Legal Options for Mesothelioma Patients

Mesothelioma is an aggressive, non-curable cancer that causes extreme physical and emotional duress for victims and emotional duress for the families of those who pass away due to this disease. If its cause is related to employer negligence, victims and their families have valid legal claims—even if a previous employer is no longer in business. Here’s a brief background of mesothelioma, legal options and processes available for victims.

What is Mesothelioma? 

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lungs. It’s typically caused by exposure to asbestos, and it is a very aggressive form of cancer that can take years to develop. Tiny asbestos particles can be easily inhaled and become lodged in the body, where they can stay there undetected for a very long time; but usually, the fibers will ultimately turn cancerous and spread. 

Mesothelioma most often affects the lungs. The membrane tissue surrounding the lungs becomes irritated and starts to form tumors around the lungs. However, mesothelioma can also affect the heart and the abdomen, with similar tumorous developments.

What Causes Mesothelioma?

The most common cause of mesothelioma is asbestos. This is a fibrous material that was commonly used in construction projects as an insulation material until the 1980s, when knowledge of its dangerous properties became common. It has an innate ability to withstand heat, which made it extremely useful as fire-resistant plating in doors, walls, ceilings and floors. Those who have been exposed to asbestos, especially for long periods of time, are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.

Since it can take years or even decades for asbestos particles to cause mesothelioma to develop (it takes an average of 20 years for symptoms to surface), it can be hard to diagnose. On top of its long latency period, symptoms can be easily confused for a variety of other conditions.

Who Can Receive Compensation? 

Compensation may be awarded to anyone who has developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos caused by an employer’s negligence. They can sue for economic loss, which includes treatment costs and loss of income due to damaged health; non-economic loss, which includes emotional duress; and punitive damages, which are fines that punish the defendant for misdeeds to discourage future misbehaviors.

In some cases, family members of a person whose death is caused by mesothelioma may also have legal entitlement to compensation. They can also sue for legal, non-legal, and punitive damages.

Mesothelioma most commonly affects those who have been exposed due to occupational exposure; the most common occupations at risk include construction workers, electricians, plumbers, and others who have been regularly exposed to building materials using asbestos.

Military veterans are another class at risk of mesothelioma, as asbestos was regularly used in the construction of Navy ships and other military vehicles and structures during the 20th century.

What If My Previous Employer Is No Longer in Business? 

Some people affected by asbestos may not go in search of legal compensation due to the long period of time it takes for mesothelioma to surface; the employer who caused the exposure is no longer in business.

As a result, victims may not know who can be held responsible and provide compensation for the costs of their disease, despite how expensive treatment for mesothelioma can be. However, there are specific trust funds that have been established just for the purpose of compensating those with mesothelioma who seek legal recourse. These trust funds currently have over $30 billion reserved for victims to claim.

How Do I Make a Case? 

To claim compensation for mesothelioma, contact a mesothelioma lawyer. Your lawyer will collect medical records, eyewitness accounts, and any other relevant data in order to prove your case. It is recommended that you work with a lawyer who has specific experience with mesothelioma cases, as they will require to work with detailed scientific and medical information.

The amount of money you may receive from a mesothelioma case varies from thousands and hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. According to a 2016 Mealey’s Litigation Report, the average amount awarded from a mesothelioma trial is $2.4 million, while the average out-of-court settlement pays about $1 million.

Mesothelioma lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC have consistently and successfully won settlements for their clients seeking compensation. One client who developed mesothelioma due to exposure in his occupation as an insulator worked with Napoli Shkolnik PLLC ultimately obtained a $2 million settlement. 

In another case, the firm negotiated a multi-million dollar payout for a Pennsylvania power plant worker who contracted mesothelioma after 30 years working in conditions which exposed him to asbestos.

While no amount of money will make up for lost health or the death of a loved one, recognize that there are resources available to alleviate financial costs and hold responsible entities accountable. Our experienced mesothelioma attorneys can discuss your legal options with you and your family, who may have experienced secondary exposure. Contact us today for a free consultation with no obligation.