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Frequently Asked Questions

What is mesothelioma and how did I get it?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that usually develops in the lining of the lungs. It affects individuals who worked with or handled asbestos, a mineral that was used prominently in construction and manufacturing for much of the 20th century. Mesothelioma takes decades to develop — usually 20 to 50 years — and thousands of people are still diagnosed with it every year.

Who was at risk of inhaling asbestos?

Asbestos was used very heavily for a long time in numerous industries, which led many workers to develop mesothelioma. Additionally, the military used it for decades in barracks, ships, aircrafts and other equipment, so veterans of the armed forces prior to the late 1970s could have been exposed as well. Workers in the following industries and professions likely handled asbestos at some point:

  • Shipbuilding
  • Railroads
  • Construction
  • Factory workers
  • Fire Fighters
  • Mechanics
  • Power plant workers
  • Engineers

This list is not exhaustive, and workers in many industries probably came in contact with asbestos on the job. Even the spouses of workers were at risk of inhaling asbestos, particularly if the working spouse returned home with asbestos fibers on his clothes or in his hair.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma usually develops in the lining of the lungs, but could develop in the lining of the heart, abdomen, and in very rare cases, the testicals. The symptoms of mesothelioma depend on where it developed, but for most cases the symptoms include:

  • Chest Pain
  • Persistent Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Painful Breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Unexplained Weight Loss
  • Fluid Accumulation Around the Lung or Lungs
What legal options do I have if I was diagnosed with mesothelioma?

Because asbestos companies knew about the dangers of asbestos for decades prior to it becoming public knowledge — and still promoted its use — they can be held accountable. When the dangers of asbestos became known to the public in the 1970s, many asbestos companies were flooded with lawsuits that forced them to eventually declare bankruptcy.

However, before they were allowed to reorganize their finances, many of these companies were forced to set up trust funds to compensate future victims. Today, there are still billions of dollars available to mesothelioma victims and their families. Alternatively, mesothelioma victims can file a lawsuit (if they are not eligible for compensation from a trust), file a claim with U.S. Social Security Administration, or if they are a veteran, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Can I pursue compensation on behalf of a family member who was diagnosed with mesothelioma?

Yes. If your loved one filed a mesothelioma lawsuit but passed away before it ended, you may take over the claim in their name. Additionally, family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one dies of mesothelioma. There is statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, though. Don’t wait too long to contact a lawyer and file a lawsuit, if you would like to pursue the compensation to which your loved one was entitled.

How can an attorney help if I was diagnosed with mesothelioma?

While it is clear how you got mesothelioma — asbestos — it is not clear where you came into contact with the mineral. Hiring an attorney is important to ensure that you will be pursuing compensation from all available sources, but also to collect the evidence necessary to prove your claim. Because mesothelioma is only diagnosed decades after the initial exposure to asbestos, many people do not recall exactly where they were exposed to the mineral. An experienced attorney will investigate your work history, and make a case on your behalf so you can focus on living the most comfortable life possible while they handle your lawsuit.

Is there still a risk of inhaling asbestos in the U.S. today?

Yes. Asbestos was never fully banned in the U.S., and it is still used in some products today in very small amounts. Additionally, structures built decades ago that are still in use today may contain asbestos.