Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that often has no possible treatment, taking a financial, physical, and emotional toll on you and your family. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with this incurable disease you will be facing a hard road, but you do not have to travel that road alone. The experienced attorney’s of Kervin Law have everything you need to understand this disease and have compiled all of the necessary information below. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (NUMBER HERE) for more information. We are standing by and ready to help.
What is Mesothelioma?
There is a membrane in your body called the mesothelium. When this protective membrane is attacked by cancer, that cancer is called Mesothelioma. Because of its rare nature, Mesothelioma has been closely linked to exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma comes in three types, each of which is named after the part of the body affected:
Peritoneal mesothelioma – exists in the abdominal area and surrounding muscles.
Pericardial mesothelioma – the most difficult to treat, happens in the heart and erodes the lining of the heart.
Pleural mesothelioma – occurs in the lining of the lung. Patients with this type have the best rate of survival.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Asbestos exposure is the ONLY known cause of mesothelioma cancer. Historically, asbestos was used in many different types of insulation and protective gear.
The tiny fibers that make up asbestos are hazardous if ingested or inhaled. If inhaled, these fibers can become the single cause of mesothelioma.
The type of work the person performs also has an important impact on the seriousness of their disease. People in the military, factory workers, shipbuilders, and people who work in different types of manufacturing are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma.
The families of the above-mentioned workers can also be in danger of developing mesothelioma. Being exposed to asbestos secondhand can be just as dangerous and can lead to all types of asbestos related cancers including types of lung cancers.
Many people are unsure where exactly they were exposed to asbestos. If you are having trouble determining where ground zero is for you, contact the attorney’s of Kervin Law for help.
It can take 20 to 50 years to start showing symptoms of mesothelioma. These symptoms are hard to pinpoint and you cannot file a legal claim without a diagnosis. In order to receive a proper diagnosis you must inform your doctor of your work history and military history. Doctors need to know all of your history in order to give you a proper diagnosis. If you are unsure about whether or not you have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos contact the experienced lawyers of Kervin Law for help.
When anyone is diagnosed with a serious illness there are many questions. When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma the first question is usually “Is there treatment?” and “what are my chances for recovery?” The answers to these questions are complicated and sometimes the doctors are unsure about the answers. In order to get the best answer from your doctor you should provide him/her with a detailed work history.
Of course the point you seek treatment affects your prognosis. The earlier you receive treatment, the better your chances for recovery. Oftentimes that is easier said than done. The symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to the symptoms of the common cold and many patients are incorrectly diagnosed. Many don’t receive a diagnosis until more distinct symptoms arise, which is often very late in the diagnosis.
History of Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used to build structures for many years. Asbestos has been used in everything from building homes to ships. Asbestos was first called a miracle mineral because its ability to withstand chemical, heat, and electrical damage was unmatched.
Asbestos has been linked to lung cancer for years but physicians didn’t know until the early 1900s just how dangerous asbestos was. Physicians figured out that inhaling the fibers, an unavoidable consequence of working with the material, was extremely hazardous.
There were manufacturers who knew the truth about asbestos but wanted to hide it from the employees and other companies. These manufacturers wanted to hid this information because asbestos was inexpensive and they didn’t want to spend more money. In 1977 these documents were exposed, and these companies were unable to continue hiding the truth from their employees and the public.
In 2012 a bill was introduced into the Louisiana Legislature that would severely affect victims ability to recover from damage caused by asbestos. Although the bill passed the State House it was defeated in Senate Committee. The United States Government Accountability Office reviewed the trust system in 2011 and found that there were no instances of fraud.
Countries around the world have banned the use of asbestos but it is still legal to use in the US. Many people have filed claims, and some have been paid, but there are still more who are waiting for relief. If you contact the lawyers at Kervin Law, we are here to help make sure that your claim is properly filed and that we help you see it through to the end.
- Asbestos has had a significant role in manufacturing for decades. Once the connection between asbestos and cancer was made, manufacturers and business owners still did not want to acknowledge the issue. They would rather put their profits before their employees and their families.
- Johns-Manville was the largest producer of asbestos related products in the late 1970s. A lawsuit was filed against the company in 1977 claiming that it had hid the danger of asbestos from their employees and the wider public. The court determined that their had been a purposeful and “conscious effort” to hide the danger in order to stop legal claims. In 1979, they paid one million dollars to almost 300 employees struggling with asbestos related cancer. That lawsuit opened the door for future claims, and the company eventually had to declare bankruptcy.
- The 1970s was a decade of breakthroughs in asbestos related litigation. The U.S. passed the clean air act in 1970, forcing many companies to reevaluate their policies. During that time the Environmental Protection Agency also started to regulate air pollution, including asbestos.
- At that time, U.S. bankruptcy laws allowed companies to create a trust to pay victims while they continued to operate. The trusts were established for victims who could prove that they were exposed to asbestos because of their work with the particular company. An estimated $30 Billion has been paid out and set aside for victims of asbestos related cancers and health issues. This money can be used to cover a variety of things including: lost wages, medical bills, and living expenses.
The fight to compensate victims and protect future workers is far from over and there are thousands of pending lawsuits across the country.
How Mesothelioma Lawsuits Work
Initially, an attorney from Kervin Law will sit down with you to discuss your potential case. If your case seems viable, the attorney will file the necessary paperwork to open the discovery period. The discovery period allows our team, and the defendant’s team time to prepare for trial. Oftentimes a settlement is reached before we are able to go to trial. If not settlement can be reached, then they case will go to trial and we will receive a verdict from the jury.
How much compensation can I receive through a lawsuit?
Recovery results vary per client. Some juries return verdicts in the millions where other claims settle for little to nothing. The amount you receive depends on a variety of factors including whether your case gets a settlement or a jury verdict. To get a better idea of the compensation you can expect, please contact one of our lawyers.
If the company you are claiming damage against has a settlement trust established, that may affect the amount of money received. Also, if your attorney files a lawsuit and quickly settles your claim that may reduce the amount you would receive as opposed to the amount you would receive if your case were presented to a jury. The Attorney’s at Kervin Law will work to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.
How do I pay my lawyer?
Mesothelioma cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that the your attorney doesn’t charge you anything upfront, but takes their fee out of the amount that you are awarded by the court or the trust. The fee amount depends on if there is a cap on fees awarded by the trust, and what type of costs the lawyer has assumed on the front end.
When should I file my mesothelioma lawsuit?
Louisiana law imposes strict standards and limitations on how long you can wait to file a particular lawsuit. You should file your claim as a soon as you are aware. Our team will work to make sure that all time limitations have been adhered to.
What is the timeline for a mesothelioma lawsuit?
These types of lawsuits take a long time, especially if the court you are filing in has a heavy caseload or if your case requires extensive investigation. We will work to make sure that your case is handled as quickly as possible we there are no guarantees.
Who can I file a lawsuit on behalf of?
You can file a lawsuit on behalf of yourself or a deceased family member. Filing a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased family member is called a wrongful death claim (link to that article?). The amount of time you have to file this kind of lawsuit is restricted so please contact our team as soon as possible.
Who can I name as a defendant?
It is important that you file your case against the right person or company. Through investigation our attorneys can determine who is the right person to file your claim against. We can also help you determine when you were exposed to asbestos.
Will my lawsuit be filed in Louisiana?
We will file your claim in the state where you have the best chance of recovery. If the company you worked for has its headquarters in a state where we think you have a better chance of recovery then we will file your suit there. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis.
Is there travel involved in my claim?
In most cases you would not need to travel. Our attorneys are happy to meet you where you leave to help you handle your claim. If travel is necessary we will try to accommodate you.
Is it necessary for me to testify in court?
In every case our team prepares as if we are going to trial. With that being said, many claims are settled before trial commences, or even after it’s started. If we have to go to trial our team of attorneys will make sure that you are as prepared as we are for whatever may come.
Will my case be part of a class action lawsuit?
No. Class action lawsuits are for claims where everyone is affected in the same way. In a mesothelioma case each victim is affected differently. Our firm believes that mesothelioma cases are best handled separately.
By the early 2000s almost 730,000 people sought relief against companies based on asbestos related claims. Many of the companies were forced into bankruptcy. A consequence of their bankruptcy was the establishment of settlement trusts.
Many companies were not prepared to deal with the financial strain that would come with satisfying all of the settlements instituted my employees. In order to get out of bankruptcy companies had to reorganize and create trusts for victims, employees, and their families affected by asbestos.
The trust operates to help the company avoid lawsuits by only allowing claimants to go through the trustee to receive their funds. Claimants may not file a lawsuit if their company has a trust set up to handle claims. Claimants must file something with the trustee in order to receive compensation. Johns Manville set up the first trust ever created in 1988. Since that time over $20 billion has been put into trusts to benefit asbestos victims.
The following companies have established some of the largest trusts:
- USG Corp. $4 billion
- R. Grace & Co. $3 billion
- Johns Manville $2.5 billion
- Armstrong World Industries $2.1 billion
- Owen Corning Fireboard $1.6 billion
- Kaiser Aluminum $1.2 billion