The Mayo Clinic defines mesothelioma as an aggressive cancer that affects the mesothelium, or the lining of your organs. Mesothelioma typically affects the lungs, but it can occur in other areas of the body as well. The disease spreads quickly, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the median life expectancy for patients is one year after diagnosis.
Most cases of mesothelioma result from prolonged exposure to asbestos, particularly in the workplace. According to the American Cancer Society, asbestos occurs naturally as bundles of fibers. Many industries use chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, in various applications for its fire- and chemical-resistant properties.
If you or a loved one received a mesothelioma diagnosis after working in an industry that exposed you to asbestos, a Washington, D.C., mesothelioma lawyer could determine if you have a case. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 794-0444 to speak with our legal team.
Causes of Mesothelioma
In the 1970s and ’80s, more cases of mesothelioma started appearing. Scientists soon discovered its link to asbestos, and the United States placed regulations on its use.
The ongoing construction projects throughout Washington, D.C., and the maintenance of old HVAC units and sewer and water pipes regularly expose workers to asbestos. Former workers at the Washington Navy Yard also might have come into regular contact with asbestos.
Radiation exposure can also lead to mesothelioma and could occur because of radiation therapy for other diseases. It can also arise in those who work with or around this dangerous type of energy. In rare instances, genetic mutations can cause mesothelioma, as well.
How Doctors Diagnose Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, which means it can take many decades for symptoms to appear in affected individuals. Inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers cause prolonged inflammation and scarring, and over time, this irritation could lead to cellular damage that turns cancerous. Because mesothelioma symptoms often mimic other conditions, doctors often find it difficult to diagnose right away. They might order tests to investigate the patient’s concerns.
The diagnostic process typically begins with imaging, in which medical professionals use CTs, MRIs, or other scans to view the inside of your body. If your doctor notices any abnormalities, they may conduct further testing to confirm their suspicions.
A biopsy allows a doctor to use a needle or perform surgery to extract a small portion of tissue from the affected area and examine it under a microscope. This procedure allows the doctor to determine whether you have cancer and, if so, its type. They may then order more imaging tests to determine the extent of its spread.
If a doctor diagnosed you or a loved one with mesothelioma resulting from workplace exposure to asbestos or radiation, a Washington, D.C., mesothelioma lawyer could help you pursue financial awards. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case review with a team member.
For a free legal consultation with a Mesothelioma Lawyer serving Washington DC, call (800) 794-0444
Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Unfortunately, victims may find that they have limited treatment options for mesothelioma, particularly in terms of effectiveness. The disease progresses quickly, and a patient’s overall health can affect their choices. If caught early, surgery could remove all the cancer, but more often, cancer has spread to where this option just alleviates symptoms.
Patients might also choose traditional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, or newer options like immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Depending on how far cancer has spread and the outlook for their condition, many patients choose to receive palliative care with the primary goal of comfort.
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You May Qualify for Financial Awards
If you suffer from mesothelioma or lost a loved one to the disease, you may qualify for compensation. A Washington, D.C., mesothelioma lawyer can help you determine if your employer’s negligence led to your condition and assist you in seeking fair financial compensation for your losses.
In mesothelioma cases, you might receive compensation in one of two ways. If your employer established an asbestos trust fund in the 1980s in response to asbestos-related claims, you might still have access to the funds in that account. If not, or if the at-fault business did not create a trust, you could file a personal injury or wrongful death claim to seek compensation, including:
- Medical bills, medications, and other ongoing health care expenses.
- Lost income for the time you missed at work because of your condition,
- Damages for your pain and suffering for the physical and mental anguish caused by cancer.
- Funeral and burial costs if your family member died from mesothelioma.
- Loss of consortium and emotional support of your loved one.
- Loss of future income if your loved one provided financial support.
Award types and amounts vary by case. A mesothelioma attorney can investigate the circumstances of your claim and assess the damages you suffered.
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Washington, D.C., Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Cases
If you choose to pursue financial recovery from an asbestos trust fund, you must file your claim within the amount of time allotted by that fund. A mesothelioma lawyer can determine how much time you have left to do so, but they will likely recommend filing as soon as possible to avoid any potential delays.
If you decide to file a claim against the company instead, D.C. Code § 12-301(8) allows you up to three years from the date of your diagnosis to pursue a personal injury claim for your injuries. Meanwhile, D.C. Code § 16-2702 provides family members up to two years from their loved one’s death to file a wrongful death suit. Exceptions exist to the statutes of limitations, so you might want to consult a Washington, D.C., mesothelioma lawyer to determine if one applies to your case.
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Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help You Get Started on Your Case
If a doctor diagnosed you with mesothelioma, or you suffered the loss of a loved one to the disease, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of pursuing legal action on your own. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our attorneys can determine if you have a case and seek compensation on your behalf so you can focus on the things that matter most. Contact us today at (800) 794-0444 to receive your free case evaluation with our legal team.