Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer due to Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer, also known as Malignant Mesothelioma. It affects the lining of the cavities around the lungs, stomach and heart. At this time the only known cause of mesothelioma in the United States is previous exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring heat resistant mineral that is composed of fibers. Asbestos is used in fire-resistant and insulating materials. When inhaled asbestos causes the diseases of Mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Lung Cancer can occur when you have abnormal cells that are not healthy lung tissue. The abnormal cells can grow rapidly and form cancerous tumors in one or both lungs.
The cancer usually does not appear until 10 to 40 years after a person first inhales asbestos. Many people have come into contact with asbestos fibers via their jobs, or occupational exposure. There is also a risk to the family members of those working in at-risk occupations; this exposure is called paraoccupational exposure. Likewise, people who live near sites likely to have asbestos around the facility are also at risk: refineries, power plants, factories, shipyards, steel mills and building demolition are types of work sites that can release asbestos fibers into the environment and contaminate nearby residential neighborhoods.
Boilermakers, bricklayers, carpenters, cement finishers, foundry workers, insulators, laborers, maintenance workers, operators, millwrights, welders, pipefitters, sheetmetal workers and steelworkers exposed to asbestos prior to 1970 who test positive for an asbestos-related disease may have a claim against manufacturers of asbestos-containing products.
The most common cause of Mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, whether by continuous exposure or by second hand exposure. Wives of men who worked around asbestos have been known to develop Mesothelioma from being around the clothes of the husband. Additionally, the www.cancer.gov fact sheet states there is evidence of Mesothelioma developing from a virus possibly in the polio vaccine known as Simian Virus 40 (SV40).
Available Financial Compensation
History has shown that financial compensation is available for some Mesothelioma victims. There is no set standard for how much money however, and specific cases range across the board. Patients are encouraged to seek legal council specializing in Mesothelioma lawsuits upon diagnosis. Some patients eventually receive enough damages to cover some, or all, medical costs, while others get awarded even more. Each situation is different and experienced, specialized attorneys will know what a patient can expect.
Unfortunately, the legal proceedings can be quite lengthy in asbestos-related lawsuits. Whether a case results in a settlement or trial, it can take years of aggravation before it reaches its finality. Many liable asbestos-exposure companies, big or small, have several legal proceedings, often leading to their bankruptcy. Between that, the general pace of the civil legal system, and the subsequent appeal process, patience is necessary in attempting to collect damages.