Asbestos & Mesothelioma Mass Tort Lawyers
While the dangers of asbestos exposure have long been established, and it’s mostly banned in new buildings and materials in the U.S., people continue to be exposed to this carcinogen every year. The EPA was unable to ban asbestos outright in 1991, and many consumer products are still legally allowed to contain trace amounts of asbestos. In addition, older buildings still may contain asbestos, leading to an increased risk of cancer for those working and living in those buildings, which is where a mass tort attorney comes in.
As a result, asbestos litigation has been the longest-running mass tort litigation in U.S. history. It involved more than 700,000 claimants suing over 8,000 defendants, and experts estimate that the total cost of asbestos litigation will eventually reach around $250 billion.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or a related cancer after being exposed to asbestos, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, so you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help! Call the experienced Louisiana mass tort lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys for a free consultation as to your legal options.
4 Types of Mesothelioma
According to the experts at the Mesothelioma Center, no matter what type of Mesothelioma someone has, the average life expectancy is 12-22 months. However, there are 4 types of Mesothelioma; they include:
Pleural is the most common type of Mesothelioma and makes up 75% of all Mesothelioma cases. In fact, out of all people with heavy and prolonged exposure to asbestos, 2% – 10% end up developing pleural mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Symptoms and Causes
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops on the mesothelium, a thin tissue layer that covers the internal organs. While the most common sites of mesothelioma in the body include the lining of the lungs and chest wall, it can affect many parts of the body. Thus, patients may experience a variety of symptoms, including
- Chest pain
- Painful coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
Most people who develop mesothelioma are exposed to asbestos through their workplaces. The riskiest careers for this kind of exposure include
- Asbestos mining
- Shipyard work
- Demolition and construction, especially if working with insulation
- Auto maintenance and car dealerships
- Oil refineries
- Power plants
The dangers of toxic products that contain asbestos have been known for decades. However, manufacturers and other corporations decided against using safer alternatives to save a few dollars, and opted not to warn their employees of the risks they were facing every day. Due to their negligence, thousands of Americans have contracted mesothelioma.
Tragically, mesothelioma is aggressive and deadly. Fewer than 10 percent of mesothelioma patients live for more than five years after their initial diagnosis, and those that do have their lives forever changed.
How long does it take for asbestos exposure to affect you?
Asbestos-related injuries, like mesothelioma and asbestosis, can take decades to develop after the original exposure. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), asbestos-related symptoms can take 10–40 years to develop.
Is asbestosis curable?
Tragically, there is no cure for asbestosis. Treatment options focus on improving patients’ breathing and managing their symptoms. If you’ve been diagnosed with asbestosis, some things you can do yourself include
- Eating a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated
- Getting adequate sleep
- Getting yearly flu and pneumonia vaccines, since asbestosis increases your risk for respiratory infection
- Avoid air pollution and tobacco smoke
Is there a safe amount of asbestos exposure?
Researchers have determined that no amount of asbestos is safe for humans. However, the odds for developing asbestosis, mesothelioma, or a related disease from a short exposure is low, unless you’re exposed to a massive amount of asbestos at one time. One example of such an exposure event is the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York: tons of asbestos-containing dust were sent through the air, risking thousands of lives in the process.
Filing or Joining a Mesothelioma Mass Tort
Asbestos injury claims are in a class of tort law referred to as toxic tort, since asbestos is a toxic substance. This type of personal injury claim can be filed against a defendant who the plaintiff(s) allege knowingly exposed people to asbestos. Asbestos-related lawsuits generally require the plaintiff(s) to prove that their injuries, medical problems, or other issues were caused by the defendant’s negligence.
In general, there are two types of lawsuits under which to seek compensation for mesothelioma damages: a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim. These are largely similar except for who files the suit. In a personal injury claim, the victim themselves can file suit, but if the victim has died due to their asbestos-related injury, their surviving family can file a wrongful death suit.
Because many people are generally injured by asbestos from the same company, the courts allow these lawsuits to be consolidated in either mass tort or class action lawsuits. These are often confused, but are distinct types of litigative actions:
- Class action lawsuits involve multiple plaintiffs that are treated as one entity by the court, and are usually represented by only a few class representatives. Class action participants equally split the settlement awarded.
- Mass tort lawsuits also involve multiple plaintiffs, but while they can share evidence and other legal resources, each case is considered separately. In an asbestos injury mass tort, each plaintiff must describe their exposure to asbestos and how it caused their mesothelioma.
Who’s Eligible for an Asbestos Toxic Tort Claim?
In order to have standing, or the ability to sue a company for your asbestos-related injuries, you must have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. These include mesothelioma and asbestosis, which is a scarring of the lungs from inhaling asbestos fibers.
How to Prove Liability for Asbestos Exposure
After proving eligibility and filing a claim, the plaintiff must prove the following elements in order to hold the defendant legally responsible for their damages:
- The defendant failed to use ordinary care to prevent the victim’s exposure to asbestos
- This exposure caused the victim’s mesothelioma
- The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of the mesothelioma
Mesothelioma claims can be extremely complex. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced attorney specializing in mass tort and personal injury cases, to help you demonstrate the defendant’s liability regarding your injuries, and to get you the compensation you deserve.
Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Louisiana
Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys is a Louisiana law firm specializing in personal injury claims and mass tort lawsuits. Our experienced team has helped win over $2.5 Billion recovered for our clients in our decades of legal practice, and we’re dedicated to helping you too. Give us a call at 888.501.7888 today for a free consultation as to your legal options.
Call Our Asbestos & Mesothelioma Mass Tort Class Action Lawyers