If you developed mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, your cancer may be a result of a corporation’s negligence to inform you of the possibility of asbestos exposure, a known carcinogen. You may have a legal case. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for a free consultation.
When you inhale the microscopic fibers of the mineral asbestos, they cause scarring and inflammation in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes, which can then lead to the development of mesothelioma, an aggressive type of cancer. Additionally, when inhaling asbestos, the fibers can also settle in the lungs, causing asbestos lung cancer to develop. These asbestos fibers can sit dormant for decades when, at some point, a cellular change begins to happen, which causes cancerous tissue to form. When these cancerous tissues do form, it spreads rapidly, and typically, most cases are not discovered until they are already at stage 3 or stage 4 of cancer development.
Along with the pain and suffering caused by these cancers, the financial burden associated with the diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer can be substantial. These types of cancers are almost always preventable, as they only typically occur with exposure to the mineral asbestos. The corporations that were mining this mineral or used this mineral in the production of products or buildings, often knew that asbestos was a carcinogen and never informed their employees or the public.
Workers would then inhale these cancer-causing fibers for years, as well as bring them home on their clothing, so their family members were also inhaling asbestos. Workers in environments with asbestos, as well as their families, all have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer due to this exposure.
While no amount of money can give you back your health, this illness has likely been a heavy financial burden to bear for you and your family with medical bills that are not paid by insurance, lost wages, loss of future wages, expenses for specialized medical equipment, the necessity to hire a housekeeper, meal delivery program, and more. As for the corporation’s negligence, you and your family should not have to bear these financial costs.
Contacting a mesothelioma & asbestos lung cancer lawsuit lawyer can help you understand what type of claim you and your family may file, what documentation you will need to file that claim, determine if a medical expert witness will be needed, assist you through the entire lawsuit process, and help you build a strong claim so that you can receive compensation.
What Is Mesothelioma & Asbestos Lung Cancer Lawsuit?
What Is Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lung Cancer Lawsuit?
Mesothelioma and Asbestos lung cancer typically develops as a direct result of exposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops after the inhalation of asbestos fibers, which settle, scar, and inflame the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes. These fibers kill cells through a specific process that releases a protein that decades later may begin a process where cancerous cells develop and spread rapidly.
Asbestos lung cancer is similar to mesothelioma, in the sense that it develops in the same way, but instead of in the lining of different organs, it develops in the lung itself. While most lung cancers are due to tobacco use, 3-4% of all lung cancers are a direct result of the inhalation of asbestos. The development of asbestos lung cancer is similar to mesothelioma; the development can take decades, but once it begins, it spreads and metastasizes quickly.
Unlike other cancers, mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer are specifically associated with the negligence of a corporation to inform its workers, or the public, of the risks associated with the inhalation of a known carcinogen. If we can prove that your mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer developed as a direct result of exposure to asbestos, then you may be able to file a mesothelioma & asbestos lung cancer lawsuit.
The first asbestos-related lawsuit occurred in 1971 when a court determined a worker had been exposed to asbestos fibers from an insulation manufacturer that failed to warn their employees of the dangers of inhaling the carcinogen, asbestos. Since that time, more aggressive forms like malignant mesothelioma have been identified and linked to industrial pollutants.
Lawsuits can be filed against many parties including the companies that are manufacturers of products that contained asbestos, any company that used asbestos products, any manufacturer that produced respiratory equipment that failed to prevent asbestos inhalation, companies with machines that had asbestos-containing parts, or any company that failed to alert their workers or the public that their products contained asbestos.
There are several ways you or your family may file a mesothelioma & asbestos lung cancer lawsuit against any of the above parties. Specifically, you personally may be able to file a personal injury case in court, or your family could file a wrongful death claim after you pass away. The third type of claim is through an asbestos trust fund, which is a trust fund established by corporations that have set aside money for victims of asbestos exposure and cancer risk. These corporations were involved in the mining or production of asbestos and had knowledge that asbestos was a carcinogen, and yet failed to warn their employees or the public. The asbestos trust funds allow victims to receive compensation without the corporation going completely bankrupt.
Strict deadlines, called the statute of limitations, exist for personal injury claims, wrongful death claims, and asbestos trust claims, and all vary by state as well. Contacting an attorney can help you understand what type of claim you should file, what documents you will need to build a strong case, and how long you have to preserve your claim.
Can I File a Mesothelioma & Asbestos Lung Cancer Lawsuit?
Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes. In most cases, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. While lung cancer is typically caused by smoking tobacco products, 3-4% of all lung cancers are asbestos-related lung cancers. In these cases, the cancerous tumors are found in the patient’s actual lungs, not the lining of the lungs, which would be considered mesothelioma.
If you can prove that your cancer developed as a direct result of exposure to asbestos, then you may be able to file a mesothelioma & asbestos lung cancer lawsuit.
You may be able to file a personal injury case in court, or your family could file a wrongful death claim after you pass away on your behalf. There are also asbestos trust fund claims, where corporations have set aside money for victims for asbestos injury compensation. These corporations are typically ones that were involved in the mining or production of asbestos and knew that asbestos was a carcinogen, and yet failed to warn their employees or the public. The asbestos trust funds were established so that victims could receive compensation without the corporation going completely bankrupt.
