Can I Sue My Employer for Contracting Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer that attacks the mesothelium. This two-layered membrane is vital for the protection of several organs in the body, including the heart, lungs and abdomen. Malignant mesothelioma derives from asbestos exposure; individuals with a prolonged history of asbestos exposure are at severe risk of contracting the cancer.
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that was widely used in several industries for its heat-resistant capabilities. Asbestos, when left alone, poses no significant risks; however, when the mineral is disturbed, it release carcinogenic dust into the air. These filaments, when inhaled, are extremely dangerous.
Asbestos filaments, when perpetually inhaled, stick to the linings of the lung. The carcinogens eventually eat away at the protective tissues and form cancerous tumors that are susceptible to proliferation. The destruction or protective linings are the beginning stage of mesothelioma. During the formation, the patient will not notice any mesothelioma symptoms. The innocuousness nature of the disease and the universal cellular structure of the cancer complicate diagnosis to the point where only 10% of mesothelioma cases are caught in the early stages.
Because mesothelioma diagnosis is exceedingly difficult, the life expectancy attached to the disease is grim—the majority of mesothelioma patients die within 4-18 months of their diagnosis.
Mesothelioma tumors will originate in different areas of the body. The majority of mesothelioma cancer form in the lining of the lungs or chest cavity. Common symptoms of this form of mesothelioma include: difficulty breathing, pleural effusion, difficulty swallowing, persistent coughing, severe or unexpected weight loss, and night sweats.
Mesothelioma treatment options are dependent on the cancer’s progression at the time of diagnosis. The stage of the cancer is linked to metastasization. When significant proliferation occurs, the disease is rendered inoperable. Roughly 10% of mesothelioma sufferers are lucky enough to secure an early-stage mesothelioma diagnosis.
Mesothelioma cancer may be present in one of three forms: pleural, pericardial and peritoneum. Advanced stage mesothelioma cancers attack the layer of tissues that shield the lungs; peritoneum mesothelioma attacks the tissues that line the abdomen; and pleural mesothelioma, which is by far the most common form of the cancer, attacks the lubricating cells that surround the lungs and chest cavity.
Mesothelioma treatment options is dependent on a few factors, including the stage at the time of detection, the overall health of the patient and origin point of the mesothelioma tumor. Mesothelioma may be diagnosed in one of the following stages:
Stage I: In its earliest stage, mesothelioma cancer features a localized tumor commonly found in the the surrounding the heart, the lining of the lungs, or the diaphragm. Stage I mesothelioma diagnosis is exceptionally rare. Those lucky enough to secure an early diagnosis are eligible for curative mesothelioma surgeries. These operations will attempt to extract the cancerous tumors from the body.
Stage II: In its second stage, mesothelioma cancer has proliferated past the point of origin. 2nd stage mesothelioma may have metastasized to the chest wall or lymph nodes. Surgical mesothelioma treatment options may be available to cure second stage mesothelioma; however, curative treatment is very uncommon for a proliferated for of mesothelioma. As a result, life expectancy has greatly decreased as the disease shifts into its second stage.
Stage III: The most commonly diagnosed form of mesothelioma. Stage III mesothelioma advances to exhibit tangible symptoms. Stage III mesothelioma cancer makes its way to the heart, the lining of the peritoneum, mediastinum or beyond to the diaphragm and/or the chest wall. Patients with this form of cancer face a brutal life expectancy. The grim prognosis is due to severe proliferation. Because of this, Stage III mesothelioma sufferers may only receive palliative care. This treatment plan is applied to ease the symptoms associated with the cancer. Palliative care is purely elective and administered to bolster the patient’s quality of life.
Stage IV: Represents the final stage of mesothelioma. Stage IV mesothelioma refers to a complete proliferation of the disease to remote locations in the body. Stage IV mesothelioma is inoperable and is met with painful symptoms. Life expectancy during the cancer’s final stage is 4 to 18 months following a formal diagnosis.
Because mesothelioma cancer is directly linked to asbestos exposure, there are several legal steps you can take to secure compensation from your employer. Mesothelioma claims are filed by mesothelioma sufferers and/or their families. These cases are filed to secure compensation against companies who place or have placed their employees in direct contact with asbestos-containing materials without adhering to safety protocols enforced by local and state governments. Failure to abide by these protocols and safety regulations imposes liability on the employer’s part. If you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma cancer or any other asbestos-related disease, you must immediately seek legal aid to file a mesothelioma claim against the entity who exacerbated unsafe asbestos exposure.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s Role:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a sub-section of the United States Department of Labor. The agency covers all employers and their workers either directly through the federal government or through an OHSA-approved state body. The mission of the organization, through the passing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, is to assure safe and healthy working conditions for men and women by establishing standards and providing training, education and assistance in industry-specific fields.
