Mesothelioma is an aggressive, and very often fatal, form of cancer. It is diagnosed in approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people each year in the United States. While it is relatively rare, it can have a damaging effect on victims and their families.
The primary risk factor attributed to the development of mesothelioma is prolonged or heavy exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous, naturally occurring mineral, that has been used in a wide range of building products, automotive products, and shipbuilding materials. Asbestos exposure occurs when products containing asbestos are broken down and release fibers, such as when a wall is drilled into or roofing tiles are removed. People who work or have worked in industries that utilize asbestos products, such as construction, ship building, electricians, and automotive workers, are at the greatest risk of being exposed to asbestos and developing asbestos mesothelioma.
The adverse health affects connected with asbestos exposure have been known for many years; people began to make associations between illnesses and people's exposure as far back as the Roman era. In 1906 the first documented case of an asbestos related death was made. Later, in the 1930s, doctors were making a connection between asbestos exposure and cancer. However, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Association did not establish regulating guidelines until the 1970s. During the intermittent time frame, millions of Americans were exposed to mesothelioma causing asbestos.
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning that people exposed to asbestos 20 to 40 years ago may just be beginning to show signs of mesothelioma. People who develop mesothelioma and can directly attribute it to asbestos exposure frequently turn to lawyers for assistance. In doing so, they look for means to obtain compensation for medical expenses they incur, wages they have lost or may lose, as well as for pain and suffering they endure.
Each state has different guidelines for the statute of limitations for making a legal claim. The statutes of limitations imposed regulate the time frame from which a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma to the time he or she can make a claim. Typically this is a matter of one or two years following initial diagnosis.
When a claim is made, the most common route lawyers take is to help their clients pursue compensation from the manufacturers of the asbestos products they worked with. Occasionally, personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits may be established, particularly if a company a person worked for failed to comply with federal asbestos safety guidelines.
If an individual has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or has died as the result of mesothelioma, he or she, or families, may be able to pursue legal compensation. If this is something you are considering, it is important to speak with an attorney in your state who specializes in mesothelioma cases. He or she will determine whether or not you can make a viable claim. If you are able to make a claim, your lawyer will guide you through the legal process and help you through the steps.
Below you will find information on mesothelioma litigation in individual states: