Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure. The health hazards of asbestos have been known since the 1920s. Yet many manufacturers continued to use it in a variety of industrial settings and in numerous consumer products.

At Becker Law Office, our knowledgeable injury attorneys have decades of experience standing up for families devastated by a loved one’s diagnosis. Unfortunately, this type of cancer is nearly always fatal. Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma have only a 30 percent chance of surviving five years or longer after their diagnosis.

Manufacturers of asbestos or asbestos-containing products, and companies that installed asbestos in plants and factories, may be legally compelled to compensate victims who develop this form of cancer through exposure to their asbestos products. However, it is up to you to exercise your legal rights and to take the steps to seek compensation.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer or a similar asbestos-related disease, seek the guidance of a trusted Kentucky mesothelioma lawyer. An experienced attorney at Becker Law Office can help you seek full compensation. Our goal is to help you recover the most monetary damages available to you. Schedule a free consultation with us today.

How Does Exposure Happen?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. Asbestos has strong but pliable fibers and is heat resistant, which made asbestos useful for many commercial and industrial purposes including insulation. Unfortunately, asbestos also breaks down into small fibers, and that makes it easy to inhale or swallow asbestos dust.

In 1964, a rare cancer called “mesothelioma” was conclusively linked to asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that in most cases is initially found in the lungs or abdomen, but can eventually spread to other vital organs and throughout the body.

Today, mesothelioma is considered a signal tumor because the link between this type of cancer and asbestos exposure is so strong. When a person develops mesothelioma, it is generally assumed that asbestos exposure is the reason that the cancer developed.

Occupations Associated with Asbestos Exposure

For a long time, the use of asbestos was widespread. Many workers encountered asbestos products or even raw asbestos in bulk at their workplaces or at other sites as a part of their job. Asbestos was used in numerous products, including:

  • Insulation
  • Fire retardants and barriers
  • Roofing shingles
  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Paper products
  • Cement products
  • Automotive friction products, including brakes, clutches and transmission parts
  • Heat-resistant fabrics and protective clothing
  • Boilers and furnaces
  • Packaging, gaskets and coatings

Mesothelioma typically takes decades to produce symptoms. Most people who suffer from mesothelioma can look back at their employment history and realize that they were directly exposed to asbestos fibers at a jobsite.

Furthermore, the types of tradesmen and workers most likely to have had workplace asbestos exposure include:

  • Aircraft Mechanics
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Boilermakers
  • Brake Mechanics
  • Bricklayers
  • Carpenters
  • Cement Finishers
  • Chemical Plant Workers
  • Crane Operators
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Foundry Workers
  • Inspectors
  • Insulators
  • Laborers
  • Lathers
  • Longshoremen
  • Machinists
  • Maintenance Workers
  • Masonry Workers
  • Merchant Marine Seamen
  • Millwrights
  • Navy Yard Workers (“Yardbirds”)
  • Painters
  • Paper Mill Workers
  • Pipe Coverers
  • Pipefitters
  • Plant Workers
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Powerhouse Workers
  • Railroad Workers
  • Roofers
  • Sailors
  • Sheetmetal Workers
  • Steamfitters
  • Tapers
  • Welders

Some people who develop mesothelioma did not work around asbestos. Instead, they were exposed when their loved one carried asbestos fibers home on their skin, hair or clothing. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has estimated that around 11 million people were exposed to asbestos from 1940 to 1978. The length and extent of exposure, as well as genetics and general health, will affect how many of these people will ultimately develop mesothelioma. The number of annual mesothelioma cases is still on the rise and is expected to peak around 2020.

What Are the Types of Mesothelioma?

When you develop malignant mesothelioma, the cancer cells develop in the thin layers of tissue known as the mesothelium that lines the chest cavity. Your or your loved one’s mesothelioma may have been described by doctors according to where the cancer originated, such as pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, or mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis.

Plural

Pleural mesothelioma affects the tissue that lines the lungs, known as the pleura membrane. It is the most common form of mesothelioma and usually occurs as a result of breathing microscopic asbestos fibers, which can scar the lungs. These asbestos fibers can cause inflammation and scar tissue to form in the lungs, and eventually lead to mesothelioma. The disease often causes a buildup of fluid between the lung and the chest wall, which can cause breathing difficulties and discomfort. Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain under the rib cage
  • Painful coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Weight loss

Peritoneal

Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the tissue of the abdominal cavity. It is less common than pleural mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma is thought to be caused by asbestos fibers that are swallowed. Asbestos fibers become lodged in the abdomen near the digestive organs. As these fibers disturb the lining of the abdominal cavity, they can cause scar tissue to build up and become inflamed, which may eventually become cancerous.Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Lumps of tissue in the abdomen
  • Weight loss

Pericardial

Pericardial mesothelioma affects tissue that surrounds the heart and is extremely rare. It is believed that most people diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma came into contact with asbestos fibers that somehow entered their bloodstreams. From there, the asbestos particles found their way to the victim’s heart and became lodged in the mesothelium, where further irritation created scar tissue that became cancerous. Symptoms include breathing difficulty and chest pain.

Mesothelioma of Tunica Vaginalis

Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis affects tissue surrounding the testicles, and may be first detected as swelling or a mass on a testicle

Prognosis and Treatment

When you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, doctors will classify your cancer based on how advanced the mesothelioma is and whether the cancer is localized or has spread.

