Asbestos is a material known for its durability and versatility and had many applications in industries and was also used in the manufacture of various items. It was later discovered with the degradation of this material it breaks down into tiny sharp fragments that can get lodged in the lungs causing serious health problems including mesothelioma and asbestosis.
The Asbestos Problem
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that 18, 068 Americans have died from Mesothelioma from 1999 to 2005. This converts to an average of 3, 000 patients per year. It is estimated that about 1,500 people die annually from asbestosis and lung cancer that are asbestos-related, and are reported to be as high as 8,000 per year.
In many cases, asbestos victims cannot access quality medical treatment for Mesothelioma and other related conditions. This includes workers in construction and maintenance. Diseases that result from exposure to asbestos deprive affected families of financial security while companies that produced the asbestos continue to thrive and profit.
Companies that made asbestos were aware of its health risks, yet they continued supplying it to be used in building materials and fire-proofing items. You may have had exposure to asbestos working in construction or in an industry where asbestos was used. You may have breathed these particles daily without you being aware of it. Health complications of asbestos exposure may take years to manifest and may include; Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, and Lung cancer.
What is Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a tumor that occurs in people who have been exposed to asbestos fibers. There are three common types of Mesothelioma; Pleural, Peritoneal and Pericardial and they are all associated with asbestos exposure. Both mesothelioma and asbestosis are life-threatening diseases, and according to research the average life expectancy once symptoms appear is 14 to 18 months. Even with the low survival rate associated with Mesothelioma, it can take 3-5 years for a mesothelioma case to reach the trial stage.
What legal action can you take in if you or a family member is suffering from Mesothelioma?
If you or someone close to you is suffering from mesothelioma or any other health complication associated with asbestos you need an attorney to evaluate your work and medical history to assess your situation so that you and your loved ones can receive the compensation that is due to you.
You will definitely need an attorney who has extensive experience handling mesothelioma cases as these cases require an in-depth understanding of the circumstances surrounding your condition. An experienced attorney will take into account the medical and financial situation of the client as well as the emotional effect of living with mesothelioma on the individual and family.
What should you consider when choosing an attorney to represent you?
- The amount of experience and success in representing clients with Mesothelioma.
- Very knowledgeable on the different options for seeking compensation.
- Reachable to answer any questions that you may have. Make sure your attorney is local as many national firms do not have local attorneys available at your convenience.
- Have all the financial and personnel resources necessary to successfully handle your case.
You should know the different options available to you
The law provides for more than one option for compensating mesothelioma patients and their families. Every case is different and considering your circumstances you may either decide to pursue;
Negotiated Settlements: Many lawsuits are settled as negotiated settlements; in this case, the defendant agrees to compensate the plaintiff to escape the time and expense of a lengthy court proceeding. Though the awards are sometimes less, they result in quicker compensation.
Trust Funds: The court has ordered large asbestos manufacturers to establish trust funds to resolve past, present, and future claimants. Therefore there are billions of dollars held in trust, and an experienced mesothelioma lawyer knows how to access these funds to compensate clients without necessarily filing lawsuits.
Administrative compensation: Mesothelioma patients serving in the US military have a right to compensation and financial support through the Department of Veteran Affairs. Civilian workers are entitled to compensation through a workers compensation insurance fund. Legal experts who specialize in Mesothelioma know the channels to use to assist clients to access these funds.
Mesothelioma cancer comes with loss of your livelihood and expensive treatment not covered by some health insurance schemes. This is another reason why you should hire an experienced attorney if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any asbestos-related disease.
These cases fall under personal injury. However, unlike most personal injury cases there is no particular event caused by a particular defendant. The associated statutes, case law, and regulations are quite different from those of other civil actions.
Being represented by an attorney who specializes in mesothelioma cases is critical since this is complex law and not every attorney has the required proficiency.