Your right to file a mesothelioma & asbestos lung cancer lawsuit is because many corporations had knowledge that asbestos causes cancer and they did not give employees warning. Your cancer has likely resulted in very expensive medical treatments, possible travel costs, loss of wages, caregiving costs, and many other expenses not covered by medical insurance. Oftentimes, certain items are required such as a specialized bed, a housekeeper, or a meal delivery service since a patient will need specific items to be comfortable, or help with activities they would have normally performed themselves prior to the diagnosis. Corporate negligence caused these patients to suffer from not only the physical effects of mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer, but also suffer financially as well.
It is always important to remember that the diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer would likely have been preventable if it had not been for the negligence of these corporations. While no amount of money will ever give you your health back, or give you back your loved one, you deserve to not be financially burdened with the aftermath of this medical disease. In some cases, the court may even award punitive damages, which are meant to punish the corporation for their negligent behavior regarding asbestos.
Strict deadlines exist regarding the ability to file a mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer lawsuit. Contacting an attorney can help you understand what type of claim you should file, and how long you have to preserve your claim.
Who Is at Risk for Mesothelioma & Asbestos Lung Cancer?
Mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes, while asbestos lung cancer occurs in the actual lung. Asbestos is a substance known to cause cancer and is determined as a carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This carcinogen has been found within the tissues of mesothelioma and some lung cancer tumors, leading researchers to conclude that exposure to asbestos causes these cancers.
Some people are more at risk of developing mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer. Due to the fact that these cancers develop after the inhalation of asbestos, those who were in industries that are directly involved with the mining, processing, or use of asbestos will have a higher incidence of mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer. These jobs are typically in blue-collar industries or the military. The people who were involved in the following industries or environments have a greater statistical chance of developing either mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer.
- Asbestos mines or processing plants
- Living near an asbestos mine or asbestos-processing plant
- Working in industries such as shipyards, construction, power plants, chemical plants, industrial, auto mechanics (prior to the 1980s), boiler workers, or with insulation products
- Firefighters and construction tradesmen (exposed to asbestos in older homes)
- Construction or heavy industry
- Military service on ships or military facilities built with asbestos-containing products
- Home renovation products that fail to remove asbestos in a safe manner
Workers in these industries are not the only ones that have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer. The families of these workers also have a risk of developing mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer as well. Workers would often come home from jobs in these industries with asbestos fibers on them or their clothes that other family members would inhale.
While asbestos accounts for 80% of all mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancers, the remaining 20% could be from other minerals found in the ground, or from other viruses or inflammation. Unfortunately, researchers do not have many clear answers regarding this remaining 20% of mesothelioma cases. In the case of asbestos lung cancer, typically, these lung cancer cases are determined to be caused by asbestos from biopsies or the evaluation of tissues from lung tumors.
Knowing that you have had a history of exposure to asbestos should encourage you to seek a yearly medical evaluation specifically for any signs or symptoms of possible asbestos-related mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer. While there are no cures for these types of cancers, additional treatments are available if discovered at earlier stages.
What’s the Difference Between Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer?
You may be wondering about the difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer. Mesothelioma and lung cancer are both types of cancer. While typically caught in their later stages, these serious cancers have some very important distinctions between them.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is only related to the exposure of asbestos. It affects the lining of the lungs, lining of the abdomen, lining around the heart, or around the testicles. Smoking typically causes lung cancer and is rarely due to other causes, such as asbestos exposure.
However, the reason these two conditions are typically thought of together is that the most common type of mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs, called the mesothelium. In most mesothelioma cases, the cancer is in this lining, which presents several symptoms that are similar to lung cancers.
Asbestos lung cancer is in the lungs and related to asbestos exposure. Again, this type of lung cancer has similar symptoms as pleural (lung) mesothelioma. Both cancers are in the lungs, and both take years to develop and then metastasize quickly.
The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer are very similar and can include the following:
- Persistent coughing
- Chest discomfort and pain
- Hoarseness or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the face or the neck
- Chronic respiratory infections
In both cases, these symptoms typically occur when the pleural mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer is at stage 3 or stage 4.
It is important to remember that not all cases of mesothelioma occur in the lungs, but all are related to asbestos. All cases of lung cancer occur in the lungs but are not all related to asbestos. While most cases of lung cancer are due to smoking, the chances of being diagnosed with asbestos lung cancer increases if a person smokes, due to the lungs’ inability to expel the asbestos from the lung tissue. Visiting with your doctor can help you understand what your exact symptoms may be a condition of, and how best to proceed with medical treatments.
If exposed to asbestos in any way, you should have routine and regular screenings for all types of mesothelioma as well as asbestos lung cancer yearly. It is always best to catch cancer in its most early stages, whether that be mesothelioma or lung cancer.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Claims?
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, or you recently experienced a loved one passing away due to mesothelioma, you may not be motivated to begin investigating how to file a claim to receive compensation for the injuries that you suffered. When filing a claim, it is important for you to know that you only have a limited amount of time to act on your legal rights and file a lawsuit.
A statute of limitations is a deadline by which you must file a claim in court regarding your legal rights or you lose the ability to do so. Each state has a different statute of limitations, guidelines, and deadlines regarding when you are able to file a claim as a victim of asbestos. Either you as a victim, or your family may file a claim in court.
There are two types of claims that may be filed for mesothelioma related to asbestos exposure. The first is personal injury, and the second is wrongful death. A personal injury claim is one where the victim initiates the claim themselves related to their diagnosis of asbestos-related mesothelioma. Typically, a state will allow somewhere between one and three years from the date of diagnosis to file a personal injury claim.