On average, patients diagnosed with Stage I cancer can expect to live an average of 32 months after diagnosis. Those diagnosed with Stage II mesothelioma have an expected life span of 19 months, and those diagnosed with Stage III mesothelioma are expected to live around 13 months. When patients are diagnosed with Stage IV, the most advanced stage of cancer, the expected life span is just 6.5 months.

In many cases, mesothelioma is not diagnosed until the cancer has reached an advanced stage and the cancer cannot be removed from the body. After such a diagnosis, your doctors will provide palliative care to manage pain and make you more comfortable. Palliative procedures treat symptoms of the disease, such as reducing fluid around the lungs. Possible treatments that you may undergo when diagnosed include:

  • Surgical Remove—In rare cases, if the cancer is diagnosed early and all cancer cells can be removed from your body, you can be effectively cured. Surgical procedures can be performed to decrease the buildup of fluid in your chest to make breathing easier. Surgery may also be performed to remove as much cancer as possible to prolong your life, remove a lung to relieve symptoms, or remove diseased tissue around the abdomen or lungs to relieve symptoms (“debulking”).
  • Chemotherapy—Chemotherapy before or after surgery is an attempt to kill cancer cells and slow the growth of mesothelioma. Chemotherapy can be administered directly into the chest or abdominal cavity so the drugs reach mesothelioma cells more directly, which allows for higher doses of chemotherapy drugs while causing less injury to other healthy cells.
  • Radiation—Radiation involves using high-energy light beams to reduce the presence of mesothelioma by destroying localized cancer cells.

While there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are ongoing clinical trials throughout the United States. These trials attempt to improve the prognosis of mesothelioma patients. More than 50 percent of those diagnosed with mesothelioma can expect to be involved with a clinical trial. Furthermore, with the help of a seasoned Kentucky attorney, an individual diagnosed with mesothelioma could have help pursuing compensation.

Taking Legal Action After a Diagnosis

A mesothelioma diagnosis can leave you worried about how to cover your medical bills and to secure your family’s financial future. Many people with mesothelioma face surgery and expensive chemotherapy treatments.

The law allows mesothelioma patients and their families to take legal action against the manufacturers of the products that caused this aggressive cancer. Individuals diagnosed with the disease can file a mesothelioma personal injury claim. Family members of those who have died from the disease may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. These claims can allow victims to recover compensation for medical bills and costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and wrongful death damages, including loss of companionship.

Mesothelioma cases are complicated because there is a long latency period between the time of the asbestos exposure and the appearance of the cancer. It can take anywhere from 15 to 50 years after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma to be diagnosed.

Normally, it is difficult to bring a legal claim for something that happened many years ago. However, there are special rules that apply to mesothelioma cases. Claims in Kentucky and Indiana must be filed shortly after the diagnosis of mesothelioma. Family members who are bringing wrongful death lawsuits also must file a claim within a short window of time.

After you have filed your lawsuit, you will need to prove your claim and your right to compensation. The challenge in asbestos cases is to identify the company responsible for your exposure. You must prove a particular manufacturer or company is to blame for your medical problems. Many of the companies that installed or manufactured asbestos have gone bankrupt, merged with other companies, or have gone out of business long ago.

How an Attorney Might Help

At Becker Law Office, our asbestos injury attorneys have the experience you need, and our firm has the resources required to see your claim through to conclusion. Because of our experience with mesothelioma claims, we have the records of many of the companies in Kentucky and Indiana that used asbestos in industrial processes and exposed workers to cancer-causing asbestos fibers.

Many people are uncertain how they came in contact with asbestos because the exposure occurred decades ago. Our attorneys will go over your employment history and your loved ones’ work history carefully and identify where the asbestos exposure likely occurred. Some people were exposed in a workplace or during military service. Others were exposed by a family member who brought asbestos fibers home on their clothing.

Many companies with a history of exposing people to asbestos through products they or their predecessors manufactured or used have funded trusts to compensate mesothelioma victims. A mesothelioma victim may be eligible to apply for compensation from an asbestos trust. However, these payment programs are established with detailed legalistic policies and procedures by which they review and pay claims according to varying levels of asbestos exposure and injury.

Where a mesothelioma settlement or asbestos trust exists that you are eligible for, we can do the legwork required to establish your eligibility, document your injury (mesothelioma diagnosis and cancer staging) and meet other requirements of applying for compensation. We can make sure your claim is complete to ensure it is processed without problems that cause delays.

Where a settlement does not yet exist, we can gather the evidence required to file a claim and negotiate aggressively on your behalf with the company responsible for exposing you to asbestos. Our lawyers focus on negotiation and reaching out-of-court settlements. A settlement helps our clients receive compensation as soon as possible.

If your case ends up in trial, you’ll be represented by a trial lawyer from Becker Law Office. Their trial attorneys have been named among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Kentucky. They are prepared to go to the distance to prove your case to a jury and get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact an Experienced Kentucky Mesothelioma Attorney Today

Mesothelioma is a devastating diagnosis. The companies responsible for causing this type of cancer should be held accountable for their disregard for safety. You deserve a team of Kentucky mesothelioma lawyers who can handle each step of your case, allowing you to focus on your health and family.

The dedicated attorneys at Becker Law Office will pursue the full amount of money possible from the asbestos-using company that is responsible for your asbestos-related disease. To learn more about how we can help with your case, give us a call or contact us online today.

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9300 Shelbyville Rd
#215A

Louisville,  KY  40222
1344 S Broadway
Suite A

Lexington,  KY  40504
7310 Turfway Road
Suite 550A

Florence,  KY  41042
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