Health

Mesothelioma Cancer and Legal Process for Asbestos Claim

In the early 1920s, there were reports of thousands of asbestos workers falling ill with lung disease. Seemingly healthy patients would complain of symptoms like difficulty breathing or chest pain. But within a few weeks, they would die of lung cancer. The situation became so horrible that newspapers published several reports on the issue. The medical research was equally horrifying. The disease spread so aggressively that no surgeon could take it out. And when the disease reached the chest, the patient would slowly suffocate. By the early 1960s, doctors uncovered a definitive between asbestos exposure and several fatal illnesses. One of which is mesothelioma. 

But, what is mesothelioma cancer? And how does it form?

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare, incurable disease. While it usually affects the lining of the lungs, it can also form on the linings of the abdomen or heart. More than 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. 75% of these people suffer from pleural mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is a devastating disease, and most people die within a year of the diagnosis. 

Mesothelioma forms because of prolonged exposure to asbestos. When a person inhales airborne asbestos fibers, they become lodged in the lining of their lungs, abdomen, or heart. The embedded fibers damage the cells. Over time, a tumor forms on the mesothelium. 

Sadly, most of the deaths were avoidable. The asbestos industry knowingly put workers at risk by exposing them to the chemical. According to several depositions, industry leaders tried to suppress information about the disease. However, mesothelioma patients and their families can file a lawsuit to claim compensation. Indeed, several firms such as Sokolove Law have been fighting for years to bring justice to victims. If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, you may file an asbestos claim for compensation.

However, filing an asbestos lawsuit is complex. This article is a short introduction to the legal procedure of filing an asbestos claim.

The legal process for the asbestos claim:

You will need to gather several things before you file a lawsuit. You should have medical records which prove that the patient is suffering from mesothelioma. You should also save work history records as proof that the plaintiff worked for the asbestos company. Furthermore, you should have a testimony to prove the cause of asbestos exposure and the diagnosis. Lastly, financial records should show that you had to struggle financially because of the disease.  

Step 1: What kind of claim will you file?

Asbestos claims are tortious claims. A plaintiff can file a tortious claim when a civil wrong causes them loss. In mesothelioma cases, the civil wrong is the negligence of the employers because which made victims inhale asbestos. However, the type of claim you file will depend on the civil wrong. Mesothelioma victims can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their injury. When a mesothelioma victim dies, their estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. Veterans can file a VA claim for mesothelioma exposure. The patient can file a trust fund claim if the defendant company has set up a trust fund for asbestos claims. So, you must begin by considering what kind of claim you will file.

Step 2: Can you file a claim? 

Every legal system has a time limit for when a plaintiff can file a case. This limit is called the statute of limitations. For most tort cases, plaintiffs have to file the lawsuit within three years of the injury. However, mesothelioma has a long latency period between 25-50 years. So, the time limit begins after the party finds out about the injury. Most states have their time limits on mesothelioma claims. But one average claimant can file their case one to three years after the person’s diagnosis or death from mesothelioma. 

Step 3: Can you prove who is responsible for the exposure? 

The lawyer will now build the case. They will research and collect evidence about the how and when. As the goal is to shift responsibility for the asbestos exposure, the plaintiffs will provide an accurate work history. They may also provide supporting documents such as medical records to strengthen their case. Plaintiffs may include expert testimony from experienced oncologists. The lawyer will draft a complaint with the relevant details of the case.

Step 4: Where will you file it?

You may have several options when filing the lawsuit. Plaintiffs can file the case where the defendants are or where asbestos exposure happened. Veterans can file their suit in the state where exposure occurred. Several states allow plaintiffs to file the lawsuit when they can not file anywhere else. Your lawyer will guide you about the best-suited state for your case and the information you have to submit. After you file your complaint, the other party will respond within a set period. 

Step 5: Is the case solid?

This stage is also known as the discovery phase. During this stage, both sides will build their cases. Lawyers will gather information and secure proprietary documents. They will also investigate products and the locations of asbestos exposure. Both sides will have to share the relevant information. 

Step 6: Will it go to trial?

Mesothelioma lawsuits award damages through settlements or trial awards. If the plaintiff and the defendants agree on compensation, then the case will not proceed to trial. However, once your lawsuit moves on to the trial stage, the outcome will depend on the judge and jury.

Conclusion:

Getting a mesothelioma diagnosis can be traumatic. Not only does it take a toll on the health of the patient, but the treatment is also expensive. If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, consider filing an asbestos lawsuit for compensation.

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