Courts realized that the statute of limitations for mesothelioma claims needed to be different from other personal injury cases because of the time it takes for the cancer to develop. Mesothelioma typically takes decades to develop, and symptoms do not develop until decades after a victim’s first exposure. Therefore, the statute of limitations for these personal injury lawsuits will only be after an official diagnosis of asbestos-related mesothelioma is given by a doctor.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought by the families of the mesothelioma victim after their death due to asbestos-related mesothelioma. There is a separate statute of limitations for families attempting to file a wrongful death suit. Typically, states allow between one and three years after the death of the mesothelioma victim to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Knowing what state to file in can also be challenging. In the case of mesothelioma claims, you may file in states you have lived, job sites, military bases, or the state in which the asbestos company operates that caused your exposure. Making the decision where to file your mesothelioma claim can be legally challenging and visiting with a mesothelioma lawyer can help you understand your options to make your decision.
How Does Asbestos Cause Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is the second-most common cancer in America, with 220,000 new diagnoses yearly. Additionally, it is the leading cause of cancer deaths each year. Most people will develop lung cancer due to smoking and tobacco products. However, a small portion of lung cancer cases will be due to asbestos-related exposures.
Over 20 million people in the United States and many more millions worldwide have been exposed to asbestos and are now at risk of developing either lung cancer or mesothelioma. Researchers have been examining the relationship between asbestos and lung cancer for four decades.
Microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled and then settle into the lungs or the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testes. When the fibers are inhaled and travel directly to the lungs, they can cause scarring and inflammation. However, cancerous changes to cells do not happen for decades after the original inhalation of these fibers.
Researchers have been puzzled as to how these fibers that kill, scar, and inflame cells, could then cause lung cancer. Technically, a dead cell should not be able to grow and form a tumor. However, what researchers discovered is that when asbestos kills a cell in the lung, it does so by a process known as programmed cell necrosis. This process releases a very specific protein molecule called the high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1). This protein molecule starts a unique inflammatory reaction that causes the mutagen release and the start of cancerous tumor growth. Scientists discovered patients exposed to asbestos in their lifetimes had higher levels of this protein in their serum.
Some of the new research will attempt to decrease inflammation in a person that has had asbestos exposure and reduce their chances of developing mesothelioma by taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
You have a risk of developing lung cancer due to asbestos, even if it has been decades since your exposure. If you are a smoker, you have an even greater risk of lung cancer. If you develop any symptoms of lung cancer such as shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, fatigue, or weight loss, contact a medical professional as soon as possible and let them know that you have a history of asbestos exposure. Your doctor may want to do a lung biopsy or other tests to determine if there are any fibers of asbestos in your lungs.
While smoking and tobacco use are still the primary and overwhelming cause of lung cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer if exposed to asbestos in the past.
What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Symptoms of mesothelioma are often vague at first or mimic symptoms of other conditions. Therefore, it is imperative that you always tell your doctor if you had any type of exposure to asbestos in the past that may have caused you to develop mesothelioma. Due to the fact that mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer, it typically is not suspected first if these symptoms develop. Therefore, always make sure to inform your medical providers of your asbestos exposure in the past.
There are four types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular. Each of these types of mesothelioma is different, but all stem from the exposure to asbestos. Typically, mesothelioma begins as tiny growths inside areas of the body. The lungs are the most common area to have mesothelioma and account for 80% of all mesothelioma cancers. The next most common is peritoneal, which is in the lining around the abdomen. The last two types, pericardial and testicular, are much rarer and only account for less than 1% of all mesothelioma cancers.
Symptoms of mesothelioma differ depending on what type of mesothelioma cancer you have. Typically, there will be no symptoms until decades after your exposure to asbestos. Common symptoms of all mesotheliomas include weight loss and fatigue. Wherever located, the tumors grow and push against certain organs, bones, nerves, or other parts of the body.
For pleural mesothelioma found in the lungs, symptoms include dry cough, wheezing, respiratory complications, shortness of breath (also known as dyspnea), fever, night sweats, pain in the chest or abdomen, pleural effusion (also known as fluid around the lungs), fatigue, and muscle weakness.
For peritoneal mesothelioma found in the abdomen, symptoms include bloating, weight loss, hernias (where a small portion of an organ protrudes into the abdominal wall), feeling of fullness, loss of appetite, abdominal swelling, fatigue, abdominal fluid buildup (ascites), or bowel obstruction.
For pericardial and testicular mesothelioma, there is typically pain located in the chest and heart area, and testicular areas, respectively.
Since the symptoms of mesothelioma cancers are often similar to other more benign conditions, visiting with a doctor is truly the only way to ensure that you are diagnosed correctly after exhibiting symptoms. X-rays and blood tests can show some symptoms of mesothelioma, and if testing discovers certain indicators, it will warrant a biopsy. Again, always let a doctor know if you were ever exposed to asbestos so that you can attempt to be diagnosed as soon as possible to extend your chances of life expectancy.
What Are the Symptoms of Asbestos Lung Cancer?
While many people know that the inhalation of asbestos can cause mesothelioma, this carcinogen can also cause asbestos lung cancer. While the two conditions both form in the lungs and have similar symptoms, they are actually different types of cancer. Pleural mesothelioma occurs when asbestos-containing particles are trapped in the lungs and then affect the mesothelium, the lining of the lung. Asbestos lung cancer occurs when the asbestos causes cancer inside the actual lung. Both cancers take decades to develop, and then only months to metastasize or spread.
