Many people have been exposed to asbestos to some degree or another, whether at work, in our communities, or even in our homes. Once referred to as “the miracle mineral,” asbestos has been used in various industries since as early as the mid-1850s. The substance was recognized for being lightweight and able to resist high temperatures, corrosion, and electricity. It was also cheap, making it the perfect solution for a host of industrial-age challenges.
What was not known, until 1924, was the link between exposure to asbestos and cancer. Despite warnings by the National Cancer Institute of this connection, as well as multiple studies proving the health risks of asbestos, the industry continued using the substance, going so far as to even conceal the risks it posed to the public. A mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer lawyers from Zanes Law will work to recover the compensation you deserve if you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos-related illness.
Over this long stretch of time, asbestos has been used for:
Workers involved in the manufacturing of these asbestos-rich products were the first victims to come to light, with increasing numbers falling ill to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Even the families of these workers suffered from non-occupational exposure to the carcinogenic substance.
In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to phase out the use of asbestos and banned future use of the substance, but the ban was overturned in 1991, and asbestos still exists in many products that are currently being used.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has classified asbestos as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), but it can take 10 to 40 years after exposure for signs of disease caused by asbestos to appear.
Still, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has confirmed that asbestos causes mesothelioma, as well as cancers of the lung, ovary, and larynx. This validation has led to thousands of people who have fallen ill due to asbestos exposure to come forward and seek compensation for their conditions, medical expenses, lost income, and other damages.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, such as mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, you, too may be able to recover damages.
A mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer lawsuit lawyer from Zanes Law will do everything from A to Z to get you the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us today for a free case review and consultation: (833) 214-0917.
A mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer lawsuit is a civil action seeking to recover compensation for the losses those exposed to asbestos have suffered. It was not until 1971 that the first successful asbestos personal injury lawsuit was decided (Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Prod. Corp., 493 F.2d 1076 (5th Cir. 1973).
Although many workers opt to recover their medical expenses and lost wages via workers’ compensation claims, this option falls off the table in the cases where the asbestos-caused illness manifests decades after the exposure. However, workers also have the option to file a product liability lawsuit against manufacturers, distributors, resellers, and corporations who introduced the asbestos into the plaintiff’s work environment.
Defendants in asbestos-related civil lawsuits have extended across a broad range of industries and product types, including:
Due to the enormous volume and longevity of asbestos-related mass tort, many companies sued over the years have since filed bankruptcy. However, this does not mean you are out of luck if your liable party is one of these companies. You can still sue them, however, with compensation for the plaintiff coming from asbestos bankruptcy trusts that these bankrupted companies to pay for these claims.
You can file a mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer lawsuit and seek compensation for your physical, emotional, and economic losses. Generally, people who suffer such diseases as a result of asbestos exposure file their lawsuits against manufacturers and installers of the asbestos or their insurance companies.
Under your state’s statute of limitations, there is a time limit to file your case. Be sure to act quickly to avoid overstepping your state’s deadline.
When mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer leads to the death of an individual, their loved ones are entitled to pursue compensation via a wrongful death action.
If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer after exposure to asbestos, you may qualify to recover compensation. The compensation to which you are entitled depends on your situation.
With this type of lawsuit having countless plaintiffs, it stands to reason that many of the companies responsible for asbestos production and installation would have either shut down or filed for bankruptcy. This does not mean that asbestos victims cannot obtain compensation from them.
Asbestos victims’ trust funds have been established and funded by various companies to cover the asbestos-related injuries suffered by victims. Although these funds are accessed outside of a court procedure, it could still help you to have a lawyer representing your needs. Also, keep in mind that the funds in these trusts are issued on a first-come-first-serve basis, so the sooner you move on your application, the better off you will be.
At greatest risk for mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer are the millions of Americans who worked at jobs where asbestos was manufactured, handled for incorporation into other products, or installed these products. These workers include:
Risks of mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer also present themselves to these workers’ family members who endured exposure when these laborers came home from work wearing clothes dusted with these fibers, which became airborne or entered food or water where they were ingested.
