Mesothelioma Lawsuits and Your Legal Rights
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Mesothelioma lawsuits can be used to help compensate patients and their families for the damages caused this deadly illness. This page describes the relationship of asbestos exposure to mesothelioma and the different types of lawsuits that can be filed on behalf of the patients. A consultation with a mesothelioma lawyer can help determine whether you should file a lawsuit to obtain mesothelioma compensation.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a metamorphic mineral whose microscopic fibers can be lethal when inhaled. Exposure to erionite or asbestos (both are fibrous minerals) is the only known cause of the deadly diseases asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, informally known as "asbestos lung cancer" or "mesothelioma asbestos." Unfortunately, mesothelioma treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and trimodal therapy do little to stop the progression of mesothelioma, and most patients die within a year.
The majority of asbestos exposure occurred from the late 19th century to the 1970s, during which time hundreds of thousands of workers were exposed. Most asbestos exposure occurred in occupational settings because asbestos was used for a variety of industrial and commercial purposes.
Though the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure were known as early as the 1930s, asbestos regulation was not enacted until the 1970s. In many cases, companies involved in mining, shipping and other industries neglected to protect their workers from asbestos exposure. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with asbestos due to someone else's negligence, you may have grounds for a mesothelioma lawsuit. Contact a mesothelioma attorney today to learn more about your legal rights.
Evidence has demonstrated that many asbestos product manufacturers and companies that used asbestos in their products were aware of the dangers associated with asbestos exposure long before steps were taken to protect employees. In some cases, employers even conspired to keep this information from their employees to protect profit potential. This employer negligence exposed hundreds of thousands of workers to asbestos.
Thousands of these workers have filed malignant mesothelioma lawsuits against the companies responsible for their exposure, and a significant percentage of these lawsuits have resulted in large cash awards.
When a person is exposed to and harmed by asbestos, two main types of mesothelioma lawsuits may be filed: a personal injury mesothelioma lawsuit (or product liability mesothelioma lawsuit) and/or a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit.
Personal injury mesothelioma lawsuits are filed by people who are exposed to asbestos in order to receive mesothelioma compensation for the following:
- Loss of income
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost prospects
A personal injury mesothelioma lawsuit is not necessarily limited to the worker who was first exposed. Thousands of family members of people who worked in asbestos-related industries have fallen ill with mesothelioma and asbestosis through secondhand exposure from asbestos-laden clothes. Some of these family members contracted the disease and fell victim to mesothelioma symptoms before the family member who was initially exposed.
Wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuits are filed when a victim of mesothelioma dies. This form of mesothelioma lawsuit is filed by the executor of the estate on behalf of family members for losses incurred as a result of the passing of their loved one. Damages may cover any of the following:
Depending on the circumstances of the case, compensation may be awarded based on negligence or strict liability laws. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can assess your case and determine what type of mesothelioma lawsuit should be filed in your case.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawyers
Asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers are specialized attorneys who understand the complexities of medical care expenses and legal requirements associated with asbestos related diseases. Oftentimes, those affected by an asbestos disease like mesothelioma are unaware of their eligibility for compensation; asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers can help provide valuable information about how and when a given mesothelioma sufferer was exposed to asbestos, and determine who is to be held accountable for the exposure.
In some cases, considerable research is needed to determine which companies produced the asbestos-laden products and who was responsible for the exposure that caused the disease. Therefore, your mesothelioma lawyer should have extensive knowledge of the products involved in your exposure to asbestos so that he or she can determine your legal rights and the best course of action.
Some asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers provide monetary support to their clients to help defray the costs associated with medical bills during the process of investigating the source and extent of exposure.
These mesothelioma lawyers can also help determine whether it is best to negotiate with the companies for a settlement or to file a mesothelioma lawsuit and pursue compensation through the court system.
To learn more about your legal rights associated with asbestos exposure and asbestos related diseases, visit our legal help center and select your location.
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[Page updated November 2011]