You may have noticed news reports about Mesothelioma, perhaps on the television or online. If you’re wondering why there are so many references to this disease lately, this article will help you understand.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a cancer specifically caused by asbestos exposure that takes decades to develop. Although it’s considered rare, up to 3,000 people are newly diagnosed every year in the United States.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Asbestos dust feels like a fine powder, but it’s actually quite sharp at the microscopic level. When people breathe in or ingest these fine particles, they become lodged in the body’s tissues, creating irritation and inflammation that often results in cancer. Cancer in the lungs is most common, followed by the abdomen, and then the testicles.
The biggest problem with mesothelioma is that people don’t know they have it until it’s in the late stages. This makes the typical survival rate low, at just 4-18 months. About 10% of people live for five years and a handful have lived more than 10 years after being diagnosed.
Why are people talking about mesothelioma now?
If you’re just starting to notice ads for mesothelioma lawsuits, it’s because more law firms are taking on cases to accommodate the number of people filing lawsuits. For the last forty years, people diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families have been filing lawsuits against the parties responsible for manufacturing the asbestos products that caused their illness. The internet has made it easier than ever to access attorneys, and more people are realizing they have the right to sue.
Do people win mesothelioma lawsuits?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. Although, not all cases are proven to a satisfactory level. Whether or not someone wins compensation in a mesothelioma lawsuit will depend on how much medical documentation they have and if they can prove the source of exposure.
People who qualify to file a lawsuit include:
· People who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer
· Family members of those who have been diagnosed
· Someone who represents a mesothelioma victim’s estate
When someone wins compensation, the average settlement can range between $1 million and $2 million. However, cases that go to trial have recovered between $5 million and $11.4 million.
Since these are product liability lawsuits, the compensation available includes punitive damages, which often greatly exceed compensatory damages awarded for medical bills and lost wages. That’s why some people who have gone to trial were able to get five to 10 times more money than the average settlement.
During settlement negotiations, a lawyer works out compensation with the company being sued. During a trial, it’s up to the jury to determine an appropriate award, and juries tend to favor high numbers in mesothelioma cases.
Why is asbestos still used if it’s dangerous?
Most people are shocked to learn that asbestos hasn’t been outlawed in the U.S. and companies still use it to manufacture products. Asbestos is restricted and mining was outlawed in 2002, but it’s still imported. There are some things it can and can’t be used for, but the restrictions aren’t enough to prevent new cases.
Asbestos materials aren’t as prevalent as they once were, but the heat-resistant properties make it perfect for materials like insulation, roofing shingles, floor tiles, and automobile brake systems. Materials containing less than 1% asbestos can still be sprayed onto buildings, conduits, and pipes, but if certain standards are met, materials containing more than 1% asbestos may be used.
Only some asbestos products have been discontinued and are unable to be produced again, but there are plenty of existing products that are still perfectly legal to manufacture and import.
What to do if you think you might have mesothelioma
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, and you think you might have mesothelioma, it’s crucial to see a specialist as soon as possible. Your general physician is unlikely to make an accurate diagnosis if you have mesothelioma because the symptoms mimic common ailments, like pneumonia. Seeing a mesothelioma specialist will give you the best chance of getting properly diagnosed if you do have this cancer.
Once you see a specialist and get an official diagnosis, then you can start thinking about filing a lawsuit. It’s important to pursue your claim because your medical bills are going to be high. Also, if you have a family to take care of, the compensation can support them as well.
Don’t wait if you think you might have mesothelioma. Get a diagnosis as soon as possible to file for the compensation you deserve.