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What is Mesothelioma Cancer?
Mesothelioma is rare cancer that develops in the mesothelium, which is a two-layered membrane that protects several organs in the body, including the heart, lungs and abdomen. The disease develops from asbestos filaments; those with a prolonged history of asbestos exposure are at risk of developing the cancer.
Asbestos filaments, when inhaledadhere to the mesothelium and eventually eat away at the protective tissues. The destruction the mesothelium leads to proliferation; when the cancer metastasizes to other sites, the disease is rendered inoperable. Although mesothelioma cancer is rare (only 2,000-3,000 cases are recorded each year), those with an extended history of asbestos are far more likely to contract the disease.
Frequently, mesothelioma tumors will form in the lining of the chest cavity or the lungs. Mesothelioma symptoms include: night sweats, pleural effusion (build-up of fluids in the pleural cavity), severe chest pains, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, persistent coughing, bowel obstruction and severe or unexpected weight loss.
Mesothelioma cancer is met with an utterly grim prognosis. The pessimistic life expectancy is widely due to the fact that the disease is nearly impossible to detect or diagnose. Delayed diagnosis is common in mesotheliomaz cases because of the condition’s slow-developing symptoms; signs of infection will not be observed until 25-50 years years following the initial exposure to asbestos. Furthermore, diagnostic complications stem from the innocuous cellular structure of the disease; mesothelioma is impossible to detect without the aid of advanced imaging systems.
Mesothelioma cancer treatment methods are dependent on the cancer’s progression at the time of diagnosis. Mesothelioma, like other cancers, is documented by stage. The stage of the cancer is directly linked to the disease’s proliferation. Stage 4 mesothelioma cancer, which is the last stage of the disease, exhibits full-fledged proliferation to a number of remote areas beyond the cancer’s origin point.
Due to the cancer’s delayed diagnosis, mesothelioma life expectancy rates are incredibly bleak. The bulk of mesothelioma patients, on average, survive only 4 to 18 months after diagnosis.
Mesothelioma cancer may be observed in three forms: pleural (the most common type of the cancer), pericardial and peritoneum. Pericardium mesothelioma cancer develops in the tissues that protect the lungs; the peritoneum form kills the tissues that line the abdomen (the peritoneum); and pleural mesothelioma, originates in the pleura, which is the thin layer of cells that surround and lubricate the body’s lungs and chest wall.
Mesothelioma will be diagnosed in one of the following stages:
Stage I Mesothelioma: During its formation, mesothelioma will feature a localized tumor commonly located in the lining of the lungs, the sac surrounding the heart or the diaphragm. Stage 1 mesothelioma diagnosis is exceptionally rare. Those mesothelioma patients lucky enough to receive a stage 1 diagnosis may be eligible for curative mesothelioma surgery. Curative mesothelioma treatment options aim to extract the cancerous tumors from the body.
Stage II Mesothelioma: When mesothelioma cancer transitions to its second stage, the tumor has proliferated beyond its point of origin. During stage II, the cancer may have spread to the chest wall and/or lymph nodes. Although curative surgical options may be recommended in stage II, life expectancy precipitously decreases.
Stage III Mesothelioma: Stage III mesothelioma cancer is the most commonly-diagnosed type of mesothelioma cancer. Symptoms are tangible in stage III. In this advanced staged, the cancer may have spread to the lining of the peritoneum, the heart, mediastinum, or to the diaphragm and/or the chest wall. Mesothelioma cancer in this advanced stage yields ba brutal life expectancy due to the sever level of proliferation. Because the cancer has metastasized to this extent, stage III mesothelioma sufferers are only eligible for palliative care. These types of mesothelioma treatment options are applied to mitigate the symptoms associated with the disease. Palliative care is elective and only undertaken to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Stage IV Mesothelioma: In the disease’s final stage, the cancer spreads to remote locations in the body. Stage IV mesothelioma is inoperable and possesses a life expectancy of 4 to 18 months. Stage IV symptoms are regarded as excruciating and only palliative treatment methods may be applied to bolster the patient’s quality of life.
Do I Need to File a Mesothelioma Claim?
If you or a loved has contracted mesothelioma cancer, you must immediately contact a legal professional who specializes in asbestos or mesothelioma law. There are several laws, which vary based on state interpretation, to prevent or limit a worker’s exposure to asbestos filaments, fibers or containing materials. These laws are instituted to mitigate the problems associated with asbestos cancers.
Because said laws are applied to every industry that utilizes asbestos fibers and because the disease is directly linked to prolonged asbestos exposure, it is essential to report all diagnoses to qualified mesothelioma lawyers. When you receive a diagnosis, the legal professional will observe your employer’s asbestos safety actions. The mesothelioma lawyer will evaluate your employer’s willingness to follow your jurisdiction’s asbestos laws. A legal professional will pursuit a mesothelioma legal filing, upon review of your employer’s actions, if negligence or recklessness concerning adherence to said asbestos laws is discovered. To engage in this process, you must first secure a mesothelioma diagnosis from a qualified medical professional.
What is the Point of Filing a Mesothelioma Claim?
Filing a mesothelioma claim allows you and your family to be compensated for your pain and suffering. Filing mesothelioma claims helps you attain monies to offset medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering resulting from your asbestos exposure. In the bulk of mesothelioma cases, the individual filing the claim seeks considerable monetary compensation for all damages that arise after a formal mesothelioma diagnosis is secured.
In asbestos-related injury cases, there are two distinct types of mesothelioma claims that may be filed. The first is a personal injury suit, which is often filed by a mesothelioma patient who has received a formal mesothelioma diagnosis. The second is a mesothelioma wrongful death claim, which may be filed by a family member in matters involving the death of a loved-one from an asbestos-related disease or cancer. Specific rights involving these mesothelioma claims will vary depending on the state or jurisdiction in which the mesothelioma case is filed.
There are other ways to work a mesothelioma claim, including through bankruptcy trusts, litigation, workers’ compensation and/or veteran’s benefits.
Regardless of the option you choose, all mesothelioma claims provide you with a legal means to secure compensation for the pain associated with your disease. Mesothelioma is an avoidable cancer. Asbestos laws passed by the federal government and further interpreted at the state level aim to limit exposure to asbestos or ensure the wearing of asbestos-safety equipment to reduce the amount of mesothelioma cases in the United States. If these asbestos laws are violated, resulting in an individual’s mesothelioma diagnosis, then the filing of a mesothelioma claim is essential.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims:
Over the past couple of decades, a number of asbestos companies—because of the costs associated with mesothelioma compensation packages– have filed for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy filing; however, does not mean that the company has run out of funds. Instead, the bulk of asbestos companies who file for bankruptcy do so in order to bolster stability and reorganize their financial situation. Less frequently, the involved courts will order for the creation of a separate mesothelioma fund to ensure the delivery of compensation if a mesothelioma claim is awarded to a former employee. A mesothelioma attorney will help you determent whether the entity responsible for your disease or injuries has a trust fund in order. Aside from this, the mesothelioma lawyer will expedite the filing of a mesothelioma claim.
Mesothelioma litigation is a formal legal route to secure compensation if you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma cancer. All asbestos-related medical conditions, including mesothelioma cancer, are always the result of an asbestos manufacturing corporation’s negligence or a business formation’s failure to warn of asbestos-related hazards. Filing a mesothelioma claim against the business entity responsible for your prolonged asbestos exposure will result in the delivery of compensation for several types of damages.
Damages covered by a mesothelioma claim will include any of the following:
• Pain or suffering associated with contracting mesothelioma cancer
• Lost income
• Medical expenses as a result of palliative care or costs associated with convalescence
• Loss of services, love and sexual relations from a loved one (loss of consortium)
Mesothelioma lawyers will determine whether additional costs should be covered under your mesothelioma claim. It is therefore vital to save all financial and medical records relating to your mesothelioma diagnosis. Your mesothelioma attorney is aware of the legal options to effectively guide you through the process of filing a mesothelioma claim. After consulting with your mesothelioma lawyer, he/she will determine that a mesothelioma suit is the best means to obtain large awards for your injuries sustained.
What Should I Expect When Filing a Mesothelioma Claim?
It is fairly common to feel confused and nervous when you decide to take legal action against your employer or an entity that precipitated your exposure to asbestos fibers. The below list represents the preliminary steps you must go through when filing mesothelioma claims:
The Preliminary Interview:
The first step to filing a mesothelioma claim is to meet with your mesothelioma lawyer to undergo a consultation. During this interview, the legal professional will ask you specific questions concerning your diagnosis and your exposure to asbestos. It is imperative that you answer these questions in detail and honestly, for the answers ultimately determine your eligibility to file a mesothelioma claim. Some of the questions posed by your mesothelioma lawyer may include:
• When, how, why and where did you secure your mesothelioma diagnosis from?