Finally, when certain buildings are remodeled, demolished, or simply decompose, asbestos fibers are released into the air and surrounding water formations, thereby potentially exposing people who inhabit the area. Older buildings that were insulated with asbestos or which contain asbestos ceiling or floor tiles and present this risk include:
Custodial workers who repair these buildings also stand at risk for mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer, as do the workers who demolish these buildings.
The risk associated with asbestos exposure ties to several factors:
When we talk about asbestos exposure, we are talking about a person making actual contact with the substance. Exposure to asbestos can occur in several ways:
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. Asbestos fibers do not evaporate or dissolve. They enter the environment’s air and water in several ways:
Beyond some common symptoms and treatments, mesothelioma and lung cancer are two distinctly different diseases.
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in our country, according to the American Cancer Society. Malignant mesothelioma is comparatively rare.
The biggest difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer is where in the body each cancer’s tumors develop. Mesothelioma typically appears within the outer lining of the lungs (this is called pleural mesothelioma, referring to the pleura, which is the lung’s protective lining).
Lung cancer tumors, on the other hand, develop as the result of abnormal cells growing uncontrollably within the lung itself.
In addition to the differences in incidence rates and typical locations where these diseases develop, the causal factors behind each condition do not match up. Both conditions are impacted by asbestos exposure, but the role that smoking plays in the development of each lung disease further differentiates them.
Whether or not a person smokes cigarettes does not influence the likelihood that they will develop mesothelioma.
However, correlations do exist between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Asbestos exposure can both directly cause asbestos lung cancer and/or increase the chances that a smoker will develop asbestos lung cancer.
For this reason, the American Cancer Society strongly recommends that beyond the need for the general population to stop smoking, workers exposed to asbestos should urgently give up the habit if they want to cut their risk of developing lung cancer. Furthermore, the group urges asbestos workers to regularly be checked out by a doctor for signs of asbestos-related illnesses, especially if they are smokers.
Anyone considering a mesothelioma claim should be familiar with the concept of statutes of limitations. The deadline by which any given lawsuit must be filed is governed by a statute of limitations. Each state sets its own statute of limitations for civil lawsuits.
Asbestos-related claims like mesothelioma lawsuits have set their own deadlines by which patients or their loved ones can file a claim. If you miss the deadline, you risk losing your chance to recover your damages for your mesothelioma diagnosis.
Typically, the clock begins ticking on a personal injury statute of limitations when an individual suffers an injury. But when it comes to an injury like mesothelioma, which can go undetected for up to 40 years, such a deadline would not be fair to the injured party.
This is what the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided when Clarence Borel, a man who was diagnosed first with pulmonary asbestosis —then with mesothelioma—after working with asbestos for more than 33 years, and filed a lawsuit against the company who manufactured the insulation he had used at work.
In this case, the court noted that the statutes of limitations clock did not begin to count down until “the effects of…exposures [to dangerous substances] manifest themselves.” In other words, the clock for the filing deadline begins to tick only when the plaintiff is aware of their illness (or reasonably should know of it) and can associate that injury with another party’s wrongful acts.
This is known as the “Discovery of Harm” rule.
Now that we have explored where the timeline begins in a statute of limitations for a mesothelioma claim, we can address where the deadline ends.
In the case of mesothelioma claims, two types of statutes of limitations may apply:
Knowing which state in which to file a mesothelioma claim is an important first step in building your case. The state where you file will determine the deadlines to which you must adhere. Several criteria could play into this determination:
Asbestos lung cancer is a condition caused by exposure to asbestos. Cancer is a condition in which your body’s cells grow uncontrollably due to genetic changes that alter your cells’ functionality. The area of the body where the growth begins determines the type of cancer. In the case of lung cancer, the abnormal cell growth begins in the lungs. Although lung cancer begins in the lungs, through metastasis, the cancer cells can spread to other organs in your body.
Each case of lung cancer is classified as one of two types: small cell and non-small cell. The distinction is an important one because each type displays different growth characteristics and therefore requires different treatment. Of the two types, non-small cell lung cancer has a higher incidence rate than its counterpart.
Sometimes, cancer results from a natural process whereby genetic material replicates during cell division. However, environmental exposures can also hurt your DNA and render the same effect, resulting in cancer.
The National Toxicology Program’s 14th Report on Carcinogens lists all the known environmental exposures that researchers have found to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Typically, with these exposures, the likelihood of your developing cancer depends on several factors, including the amount of carcinogen to which you were exposed, as well as the duration of the exposure.
One such carcinogen is asbestos. According to the National Cancer Institute, any time a product that contains asbestos is “disturbed,” the substance’s tiny fibers are released into the air, ready to be inhaled.
For people who smoke cigarettes and are exposed to asbestos, the risk for lung cancer increases.
The American Cancer Society reports that lung cancer that develops in people who work with asbestos usually occurs at least 15 years after the worker’s initial exposure to the substance.
In most cases, lung cancer a patient will not detect any symptoms of lung cancer until the cancer cells have spread. However, it is important to be aware of the symptoms that do present themselves, as early detection is likely to send you to your doctor for a screening. An earlier diagnosis and corresponding treatment gives you your best chance for success.
The most common lung cancer symptoms consist of the following:
It is possible for lung cancer to spread to other organs. When this happens, other symptoms may present themselves, including the following:
Finally, sometimes lung cancers present as collections of very specific symptoms. These groups of symptoms are called syndromes. The following syndromes are associated with lung cancer:
Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the membrane between the lungs and the chest wall, called the pleura. This rare cancer can also affect other similar linings in the body, such as the peritoneum (abdominal lining).
Mesothelioma is often associated with exposure to asbestos. If you or a loved one has a history of asbestos exposure, especially in large amounts or over long periods of time, it is imperative to see a doctor any time you experience any type of chest pain, shortness of breath, or other pulmonary symptoms.
By knowing and understanding the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma, you may be able to get to a doctor and get a diagnosis as soon as possible. Getting an early diagnosis can mean the difference in life or death. Survival rates decrease dramatically once the cancer spreads to a lymph node or other area.
While most lung cancers invade the lungs themselves, mesothelioma develops and grows on the surface of the lungs and other areas covered by the pleura. Tumors grow between the lung and chest wall. This is what causes the symptoms, such as:
When mesothelioma spreads, it generally goes to the nearby lymph nodes and into the lungs. In other cases, it can travel to other areas of the body like the bones or liver.
The outcome depends greatly on many factors, including if the cancer is localized, has spread to lymph nodes or the lungs, or has metastasized to distant areas of the body.
Mesothelioma is often aggressive and may grow and spread to other areas around the lungs quickly. There are treatments available, but there is no cure. Treatments may help reduce the size and speed of the cancerous growths. Patients may also work with their doctors to manage symptoms and maintain a high quality of life for as long as possible.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is easy to mistake many of the early symptoms of mesothelioma with other health conditions. This presents a danger for people who may misinterpret their mesothelioma symptoms as being caused by more benign problems. As a result, many mesothelioma patients could have been diagnosed long before they were, based on the onset of symptoms.
Common symptoms for pleural mesothelioma, are as follows:
There are some general symptoms that might be an indication of mesothelioma but can stem from another medical condition. This does not mean you should dismiss the symptoms as common ailments. If you experience the below symptoms, go see a doctor to have them determine the cause and treat it. This is especially important if you have been exposed to asbestos.
The general symptoms to watch for include:
As with any cancer, early detection of malignant mesothelioma leads to early diagnosis, which yields more options for treating.
