What Is Mesothelioma?
New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys on Effects of Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is one of the most serious health problems that may result from asbestos exposure. Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, was once heavily mined and used in the manufacture of thousands of products across the United States. However, asbestos use is now mostly banned throughout many countries, including the U.S., due to the serious health problems it can cause. Nevertheless, approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are still diagnosed in the United States each year. While treatment options are available, there is presently no known cure for mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a painful and devastating condition for victims and their families. However, victims of this cancer may seek compensation from their employers or others responsible for their illness. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, call the New Jersey mesothelioma lawyers at Keefe Law Firm right away. We will work with you toward resolving your asbestos lawsuit as soon as possible so that you can ensure financial security for your family. The attorneys at Keefe Law Firm have a history of successful multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in mesothelioma cases.
What are the Common Causes of Mesothelioma?
The most common cause of mesothelioma is inhalation of asbestos particles. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was once used in a variety of products due to its flame-resistant properties. Commonly affected products include building materials, insulation, brakes and even blankets and children’s toys. However, asbestos minerals break down into smaller particles that remain in the air or stick to clothing. This characteristic is known as friability.
Friable asbestos particles in the air are microscopic and therefore easy to inhale or swallow. However, these particles will then embed themselves in the lining of the lungs or other tissues. Once embedded, these particles may remain in the body for decades without causing any symptoms or complications. Eventually, these fibers may cause tumors to form in the mesothelium, or soft tissue surrounding the organs. Sometimes, these tumors are benign, but more often they are signs of malignant mesothelioma. These cancerous cells may then metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body, damaging tissue and organs.
Malignant mesothelioma may present itself in many forms. Common forms include: (1) pleural mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lungs); (2) peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer of the abdominal lining); and (3) pericardial mesothelioma (cancer of the heart lining). The form of malignant mesothelioma you have is an important factor in evaluating both treatment options and symptoms of the disease.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Symptoms of mesothelioma are usually nonspecific and may not appear until 10 to 40 years after asbestos exposure. When symptoms do finally appear, they typically include fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss. However, other symptoms vary depending on the type of mesothelioma you have.
Additional symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Pain in the chest
- Difficulty swallowing
Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Bowel obstruction
- Blood-clotting abnormalities
Finally, symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma may include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Persistent cough
Since the symptoms caused by mesothelioma are similar to many other less serious health problems, it is important to see a doctor for a correct diagnosis.
What Are My Legal Options After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis?
Most of the effects of toxic asbestos exposure are permanent and irreversible. As a result, mesothelioma victims may file an asbestos lawsuit against the companies or parties responsible for their exposure. However, since it may be years before you develop symptoms of mesothelioma, you may not know where your asbestos exposure occurred. Sometimes, victims may not even be aware they were exposed to this toxic substance at all. Other times, the company responsible may be long out of business or bankrupt.
Therefore, if you believe you have a basis for an asbestos lawsuit, you should contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. An attorney can investigate your case and work history to determine who is to blame. If the company no longer exists, you may be able to make a claim against a bankruptcy trust for asbestos exposure victims.
If you and your attorneys have sufficient evidence of your history of asbestos exposure, you may be able to recover for both the economic and non-economic consequences of that exposure, including:
- The cost of past and future medical care
- The cost of necessary rehabilitation
- Lost past and future wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Past and future pain and suffering
Another type of damages that plaintiffs may be able to recover through asbestos litigation are “punitive” damages. Punitive damages are intended not to compensate the victim for his or her losses, but to punish the defendant for its negligence. The amount of punitive damages you may recover usually depends on the wealth of the defendant and the magnitude of its wrongful conduct. Some states require that a portion of punitive damages awards go to the state.
Questions About Your Asbestos Lawsuit? Contact Our New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you are concerned about potential exposure to asbestos, or if you or a loved one suffers from asbestosis, mesothelioma, or another medical condition associated with asbestos exposure, you should take action to protect your legal rights. The mesothelioma lawyers at Keefe Law Firm will take on the role of advocate and legal counselor for any asbestos exposure victims and/or their families.
Our New Jersey law firm offers free, confidential consultations as well as contingency fee agreements. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the needs of our clients. We have offices throughout New Jersey, including in Red Bank, New Brunswick, Newark, and Point Pleasant and we accept cases nationwide. Contact us online or call one of our offices to discuss your asbestos exposure case with an experienced attorney today.