos before anyone recognised the potential risks, and the same is true of Washington D.C. The Washington Navy Yard was a munitions factory, and while shipbuilding here ceased before asbestos even came into use, it was used to create steam engines, computers and other pioneering technology. The yard was filled with blast furnaces, iron-casting and steelmaking equipment, so asbestos was used throughout to avoid fires.
The worst exposure came from the ‘protective’ clothing that workers were given to wear—bibs, gloves and overalls that were lined with asbestos. If the garment became torn due to wear-and-tear, the asbestos fibers would become airborne. Carpenters, painters, riggers, electricians and metal cutters all worked in this area and were exposed to the hazardous fibers at some point in their careers.
Construction and Renovation on Capitol Hill
Washington D.C. has undergone several redevelopments over the years, with the construction of maintenance tunnels underground to create secure access routes and storage areas around Capitol Hill.
These redevelopments have exposed D.C. residents to asbestos. When the old buildings were torn down, many of the fibers were released into the air. Even the site of the White House was known to have contained asbestos at some time.
Construction workers who serviced the water lines underneath the buildings at Capitol Hill were also unknowingly subjected to asbestos fibers for years. Many of the workers received compensation for functioning in the conditions, but by the time anyone realised how dangerous asbestos was, it was too late.
Luckily, there are many mesothelioma doctors in D.C. and the surrounding states, meaning that help is at hand for those who have developed this rare form of cancer.
Washington D.C. Asbestos Laws and Regulations
The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) monitors Washington D.C.’s District Asbestos Abatement Program to ensure that any remaining asbestos is removed by qualified contractors. The DOEE also certifies the health and safety of the contractors and the general public when buildings containing asbestos are demolished.
Today, anyone who fails to comply with asbestos laws and regulations in D.C. can be prosecuted. The DOEE doesn’t recommend that anyone other than asbestos professionals remove asbestos, even on private property.
Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims
Each state has its own asbestos claims statute of limitations. In Washington D.C., victims have 3 years from their diagnosis to file a personal injury claim. If the patient dies before filing a claim, the family has 1 year to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Retaining a Washington D.C. Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos in Washington D.C. and have since developed an asbestos-related illness, it’s critical to work with an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Mesothelioma lawyers specialize in this highly complex legal field, and can ensure a successful claim for you and your family.
For more information on asbestos exposure and compensation claims in Washington D.C., contact our Justice Support Team today.