Most lung cancers are actually due to smoking nicotine products. However, asbestos-saturated lungs can also develop cancerous tumors. The microscopic carcinogens are inhaled and then lodged in the lung tissue. After decades, the lung cells have enough cellular damage that they turn cancerous.
The symptoms of asbestos lung cancer are very similar to pleural mesothelioma. The most common symptoms of asbestos lung cancer (or any type of lung cancer) can include:
- Persistent coughing
- Chest discomfort and pain
- Hoarseness or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the face or the neck
- Chronic respiratory infections
It is important to note that these symptoms usually occur once the asbestos lung cancer reaches a later stage of development, typically stage 3 or stage 4. Unfortunately, these stages of cancer are more difficult to treat.
If you have any of the above symptoms, a doctor will attempt to determine if you have asbestos lung cancer by using the Helsinki Criteria, established in 1997. These criteria can assist doctors in determining if the respiratory disease is, in fact, a result of asbestos exposure.
The Helsinki Criteria indicates that lung cancer is diagnosed at least 10 years after the original exposure to asbestos, and there must be evidence of asbestos in the lung tissue. These criteria will help your doctor make a definitive diagnosis that asbestos played a part in the development of your condition and will make it easier for you to seek compensation for your injuries.
After exposure to asbestos, you should consider regular screenings for asbestos lung cancer as well as other asbestos-related diseases to attempt to catch any type of cancer in its earliest stages. More treatment options and a better life expectancy are associated with finding asbestos lung cancer and other asbestos-related cancers early.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can be found in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes. These cells are called mesothelial cells, and they cover many of the internal organs. The lining that is formed from these cells is called the mesothelium. This lining called the mesothelium protects organs by making a fluid that allows organs to easily slide against each other. For example, your lungs can expand and contract due to this lining.
There are four types of mesothelium that can be affected by mesothelioma.
- The pleura covers the upper respiratory systems such as the lungs and the chest space that holds the lungs.
- The peritoneum covers the entire abdomen area and lines many organs.
- The pericardium covers the heart and the chest space surrounding the heart.
- The tunica vaginalis is the lining around the testes.
Mesothelioma can be malignant or benign. If the cancer is not benign, it is called malignant mesothelioma. Most mesotheliomas are malignant. 75% of all mesotheliomas occur in the pleura or the lining of the lungs. Most of the rest of the cases are peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the abdomen.
There are three major types of mesothelioma that are grouped based on how they appear in the body.
- Epithelioid – More than 50% of all mesotheliomas are epithelioid. These types of mesothelioma cancers have a better prognosis and life expectancy than other types of mesotheliomas.
- Sarcomatoid – Approximately 10%-20% of all mesotheliomas fall into this category.
- Mixed – The final 20%-30% of mesotheliomas are composed of both types of mesothelioma.
Depending on where the mesothelioma is located, a patient will develop different symptoms. In pleural mesothelioma, symptoms include chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, lumps of tissue under the skin, and weight loss. Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, and weight loss. Pericardial mesothelioma symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing. Tunica Vaginalis mesothelioma symptoms may include a swelling or an actual mass on the testicle.
Typically, mesothelioma is caused as a result of exposure to asbestos. If you worked in an industry that may have exposed you to asbestos fibers, you may have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma over your lifetime. If you recognize any of these symptoms, contact a doctor as soon as possible, and make sure to let him or her know that you have had a history of asbestos exposure.
Is There a Cure for Mesothelioma?
There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, there are several treatment options and other significant factors that can increase life expectancy. While malignant mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive cancers known to science, there are exceptions to the typical grim prognosis, with many survivors living five years and beyond. The following are ways to optimize your chances of longer survival and life expectancy after your mesothelioma diagnosis.
Doctors that specialize in mesothelioma are rare, and it is important to find a doctor that specifically treats this type of cancer. Many fantastic oncologists still do not know or understand the intricacies of malignant mesothelioma. Find a mesothelioma specialist that treats this type of cancer every day. This will absolutely make a difference in your life expectancy. Even if you do not live near a specialist, find a way to get there, because your life is at stake. Some of the mesothelioma specialists will work alongside charitable organizations that may help you with the costs. These are the best doctors to associate with because they will have access to unique clinical trials available for mesothelioma patients.
Make sure that you begin to eat as healthy as possible. Your diet and nutrition can make a difference in not only how you feel, but how you heal. Even when you do not feel like it, you should eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, and less processed foods and red meat. While nutrition will not cure mesothelioma, it will provide your immune system with more strength to fight your cancer.
Most mesothelioma patients were exposed to asbestos, and all patients have familiar stories to tell and encouragement to give you. Also, remember that you have legal rights. Companies that made and produced products that contained asbestos knew that their products were toxic. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may have the right to receive compensation for your illness.
No matter what course of action you take after you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, know that while there is not a cure, per se, there are many options available that may increase your life expectancy.
Can You Sue for Lung Cancer Caused by Asbestos?
If your lung cancer was determined to be caused by asbestos exposure, you can sue for the compensation you deserve. If your lung cancer is determined not to be related to asbestos, you may not be able to file a claim regarding your diagnosis.
There are multiple types of asbestos-related lung cancer lawsuits you may be able to file in court, including a personal lawsuit, asbestos trust fund claims, and even Social Security disability claims. If you are a veteran, you may be able to file for disability and health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs if you were exposed to asbestos during your military service.
Legal claims would be ones that you could file that are either personal injury lawsuits (where you as a victim file a claim), wrongful death lawsuits (where a family member files on behalf of a victim that has passed away due to mesothelioma), or trust fund claims (companies set up an asbestos trust fund to pay victims and avoid bankruptcy).
Other ways you can receive compensation for your diagnosis of lung cancer related to mesothelioma may be through disability insurance or life insurance claims. Benefits claims are claims that are outside the legal process; however, sometimes compensation is available even through workers’ compensation benefits or veterans benefits in certain circumstances.
While you may feel conflicted about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit regarding asbestos-related lung cancer, this illness oftentimes requires expensive medical treatments, travel costs, caregiving costs, loss of wages, and more that are simply not covered by medical insurance. This type of asbestos-related lung cancer is also very preventable. Corporate negligence is what caused victims to have inhaled mesothelioma fibers long after companies knew that their products or factories had a known carcinogen.
While no amount of money will ever compensate you for your illness, or your loved one’s illness, suing for lung cancer caused by asbestos will provide your family with the financial resources to restore the monetary losses you had due to this illness. In some cases, depending on the facts and circumstances, courts may also award punitive damages. The determination of punitive damages is typically meant to punish the corporation for their negligent behavior with respect to their handling of the carcinogen, asbestos.
There are strict deadlines, called statutes of limitations, that require you to file a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim within a certain period of time or you lose your ability to receive compensation. Each state has a different set of deadlines, and visiting with an attorney can help you better understand what type of lawsuit you should file, against whom, and how long you have to preserve your claim.
What Compensation Can I Get if I Sue for Mesothelioma and/or Asbestos Lung Cancer?
There is no way to determine the specific amount of compensation you will receive for your mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer lawsuit, as every case is unique. However, some important considerations and factors will impact how much compensation you may receive.
To determine compensation, a court or jury considers the circumstances under which you had asbestos exposure, the severity of your particular mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer case, the expense of medical treatments, the expense of any ongoing treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In certain circumstances, a court or jury may also award punitive damages, which the courts use as a punishment towards the company regarding their negligent behavior. As you may expect, the more serious, severe, or egregious the circumstances, the more compensation you may possibly receive in either a settlement or a lawsuit.
One of the most common causes of mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer is inhaling asbestos fibers in a work environment. Workers who inhaled carcinogenic asbestos fibers in their work environment are at a higher risk for developing either mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer. Additionally, the workers’ families are also at a higher risk, as they may have inhaled asbestos fibers through second-hand exposure when their family members returned home from work.
Often, companies knew that their asbestos-containing factories, mines, or products had this carcinogen and failed to not only inform their workers but also failed to provide them with any respiratory equipment that would have protected them from developing these fatal diseases. Some of the most common industries that exposed their workers to asbestos included asbestos mines, asbestos manufacturers, asbestos distributors, asbestos suppliers, or other companies that had asbestos-containing products in their workspaces.
After a mesothelioma or lung cancer diagnosis, a patient will have approximately 12 months of life expectancy. This can actually be much longer, depending on the severity of the disease. A court or jury will take into account the severity of your condition as they determine and award compensation.
Along with the egregious nature of how you developed your mesothelioma or lung cancer and the severity of your condition, your compensation can also include the financial costs of your medical treatments such as surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and clinical trials. Your compensation may also include any payments made for alternative treatments, any ongoing health care, hospice care, housecleaning services, food delivery services, lost wages, possible loss of future wages, pain and suffering, or other financial burdens incurred that were associated with you or your loved one’s mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer.
What Is the Average Settlement for Mesothelioma & Asbestos Lung Cancer Lawsuits?
There is no average settlement for mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer lawsuits. Every person’s development of mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer is different. Therefore, every settlement will also be different. However, some factors will determine how much compensation you may receive in your mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer lawsuit.
The first factor is where the exposure to asbestos occurred. Typically, those who develop mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer inhaled the carcinogenic asbestos fiber in their work environment, or their families inhaled these asbestos fibers through second-hand exposure after their family member returned home from work.
Some of the most common companies that exposed their workers to asbestos would include asbestos mines, asbestos manufacturers, asbestos distributors, asbestos suppliers, or companies that had asbestos-containing products in their workspaces.
These companies and manufacturers have faced thousands of mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer lawsuits and have lost. Many of them knowingly placed workers in or near asbestos material with full understanding that these products contained the carcinogen asbestos. With this understanding, they failed to inform workers or provide them with potentially life-saving respiratory equipment to protect them from inhaling asbestos fibers.
The second factor is the severity of your mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer. While the life expectancy of most mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer patients is 12 months from the date of diagnosis, if these cancers are caught early, more treatment options are available, and life expectancies can be higher. The severity of your cancer and the timeline of discovery can impact your settlement amount.
The third factor is the cost of your medical treatments related to your mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer. Often, these types of cancers require surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and clinical trials. The financial cost of these medical treatments does not include any additional types of alternative treatments or health care you may find. The economic costs related to your mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer can be astronomical.
The fourth factor in the determination of your settlement amount is any possible ongoing health care, medical, or other costs associated with your diagnosis. You may require a special bed, ongoing nursing care, hospice care, housecleaning services, food delivery services, or other costs that are not direct medical bills associated with your mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer.
The fifth factor is lost wages, any possible loss of future wages, or diminished earning capacity due to your inability to work.
