Mesothelioma is a type of cancer. The cancer is found in the cells that line the lung, heart and stomach. These cells are mesothelial cells. Mesothelioma is caused from asbestos exposure.
Asbestos has been responsible for one of three occupational cancer deaths in this country for decades. It is estimated that over 100,000 people a year die from asbestos related disease. If a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma it is almost certain that person was exposed to asbestos.
In working with people that have battled this cancer for years we have become familiar with different hospitals and treatment centers that focus on battling cancer. This link provides contact information for some of those cancer centers.
The best way to determine if a lawsuit makes sense in your circumstances is to call us. Below are links to some questions many people have when dealing with this issue.
Is a lawsuit the right answer?
In our view, a lawsuit should be a last resort and should only be pursued if someone acted in a way that was dangerous and caused serious harm. One of the reasons we represent people who have mesothelioma is because it is a cancer almost always caused from exposure to asbestos. We know when someone has this disease that there was some exposure to asbestos.
The next question is whether the company that made, sold or used the asbestos product knew that it was dangerous. What we have found is that company after company knew that asbestos caused this deadly disease but continued to sell it during a time frame when there was no legitimate excuse.
The final question we would ask is whether is any hope that the responsible company or companies will do the right thing and apologize for what they have done and take steps to make it right. In our experience, this has happened but is very rare and almost always requires the help of a lawyer to locate the company and let them know what happened. Asbestos cancer is a type of cancer that does not show up for years after the exposure. So, unlike many types of cases where the person who hurt you is around at the time you were injured, in these cases, years go by from the time you are exposed to when you get sick. Identifying and locating the companies that caused the problem can be challenging. Then an investigation begins to determine what the company knew when they sold the asbestos product and why they made the decisions they made. Many of the asbestos companies knew of the hazards of asbestos as far back as the 1930s and 1940s and chose not to take precautions and chose not to tell the people who worked with the asbestos.
Most people who worked with asbestos did not know it was dangerous. There is nothing about the substance that alerts you to danger – it does not sting your eyes, burn your throat or smell bad. It is one of those poisons that you only know is dangerous if someone tells you. The problem is worse because it is a toxin that affects people differently. A group of people can work with asbestos and most will not get cancer, but what is known, and has been known for over half a century, is that if you expose people to asbestos some of them will get cancer. Asbestos is also particularly dangerous because even short exposures can result in death for some. It is not just the asbestos worker who gets sick but also the co-worker working a few rooms away and the wife that washes his clothes. What we have learned is that many companies understood these hazards and chose to keep that knowledge to themselves in order to continue using and selling asbestos products.
What is expected if we get involved in a lawsuit?
It depends on your health and how involved you want to be. Usually we will want to talk to the person who is sick to learn about his or her life. The better we know you the better we can represent you. It also helps to figure out where and when you were exposed to asbestos. Many companies exposed thousands of people to asbestos and never have to pay the consequence for their actions because the people who were exposed do not remember or know they were exposed. If we can identify companies who acted dangerously and chose to violate safety rules, we will initiate a lawsuit.
We will do most of the work – things like investigating the companies’ documents, reviewing medical records, interviewing the decision makers in the companies, reporting to the judge, and talking to medical and health professionals about your exposures and health. Some people like to be very involved in what is going on. Others do not. This is up to you. There are only a few things that require your help, like authorizations for medical records. There are a few other things where you are not usually required to help but your help can make a big difference in handling the case, such as helping us find co-workers or answering questions from the companies and their lawyers.
Will it cost me anything to get involved in a case?
No. If you decide to file a lawsuit it should not cost you or your family anything. One of the basic ways our legal system permits people to have a lawyer is to be represented on a contingency fee basis. Most people cannot afford to pay a lawyer an hourly fee. This is particularly true when a case requires much of a lawyer’s time. A contingency fee basis means that the lawyer is paid based on a percentage of the amount of financial compensation that is recovered on a client’s behalf. If there is no financial recovery for you, we do not earn a fee. Part of that means your lawyer will advance all expenses of your case. These expenses are repayable to the lawyer only if the lawyer is successful.
Do you know how much money I can expect for my loved ones if we file a lawsuit?
It really depends. We have to figure out who exposed you to asbestos, when you were exposed to asbestos, and look at the behavior of the companies who exposed you to asbestos.
The insurance companies hired by the companies who exposed you to asbestos often look at these factors: