An Overview of Mesothelioma Cancer Claims
Mesothelioma is a very aggressive and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure may take decades to develop after exposure. In normal injury cases, this long latency period can make it extremely difficult to pinpoint the cause of disease and recover damages, but mesothelioma has only one known cause: asbestos exposure.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that typically affects the abdomen, heart, and/or lining of the lungs. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. It can take anywhere from two decades to up to 50 years for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is a mineral that was commonly used in the last century for its insulating and heat-resistant properties. Asbestos was used to produce many products like building materials and vehicle parts. Asbestos leads to mesothelioma when asbestos fibers are ingested or inhaled, after which they become lodged in the mesothelium, a lining that protects organs. Once the fibers enter the body, they are very difficult for the body to expel. Over the course of decades, the fibers irritate and damage the mesothelium and cause damage to healthy cells. This leads to the development of tumors.
There are three primary types of mesotheliomas, depending on where the cancer develops:
- Pleural Mesothelioma, which affects the mesothelium of the lungs, accounts for 75% of mesothelioma cases. This is because asbestos fibers are usually inhaled and become lodged in the lining of the lungs.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma, which affects the mesothelium of the abdomen. This type of mesothelioma is caused by ingesting asbestos, and it accounts for 20% of cases.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma, which affects the mesothelium of the heart. This type of mesothelioma is rare and is usually diagnosed post-mortem.
Mesothelioma Treatment & Prognosis
There is no way to cure mesothelioma, but there are a few treatment options, depending on the location and stage of mesothelioma. Surgery is the only treatment option that has been found to extend life in patients significantly, but it is usually only an option during the first two stages of mesothelioma cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation may also slow the spread of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma has a very poor prognosis in most cases. This is because the cancer is very aggressive, but it has a long latency period, which means it is typically undetected until the cancer is advanced. The average life expectancy for someone diagnosed with mesothelioma is just 12 to 21 months, depending on many factors. About 40% of people survive the first year, and 20% live for more than 24 months.
Risk Factors for Mesothelioma
A number of products and occupations have been linked to mesothelioma. For decades, many workers were unknowingly exposed to asbestos, even once the danger was known. The following are common occupations with known exposure to asbestos:
- Aircraft mechanics
- Air Force veterans
- Auto mechanics
- Coal miners
- Construction workers
- Navy veterans
- HVAC technicians
- Oil refinery workers
- Railroad workers
- Shipbuilders and scrappers
Thousands of products are known to still contain asbestos. This includes dry mix joint compound, duct adhesive, attic insulation, fireproofing cement, and some paints, pipes, panels, permaboard, plaster, shingles, and putty.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Victims who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma after asbestos exposure or their spouse (if deceased) have a very good chance of recovering damages from the company that installed or manufactured the asbestos, an insurance company, or a victim trust fund.
Every state has its own laws limiting the time in which victims diagnosed with mesothelioma can file a claim. Moreover, there are separate statute of limitations that apply to family members who want to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Most mesothelioma cases settle before reaching a jury. An experienced mesothelioma injury attorney will help you gather information about your employment history and medical condition to identify a source of payment, whether it is an insurance company or a victim trust fund. It can be possible to receive a settlement for your injury in less than 12 months. However, many courts fast-track mesothelioma lawsuits since victims usually are fighting for their lives.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma can also fast-track disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
- Mesothelioma Compensation – Receiving asbestos exposure and mesothelioma compensation is usually straightforward when you work with a law firm with experience handling mesothelioma cases. There are four ways victims can receive compensation.
- Settlement – A legal settlement results after filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a liable company. Most mesothelioma lawsuits result in settlements before the case goes to trial.
- Asbestos Trust Funds – Hundreds of companies that manufactured, sold, or used asbestos products have gone out of business, been restructured, or merged with other companies. Even if the company responsible for your mesothelioma no longer exists, you can still receive compensation. Most companies were required to establish asbestos trust funds to pay for eventual mesothelioma claims.
- Jury Awards – While not common, some mesothelioma cases go before a jury if a settlement is not reached. In these cases, a jury will determine the award amount, and it may include punitive damages in addition to actual damages and pain and suffering.
- Veteran Compensation – Many mesothelioma victims are retired military personnel, especially people who served in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. The Department of Veterans Affairs considers mesothelioma as a disease that qualifies for disability benefits.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
At Parker Waichman, LLP, mesothelioma cases are handled on a contingency fee basis which means there are no upfront attorney fees; instead, these fees come out of the settlement or damages you receive. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to take action quickly before the statute of limitations expires. Contact the Parker Waichman LLP Law for your free consultation to discuss your case. . For a free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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