Mesothelioma: A Case of Corporate or Government Negligence
A mesothelioma diagnosis means you were likely exposed to some form of asbestos. This toxic mineral was cheap, durable, and fire-resistant, and for decades, it was considered the perfect substance for a variety of applications. From the 1930s to the late 1970s, asbestos was used in thousands of products throughout the country, because of its extreme resistance to heat. Bricks, mortar, concrete, drywall, flooring, paint, heaters, boilers, wire, ovens, compressors, cloth, cigarettes, roofing, gaskets, brakes, all kinds of insulating materials and much more were produced with asbestos. All five branches of the armed forces used it as a fire-proofing material on Navy ships, Air Force aircraft, in Army vehicles and even in military barracks.
The problem? There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. There’s evidence researchers knew about the hazardous effects of asbestos fibers since the early 1930s, which means companies and manufacturers who continued to use asbestos-laden products understood just how toxic the material was, even if employees weren’t aware. As a mesothelioma patient, your illness is a result of extreme corporate negligence and reckless endangerment.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, the thin lining that surrounds the chest and abdominal cavities. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs, peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the abdomen, and pericardial mesothelioma is found in the lining of the heart. The disease is rare, affecting only 3,300 people in the United States each year.
Exposure to asbestos is responsible for a majority of mesothelioma diagnoses. Undisturbed, asbestos isn’t dangerous. However, when the fibers are released, they create a cloud of toxic dust that is easily inhaled or ingested. The microscopic particles become lodged in the mesothelium. Over time, the fibers irritate this tissue, leading to inflammation and eventually cancerous tumors.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims
Mesothelioma patients who were unknowingly exposed to asbestos may be entitled to certain forms of compensation to help pay for medical expenses and loss of income. Families who have lost a loved one to the disease are also eligible to receive monetary assistance.
There are different types of mesothelioma claims, and it’s possible to file more than one depending on the individual case. Keep in mind each state has a statute of limitations or a set time frame in which to file a claim. The average length of time lasts between two to three years after a mesothelioma diagnosis. The takeaway here: timing is essential, so take legal action now.
Personal Injury Lawsuits: This claim provides compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and additional pain and suffering that may occur as a result of a mesothelioma diagnosis. Personal injury lawsuits must be filed while the mesothelioma patient is alive.
Wrongful Death Claims: Families who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This claim provides compensation for past medical bills, loss of income, and even funeral expenses.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Claims: Veterans who have mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure during their time in the armed forces may apply for benefits through the VA. This compensation includes disability payments and may be used to cover a mesothelioma patient’s medical bills. VA claims also include survivor benefits, otherwise known as indemnity or dependency compensation, for family members. Keep in mind that filing a VA claim doesn’t mean you’re suing the government. As a veteran who served your country and worked with asbestos, you have a right to compensation.
Not sure which lawsuit applies to your situation? Gathering information for a family member or loved one who is ill? We can help you navigate this process. Fill out a free case evaluation form to connect with a qualified mesothelioma attorney.
Experience Counts: Reasons to Hire a Mesothelioma Attorney
Filing a mesothelioma claim can be complicated. There are quite a few requirements and moving parts, which is why it’s crucial to hire an experienced attorney. Here are three reasons to hire someone who specializes in mesothelioma law:
Help Navigating Claims: Mesothelioma has a long latency period, which means it could take decades for the disease to appear. Patients may have worked for different companies and been exposed to asbestos in many different occupations. Perhaps the company who employed you has declared bankruptcy or simply doesn’t exist anymore. A firm specializing in mesothelioma law will gather all of these essential details and help you build a solid case.
Receive Specialized Services: Unlike a personal injury law firm, which handles many different types of cases, a mesothelioma law firm focuses on one particular type of cancer. Each firm has a team of attorneys and an extensive network of contacts to help identify different sources of asbestos exposure, review a patient’s medical records, and adequately assess an individual’s diagnosis.
Maximize Compensation: As a victim, you may be eligible to file several different types of mesothelioma claims and receive compensation from various sources, including VA benefits, Asbestos Trust Funds, or personal injury lawsuits. For patients and families who are facing high medical bills, every little bit helps. If you’re concerned about legal fees, don’t worry: most firms will simply take a small portion of the compensation you receive. It’s called a ‘contingency fee’ and protects patients from paying out of pocket. Contingency fees also protect clients who may not receive compensation. If you don’t get paid, neither does the firm.
Pursuing a Mesothelioma Claim: Things to Remember
Mesothelioma lawsuits are often complex, but filing an individual claim doesn’t have to be. When you have a dedicated mesothelioma attorney on your side, your involvement is minimal, usually lasting only one day. A lawyer will travel to your home, ask a few questions, take an official statement, and start the process. In most cases, you won’t have to set foot in a courtroom. It may take some time to resolve a claim and receive compensation, but with the right law firm on your side, you won’t have to worry about the legal process.
If you were unknowingly exposed to asbestos and now have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, it’s not your fault. You have a right to compensation, and we’re here to help. Complete a free case evaluation to speak with an attorney who specializes in mesothelioma cases. For more information about the disease and the latest treatment options, download our mesothelioma guide.