The final factor is pain and suffering. While no amount of compensation will ever restore you to health, the courts have allowed victims of negligence to attempt to receive compensation for their pain and suffering for their development of mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer.
Each case is unique and different, and understanding how mesothelioma and lung cancer lawsuits are developed and presented can help you determine what your settlement may be in your unique circumstance.
What Can I Do if My Lung Cancer or Mesothelioma Is a Result of Asbestos?
If your lung cancer or mesothelioma is a result of asbestos, you have the right to file a lawsuit for the development of your cancer. These types of cancers are almost always preventable, and most cases develop directly from the exposure and inhalation of asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancers develop following the inhalation of asbestos fibers. These carcinogenic fibers settle into the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes, or in the lungs themselves, and kill cells in those areas. However, these cells do not simply kill the cells completely. The asbestos fibers kill the healthy cells in a specific process that releases a protein that decades later may cause cancerous cells to develop, spread, and metastasize rapidly.
If you received a diagnosis of lung cancer or mesothelioma as a result of asbestos, the development of your cancer is unlike other cancers. These cancers are typically only associated with a negligent corporation failing to inform its workers, or the public, of the risks associated with the inhalation of asbestos, a known carcinogen. If your doctor diagnosed you with mesothelioma or lung cancer as a result of asbestos, you have the right to receive compensation for the development of these types of cancers.
The first successful asbestos-related lawsuit was in 1971. A court found in favor of a worker who inhaled asbestos fibers for years during his employment at an insulation manufacturer. This company failed to warn its employees of the dangers of inhaling the carcinogen, asbestos.
If your lung cancer or mesothelioma is a result of asbestos, you may file a lawsuit against any entity or company that is responsible for your exposure to asbestos. Some of those entities may include manufacturing companies of asbestos-containing products, companies that used asbestos products, manufacturers that produced respiratory equipment that failed to prevent asbestos inhalation, companies that used asbestos-containing machines, or any company that failed to tell their workers or the public that their products contained asbestos.
If you or your family member received a diagnosis of asbestos-related mesothelioma or lung cancer, you may file either a personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death lawsuit, or a lawsuit against an asbestos trust fund. Each of these lawsuits has a different statute of limitations regarding how long you have to file your lawsuit, depending on what type of lawsuit you file, and what state you file your lawsuit.
What Are the First Signs of Mesothelioma?
If you worked near or around asbestos, you may be concerned that you may develop mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs when a person inhales asbestos that becomes trapped in the lungs. If you worked with or near asbestos-containing materials, you may want to know the first signs of mesothelioma.
Symptoms may develop between 10 and 50 years (or longer) after the first exposure.
The first symptoms typically are:
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
The tumors will later begin to grow and press against certain organs, bones, nerves, and other parts of the body. Doctors are typically unable to diagnose mesothelioma until these later stages, known as stage 3 or stage 4 mesothelioma, due to the fact that symptoms appear so late. In some cases, early-stage mesothelioma can cause pleural fluid (fluid in the lungs) that causes shortness of breath or cough at these stages.
Mesothelioma can occur in both the lungs and the abdomen; therefore, the symptoms of each can be slightly different.
For mesothelioma in the lungs, common symptoms include dry cough, wheezing, respiratory complications, shortness of breath (also known as dyspnea), fever, night sweats, pain in the chest or abdomen, fatigue, and muscle weakness.
For mesothelioma found in the abdomen, common symptoms include bloating, weight loss, hernias (where a small portion of an organ protrudes into the abdominal wall), feeling of fullness, loss of appetite, abdominal swelling, fatigue, abdominal fluid buildup (ascites), or bowel obstruction.
The only true way to tell if you have mesothelioma is to obtain a biopsy. X-rays and blood tests can often show some signs that you may have mesothelioma which warrants a biopsy. You should always let your doctor know about your exposure to asbestos in the past. Any possibility of an earlier diagnosis can increase your chances of extending your life expectancy.
What Is the Main Cause of Mesothelioma?
Exposure to asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, approximately 70% to 80% of patients with a mesothelioma diagnosis experienced asbestos exposure. Asbestos, a fibrous mineral, comes from the ground. Workers use asbestos in many construction and building materials.
When you inhale the microscopic fibers of asbestos, they can damage your DNA, causing inflammation and scarring. After decades of lying dormant in the body, cellular changes start to create cancerous cells in reaction to the asbestos particles. Mesothelioma can occur in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes.
Patients who receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma often worked in certain blue-collar jobs, or serve in the military, exposing them to the mineral. Scientists know that the majority of mesothelioma cases occur due to either primary or secondary exposure to asbestos. However, those who lived with people who suffered asbestos exposure can also develop mesothelioma.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, research shows that approximately 20% of all mesothelioma cases are not due to asbestos exposure.
If you work(ed) in any of the industries or locations below, you may have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma:
- Asbestos mine
- Asbestos-processing plant
- Construction site
- Power plant
- Chemical plant
- Industrial site or plant
- Auto mechanic plant
- Boiler room
- Facility made of asbestos-containing products
The following blue-collar roles are susceptible to developing mesothelioma due to the exposure of asbestos:
- Insulation workers
- Boiler workers
- Construction tradesmen
Workers with exposure to asbestos-containing materials have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. These asbestos-containing materials include:
- Ceiling tiles
If you suffered asbestos exposure, you should have a yearly examination to check for any asbestos-related conditions. While these diseases are not preventable, finding them early may allow for more treatment options and a better prognosis for life expectancy.
