We will now enter the world of mesothelioma law firms, how they operate, how patients can reach out to them, what to expect and how to go about the litigations properly and with the right guidance. Firstly, we need to know about the incurable mesothelioma disease which will further branch us into its root cause: asbestos.
ASBESTOS AND MESOTHELIOMA
Asbestos comprises of six naturally occurring silicate (rock forming) minerals which are long and look like crystals. It has been mined for over four thousand years for its properties which include resistance to heat, electricity, tensile strength among others. They are used for building and electrical insulation. However, inhalation of asbestos fibers is almost a sure cause of lung cancer, asbestosis and the main cause of mesothelioma when its fibers are breathed in and travel to the end of the air passages and reach the pleura where they cause inflammation and scarring of tissue, leading to uncontrolled growth of cells.
Asbestos use remains widespread despite asbestos-related diseases being on the rise. The symptoms start to manifest 20 to 50 years after exposure (it is asymptomatic), making it even deadlier and pushing people to file lawsuits against the companies they previously worked for which made them handle it without first letting them know the dangers of doing so. Responsibility for allowing exposure to the substance also remains an ongoing concern for many manufacturers, insurers and reinsurers
ADVENT OF MESOTHELIOMA LAWSUITS
There have been claims of injuries resulting from working at asbestos mines, whether asbestos-related or not, since the 1900s. Workers have been compensated since the 1920s and the first successful compensation claim by an ill asbestos worker was settled without a trial in 1926. The mining companies started becoming aware of its dangers in 1943 but continued to turn a blind eye because it was so profitable but in 1960, an epidemiological study confirmed the causal relationship between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. This led to the first big compensation in 1969 by Johns-Manville, late becoming bankrupt in 1982. It was subsequently banned in the UK in 1999 and mining of the substance was stopped in Canada in 2011. The effects of this deadly disease have affected a lot of people and a statute has been set in some countries preventing sufferers from filing a lawsuit after a certain amount of time. WHERE DOES THE LAW FIRM COME IN? Malignant mesothelioma cases are different than other diseases. The symptoms are hidden until they are not. Its asymptomatic period ranges from decade to five. This makes a case even more difficult for the firm to carry out an investigation on. Asbestos-related disease litigations like mesothelioma are unlike normal personal injury claims as they are trickier and involve more in-depth investigative processes to ascertain the nature of its reality.
BUILDING YOUR MESOTHELIOMA CASE
When pursuing cases after a mesothelioma diagnosis, the process usually begins with an introductory meeting with the law firm you have chosen to represent you, followed by medical and work research. The first meeting, or free consultation depending on the firm and their terms at that particular point in time, cover the following: Steps regarding the legal process to be followed All necessary information and details regarding your asbestos exposure Potential options for compensation Any questions and concerns you may have regarding any of the aforementioned and more Sufferers are then made to answer questions akin to the location of exposure to the asbestos, the number of times they had exposure to the material, what parties were responsible for allowing such to happen. After much extensive and specific questioning, the law firm begins to work on your behalf and begin building your case before the mesothelioma lawsuit is filed. The research will look extensively into work history and product identification to pinpoint exposure. Research can include: Medical reports from medical facilities you were diagnosed and treated as at the time the symptoms started surfacing An investigation into all previous occupations, including historical records, union, and military service records Interviews with you, a member of your immediate and extended family, if any, and coworkers who can provide details about potential exposure and work history details. The firm shouldn’t, however, be the only party with questions. You have every right to know what kind of service is to be rendered to you is the name of representation. You have every right to understand the kind of representation you will be receiving so asking questions such as, “who is the lead attorney in this case and how good is his /her record?”, “what am I to pay?”,” which other clients have you worked for?”, “were they compensated?”, is very commonplace. RECOVERY PHASE When the law firm is sure of how genuine your case is, they begin to search for various means of compensation. One of such being asbestos trust funds. A number of companies have admitted pas asbestos liability and set up trust funds to enable prompt compensation of qualifying claims. This is the fastest means of compensation assuming your claims meet their criteria for payment. After your case has been evaluated for recovery through asbestos trusts, the law firm begins an investigation of your case via viable companies who are yet to concede full asbestos liability. Next, the firm determines a proper venue for filing the lawsuit. The complaint presents several causes of legal action against asbestos companies who are most likely to be responsible for the exposure leading to mesothelioma exposure.
This phase can last a few months in which the firm presents information/documentation to the defendant(s) stating where, when, how and to what extent your exposure to the asbestos products was. This is where they provide proof from the severe investigation that was carried out when you first went to seek representation. The defendant, in this case, any asbestos company involved, will also present documentation and the law firm will file even more motions to that effect mostly seeking to settle outside court so everybody can be happy.
TREATMENT FOR MESOTHELIOMA
After you get compensated, you can now seek further treatment thus: Radiation: Given to patients palliatively and post-operation Chemotherapy: This is the only treatment that yields result now. Can be used alone or along with other types of treatment. Surgery: Works best when used with other forms of treatment mentioned above