Employee exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing materials is specifically addressed by the OHSA to promote safety in the construction industry, shipyard employment sectors and other industries that utilize or have utilized the cancer-causing mineral. The standards enforced by the OHSA aim to reduce the risks associated with asbestos exposure. Airborne levels of asbestos fibers are never to exceed legal worker exposure limits for the given jurisdiction if said level is below the federal government’s uniform baseline. If exposure exceeds these thresholds, employers are required to further protect their employees by establishing regulated areas and controlling certain practices through the institution of controls that reduce airborne levels. All employers are required to ensure the reduction of exposure by using administrative controls that institute rules regarding the use and wearing of personal protective equipment. Moreover, medical monitoring of employees is also instituted when exposure times and legal asbestos limits are exceeded.
Suing Your Employer for Violating Asbestos Laws:
In the United States, asbestos laws are implemented by local and state governments. The Environmental Protection Agency of the Federal Government currently does not impose a general ban on the use of asbestos. However, the mineral is regarded as a hazardous air pollutant and is thus regulated under the Clean Air Act. The lack of universal regulations allows for the use of asbestos to this day; however, because the mineral has revealed a direct link to cancerous diseases, the majority of American jurisdictions have imposed regulations regarding use, safety equipment and rules regarding abatement for all asbestos-containing materials.
Because the local nature of asbestos laws invariably complicates the legal process, it is essential that you or your loved ones contact a mesothelioma attorney as soon as you secure a formal diagnosis. The goal of asbestos laws is to prevent all forms of mesothelioma cancers. These laws are implemented to limit your exposure to the deadly mineral and to ensure the safe-handling of all asbestos containing materials. As such, if you or a loved contract mesothelioma as a result of chronic exposure, numerous red flags regarding your employer’s adherence to said policies.
Filing a mesothelioma claim after diagnosis is a direct legal action that attempts to secure compensation from your employer for failing to adhere to asbestos regulations. Filing a mesothelioma claim will help you obtain compensation, which in turn, is used to offset the costs associated with pain and suffering, as well as convalescence. Mesothelioma compensation will also make-up for lost income resulting from asbestos exposure. With the majority of mesothelioma filings, you or your loved one is formally suing the employer who perpetuated the formation of the cancer because of asbestos exposure.
In a mesothelioma injury case, there are two primary forms of mesothelioma claims that may be filed. The first mesothelioma claim may come in the form of a personal injury claim. This will be filed by a patient who has received a formal mesothelioma diagnosis from an oncologist or a different type of medical professional. The second mesothelioma claim is referred to as a wrongful death claim, which may be filed by family members in cases involving a loved one who has passed away from asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma. Your specific rights involving these claims will vary depending on the state in which your mesothelioma case is being filed.
There are also a number of options for ways to work your mesothelioma claim: you may file through a bankruptcy trust, through workers’ compensation, through litigation or through veteran’s benefits.
What are my Options for Suing my Employer?
There are multiple ways to sue your employer for contracting mesothelioma cancer. Your mesothelioma attorney will advise you regarding your best legal option. In general, you will be able to file a mesothelioma claim under the following categories:
Suing Your Employer under a Bankruptcy Trust:
Over the past couple of decades, a number of asbestos manufacturing companies have declared bankruptcy for a variety of reasons. A bankruptcy filing does not always necessitate that the asbestos company has run out of funds. Instead, the majority of asbestos companies who file for bankruptcy simply do so to reorganize their business model for the sake of stabilization.
In some instances, a court involved in such a bankruptcy filing will order for the creation of mesothelioma compensation funds, which are known as trust funds. Said funds are intended to provide compensation for mesothelioma patients who are diagnosed with the cancer. Mesothelioma lawyers will help you determine whether your employer, who is responsible for your injuries, has established a trust fund. If so, the mesothelioma lawyer will expedite the filing of the claim.
Going to Court:
Mesothelioma litigation is another option if you have contracted the disease as a result of your employer’s negligence. All asbestos-related conditions arise, almost always, as a result of an employer’s failure to adhere to asbestos regulations or law. Filing a mesothelioma claim against your employer may result in the delivery of compensation for several forms of damage.
Damages that may be covered by a mesothelioma claim include:
• Pain or suffering
• Lost income
• Medical expenses
• Loss of love or sexual relations from a loved one
• Loss of services
Mesothelioma lawyers will determine whether additional expenses may be provided for given your mesothelioma claim. It is vital to save all of your financial and medical records that relate to your mesothelioma cancer. Your mesothelioma lawyer will be knowledgeable regarding your legal options. All mesothelioma professionals will illuminate the intricacies of your case and elucidate the process of filing a claim. After speaking with your mesothelioma lawyer, you may determine that a mesothelioma lawsuit against your employer represents the best opportunity to obtain significant compensation for your disease.
Other Ways to Sue Your Employer:
If you believe you were exposed to asbestos while working for your employer, you may be able to file a mesothelioma claim for workers’ compensation or for veteran’s benefits if you were exposed to an unsafe amount of asbestos while actively serving the nation. However, it must be stated, these types of mesothelioma claims are exceedingly complex, so it is essential to consult with a mesothelioma attorney to evaluate your legal options.