Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is diagnosed in approximately 2,000 to 3,000 Americans annually. Research has provided irrefutable evidence that links this deadly cancer to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral, whose particles act as a human carcinogen when imbedded in the lining of the lungs or other bodily tissue.
Some people diagnosed with this form of cancer could have inhaled asbestos fibers through home construction projects or due to environmental exposure. However, an overwhelming number of cases are the result of asbestos use in the workplace or jobsite, making mesothelioma a largely occupational disease. While by no means exhaustive, the following is a list of workers commonly known to have been exposed to asbestos:
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- Construction workers
- Oil refinery workers
- Chemical and power plant employees
- Insulation workers
- Auto repair mechanics
- U.S. Veterans
Reported Health Risks
Long before the government implemented regulation policies concerning asbestos, scientists and professionals suspected and reported that the mineral was known to cause serious illness. Despite repeated reports from doctors, scientists, and other experts, the toxic substance continued to be used by several companies across many industries. Asbestos was used as a product in construction sites for a large percentage of homes and commercial buildings prior to 1980. However, mesothelioma exhibits latency periods of 20 to 50 years, meaning that the disease can remain dormant in the body several decades after exposure has occurred.
Lawsuits and Legal Compensation
Since these regulations and the onset of mesothelioma diagnoses, there have been court cases and legal battles proving that plant, shipyard and factory owners were aware of asbestos’ harmful effects, yet continued to use it. Protective measures such as removal or abatement of the material were not conducted, nor did these owners and operators attempt to institute protective protocols for their employees. Many of the asbestos manufacturers were also aware of their product’s health risks, but continued production and sales. This exposure, due to negligence and misinformation, has led to countless people being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other illnesses and disease stemming from asbestos exposure.
Victims are not only seeking compensation for their pain and suffering, but are trying to thwart the overwhelming medical bills and high costs associated with cancer treatments. Still others are attempting to recoup finances lost as a result of not being able to work due to their diagnosis. These kinds of legal avenues can help those diagnosed with mesothelioma support their families and medical costs, as well as provide compensation for senseless suffering.
Rules and Regulations
Guidelines for these types of legal avenues can vary according to state, and it is important to be familiar with the particular state in which an individual is attempting to file. There can be a variance on elements such as statutes of limitation, as well as guidelines on how much time must elapse before a suit can be filed. In order to get the most current and accurate information those who may be suffering from asbestos-related illnesses, or know someone who is, should contact an attorney experienced in mesothelioma lawsuits and legislation.