Thursday, April 7, 2011
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What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma, more precisely malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body's internal organs, the mesothelium. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.
Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).
Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos and glass particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways. It has also been suggested that washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos or glass can put a person at risk for developing mesothelioma.Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking, but smoking greatly increases the risk of other asbestos-induced cancers.Those who have been exposed to asbestos often utilize attorneys to collect damages for asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma. Compensation via asbestos funds or lawsuits is an important issue in mesothelioma (see asbestos and the law).
The symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan, and is confirmed with a biopsy (tissue sample) and microscopic examination. A thoracoscopy (inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to take biopsies. It allows the introduction of substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (called pleurodesis), which prevents more fluid from accumulating and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease carries a poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for the early detection of mesothelioma is ongoing.
Mesothelioma claims :
The first lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers was brought in 1929. The parties settled that lawsuit, and as part of the agreement, the attorneys agreed not to pursue further cases. In 1960, an article published by Wagner et al. was seminal in establishing mesothelioma as a disease arising from exposure to asbestos. The article referred to over 30 case studies of people who had suffered from mesothelioma in South Africa. Some exposures were transient and some were mine workers. Prior to the use of advanced microscopy techniques, malignant mesothelioma was often diagnosed as a variant form of lung cancer. In 1962 McNulty reported the first diagnosed case of malignant mesothelioma in an Australian asbestos worker. The worker had worked in the mill at the asbestos mine in Wittenoom from 1948 to 1950.
In the town of Wittenoom, asbestos-containing mine waste was used to cover schoolyards and playgrounds. In 1965 an article in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine established that people who lived in the neighbourhoods of asbestos factories and mines, but did not work in them, had contracted mesothelioma.
Despite proof that the dust associated with asbestos mining and milling causes asbestos-related disease, mining began at Wittenoom in 1943 and continued until 1966. In 1974 the first public warnings of the dangers of blue asbestos were published in a cover story called "Is this Killer in Your Home?" in Australia's Bulletin magazine. In 1978 the Western Australian Government decided to phase out the town of Wittenoom, following the publication of a Health Dept. booklet, "The Health Hazard at Wittenoom", containing the results of air sampling and an appraisal of worldwide medical information.
By 1979 the first writs for negligence related to Wittenoom were issued against CSR and its subsidiary ABA, and the Asbestos Diseases Society was formed to represent the Wittenoom victims.
In Leeds, England the Armley asbestos disaster involved several court cases against Turner & Newall where local residents who contracted mesothelioma claimed compensation because of the asbestos pollution from the company's factory. One notable case was that of June Hancock, who contracted the disease in 1993 and died in 1997
The filing of a mesothelioma claim is usually an attempt to recover damages that are associated with contracting the cancer. In most cases, the person filing the claim is seeking monetary compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, and any pain or suffering that may have occurred after being diagnosed.
There are two primary types of mesothelioma claims that can be filed in asbestos injury cases. The first is a personal injury claim, which is filed by the patient diagnosed with mesothelioma. The second is a wrongful death claim, which is filed once a family member has passed away. Specific rights involving these claims largely vary depending on the county and state where the case is filed.
Options for Filing Mesothelioma Claims
Many companies who have manufactured asbestos-containing products have since declared bankruptcy for various reasons. However, this does not mean the companies have run out of money, but rather they have reorganized in order to become more stable. In some cases, mesothelioma compensation funds, also called trust funds, arise from these bankruptcies and are formed to provide compensation for mesothelioma victims. Seeking the advice of a mesothelioma lawyer may be beneficial in receiving compensation from a trust fund.
Another option for mesothelioma victims is litigation. Filing a claim against the company, or companies, responsible for your asbestos exposure may result in compensation.
The following include some of the reasons why a mesothelioma claim may be pursued:
Pain or suffering
Failure to warn
Loss of consortium
A mesothelioma lawyer can review additional expenses and causes that could be covered under each claim. It is important to save all medical and financial records relating to your illness for this reason. A mesothelioma lawyer will be aware of the legal options available and can guide you through the process of filing a mesothelioma claim.
Resources available at Asbestos.com can only offer basic assistance in understanding the generalities of the mesothelioma litigation process. If you seek legal information, it is always a good idea to speak with a qualified lawyer of your choosing to ensure that you get accurate information regarding any potential claim that you might have.
Types of Mesothelioma Settlements:
In 1929, the first asbestos-related lawsuit was filed in the United States. Since that time, more than 700,000 lawsuits have been filed against over 6,000 companies. This comes to no surprise with an average of 10,000 people dying annually from asbestos-induced diseases. Health problems from asbestos exposure do not surface for years after initial exposure, typically 20 or more years. Because of this factor, cases of mesothelioma are expected to peak around 2020.
There is hope for relief for the thousands of people who have been affected by asbestos-related cancers. Those diagnosed with an illness caused by asbestos do have legal options to seek compensation, and there are a variety of ways to collect compensation from an asbestos claim. By consulting with an experienced mesothelioma attorney early in the claim process, you can increase the likelihood of a quick and fair settlement.
Settling a Claim In and Out of Court:
An out of court settlement is a common occurrence in an asbestos claim. To initiate an out of court settlement, you must first file a lawsuit. A defendant may agree to an out of court settlement in order to save the time and expense of a trial. The compounding evidence that proves the health hazards of asbestos exposure, coupled with the volume of asbestos claims that have already made their way through the court system, causes many companies reason an out of court settlement is in their best financial interests.
If a company is resistant to an out of court settlement, or the amount of the first settlement offer does not seem fair, it may be necessary to take the case to trial. Keep in mind, even if a case goes to trial it can still be settled out of court. It is quite common for an out of court settlement to be negotiated during the trial process.
Class Action Law Suits:
A class action suit is a large suit filed on behalf of a group or class of people. In some cases, the attorney in charge of the class action lawsuit will notify you of your involvement in the case. If you receive a notification regarding a class action lawsuit, you should read it carefully. Many of these suits are written to include everyone named in the suit. If you are named and do not wish to be included, you must notify the lawyer to have your name removed from the lawsuit.
In many cases, inclusion is a class action lawsuit may be advantageous. With a large group of claimants, an out of court settlement is likely. But there are some drawbacks to a class action lawsuit. By being included in such a large pool of plaintiffs, you will have no control over the direction of the case. The lawyer will not answer directly to you, but will work toward the resolution that is best for the largest number of claimants.
Another very important drawback of being involved in a class action suit is that it often disqualifies you from taking further action against the company. In other words, if you are involved in a class action suit and receive compensation, you are restricted from receiving additional compensation later, should additional health problems arise.
Filing a Claim with a Settlement Trust
If the company responsible for your asbestos exposure has declared bankruptcy, you will probably be required to file a claim with the company's established settlement trust to receive compensation. When you file a claim with the trustee of a settlement fund, they will determine the value of your claim and then pay a small percentage of that amount. While the amount that is paid varies, it normally ranges from five to 15 percent of the actual amount of your claim. With a settlement claim there are no visits to court or medical experts necessary. An experienced asbestos or mesothelioma attorney will fill out the claim form and submit it to the settlement trust. The claim will then be reviewed by the trustee of the account. For more information on this process, please read Bankruptcy.
This post was written by: K.kaviraj
K.Kaviraj is a professional Blogger, Web Designer Web Developer and Entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter