Mesothelioma is a serious and almost always fatal cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, and sometimes other organs, including the heart and intestines. The American Cancer Society reports there are nearly 3,000 new mesothelioma cases in the US annually. This cancer is very painful, hard to treat, and is caused by exposure to asbestos – usually on the job in various industries in Michigan. (Cancer.org).
Unfortunately, given the history of industry and automobile manufacturing in Michigan, countless numbers of workers were likely exposed to asbestos over the decades. There are many automobile-related and other companies that used asbestos-containing materials to provide heat and fire protection, and this fact has led to many workers being diagnosed with mesothelioma decades later.
Grim Mesothelioma Statistics in Michigan
According to the CDC, there were more than 7,800 mesothelioma-related deaths in Michigan from 1999 to 2013. Its rate of 5.2 deaths per 100,000 residents ranked it in the top 10 in the US. It also has been reported there are more than 100 deaths in Michigan annually related to asbestos exposure. (CDC.gov).
With this high rate of asbestos-related diseases being diagnosed, many companies in Michigan in recent years have been ordered to pay large settlements to former workers and families who were exposed to asbestos. Big auto manufacturers, including Ford, GM and Chrysler have faced major claims and have set up trust funds to compensate mesothelioma victims.
If you worked in industry in Michigan and believe you were exposed to asbestos, you could be entitled to compensation if you have an asbestos-related disease. If you have a medical diagnosis for mesothelioma or another related disease, it is in your interest to talk to a mesothelioma attorney in Michigan. We provide the contact details for some of the best attorneys in this highly specialized area of the law below. But first, let’s look at the serious problem of asbestos exposure in Michigan and other highly industrialized states.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Many people confuse mesothelioma with lung cancer. They are related but different diseases. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lung lining that is exclusively caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. In some cases, the fibers can be ingested and lead to mesothelioma in the abdomen or even heart.
Asbestos is extremely dangerous to humans because of the many tiny, sharp fibers that are sucked into the lungs or ingested during exposure. These fibers get embedded in the lining of the organs. Over decades, this can lead to genetic mutations and mesothelioma. (Cancer.org).
Michigan Sites of Asbestos Exposure
For over a century, Michigan has been a major part of the automobile manufacturing business, which has been the major reason it has led the country in asbestos exposure to workers. Auto parts such as brakes, clutches, gaskets and other parts usually contained asbestos that was inhaled by workers when the fibers were released into the air. Also, workers who ground, sanded or repaired brakes are at much higher risk of being exposed to asbesto and developing deadly mesothelioma. Automotive assembly lines only made it more likely to spread asbestos around the automotive facility.
Asbestos has been found at manufacturing facilities for:
In the early 2000s, several asbestos-related lawsuits were filed against auto plants in Detroit run by Ford, GM and Daimler-Chrysler. In response to the overwhelming number of claims, Michigan created a specific docket for mesothelioma victims.
Michigan has vast coastlines of freshwater that make the state a very important hub of shipbuilding. Many shipbuilding companies used asbestos for pipes, insulation, boilers and other purposes. These products were frequently installed with practically no ventilation and no protective equipment was given to workers. One of the largest shipyards in the state is Defoe Shipbuilding, which for decades has produced commercial, military and pleasure craft on Saginaw Bay. It is a well-known asbestos site, and many workers were surely exposed to the deadly substance there.
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral in Michigan. Several open deposit sites around Michigan were mined for many years. Workers who worked in the mines and transported the asbestos were at very high risk of exposure. The fibers become airborne very easily when the substance is mined or moved, so employees in other areas of the mine also were exposed. Even family members could be exposed to asbestos fibers on their loved one’s clothes, skin, hair, shoes etc.
Wayne, Macomb and Oakland Counties
Generally, the highest amount of asbestos exposure, regardless of industry, has been in the Detroit metropolitan area, especially Wayne County, Oakland County and Macomb County. Each of them reported more than 100 deaths related to asbestos from 1979 to 2001.
Michigan Asbestos Exposure Laws
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in Michigan administers much of the laws and rules regarding asbestos in industry in the state. The major purpose of this department is to ensure that workers who handle asbestos in any way are trained properly, and people who are doing asbestos work are complying with rules that govern the activity. (Michigan.gov).
The department supervises asbestos training courses across Michigan to ensure that all contractors and supervisors and other workers have been trained in asbestos abatement and removal so that the deadly material does not expose more workers to danger.
Michigan Mesothelioma Attorneys
Thousands and thousands of workers in Michigan’s industrial economy have been exposed to asbestos over the decades. If you have developed mesothelioma and worked in Michigan, it is advised to consult one of the excellent specialized Michigan attorneys below. They can provide you a free consultation to determine if you may have a case against your former employer or employers.
Kelley & Ferraro
Ernst & Young Tower
950 Main Avenue
Cleveland OH 44113
This law firm is based in Ohio, but often represents mesothelioma clients in Michigan and surrounding states. It is experienced with both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits involving asbestos exposure. The firm’s attorneys have recovered almost $1 billion for asbestos and mesothelioma clients throughout the US. Kelley & Ferraro also often represent workers exposed to asbestos in Texas, New York, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Sam Bernstein Law Firm
31731 Northwestern Highway, #333 Farmington Hills MI 48334
The Sam Bernstein Law Firm in Michigan has years of experience representing Detroit-area workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job at automotive and related manufacturing facilities. He offers a free consultation to determine if you have a strong case for compensation. He also specializes in filing wrongful death actions on the behalf of a deceased loved one who died from mesothelioma or asbestosis.
Zamler, Mellen & Shiffman
23077 Greenfield Road
Southfield MI 48075
Zamler, Mellen & Shiffman are respected, Michigan mesothelioma attorneys who have spent 30 years handling tough asbestos exposure cases. Their lawyers and staff know all of the manufacturers of asbestos in the state and around the country. Hundreds of clients since the early 1980s have recovered large settlements and verdicts for their medical bills and pain and suffering.
- Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality – 1999 to 2015. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6608a3.htm
- What Causes Mesothelioma? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/causes-risks-prevention/what-causes.html
- Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in Michigan. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_11407_15333_15369-41734–,00.html
- Key Statistics About Mesothelioma. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/about/key-statistics.html
- Best Mesothelioma Lawyers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mesolawsuitafterdeath.com/legal/best-mesothelioma-law-firms-navy-veterans/