Mesothelioma is a rare type of lung cancer that has only one known cause – asbestos exposure. As described by the Mayo Clinic, the mesothelium is the thin layer of tissue covering most of your internal organs. Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive form of cancer that develops in the mesothelium, typically in the area surrounding the lungs.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a set of 6 naturally-occurring fibrous minerals, mined and used commercially in North America beginning in the late 1800’s. It has been widely used in a number of commercial and industrial capacities because of the strength of its fibers and their resistance to fire and chemical reactions.
Asbestos use was greatly increased during World War II. It has been used extensively since then in industries such as shipping, mining, plumbing, automobile manufacturing, and construction, to a name just a few. It was the material of choice in a wide variety of products, including floor tiles, roofing shingles, textile products, cement compounds, ceiling materials, and automotive parts.
Use of asbestos declined significantly in the late 1970’s when the associated health hazards became apparent. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began regulating its use in 1971, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, and progressively reduced concentrations permissible in the workplace throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Why Is Asbestos Exposure So Dangerous?
The same property that made asbestos desirable in commerce and industry is the property that makes it dangerous to humans – its durability. Asbestos fibers are microscopic and easily inhaled. When asbestos is broken up (during mining, construction, etc.) a dust is created that can settle in the lungs when inhaled. The fibers cling to the respiratory system and cannot be easily broken down or expelled, which can lead to Mesothelioma. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can take 20 to 40 years or more after asbestos exposure for a case of Mesothelioma to develop.
Who Is at Risk of Asbestos Exposure?
Asbestos was used for decades in thousands of industrial capacities and commercial products. People who worked with asbestos in the industries that used it extensively have the highest risk of harmful exposure. Asbestos use was particularly prevalent before 1980 in:
- Power plants
- Commercial product manufacturing
People with the highest Mesothelioma risk factors are those who:
- Have a personal history of direct asbestos exposure, at work or elsewhere; or
- Lived with someone who worked with asbestos and carried the fibers home on their skin and clothing.
Mesothelioma lawsuits are typically filed against a former employer that used asbestos in the workplace, or a company that manufactured and marketed an asbestos product. Two types of lawsuits may be filed in Mesothelioma cases:
- Personal Injury Lawsuits: A personal injury claim may be brought by a victim who has developed Mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos. The case must be filed within 4 years of Mesothelioma diagnosis.
- Wrongful Death Claims: Family members of a deceased person who had Mesothelioma may bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. Time in which to file a claim is limited, and it is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your loved one’s death.
In a Mesothelioma lawsuit, the injured party must establish exposure to asbestos, which probably occurred decades ago. If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, our attorneys can investigate your employment history to locate the source of exposure and show a link between exposure and diagnosis.
St. Augustine Mesothelioma Lawyer
Our experienced attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have seen the effects a Mesothelioma diagnosis can have on the patient, family members, and loved ones. We understand that filing a lawsuit may not be your highest priority at this time. If you elect to file a claim, we will strive to simplify the process as much as possible. We can handle every step of the necessary legal process, and let you decide your level of involvement in the case.
There is a limited time frame in which to file a Mesothelioma claim. Contact our St. Augustine office as soon as possible for a free case evaluation. If you decide to work with our firm to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties, you pay us no fees until we recover compensation for you or your family.