For people who are not at increased risk of mesothelioma, screening tests are not generally recommended. However, if you have been exposed to asbestos, doctors sometimes suggest regular imaging tests that check for signs that the lungs have changed. These changes may be a sign of mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Specifically, the doctor or radiologist will use the tests to do the following:
Common imaging tests used to check for mesothelioma include:
Research has shown people who have mesothelioma exhibit high levels of specific substances in their blood. Blood tests can reveal the presence of these substances, which include fibulin-3 and soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRPs). Although high levels do not necessarily indicate you have mesothelioma, they help with the diagnosis.
There is no cure for mesothelioma, but there are treatments and options for trying to manage the disease that can offer many people more time and improved quality of life. In general, the treatment of mesothelioma centers on conventional treatment options, although there are clinical trials using immunotherapy and gene therapy that could become commonplace treatments in the future.
The closest thing we currently have to a cure for mesothelioma, unless diagnosed extremely early, is a combination of modern conventional treatments that can reduce symptoms and signs of disease, allowing you to live more comfortably and for longer.
Chemotherapy is still a go-to treatment for mesothelioma, often used before or after surgery to shrink the cancerous growths and keep them from spreading. While no treatment is effective on everyone with mesothelioma, a combination of chemotherapy drugs is often very good at stopping mesothelioma from spreading and reducing the size of tumors in the pleura.
Radiation has long been used to shrink tumors and impede the growth and stop the spread of cancer. However, modern radiation is even more targeted than in the past, allowing radiologists to deliver higher doses more frequently without damaging surrounding healthy tissue. This is key in reducing the negative side effects of this type of treatment.
If discovered very early, surgery can remove all signs of mesothelioma in some patients. Unfortunately, mesothelioma can take decades to develop and is rarely caught in its earliest stages.
Still, surgery can become an important part of a patient’s treatment plan. Doctors may remove as much of the pleura as possible, remove the affected lung and nearby pleura, or place drains that allow excess fluid to drain from the chest cavity. Any of these procedures can reduce the patient’s symptoms, and in some cases leave them with little or no sign of active disease.
Oncologists create a mesothelioma treatment plan based on the patient’s stage of the disease, where the tumors are, and several other unique factors. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. In most cases, the best treatment option that offers a person with mesothelioma the best chance at extending their life and having a good quality of life is usually a multi-modal treatment combining chemotherapy and/or radiation with surgery.
In most cases, you can pursue compensation through a claim or lawsuit related to your lung cancer if you can show a link between the cancer and your exposure to asbestos. Every state has its own rules outlining the process for asbestos litigation, and some of them may require you to submit additional evidence. This evidence must support your claim that asbestos exposure caused your lung cancer.
While mesothelioma is a cancer almost always linked to asbestos exposure, not all lung cancers occur because a person breathed in heavy doses of these dangerous fibers.
The manufacturers may try to blame your cancer on smoking or other contributing factors. Proving your case is made even more difficult because most cases of asbestos-related lung cancer occur at least 15 years after the person first inhales asbestos fibers. You may not work in the same place, or you may not even know when your asbestos exposure occurred.
At Zanes Law, we can help you understand the rules in your state and build a case that meets the criteria for pursuing a fair payout based on your illness, expenses, and losses. Our consultations are always free, and you have no obligation to sign up for our services after letting us evaluate your case.
Lung cancer in asbestos workers is more common than mesothelioma, which is a relatively rare condition except in this very specific population, as well as their family members who inhaled the fibers on their clothing.
In addition to mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancers, other cancers may also have an asbestos link. These include:
If your doctor diagnosed you with one of these cancers, you may also be eligible for asbestos litigation. Let us review the facts of your case and see if we can successfully link your diagnosis with your asbestos exposure.
Sometimes, we need to file a mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer lawsuit to recover compensation. This may prompt the liable party to increase their settlement offer into a range we consider fair based on the value of your related losses or expenses, or we may need to argue your case in court.
