Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Choosing a lawyer to handle a mesothelioma case is important. An asbestos case typically involves two components. The first is the legal proceeding in a court of law with which most people are familiar. The second component involves the submission of claims to asbestos bankruptcy trusts against insolvent defendants whose product caused injury to the worker. Many of the asbestos manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy over the last twenty years and have set up monetary trusts to pay some amount of damages to victims as a result of their wrongful conduct. This process requires your lawyer to be familiar with the process of submitting claims to the appropriate asbestos manufacturers to ensure you receive fair and reasonable compensation.
A case involving mesothelioma can be very difficult because a victim was usually exposed to asbestos during the 1950’s, 60’s, or 70’s and their memory of the products to which they were exposed is not recent. A lawyer experienced in handling mesothelioma cases can assist in the difficult process of locating former co-workers, finding other workers who were at the same site at the same time as the victim, and other witnesses and evidence to establish that the victim was exposed to particular defendants’ dangerous products.
A person can hardly watch an hour of television without seeing an advertisement for a law firm for victims of Mesothelioma and asbestos exposures. Most of these firms are located far away in other states, and very often the advertising firm does not handle your case. Rather, those firms generally refer your case to yet another law firm that you likely don’t even know. It is important to find a local lawyer to handle your mesothelioma case that can come to your home and visit with you face to face and not just over the phone. The Claunch Law Firm is very familiar with cases involving Mesothelioma and we would be pleased to help you and your family with this complex and important matter.
What are the health risks?
Asbestos fibers can have serious effects on your health if inhaled. There is no known safe exposure to asbestos. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk of developing mesothelioma.
The amount of time between exposure to asbestos and the first signs of mesothelioma can be as much as 30 years. Asbestos can also cause asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs that leads to breathing problems and heart failure. Workers who manufactured or used asbestos products and have high exposures to asbestos are often affected with asbestosis.
Inhalation of asbestos can also cause lung cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen. Mesothelioma may be linked to cancer of the stomach, intestines and rectum as well.
Where is Asbestos found?
Many products manufactured before the mid-1970s contained asbestos. More than 5,000 products have contained asbestos. Some of the products containing asbestos are:
- Joint Compound
- Wall & Ceiling Texture
- Panels & Millboards
- Plastic Cements & Coatings
- Roofing Cements & Coatings
- Roofing Shingles & Sidings
- Cloth & Industrial Felt
- Gloves & Protective Clothing
- Boilers & Turbines
- Valves & Pumps
- Electrical Casing
- Brake pads & lining
- Insulating Cements
- Pipe Covering
- Block Insulation
- Pipes & Floor Tile
Occupations at Risk for Mesothelioma
Many people employed in the manufacture of asbestos containing products such as those listed above have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma. Additionally, people who worked in construction in the mid-1970’s and earlier who installed asbestos containing products such as those listed above are also at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. Automobile mechanics, especially those involved in brake repair, are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma because of their exposure to asbestos in the workplace. This is not an exhaustive list. There are many occupations that involved significant exposure to asbestos. The jobs mentioned above are typical of those with a higher risk of developing mesothelioma.