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Your Legal Options if You've Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

danger asbestos warning signPeople who were exposed to asbestos on the job have recourse

For many decades, asbestos was used in insulation and other products, even though the companies that manufactured it were well aware of the health risks. Millions of people in New York and around the country may have been exposed to asbestos, and decades later, many have been diagnosed with mesothelioma — a type of malignant cancer that affects the lungs and abdomen.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, you have recourse under the law. You can seek compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other costs related to mesothelioma. However, getting the compensation you need and deserve can be an uphill battle. That's where an experienced mesothelioma attorney can help.

Who is at risk of mesothelioma?

The vast majority of mesothelioma cases are caused by exposure to asbestos, which was commonly used in a variety of construction and manufacturing applications from the 1940s through the 1970s. Workers who were at high risk of exposure include:

  • Insulators
  • Construction and demolition workers
  • Home services (e.g. HVAC, plumbers, electricians)
  • Industrial workers and mill workers
  • Railroad and shipyard workers
  • Power plant workers
  • Engineers
  • Firefighters

While manufacturers stopped using asbestos in new construction and new products decades ago, the disease can also take decades to develop, sometimes even 50 years or more. Today, there are about 3,000 mesothelioma cases diagnosed annually. Most of those cases are in men over the age of 60, and about a third of victims are veterans.

What are the legal options to get compensation for mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma victims have been fighting for compensation from the companies that produced and distributed asbestos products for decades. The first successful lawsuit was Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corp. in 1973; the plaintiff, Clarence Borel, was an insulator who ultimately died of mesothelioma. After the Borel case, thousands of mesothelioma patients, mostly workers, filed lawsuits around the country.

Starting in the 1980s, many of the companies that produced asbestos products declared bankruptcy, which shielded them from future litigation. As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, these companies established mesothelioma trust funds that pay compensation to people who were exposed to asbestos via those companies' products.

Depending on the circumstances, a mesothelioma patient may have access to any or all of the following options:

  • Negotiate a settlement or file a lawsuit against an asbestos company.
  • File a claim with a mesothelioma trust fund.
  • File a claim for other disability benefits, such as veterans' benefits.

Because of the long delay between exposure and diagnosis, mesothelioma lawsuits can require in-depth, exhaustive investigation. Mesothelioma attorneys may need to pore over decades-old purchase orders and other records to figure out where the victim was exposed and which company or companies manufactured the asbestos products. It's also sometimes unclear which state's laws apply to a mesothelioma case, especially if the worker was exposed while working jobs in multiple states. This is why experienced legal help can make a meaningful difference.

If you've been diagnosed, talk to an attorney today

The stakes are high in mesothelioma cases because of the high cost of treatment, pain and suffering, and other costs of the disease. The average settlement is between $1 million and $1.5 million, and the average jury verdict is between $5 million and $11 million, but those averages are not guarantees. Every case is different and needs to be evaluated on its individual merits. Only an attorney can listen to your story, advise you of your options, and help you find the right strategy to move forward.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need legal advice now. There are strict legal deadlines that apply to mesothelioma claims, and it's not always immediately obvious which deadline applies. The sooner you have an attorney investigate your case, the better the odds of a positive outcome. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced mesothelioma attorney.

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