Working with asbestos is widely known to cause serious health problems. Although asbestos has mostly been eliminated as a major construction element, exposure to asbestos used in the past is continuing to cause long-term health problems. For example,
in 2001, those working during the rescue and clean-up of the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy were potentially at risk for asbestos exposure and for developing asbestos-related illness because the North Tower was constructed with materials that contained asbestos.
Asbestos exposure can cause several physical ailments, some of which can be managed with careful treatment and others that cannot. One of the problems that can arise from asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer found in the sac lining of the chest (pleura), the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum) or the lining around the heart (pericardium).
About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Although everyone is affected differently at varying levels of exposure, those in the construction industry see the highest number of deaths from malignant mesothelioma according to the Centers for Disease Control.
According to cancer.gov:
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesotheliomum to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or has reason to believe that exposure to asbestos has occurred, it is vitally important to seek immediate medical treatment. It is also crucial to obtain legal representation so that your rights are protected and present and future medical costs covered. Your lawyer should work closely with medical personnel to make sure your diagnosis is sound and your health issues adequately addressed for you and your lawsuit.
The Law Concerning Mesothelioma
The cause of action is one based in negligence. The lawsuit will be filed against the company or person responsible for the asbestos exposure, whether it is your employer that placed you at the work scene or the owner of the building in which you worked – or both. The statute of limitations for this lawsuit is two years from the date of your diagnosis.
Money Damages from Mesothelioma
Financial recovery can include past, present and future medical bills. Other potential areas of compensation, depending on the facts of the situation, are mental pain and suffering damages, lost past and future wages, permanent impairment/disfigurement, punitive damages, wrongful death damages and loss of enjoyment of life.