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Can I still pursue an asbestos illness claim if I smoked?

Wallace & Graham, P.A.

Making the decision to file a personal injury claim is not something that people typically do on a whim. There are a number of considerations that any person will likely take into account before deciding if they can and want to file a legal claim for compensation. Unfortunately, people can make assumptions about their situation that lead them to believe they cannot file a lawsuit.

For example, some people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer may assume that they cannot file an asbestos claim if they were or are a smoker. They may feel like it was only the smoking that caused their illness, not their possible exposure to asbestos, and therefore feel like filing a claim against a party tied to negligent asbestos practices would be impossible. However, this can be a costly and misguided supposition.

According to the American Lung Association, a large majority of people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to significant levels of asbestos. Smoking is believed to increase the risk that a person exposed to asbestos will develop mesothelioma, but is not shown to increase risk of this particular illness on its own.

This means that in many cases, smoking is only a part of the equation. Smoking may increase a person’s chance of developing lung cancer, but so does asbestos exposure and the combination of these two factors can be deadly.

Smoking does not preclude a person from filing an asbestos lawsuit involving lung and other types of cancer. However, it can make a legal claim that much more complicated and present more obstacles than if a person suffering from these illnesses never smoked.

Thankfully, victims of asbestos-related illnesses have the right to have an attorney represent them and their interests throughout the process of filing a personal injury claim. Before making an assumption about the legal options available to victims of lung cancer and mesothelioma, it can be a good idea to reach out to an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to provide accurate information and answers.


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