Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a durable and fibrous mineral that has a long history of use in the United States. Due to this connection, asbestos has been largely outlawed in the U.S. since 1989. Since then, businesses and employers have had an obligation to remove asbestos from their products and properties. Nevertheless, more than 3,000 Americans still develop mesothelioma each year, in part due to the fact that this cancer can take decades to develop. If you or a loved one received a mesothelioma diagnosis, then you may be entitled to compensation, even if the exposure occurred decades prior to the onset of illness. Damages from an asbestos lawsuit can help you afford the treatment you need and provide for your family’s future.
At Riddle & Brantley, we understand the devastating effects mesothelioma can have on individuals and their families. Speaking with a North Carolina mesothelioma attorney from our law firm can be the first step to securing compensation for you or your family. Our North Carolina asbestos attorneys have over 160 years combined legal experience that we can use to help obtain compensation for you and your family. Whether negotiating with insurance companies or aggressively representing your interests in court, we will fight for the outcome you deserve.
How Can Asbestos Exposure Occur?
Exposure can occur when asbestos particles are disturbed and released into the air. Workers or others may inhale these particles, which can become trapped in the lungs. Over several decades, these particles can cause irritation of the lung tissue, leading eventually to inflammation and mesothelioma. The three main ways asbestos exposure occurs are:
- Workplace exposure. Occupational asbestos exposure accounts for the majority of mesothelioma cases. Since many buildings constructed before the 1980s used materials that contained asbestos, construction workers may suffer exposure during renovation or demolition. According to a CDC report, workers in manufacturing, mining, maintenance, and shipbuilding are also at risk for asbestos exposure in the workplace, as are insulation workers, firefighters, and electricians. Asbestos may even affect office workers if their workplace is undergoing renovations.
- Residential exposure. Older homes and apartment complexes may contain asbestos insulation, tiles, and other materials. Repairs, maintenance or renovations may release fibers into the air. Homeowners can be exposed while conducting repairs or renovations on their homes. Residents in apartment complexes may be exposed to asbestos while maintenance or repairs are being performed on their buildings.
- Secondhand exposure. Workers can bring home asbestos fibers on their hair, skin, and clothing. This can put their families and friends at risk for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
Since asbestos was once widely used in construction and the production of consumer goods, exposure can also occur outside the workplace. For example, environmental disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes can spread asbestos fibers. Exposure may also occur during asbestos removal if the company in charge of the removal process fails to follow proper procedures.
What Are Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the mesothelium, a layer of tissue that surrounds the internal organs. The most common variation is pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include:
- Chest and back pain. People with mesothelioma may experience pain below the rib cage or lower back.
- A persistent and painful cough. Mesothelioma may cause a persistent, dry and painful cough. In some cases, coughing may produce blood.
- Difficulty breathing. Wheezing and shortness of breath are common symptoms of mesothelioma.
- Fever. Mesothelioma may cause a fever and night sweats. Excessive sweating during the day could also be a symptom.
- Fatigue and weight loss. People with mesothelioma may experience weight loss without exercise or dieting. Fatigue is another common symptom as the disease spreads.
While mesothelioma most commonly affects lung tissue, it can also occur in the heart and abdominal organs. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the abdomen, include abdominal pain and swelling. People with this condition may also experience fatigue, fever and unexplained weight loss. It is important to seek immediate medical attention after noticing these symptoms. Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the heart, is rare and causes symptoms like chest pain, fatigue and difficulty breathing.
Can I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit for Asbestos Exposure that Occurred Decades Ago?
Mesothelioma can develop anywhere from 10 to 50 years after exposure. However, you may still file a claim for damages even if the exposure occurred decades ago. In one asbestos lawsuit our law firm handled, a client was exposed at his workplace during the 1960s. Our attorneys were still able to reach a $725,000 settlement with the party responsible for his exposure.
In most cases, it is possible to trace asbestos exposure back to one or more negligent parties. Depending on the circumstances, liable parties can include landlords, employers, construction companies and other businesses. In some cases, our clients can file a claim for workers compensation as well, if the exposure to asbestos occurred at work. Due to the length of time, it takes mesothelioma to develop, there is often a paper trail stretching back years that can show which parties are responsible for the exposure. For example, our lawyers can use the discovery process during a lawsuit to uncover whether other residents of an apartment building have succumbed to asbestos-related illnesses over the last several decades. There are generally records going back many years that could show which parties are responsible.
Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? Contact A Mesothelioma Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one received a mesothelioma diagnosis, then contact a mesothelioma lawyer right away to understand your rights and legal options. Waiting too long may prevent you from obtaining the compensation you need for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages associated with this condition. If you are considering filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, then our attorneys can help you review possible legal options for compensation.
With office locations in Goldsboro, Raleigh, Kinston, and Jacksonville, our lawyers can help injury victims across North Carolina. If you or a loved one have mesothelioma and are in need of assistance, pick up the phone and give us a call at (800) 525-7111 or complete our online case evaluation form.