Frequently Asked Questions
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How can I be compensated if the company responsible for my mesothelioma went out of business?
A Virginia mesothelioma attorney from Shapiro & Appleton can assist you with filing a claim for damages even if the company that uses the asbestos is no longer in business or has filed for bankruptcy. Your attorney will investigate your case to determine how you were exposed to asbestos and identify the products or building materials that contain the harmful fibers that led to the development of your disease and them use all available resources to locate the responsible parties and include that party or parties in your lawsuit.
How can an attorney prove a victim’s mesothelioma was caused by asbestos fibers if asbestos is no longer used?
Although asbestos is no longer used in construction, there are still many workers who are exposed to asbestos working in older buildings with asbestos-containing materials. Workers who are exposed include construction workers, plumbers, pipefitters, insulators, minors, shipbuilders, Navy ship workers, power generation workers, railroad workers, textile workers, auto mechanics, and appliance repair workers.
What is mesothelioma cancer?
Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer that first appears in the thin layer of tissue which covers the internal organs. It is a very aggressive form of cancer for which there is no cure and is always fatal, killing thousands of people each year. There are four types of mesothelioma:
- Pericardial: Affects the tissue surrounding the heart. Symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing.
- Peritoneal: Develops in abdominal tissue. Symptoms include pain, weight loss, excessive swelling, and tissue lumps in the abdominal area
- Pleural: Affects tissue that surrounds the lungs. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, painful coughing, excessive weight loss, and tissue lumps on the chest.
- Tunica Vaginalis: Develops in the testicular tissue. Symptoms include a swollen area or mass on the testicle.
What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
- Pleural effusions: These are the buildup of extra fluid around the lungs and are found in 90 percent of victims. Pleural effusions are also present in conditions such as embolisms and heart failure, resulting in delayed diagnosis of the mesothelioma.
- Fever and excessive sweating: Fevers without a cold or any other conditions indicate a possible issue, as does excessive night sweats.
- Unexplained weight loss: This occurs in one-third of victims.
- Difficulty swallowing: This is one of the earliest symptoms of mesothelioma and may be accompanied by reflux, hoarseness, or something stuck in the back the victim’s throat.
- Fatigue: This is also one of the early signs of mesothelioma.
What occupations are at risk of developing mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases typically develop in victims who had or have direct exposure working with materials made from asbestos or some other prolonged exposure to the material. Occupations where there is a high risk of this exposure and mesothelioma include:
- Construction and other trade workers
- HVAC workers
- Railroad workers
- Shipyard workers
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is found in the sacs that protect many of the body’s organs known as mesothelium. The condition is caused by exposure to asbestos. It can take decades before symptoms began to present. One of the first symptoms that many victims suffer from is pain in the abdominal and chest areas.
It is not uncommon for the condition to go undiagnosed because the symptoms are often mistaken for other diseases. Tragically, there is no cure for mesothelioma and the diagnosis is a fatal one, with no more than 40 percent of victims surviving beyond the first year of diagnosis.
What jobs are most often associated with asbestos exposure and mesothelioma?Over the years, workers from many industries and jobs were unfairly exposed to asbestos without their knowledge. Common occupations where asbestos exposure occurred were these industries: automobile, carpentry, boiler making, construction, machinists, railroad, shipbuilding, steelwork and oil refining.
How does asbestos exposure relate to filing a mesothelioma lawsuit?In the US legal system, manufacturers, suppliers and sellers are under a legal obligation to provide safe products and to warn people using such products of any possible dangers that may be associated with them. When the company does not do so, it may have legal liability for injuries that occur. If you ever have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to have regular check-ups to have your doctor monitor you for symptoms of various asbestos-related diseases.
Are there any OSHA standards that cover workers exposed to asbestos?Yes. OSHA has three standards designed to protect workers from asbestos exposure on the job. One is related to construction work; another covers exposure during shipbuilding; and the other applies to being exposed to asbestos in general industry, such as in auto repair shops, custodial work and manufacturing products that contain asbestos.
I do not remember where I was exposed to asbestos. Do I still have a case?Yes. Asbestos exposure may have occurred decades ago, and you can still file a lawsuit even if you are unsure where the exposure occurred. Your attorney will investigate all possible sources of exposure in your history and find the companies that are responsible. If more than one entity is at fault, each will usually be assigned a percentage of blame.