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Mesothelioma: Legal Ramifications
A Brief Overview
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that attacks the linings of the lungs and the intestinal tract, and also the sac covering the heart. It is also called epithelial mesothelioma, as it affects the membrane in the pleura, the pericardium and the peritoneum. It is not lung-cancer per se. The mesothelioma-lung cancer confusion has been there earlier. Mesothelioma is merely a form of cancer that affects the lining covering the lungs. It comes in three forms:
o Pleural mesothelioma
o Peritoneal mesothelioma
o Pericardial mesothelioma
Causes of Mesothelioma
The primary cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. This can be direct exposure at the work place, or secondary exposure (when the victim is exposed to asbestos through coming in contact with someone who has already been exposed to asbestos). Despite all the pain and the loss that the workers faced, there was some hope in the form of legal recourse. Workers started suing the plants they worked in, and soon the legal battle against mesothelioma reached epic proportions. Even today, there are around 3,000 cases of mesothelioma being diagnosed in the United States every year. While the treatment is painful and not always successful, these mesothelioma victims at least have the hope of monetary compensation to help them fight mesothelioma.
The first manifestations of mesothelioma were seen as early as the 1950s and the 1960s. At that time, the workers in plants and other work areas that used asbestos in some form or the other were unaware of the lethal side of asbestos. The management at these work areas – docks, industrial plants, equipment manufacturers, and many more, the list is endless – soon came to know of the adverse effects of asbestos. However, for some reason they kept quiet about it. Their focus was on reduced costs and profits, it seems, and they remained mum about the harmful effects that asbestos could have on their workers. Asbestos, after all, had huge advantages over other material, which was why it was used so much irrespective of the genre of industry. This over the years proved to be a very, very costly error on their part.
Mesothelioma Litigation – Did it Help?
The implications of asbestos use are staggering, primarily because of the range of products it is used in. From office buildings to toasters to car brakes to shipyards, asbestos was used almost across the breadth of the industrial sector. A publication in 1935 by the American Journal of Cancer – Pulmonary Asbestosis: Carcinoma of the Lung in Asbesto-Silicosis – first raised the suspicions of people from the research and medical fields of the connection between the presence of asbestos and the unusually high death rates and lung-related diseases in the industrial sector. This connection was confirmed in 1955, and soon the continued use of asbestos despite knowing about its deadlier side became a legal nightmare for the industrial sector. Mesothelioma litigation in the United States has enabled mesothelioma victims win hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits from their callous employers. It has been one of the successes in the battle against mesothelioma indirectly, and against the irresponsible attitudes of the management of workplaes that used asbestos, directly.
The Legal Aspect of Mesothelioma
Over the years, the legal benefits that mesothelioma victims have received have been enormous. The symptoms of mesothelioma manifest much after the initial inhalation of the asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma treatment is also painful and expensive. The compensations awarded to them have helped them at least cover their medical expenses. Nowadays there are mesothelioma law firms – law firms that specialize in mesothelioma. They have trained mesothelioma lawyers and mesothelioma attorneys. These lawyers specialize in mesothelioma compensation cases.
It can happen that a victim may shy away from legal recourse because they fel that they do not have adequate financial support to pay the lawyer. However, this is a scenario they need not worry about. All they have to do is contact a mesothelioma support group, or a mesothelioma help group. These are present all over the United States. The patient can also go online and put a search for mesothelioma legal assistance cells by typing mesothelioma and then typing the name of the state or area they are from in the search field of the search engine they are using. This is not a fixed rule – they can type it in any order. For example – mesothelioma California, mesothelioma Texas, mesothelioma lawyer texas, New York mesothelioma, California mesothelioma lawyer, etc.
How are Mesothelioma Lawyers so Successful?
One of the basic things in awarding compensation is for the judge or the jury to decide whether the harm done was intentional, or whether it was the result of a choice the victim made, in simple terms. In many cases, the circumstance of a victim is a result of a choice he or she made. For example, in a smoking-related cancer case, the choice to smoke was made by the victim. However, in the case of mesothelioma, the situation is different. The circumstance of mesothelioma in the victim could have been averted if only his employers had been more careful, had made him aware about the risks the job entailed, and then let him choose, besides providing him whatever protection required to prevent him from being exposed to asbestos. This is one area that mesothelioma lawyers and mesothelioma attorneys have been able to successfully work on.
After the initial slew of mesothelioma cases and lawsuits, now laws are firmly in place to safeguard the health interests of the worker. Besides, in the event of someone actually suffering from mesothelioma, there are some guidelines towards seeking legal redress for them as well. Mesothelioma law is strict and helps provide fair verdicts in mesothelioma-related compensation cases.
Guidelines for Mesothelioma Victims Seeking Legal Action
The primary rule of thumb while filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is that it has to be filed immediately on diagnosis of the disease. In fact, in many of the states across the United States, mesothelioma laws stipulating the timeframe within which a lawsuit can be filed are in place. On diagnosis, you can contact a mesothelioma lawyer through your local mesothelioma activists or mesothelioma group for more mesothelioma information relating to lawsuits. The work of a mesothelioma lawyer or mesothelioma attorney is not limited to just fighting your case. A mesothelioma attorney usually has an extensive network of contacts – other victims, mesothelioma case histories, good treatment facilities, nature of treatment options available, in fact, for most mesothelioma-related information. His specialization is a distinct advantage over a lawyer who doesn’t have too much of an idea about mesothelioma.
The government is also taking steps to ensure that workers are safe from exposure to asbestos. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has passed laws and regulations stipulating safety measures and also has set in motion plans to ban and phase out the use of asbestos as much as possible. You can find more information about this at the EPA website – http://www.epa.gov.
You can also browse the Internet for mesothelioma-related information, mesothelioma pictures, more information on asbestos, etc.
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