MESOTHELIOMA – A PROBLEM FROM THE PAST CLAIMING VICTIMS IN THE PRESENT
Because of its resistance to chemicals, heat, and corrosion, the Cleveland Clinic explains, asbestos used to be a popular building material used in ceilings, floors, and paint. Once asbestos was connected to breathing issues and cancer, however, the substance was largely banned in the U.S. during the 1970s and 80s. The problem – materials made of asbestos become damaged over time or if disturbed. Removing asbestos from older structures releases tiny fibers into the air, even today putting people who work in construction at risk.
While naturally occurring asbestos deposits do not exist in Indiana, the state’s manufacturing industry used an abundance of imported asbestos-containing materials, asbestos.com cautions. In fact, jobsites with known asbestos exposure include:
- Rolls Royce
- Dow AgroSciences
- General Motors
- Peerless Pump
- Federal Office Building in Evansville
What is mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive, deadly form of cancer affecting the layer of tissue covering our internal organs. Most often, the disease affects the tissue surrounding the lungs, the Mayo Clinic staff explains, but other forms include peritoneal mesothelioma (affecting the tissue of the abdomen), pericardial (affecting tissue surrounding the heart) and tunica vaginalis (affecting tissue surrounding the testicles). For many people, the Mayo staff admits, a cure is simply not possible.
A person diagnosed with mesothelioma is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against an employer who failed to warn employees about the dangers linked to inhaling the toxic mineral. There are three basic kinds of lawsuits:
- Personal injury – the mesothelioma patient files, claiming specific damages due to medical costs and loss of income.
- Wrongful death – the family files a lawsuit, because the patient died of mesothelioma, leaving family members with medical bills, loss of future financial contribution to the household, funeral expenses.
- Class action lawsuit – dozens or even hundreds of claimants combine their claims.
At Ramey and Hailey Law, some of the most regrettable situations our attorneys have seen after more than 40 years representing injury victims, are those in which a product has caused heinous and irreversible injury or death.
With mesothelioma, the unique challenge lies in the fact that diseases from asbestos exposure take a long time to develop, as the ATSDR (the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) points out. In fact, ATSDR explains, the time between diagnosis of mesothelioma and initial occupational exposure to asbestos has commonly been 30 years or more!
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that by occupation, the highest exposure to asbestos occurred in insulation workers, chemical technicians, pipe layers, plumbers, and steam fitters. Family contacts of asbestos-exposed workers are also at risk.
As personal injury attorneys in Indiana, we are dedicated to offering not just legal representation, but compassionate, personalized counsel. We know that mesothelioma is a problem of the past that is coming to haunt many unfortunate individuals and families in the present.