Can Any Lawyer Handle a Mesothelioma Case?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Glenn A. Perry with Sloan Firm.
Mesothelioma is a rare lung cancer that can be very painful for the patient and is nearly always fatal. This lung cancer generally develops over a long period of time after the patient has inhaled asbestos dust or fibers, often as a result of their occupation. Asbestos exposure may also cause asbestosis and other asbestos-related lung cancers. Mesothelioma and similar conditions generally require significant medical treatment. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to learn about options for support and recovery both for yourself and your family. Due to the highly specific nature of mesothelioma litigation, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in mesothelioma to seek help.
Symptoms of harmful asbestos exposure often don’t arise until decades after the actual exposure and may include the following:
- Swelling in the face or neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry cough
- An audible crackling sound when breathing
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Blood in the saliva
- Deformity in fingers (fingertips and toes appearing wider and rounder)
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Mesothelioma cases must be traced back to the initial exposure.
In some cases, this might not be too difficult. For example, shipyard workers and firefighters are particularly at risk for asbestos exposure, so if someone develops this later in life they might be able to point to their occupation as a cause. However, for those who worked for multiple employers or are not certain where the initial exposure occurred, it will likely take the help of an experienced mesothelioma attorney to track down the evidence you need to prove your case.
The difficulty with mesothelioma cases is that the necessary evidence often disperses with time. It generally takes an expert to track this information down and use it to secure a successful verdict or settlement.
Employers are required to take reasonable measures to protect their workers from asbestos.
If an employer failed to follow safety regulations or provide adequate protective equipment, they could be liable for the patient’s damages. The trouble with this type of case in particular is proving that liability so long after the fact, seeing as it often takes 20 to 30 years for the mesothelioma to become symptomatic. However, if a particular employer has faced similar litigation, a mesothelioma attorney might be able to pull from that to support your case, in addition to tracking down evidence specific to you and your damages.
Damages in a mesothelioma case are typically wide-ranging and may include:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Impairment of earning capacity
- Lifecare expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of care and companionship
- Wrongful death
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
Another important part of any mesothelioma case is the ability to identify and prove your damages.
The danger of approaching any personal injury case alone is that the average person may not identify all of the damages or the extent of the damages they should be compensated for. This can result in a settlement that is too low, runs out prematurely to the victim’s expenses, or fails to account for the needs of the victim’s family after their passing. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible about ways to protect you and your family from further harm.