Workers in various U.S. industries worked for decades with asbestos products. These same workers (30, 40, and 50 years later) are now being diagnosed with Mesothelioma, also known as Asbestosis.
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos which is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate material. These fibers are ingested and then settle into the membranes that cover the lungs and other organs. There are approximately 2,500 deaths attributed to Mesothelioma in the United States each year and more than 100,000 worldwide.
How is Mesothelioma Different From Lung Cancer?
Mesothelioma is different from lung cancer in that it is a disease of the tissue surrounding the lungs rather than a cancer of the lungs themselves. As such, the symptoms of Mesothelioma are different that the symptoms of lung cancer and can often be indicative of other illnesses, which makes Mesothelioma much harder to diagnose. These symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Bowel irritation
- Lumps in the chest
- Weight gain
- Night sweats
How Do I know If I Have Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma can often take as long as 50 years to become evident. The only way to know if you have Mesothelioma is to talk to your doctor and tell him about your exposure to asbestos so that he or she can monitor your symptoms and order the necessary tests. A proper diagnosis is crucial to building a strong case for compensation. So, seek medical attention immediately if you develop symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation For Mesothelioma?
Whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation will largely depend on the specific facts of your case. But, generally speaking, if you were exposed to asbestos during the course of your employment and have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
If it can be shown that your condition is in fact related to your employment, workers’ compensation will pay for your medical bills and a percentage of your lost wages, regardless of fault. But because the limitations of workers’ compensation insurance, you will not be able to recover all of your economic losses. Nor will you be able to receive compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of developing Mesothelioma.
Third Party Mesothelioma Claims
Even if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you can also bring what is called a third-party lawsuit against anyone else (other than your employer or a co-worker) who may have played a part in your exposure to asbestos and as a consequence your developing Mesothelioma. This will allow you to recover the total amount of your lost wages and medical expenses, as well as, compensation for any permanent disability, loss of earning capacity, and your pain and suffering.
Third-party Mesothelioma lawsuits are typically initiated against the manufacturers or suppliers of the products that contained asbestos, and/or the contractor’s and owners of the premises where your exposure to asbestos took place. In other words, these lawsuits are against third-parties rather than your employer (the second party).
Under the law, the manufacturers who produced and distributed products made from asbestos and/or those who exposed you to it had a duty to warn you of any danger associated with its use. Their failure to warn you of the known hazards of asbestos exposure makes them liable to you for the injuries and illnesses you have developed as a result of being exposed to asbestos.
What to Do If You Have Been Diagnosed With Mesothelioma
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you must first follow your doctor’s orders. Then you must retain the services of a lawyer who specializes in Mesothelioma cases immediately. In New Jersey, you only have 2 years from diagnosis to file a claim. Wait too long and you will lose the opportunity to be fully compensated for your condition.