What Causes Mesothelioma Other than Asbestos?
Most cases of mesothelioma result from exposure to asbestos. There are some cases in which this rare type of cancer may be from causes other than asbestos. Determining the causes of mesothelioma other than asbestos can be challenging.
Most cases of mesothelioma diagnosis are amongst workers who came into close contact with asbestos, such as construction workers, miners, and firefighters. Doctors know that asbestos causes mesothelioma, since mesothelioma tumors contain asbestos. Many researchers and scientists remain puzzled as to why other cases of mesothelioma occur without asbestos exposure.
When mesothelioma cases began appearing with patients who had no known exposure to asbestos, researchers began looking for other causes of the illness. Erionite, a volcanic mineral, may be a cause of mesothelioma other than asbestos.
According to Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, a group of patients in Turkey received mesothelioma diagnoses while living near a deposit of erionite. Erionite and asbestos, both fibrous materials, are chemically related. You can find the mineral erionite in multiple places in the United States.
The same article also implicates other minerals in the development of mesothelioma including nickel, silica, and beryllium.
The same article indicates that severe scarring or certain types of severe inflammation can also play a role in the development of malignant mesothelioma. Cases show some connection between mesothelioma and chronic empyema or peritonitis, tuberculosis, and Familial Mediterranean Fever.
Researchers are still conflicted regarding whether simian virus 40 causes mesothelioma.
In some cases, a diagnosis of mesothelioma will come with no known asbestos or erionite exposure. According to the National Organization for Rare Diseases, the person with the diagnosis may have suffered unknown exposure to one of the minerals.
No matter how a person develops mesothelioma or the stage of the cancer, the treatments will be the same. Treatment for mesothelioma includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and possible clinical trials.
Is Mesothelioma Always Fatal?
Once mesothelioma spreads, it is almost always fatal. Most mesothelioma patients do not live past five years after diagnosis.
The typical life expectancy for most patients with a mesothelioma diagnosis is approximately one year to 14 months after diagnosis, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases. Every person differs. With surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy, a mesothelioma prognosis may improve.
Malignant mesothelioma is an incurable type of cancer. The period between the exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis of mesothelioma can take decades, typically anywhere between 10 and 50 years. Once your doctor detects mesothelioma, it is typically already in an advanced stage.
Early detection can impact the life expectancy of a patient. The earlier the diagnosis, typically the better your chances of living longer.
It is important to note that local tumors typically have more treatment options. If your doctor finds mesothelioma in the earlier stages, there is a possibility that it may not spread throughout the body. Some mesothelioma patients who are in the final stages of the illness can live up to two years while others live up to five years, but it is not likely, according to the American Cancer Society.
If you are proactive with your diagnosis, you may have a longer life expectancy. Eating a healthy diet full of plant foods, and low in processed foods and red meat can help your overall health. Eating several cups of fruits and vegetables each day while limiting alcohol consumption can give your body the nutrients it needs to fight your mesothelioma.
Holistic treatments are also available that can treat a patient’s emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being together. These types of treatments work to strengthen the body and allow the body’s natural defense mechanisms to help heal your cancer.
Clinical trials are also available for many patients. With science advancing quickly, treatments are often available to cancer patients in the clinical trial phase. Your doctor should know about available clinical trials. If you are considering a clinical trial, we recommend meeting with other patients so they can share their experience with it. This meeting will help give you an accurate perspective about clinical trials.
These statistics are generalizations, and you are unique. Your circumstance and situation are different than anyone else’s. It is always important to remember that as you read through statistics regarding mesothelioma and survival rates.
We recommend that you speak with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan in your case.
Can You Get Mesothelioma Without Asbestos Exposure?
Scientists believe that most mesothelioma development occurs due to the exposure to asbestos along with some genetic predisposition. Some cases show that you can get mesothelioma without asbestos exposure.
Scientists need to conduct more research to determine why some patients develop mesothelioma while others do not. According to an article in the Annals of Translational Medicine titled Mesothelioma: recent highlights, research shows that younger women can receive a mesothelioma diagnosis without any asbestos exposure. A potential cause of mesothelioma is erionite, a volcanic mineral.
Experts began linking erionite to mesothelioma after patients near Cappadocia, Turkey developed the illness. There are deposits of erionite in Cappadocia.
Erionite exposure is not the only potential cause of mesothelioma. In addition to exposure to erionite, the Consensus Report of the 2015 Weinman International Conference on Mesothelioma discussed that genetic and environmental factors may play a role in patients developing mesothelioma without exposure to asbestos.
However, in the case of the patients in Turkey, none had any genetic factors that would be applicable to explain their diagnoses.
Asbestos and erionite are fibrous minerals. Erionite and asbestos act similarly in that their fibers are only hazardous when someone disturbs them. This chemical relation may be the connection between the development of mesothelioma in individuals who never inhale asbestos. In the United States, you can find erionite in North Dakota, many western states, and in road construction and gravel quarries.
Regardless of how mesothelioma occurs, the treatments are still the same. Doctors typically discover mesothelioma in stage three or stage four of the illness. By either stage, the cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body. According to the National Organization for Rare Diseases, the average lifespan of someone with a mesothelioma diagnosis is approximately 12-14 months after the initial test results. New research and new treatments may extend these mesothelioma timeframes.
