Mesothelioma is a cancerous disease mostly caused by exposure to asbestos. You and your loved ones may have legal rights to ask for compensation. And this is where you might wonder to yourself, ‘do I need a mesothelioma lawyer?’ It is important for you to know where you stand before making the decision on whether to hire an asbestos lawyer.
You can ask for legal compensation in the United States of America. In the US, you or anyone you can ask for monetary compensation for mesothelioma if you or anyone you know were working in jobs for companies that were responsible for your exposure to asbestos. It is important that you consult an asbestos attorney as soon as possible if you wish to seek compensation for your diagnosis of mesothelioma. This is because the US law imposes a statute of limitations, which varies from state to state. This means you have a limited amount of time to file a mesothelioma lawsuit, depending on which state of the USA you reside in.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type a cancer which can develop in the tissues that cover the lungs and abdomen.
Mesothelioma is considered a rare cancer, but it's becoming more common with the number of people diagnosed with it is now approaching 3,000 every year in the US (source: cancer.org). Most of mesothelioma contractors are male. This is possibly because of the nature of jobs many men are accustomed to. There are 3 main types of mesothelioma cancer. They are pleural mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma of the three.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a heat and fire resistant insulating material that was widely used in the building, ship building and motor plants in the past. It was also used to manufacture household appliances. As a result, most cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in men who have used asbestos products in a work place in the past. There was a significant rise in the use of asbestos in the years following the second world war, where asbestos use was particularly common.
Mesothelioma cancer often does not develop until 15 to 40 years after you have been exposed to asbestos. This is probably why the number of cases of mesothelioma lawsuits had a sharp increase in the late 70s and 80s and then again in the early 2000s. Mesothelioma lawsuits might be expected to keep going further throughout the next 20 years.
All types of asbestos including blue asbestos, brown asbestos, and white asbestos are harmful. Since the late 1980's blue asbestos and brown asbestos products have been banned in the UK. Asbestos can no longer be imported into the UK either. White asbestos was banned from use in the UK in 1999. However, surprisingly in 2019, the United States is one of the few major first-world nations without an asbestos ban in place. Asbestos in the US is still used in gaskets, friction products, roofing, fireproofing materials and other everyday products.
How does asbestos cause Mesothelioma?
Asbestos is made up of tiny fibres. These fibres can be inhaled when you come into contact with asbestos. The asbestos fibres can then make their way to the pleura, which lines your lungs. The fibres irritate the pleura and damage its cells. Asbestos fibres that have been inhaled can also be coughed up and swallowed - this is believed to be the cause of peritoneal mesothelioma.
Why is asbestos cancer hard to diagnose?
Mesothelioma cancer is grouped by how the cells look under a microscope. When grouped in this way, there are three types of mesothelioma.
- Sarcomatoid or fibrous
- Biphasic (mixed type)
Between 50% and 70% of diagnosed mesothelioma cases are the epithelioid type.
Between 7% and 20% of diagnosed mesothelioma cases are the sarcomatoid type.
Between 20% and 30% of diagnosed mesothelioma cases are the biphasic type - and has both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells.
The different cell types that are found in mesothelioma can divide into other cancerous cell types called:
- Clear cell
- Small cell
- Acinar cell
- Tubulopapillary cell
With so many cell types with the ability to develop mesothelioma it is very difficult to diagnose this disease.
What is the list of elements that may contain asbestos?
All of the following may contain asbestos:
|Cement Pipes||Elevator Brake Shoes|
|Cement Wallboard||HVAC Duct Insulation|
|Cement Siding||Boiler Insulation|
|Asphalt Floor Tile||Breaching Insulation|
|Vinyl Floor Tile||Ductwork Flexible Fabric Connections|
|Vinyl Sheet Flooring||Cooling Towers|
|Flooring Backing||Pipe Insulation (corrugated air-cell, block, etc.)|
|Construction Mastics (floor tile, carpet, ceiling tile, etc.)||Heating and Electrical Ducts|
|Acoustical Plaster||Electrical Panel Partitions|
|Decorative Plaster||Electrical Cloth|
|Textured Paints/Coatings||Electric Wiring Insulation|
|Ceiling Tiles and Lay-in Panels||Chalkboards|
|Spray-Applied Insulation||Roofing Shingles|
|Blown-in Insulation||Roofing Felt|
|Fireproofing Materials||Base Flashing|
|Taping Compounds (thermal)||Thermal Paper Products|
|Packing Materials (for wall/floor penetrations)||Fire Doors|
|High Temperature Gaskets||Caulking/Putties|
|Laboratory Hoods/Table Tops||Adhesives|
|Fire Blankets||Joint Compounds|
|Fire Curtains||Vinyl Wall Coverings|
|Elevator Equipment Panels||Spackling Compounds|
Why isn’t asbestos banned in the US?
Until the late 60s, till the time no cases or very few cases of mesothelioma were reported and knowledge of the harmful effects of asbestos were few and far between, asbestos remained mostly unregulated. However, in the early 1970s, the US government set up agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit exposures of workers to asbestos and other toxic pollutants.
The EPA declared the Clean Air Act in 1973. Under the act, most spray-applied asbestos products were banned. In 1989, the EPA issued another Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule, that was created ban all manufacturing, importation, processing and sale of asbestos-containing products.
However, the asbestos industry and asbestos supporters in the USA challenged and overturned the ban in a landmark lawsuit: Corrosion Proof Fittings v. the Environmental Protection Agency (1991). While the case resulted in several asbestos regulations, the EPA ultimately failed to put a complete end to asbestos use.
What are some of the symptoms of Mesothelioma?
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest Pain
- Weight Loss
- Coughing up blood
- Raspy Cough
- Difficulty Swallowing
What are some high risk occupations for mesothelioma lawsuit compensation?
- Construction Trade
- Steam Fitters
- Auto Mechanics
- Iron and Steel Workers
- Navy Personnel