What You Need to Know from an Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyer in Charleston, West Virginia
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare and incurable type of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers over a long period of time and typically affects the lining of the chest, heart, and/or abdominal cavity. People with Mesothelioma experience shortness of breath and chest pain and are often given a life expectancy of about one year after diagnosis.
What Are the Treatment Options for Mesothelioma?
Treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery could prolong the prognosis, but this rare disease could stay hidden in those affected for up to 50 years and is very deadly. The average five-year relative survival rate is about 10% for those 2,500 to 3,500 people diagnosed with this cancer in the United States each year. By the time the symptoms are present in the person affected to diagnose it, the Mesothelioma has often already gotten into advanced stages.
What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Symptoms of Mesothelioma appear once the tumors spread and press against the chest wall and/or abdominal cavity. Misdiagnoses can occur because other conditions can mimic these symptoms. Early diagnosis can help to give a patient more treatment options, but since the cancer can remain hidden for up to 50 years, people most often diagnosed are aged 65 years or older.
Common Mesothelioma symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)
- Night sweats
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Respiratory complications
- Shortness of breath
- Dry cough
How Does Asbestos Exposure Happen?
Asbestos exposure can happen by the repeated use of Asbestos-contaminated products like talc and can be found in homes, workplaces, schools, military structures, naval ships, and other places that lead to dangerous exposure.
Mesothelioma develops after a person inhales or swallows microscopic Asbestos fibers that then become lodged in the lining of the lungs, heart, and/or abdomen. These embedded fibers cause inflammation and damage mesothelial cells. Over time, tumors form on the damaged mesothelium, causing Mesothelioma.
People most at risk for developing this type of cancer are those who have been exposed to large amounts of occupational Asbestos, but also in the people who live with those affected by Asbestos, like spouses and children, who are around the contaminated clothing and belongings of those affected. Such occupations could include:
- Military Personnel
- Construction Workers
- HVAC Technicians
- Textile Mill Workers
- Chimney Sweeps
- Coal Miners
How Do You Know If You Have Mesothelioma?
The most common ways to test for Mesothelioma include blood tests, biopsies, and imaging scans. It’s also important to keep track of the staging of the cancer once diagnosed, as this helps to diagnose how aggressive a treatment plan needs to be based on the severity of the cancer stage.
Why Should You Contact a Mesothelioma Attorney?
Mesothelioma claims are forms of personal injury lawsuits but can be included in premises liability claims. Many Mesothelioma claims proceed against little-known companies responsible for manufacturing and selling Asbestos gaskets, packing materials, and industrial insulation commonly used in boilers, power plants, shipyards, pumps, air compressors, and more.
When a person files this type of lawsuit, factors that are often considered include how and where the exposure occurred, who was responsible for the exposure, and when the person was diagnosed with the disease.
Taking legal action can bring financial stability and peace of mind to those exposed and affected by Asbestos exposure and Mesothelioma. Expenses and losses related to Mesothelioma typically influence the compensation that a victim will receive as a result of a lawsuit. Such costs could include medical expenses, travel costs related to medical treatments, caregiver expenses, disability caused by the exposure, lost wages, pain and suffering, and funeral costs. If a victim passes away before the result of the lawsuit is revealed, the claim becomes an asset of their estate, and their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death suit as a result.
Those afflicted with Mesothelioma should contact an experienced Mesothelioma lawyer for potential compensation due to Asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma lawyers gather evidence to produce an Asbestos lawsuit against the product or company responsible for the Asbestos exposure. These lawyers will fight to hold the individuals responsible for the exposure and help victims to receive the compensation that they deserve. However, there is a time limit for filing such claims, otherwise known as a statute of limitations, so a person should contact a Mesothelioma lawyer right away.
The best Mesothelioma attorneys will have years of experience handling Asbestos-related lawsuits, have a track record of success, and have extensive knowledge on the issue.
How Do You Find a Mesothelioma Attorney?
Mesothelioma can present unique challenges due to the extended amount of time that it takes for the symptoms to be seen. West Virginia Mesothelioma lawyers must have a library of product identification to accurately represent Mesothelioma claimants to the best of their abilities. This collection could include labels, photos of Asbestos products, and advertising materials from as much as 50 years prior or more.
To find an experienced attorney, claimants should look for lawyers who are skilled in Mesothelioma lawsuits. Choosing a firm that is experienced in asbestos litigation and understands Asbestos trust funds is essential. These trust funds help claimants to seek payment when primary defendants in such cases as this are in bankruptcy.
Claimants go through an extreme amount of stress as it is; choosing a firm that will shield victims from the legal work it takes to gather proof of Asbestos exposure and are comfortable doing the heavy lifting are essential.
Doing online research to examine the reviews of the top Mesothelioma lawyer available as well as asking for feedback from peers can help to determine which lawyer to choose. Many lawyers also offer free consultations, so take advantage of those by sitting down with multiple lawyers before making a decision.
A claimant should feel confident in their lawyer, be able to communicate efficiently with them and trust them wholeheartedly in order to work well together. Asking tough questions and feeling assurance in a lawyer’s responses should be of top priority.
What Can You Expect During a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
A Mesothelioma lawyer and their team are experts in the field of these types of cases. This group of individuals will track down the exposure of Asbestos and find the parties responsible.
Once a claimant selects a Mesothelioma attorney, they will prepare the case by gathering information from the claimant about the Asbestos exposure and try to determine what parties should be held liable for the disease and where to file the claim.
Another part of this process could be identifying individuals who can support the claim, such as co-workers, a doctor who diagnosed the disease, friends, and family members. Though the dangers of Asbestos are known in the United States, several factors can impact a Mesothelioma case significantly, such as a claimant’s work history, types of Asbestos products they were exposed to, and more.
As such, common questions that claimants may be asked include: “What were your job responsibilities at the time of exposure?”, “What type of Asbestos products did you come in contact with throughout your career?”, “What were the working conditions?”, and “Did your employer provide protective safety gear for when you came in contact with such products?”
Then, the lawyer will file a written complaint with the court to start the legal process within the statute of limitations. Each defendant mentioned in the complaint will have a certain amount of time to respond to the claim filed against them, and the attorney will review all responses.
Attorneys on both the plaintiff and defendant sides will gather information about the allegation by asking questions, producing evidence, and holding depositions as needed. This process can take some time to complete and varies from case to case.
Before trial, the defendant may choose to attempt a settlement with a compensation offer that the attorney will bring to the claimant. If a settlement cannot be reached, the next step is heading to trial, but many of these cases are able to be settled outside of the courtroom.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
In most instances, Mesothelioma lawyers will take on a case on a contingency basis; this means that if the attorney does not win the case, the services are free. If the case is won, the legal fees will be taken as a percentage of the awarded compensation to the claimant.
Where Can You Go to Get Help for a Mesothelioma Case?
Mesothelioma cases are complex and unique, so it is vitally important to obtain the counsel of a skilled Mesothelioma lawyer who has years of experience and the resources needed to tackle such a challenging issue.
Pat Jacobs has over 40 years of experience successfully representing injured and disabled individuals throughout the state of West Virginia. Each case gets personal and individual attention to ensure that it is fully investigated and prepared to win.
Sit down with Pat for a free consultation by contacting 800-966-6593 to schedule or fill out our form, and an experienced Jacobs Law Office staff member will be in touch with you as soon as possible.