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At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys have witnessed the devastating effects mesothelioma can have on a patient and their loved ones. Almost always fatal, mesothelioma — caused solely by exposure to asbestos — could have been entirely preventable. Asbestos companies knew for decades that their products could cause disease, but they concealed the dangers, putting millions at risk for developing mesothelioma and other diseases.
Many people exposed to asbestos decades ago are only now being diagnosed with mesothelioma and wondering where to turn for help. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for hundreds of mesothelioma victims across the United States. We are one of the few firms in the country with the resources and experience needed to handle mesothelioma lawsuits, making it as easy as possible for clients to obtain the compensation they deserve. Simply get in touch with our attorneys, and we’ll handle the rest.
Learn more about how we help mesothelioma patients during a free, no-obligation case review. We can help with a variety of other practices that may be related to your asbestos case. Learn more about the nature of personal injury lawsuits here.
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Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose due to the disease’s long latency period — sometimes the onset of symptoms can come 50 years after the initial asbestos exposure. Many workers don’t get sick until they are retired, many years after asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is also difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can resemble common, less severe respiratory illnesses.
The symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Chest pain and persistent cough
- Shortness of breath and painful breathing
- Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
- Fluid accumulation around the lungs
If you have a history of asbestos exposure, report any of these symptoms to your doctor immediately. Your doctor can perform the necessary imaging tests and biopsies. Mesothelioma is incurable, but the earlier it is diagnosed, the more treatment options a patient has.
How Morgan & Morgan Helps Mesothelioma Victims
Unlike companies that attract clients and then hand their cases off to third-party law firms, we handle mesothelioma claims ourselves. From start to finish, you will have the same attorneys working on your case. And not just any attorneys: A mesothelioma lawsuit requires an asbestos law specialist who can navigate the complex claims process and take on the powerful asbestos industry. Morgan & Morgan has vast experience doing this.
Our mesothelioma experts will do all the work of seeking compensation from asbestos companies, but since we are a nationwide firm with legal experts in numerous fields, we can also help in other ways, such as putting you in touch with top cancer doctors in your area and filing claims with:
- Veterans Affairs
- Social Security Disability Insurance
Morgan & Morgan is headquartered in Orlando, Florida, but we accept cases nationwide and will come to you no matter where you live. While it may seem more convenient to work with a local law firm, keep in mind that we are uniquely qualified to handle these very complicated mesothelioma cases.
In addition to representing those living with mesothelioma, we represent the families of those who have lost a loved one to the disease.
If you’ve been diagnosed with or lost a family member to mesothelioma, schedule a free case review and learn how we can help.
Asbestos Use in the United States
The asbestos industry has been compared to the tobacco industry in the way it promoted known deadly products by calling into question scientific findings and blocking public health initiatives opposed to them. Asbestos companies and tobacco companies are also linked by the fact that after years of deceiving the public in order to make huge profits, people got wise to them and began using the legal system to hold these unscrupulous manufactures responsible.
Asbestos claims 12,000 to 15,000 lives per year in the U.S., including approximately 3,000 per year due to mesothelioma. Some of this damage is compounded by medical errors, which could greatly affect you.
It may come as a shock to learn that asbestos is still not banned in the United States despite overwhelming evidence of its dangers. While some types of products have been outlawed, large amounts of raw asbestos and asbestos products are still imported annually. Legislation that would have banned asbestos entirely was blocked by the asbestos industry, and these same corporate interests continue to fight against regulations today. Money that could compensate victims for the injuries they suffered is going into the pockets of the asbestos companies.
Asbestos, a type of naturally occurring mineral fiber, is a useful material because it is fire-resistant, a good insulator, and can be incorporated into other materials as a binder and strengthening agent. Indeed, asbestos was once considered a “miracle fiber” due to its seemingly inexhaustible list of uses, from building materials to textiles to personal care products.
Importantly, asbestos is also cheap. Alternatives were available to manufacturers, but they cost more, and using them would have increased production costs. The need for cheap materials still drives the asbestos trade in countries such as Brazil, China, and India, and for years, it drove the U.S. asbestos trade.
In the United States, asbestos has been used since the 1800s, initially in steam engines and later in thousands of products. Although popular with the military and private industry by the 1930s, asbestos use really took off during World War II, a period when hundreds of pounds of asbestos were imported daily and the mineral fiber was used in virtually every ship the U.S. Navy commissioned, as well as jeeps and other vehicles, military barracks and buildings, and much more. The military’s widespread use of the mineral explains why veterans account for nearly 1 out 3 mesothelioma deaths.
By the 1970s, asbestos usage had peaked and federal bans on asbestos took many products out of circulation. Yet even though many uses of the substance and its products are no longer permitted, the 20- to 50-year latency period of asbestos disease means that many people exposed to it decades ago are only now getting sick. It also means that many older buildings and products still contain asbestos and present an ongoing exposure risk.
The U.S. epidemic of asbestos disease could have been prevented had asbestos companies been forthcoming about its health hazards. Evidence emerged as early as the 1920s that the mineral was sickening and killing workers, and internal documents from the 1940s show that the asbestos industry knew its products were deadly. It did not act on this knowledge to protect workers, however, ensuring that future generations would continue to fall ill from the substance.
Industries and Occupations With High Asbestos Exposure Rates
Around 3,000 to 5,000 known products contain asbestos. The mineral is most dangerous when it is disturbed and its fibers become airborne, where they can be inhaled or ingested. Those who worked with and around asbestos products were likely exposed during cutting, tearing, sawing, drilling, sanding, or scraping of these products, or from raw asbestos used in manufacturing. And since the substance becomes brittle as it ages, older asbestos products might produce dust and fibers with minor handling. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
Nowadays, asbestos removal professionals wear heavy-duty respirators and airtight suits when handling it. Prior to the 1980s, when the dangers of asbestos weren’t widely known to the public, most workers had no gear to protect them from the fibers. Many were exposed to it on a daily basis, completely unaware that the seeds of mesothelioma were being sown.
The prevalence of asbestos products leads to the uncomfortable conclusion that most Americans have encountered asbestos at some point, although not in amounts sufficient to cause disease. Pre-1980, however, certain industries, including the following, repeatedly exposed people to high amounts of the mineral:
- Shipbuilding and repair
- Asbestos mining and milling
- Power plants
- Textile manufacturing
- Glass manufacturing
- Electronics manufacturing
- Chemical manufacturing
- Metal manufacturing
- Aerospace manufacturing
- Automotive manufacturing
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Automobile repair
- Paper and pulp manufacturing
- Food processing
Individual occupations with a high incidence of asbestos exposure include:
- Insulation workers
- Drywall workers
- Cement workers
- Motor vehicle and aircraft mechanics
- Maintenance mechanics
- Navy yard workers
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