If we recover compensation on your behalf, the payout could include a wide range of damages depending on the nature and value of your losses and expenses. Almost any type of expense or loss that you incurred related to your diagnosis, condition, treatment, or the effects of your cancer or treatment may be available.
Some common types of economic damages that are recoverable in this type of case include:
We can also pursue noneconomic damages that include pain and suffering, emotional distress or mental anguish, and similar losses. While it is difficult to put a value on this type of loss, we know how to calculate a just figure for use in settlement negotiations.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly disease with no cure. Asbestos lung cancer, too, can put a person’s life at risk. Even the treatment used to fight these cancers can cause serious illness and even death. Unfortunately, many people who get diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer pass away before they can take legal action and hold the liable parties responsible for their illness.
If this happened to someone in your immediate family, you may be able to pursue wrongful death damages from their employer, an asbestos manufacturer, or another party. We can help you understand the types of losses that may be available to you through a wrongful death action.
Before we take legal action on your behalf, our team will discuss the losses and expenses your family suffered. We will collect evidence and document your damages and use this to support our fight for compensation in your asbestos lung cancer case.
Because every case is different, there is no way to predict how much you might receive in a settlement in your mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer lawsuit. There are many things to consider when putting a fair settlement value on this type of case. Some of the things your attorney will consider during this process include:
The Liable Party or Parties: To get a settlement in your mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer lawsuit case, we need to prove the circumstances of your exposure and link them back to the liable party. Most people are exposed to asbestos at work, but some of the most common liable parties include:
The Severity and Nature of Your Cancer: Perhaps the most important factor in determining how large your settlement might be in this type of case is the severity and nature of your cancer. When doctors catch a slow-growing type of cancer early and can completely resect the growth, the cost of treatment and care is much lower than someone who will need several surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and supportive care.
We will also consider your prognosis and the possibility of ongoing and future care costs. Some people manage serious cancers for years while others win or lose their battle quickly. The costs associated with diagnosis, treatment, ongoing care, future monitoring, and even palliative care vary greatly from case to case.
We will calculate the cost of your current and possible future care as a part of putting a fair settlement value on your case.
The Pain and Suffering You Endure: Cancer is physically painful, as well as emotionally stressful. Most patients experience a lot of anxiety, fear, worry, and frustration. Physically, the treatments can also be difficult. They often make patients sicker than the cancer but are necessary to fight the progression of the deadly disease.
We know how to put a price on your pain and suffering. We understand that no money can take away your pain, but we will fight for a fair settlement for your damages.
You can also recover:
If your lung cancer or mesothelioma is a result of asbestos exposure, you have a right to file a claim or pursue legal action and attempt to recover compensation to help pay for your treatment and care, as well as other damages. This is true even if your exposure occurred decades before.
We can help you understand your rights and the rules you must follow when pursuing this type of claim, and then build a strong case on your behalf that abides by the rules in your state.
Filing a mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer claim or lawsuit can be difficult. Obtaining the evidence necessary to prove your case, show negligence and liability, and prove the value of your damages is often an uphill battle. Still, this does not make it impossible or even improbable that you can recover the money you deserve based on the facts of your case. Our team will handle every aspect for you.
We understand that you need to focus your energy on fighting your disease and you do not have time or energy to put into a legal battle. This is why we will handle every step of the way on your behalf.
If your loved one recently passed away from a disease related to mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, you may still be able to take legal action on their behalf. This is possible through a wrongful death claim.
This could allow you to hold the asbestos manufacturer or the manufacturer/marketer of the product containing asbestos liable for the pain and suffering your family member endured, as well as recovering compensation to help you pay for their medical bills, outstanding balances for palliative care and support, and funeral and burial costs.
We can help you understand your rights and options for pursuing this type of case.
Call Zanes Law now at (833) 214-0917 for a free consultation about your case.