Mesothelioma is an extremely dangerous disease with severely negative outcomes. Those suffering from it experience pain, disability, frustration, loss of independence, and the crippling emotions that come with knowing life is much shorter than they’d planned. Each of these can affect family, friends and caregivers along with the victim themselves.
With so much distress caused, it stands to reason that the people responsible for the mesothelioma occurring ought to offer compensation. Luckily, as we’ve learned more about this disease and its causes, the government has taken steps to ensure that employers who allowed the exposure of their workers have to pay up.
If you or a loved one is experiencing mesothelioma and doesn’t know where to turn, it’s time to learn more about mesothelioma compensation today. That means understanding mesothelioma itself, as well as its causes, then learning about potential compensation. In almost every case, you will need to seek the help of an attorney.
Information comes first, though, so read on now.
What Is Asbestos?
“Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral substance that can be pulled into a fluffy consistency,” explains Asbestos.com. “Asbestos fibers are soft and flexible yet resistant to heat, electricity and chemical corrosion. Pure asbestos is an effective insulator, and it can also be mixed into cloth, paper, cement, plastic and other materials to make them stronger.”
Between 1900 and the mid-1970s, asbestos was one of the most common materials used in construction. It’s durable nature, impressive resistance to fire and electricity, and ability to combine with other materials made it a favored substance for building, automotive and many other industries. These factors also made it appealing as an insulator and building material in ancient times.
Unfortunately, it has a major downside. Those visible asbestos fibers bend and compact at will, the same is not happening on a microscopic level. The tiny crystalline structures that make up the visible fibers are brittle and shatter easily. Because they’re so small, they become airborne easily, where workers inhale them. There, they settle into lung tissue, embedding in the mesothelium – the thin membrane surrounding the lungs and other organs.
In some cases, asbestos may also be swallowed. When water runs through cement pipes or other materials containing asbestos, it can pick the fibers up and deliver them to the stomachs of those who drink the water.
How Does Asbestos Cause Mesothelioma?
Once asbestos fibers implant themselves, they can cause severe damage. This includes lung scarring and closure of the tiny structures in the lung that help transmit oxygen to the blood. Because of this, people who have inhaled a significant amount of asbestos in their lifetimes experience symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain and tightness
- Persistent cough
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Clubbing (rounding and thickening) of digits
Over time, asbestos exposure can lead to asbestosis (a worsening of all the above symptoms, characterized by serious scarring of the lungs) or mesothelioma. The latter may affect the lining of the lungs, heart, abdominal cavity or testicles.
Mesothelioma often catches people by surprise, because exposure to it and development of the disease are frequently separated in time.
“The time between first exposure to asbestos and diagnosis of mesothelioma is usually 30 years or more,” says the American Cancer Society. “Unfortunately, the risk of mesothelioma does not drop with time after exposure to asbestos. The risk appears to be lifelong.”
What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
The signs of mesothelioma are much the same as the signs for asbestos exposure and asbestosis. However, people who have malignant mesothelioma can expect significantly worsened levels of the above symptoms. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding the stomach and in the abdomen, they may also experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Unexplained weight loss
In rare cases, mesothelioma may develop in the lining surrounding the heart (pericardial mesothelioma) and testicles (testicular mesothelioma). Those who suffer from these unusual types may experience pain in the indicated areas.
The outlook for those diagnosed with mesothelioma is typically not very hopeful. Only about half of people who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis can expect to live longer than a year.
Who Can Exact Compensation for Mesothelioma?
This type of cancer, though rare, is rarely inexpensive. As the Mesothelioma Veterans Center points out, “Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that requires specialized treatment. From chemotherapy rounds to surgery, medical bills can start adding up. Deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses can build quickly with frequent doctor appointments even with great insurance. Compensation can help you afford treatment and stay out of debt.”
Funeral expenses only add to the mounting pile of debt. Moreover, leaving dependents behind, while not that common for mesothelioma patients (who tend to be older), can cause devastation among families and in the lives of young ones. Sadly, too, debt sometimes passes on to family members after a loved one has passed away.
Luckily, it’s not just victims who can receive compensation for mesothelioma. Family members who can prove they were harmed by the mesothelioma experience can also sue for damages, both financial and emotional. Whether you’re the victim or a family member watching your loved one suffer, you should absolutely seek help.
What Forms Can Compensation Take?
Compensation for mesothelioma can take several forms, including:
- A class action lawsuit, in which the terms of the mesothelioma settlement have already been set in a particular area and you just need to prove your qualifications and sign on
- A settlement out of court, in which the employer pays up before or at some point during the trial, ending it
- An award in court, in which the judge or jury forces the employer to pay
In order to receive compensation, you must prove: a) the existence of mesothelioma, b) harms arising from it and c) that an employer behaved negligently in allowing this to happen. Luckily, it’s very possible to prove all three, so long as you have the right legal help.
How Do You Get Started?
If you want to get started with a mesothelioma case, it’s time to speak to an attorney today. Be sure to choose an attorney knowledgeable in mesothelioma law. Because this is a precise practice area that requires a high degree of fluency with past cases, regulations and documentation, it is not a good idea to try and take on a case yourself.
Instead, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We will review your case for free and won’t take a penny until you are awarded your due. When you work with us, you can expect experience, compassion and dedication to your cause. Don’t wait to get what is rightfully yours. Get in touch today.
- What Is Asbestos? (2018). Retrieved from https://www.asbestos.com/asbestos/
- Asbestos and Cancer Risk. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/asbestos.html
- Financial Compensation for Mesothelioma Patients. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.mesotheliomaveterans.org/compensation/