It is important for you to understand that you may be able to get mesothelioma without asbestos exposure. Doctors should consider a diagnosis of mesothelioma even if the patient has no prior asbestos exposure.
Can Mesothelioma Be Caused by Something Other than Asbestos?
Some cases of mesothelioma occur without known asbestos exposure. Moreover, some patients have little to no opportunity for asbestos exposure or are not old enough for inhaled asbestos to cause the necessary changes and a tumor to develop. In these cases, there is a high likelihood that something other than asbestos triggers the development and growth of the neoplasm we call malignant mesothelioma.
There are several theories about the causes and contributing factors to mesothelioma development when asbestos is not likely to be the cause. Potential causes and contributing factors include:
Some young patients and others without known asbestos exposure have a medical history that could point to an answer. They previously received treatment for another type of cancer. As a part of that treatment, they endured therapeutic radiation to the chest or abdomen.
While this type of exposure does seem to play a role in the development of malignant mesothelioma in some people, the overall risk of developing this cancer is still small among those who undergo radiation treatments.
Family History of Breast Cancer
In some cases, there seems to be a link between the development of malignant mesothelioma and a family history of breast cancer. This is especially true in younger patients under the age of 35. There is no clear research into why this could play a role.
Researchers identified a mutation in the BAP1 gene that may contribute to the development of malignant mesothelioma. These mutations, while rare, get passed down in a family and can cause cancer in several generations or among relatives in the same generation.
Zeolites, like asbestos, are minerals that may cause mesothelioma and other lung cancers. These minerals are chemically similar to asbestos. One of the most common examples of a zeolite is erionite.
Erionite is common in certain areas of Turkey, as well as in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest United States. There are elevated mesothelioma rates in these areas.
Research continues into whether simian virus 40 (SV40) increases a person’s risk of developing mesothelioma. There seems to be a link, but more research is necessary to confirm that it is a causative factor.
Is Mesothelioma a Slow Growing Cancer?
It is a common belief that mesothelioma is a slow-growing cancer. However, the reality is that malignant mesothelioma grows rapidly and is very aggressive. This is one reason why it is so common for patients to pass away in a relatively short time after diagnosis. It grows so quickly that there is little opportunity to catch it early, remove the small growth, and see a positive outcome.
The myth that malignant mesothelioma grows slowly likely stems from the long latency period of the condition. There can be several decades—frequently as many as 20 to 50 years—between exposure to asbestos and the development of malignant mesothelioma neoplasms.
The Development of Malignant Mesothelioma
The process of how asbestos leads to malignant mesothelioma is more complex than most people realize. Asbestos does not simply get inhaled and then turn into cancer. Instead, the asbestos causes genetic changes in the person’s DNA. This process includes inducing the body’s mesothelial cells and macrophages to secrete certain elements that lead to mutations.
In addition, the chronic inflammatory process caused by the inhalation of so many asbestos fibers likely plays a role in the process that eventually causes malignant mesothelioma.
This process can take 25 years or more than 70. Once the latency period ends, though, the person has a fast-growing neoplasm that could become symptomatic within weeks or months.
Malignant Mesothelioma Is Aggressive and Life-Threatening
Once malignant mesothelioma develops, the growth of the cancer occurs in weeks or months. Because it advances so quickly after development, malignant mesothelioma is difficult or impossible to detect early on. Unlike cervical cancer or colon cancer, screening every few years or even annually is unlikely to save a significant number of lives from malignant mesothelioma.
Without early detection, many patients do not get a diagnosis until their cancer spreads and causes serious symptoms. This may reduce the chances of effective treatment and cure.
Mesothelioma is not a slow-growing cancer; it is a very aggressive, fast-moving disease that requires an equally aggressive treatment plan. Even with treatment, malignant mesothelioma often leads to death in two to five years after diagnosis.
Can Kids Get Mesothelioma?
Yes, it is possible that kids get mesothelioma, but it is exceptionally rare. In fact, about two-thirds of all people who get a mesothelioma diagnosis are over age 65, according to a study published by Lung Cancer International on life expectancy. The disease most commonly develops during the seventh decade of life. It is unusual for an oncologist to see anyone under retirement age with the condition, much less a child. However, it does happen.
It generally takes decades to develop mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos and to develop symptoms. For this reason, it is unlikely that this type of exposure causes this type of cancer in children. It can take anywhere from 10 to 40 years for mesothelioma to develop.
Possible Causes of Mesothelioma in Kids
Some people point to secondary exposure and blame adults for mesothelioma in children. Secondary exposure is similar to second-hand smoke, in that exposure occurs during work or other activities. Then, they come home with these dangerous fibers on their skin, clothes, and other items. While non-occupational asbestos exposure does occur, the cancer would still take years to develop following exposure.
Prognosis for Children with Mesothelioma
There are unique clinical and genetic characteristics of younger mesothelioma patients, according to a study in Modern Pathology. There are also differences in how children and young people handle cancer treatment versus how it can affect seniors. The median overall survival rate in this study show patients under age 35 survived an average of 40 months post-diagnosis while those over age 35 lived an average of 26 months.
However, both ranges fall within the typical prognosis of five years or less. Factors that affect prognosis, quality of life, and survival in children with mesothelioma include:
- The stage of the disease at diagnosis
- The child’s general health
- How the child responds to surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, or other treatment
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for Help with Your Case
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma and would like to speak with a lawyer about your legal case, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for a free consultation.