• When, how, why and where did you experience your prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers? Your mesothelioma lawyer will review your work history to get the most detailed information regarding your mesothelioma diagnosis.
• How is your mesothelioma cancer affecting your life and the lives of your loved ones? You must describe the financial, physical and emotional effects displaced as a result of your diagnosis.
Agreement of Representation:
After engaging in the consultation process and subsequently choosing your mesothelioma attorney, you will be asked to agree—in writing—to the terms discussed. To properly support your case, you will need to authorize your mesothelioma lawyer to access all associated personal records, including your employment, social security and medical records. In many cases your mesothelioma lawyer may call upon legal partners to assist with your filing.
While your mesothelioma lawyer constructs your filing, you will be constantly called for additional information. For instance, your mesothelioma lawyer may need your help identifying doctors, friends, co-workers or loved ones to provide information to support your case.
Once the above steps are finalized, your mesothelioma lawyer will evaluate your information to make a strategic decision regarding the most viable course of action including what court to file your case. The location in which a mesothelioma claim may be filed can have a tremendous impact on the outcome. When a mesothelioma lawyer finalizes a decision, your mesothelioma claim will be filed with the courts.
The Discovery Process:
Discovery refers to the formal legal process for evaluating and collecting evidence concerning your case. The discovery portion of the mesothelioma claim begins after the case is filed and is conducted under the rules of the court system.
The discovery portion of your mesothelioma claim is the stage where your employer and mesothelioma lawyer exchange testimonies and information. Research is also conducted during this interval. It is during the discovery stage that your mesothelioma lawyer develops a game plan to secure compensation. This case strategy invariably includes identifying required evidence, the witnesses required to provide depositions and the overall negotiating strategy your mesothelioma lawyer will employ to negotiate your compensation package. During the discovery stage of your mesothelioma case, your mesothelioma lawyer will also prepare your case for trial. Even though the majority of mesothelioma claims will be settled during the discovery phase and out of court, the better equipped you and your mesothelioma lawyer are for trial, the better the settlement you are likely to receive.
During the discovery portion of your mesothelioma claim, your mesothelioma lawyer and his/her representing firm will ask you to provide further information regarding your work environment. Your coordinating law firm, during this portion of the claim, will also update you on the status of your case.
The final phase of your mesothelioma claim will include negotiations or the rendering of a court decision. The following paragraph describes what to expect during this final stage:
Trial or Settlement Phase:
The bulk of mesothelioma cases, as stated above, are settled outside of court because negotiated settlements are typically better for both sides when compared to the general uncertainty of a verdict. If your mesothelioma claim does, by chance, go to trial, you can expect the case to take multiple weeks.
The mesothelioma legal process can take up to three years to complete. Coordinating depositions, attending hearings and obtaining evidence during the discovery phase—which all takes place before the formal trial– takes a minimum of 3 months to complete. Additionally, schedules (court dockets) will be a factor, often requiring that mesothelioma trials be scheduled to two years in advance.
Although the mesothelioma claim process will inevitably be lengthy, you do not have to feel confused or alone. If a suitable mesothelioma lawyer represents you, every legal professional on that individual’s staff will be there to expedite your filing. These legal professionals, through the delivery of assistance and information, will streamline the filing of a mesothelioma claim and mitigate all factors associated with the legal process.
Will I Need a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has an extended history of asbestos exposure, you must seek immediate medical attention. Remember, the greatest variable associated with the disease’s life expectancy is the stage in which the cancer is diagnosed—the earlier the disease is found the longer you will leave. In addition to living longer, your mesothelioma cancer may be extracted through the administration of a curative mesothelioma surgery. Therefore, you must schedule a physical examination if you have a prolonged history of dealing with asbestos. Even if you do not feel sick or notice symptoms, you must schedule this appointment to undergo various imaging tests. If the medical professional picks-up on any irregularities in your mesothelium or cellular structure, you will undergo a biopsy to test your protective tissues. If mesothelioma cancer is diagnosed you must contact a mesothelioma lawyer to file a claim.
Mesothelioma lawyers are legal professionals who will streamline your ability to secure financial compensation for contracting the disease. If your mesothelioma was contracted because your work or as a result of an entity’s negligence or failure to adhere to asbestos laws, you must hire a mesothelioma attorney. Also, because asbestos laws and the rules surrounding mesothelioma claims vary between jurisdictions, you must include a legal professional in your filing. Failure to hire a mesothelioma lawyer will complicate your filing and severely decrease the chances of winning mesothelioma compensation.