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Asbestos & Mesothelioma

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Free.Simple.Quick.Takes less than 60 sec.

2. About Your Case
3. Last Step
Thank You. Submit and get our No Fee Guarantee® and the Bernstein Advantage® today.
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Michigan Mesothelioma Lawyer & Asbestos Attorney

Asbestos is a term for several commonly found fibrous magnesium silicate minerals. Due to their durable and versatile nature, asbestos materials were used widely in construction and manufacturing for most of the 20th century. Even minimal exposure to these asbestos fibers can develop into serious – and even fatal – conditions.

In 1918, The United States Department of Labor issued a bulletin stating that there was an “urgent need for more qualified extensive investigation” into the severe harm caused by asbestos. Nevertheless, many industries kept using asbestos.

For decades, construction workers, vehicle mechanics, shipyard workers, electricians, and others employed in the building trades did not realize the danger, as they were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis. Even now, workers renovating or demolishing old buildings may encounter asbestos and its dangers. Today, it is widely understood that asbestos is an extremely harmful substance. Unfortunately, because asbestos fibers can become airborne and are invisible to the human eye, many people have been exposed to asbestos without their knowledge, and symptoms may not appear in someone who has been exposed for several decades.

The danger was not limited to those who directly handled the asbestos. If a worker had substantial exposure to asbestos, his or her co-workers or spouse were also vulnerable to asbestos-related illness.

If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos-related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, contact us to talk to our experienced Michigan asbestos lawyer.

Submit a simple, free consultation form now. We are ready to help.

Legal Resources

The following sections have more information on Asbestos & Mesothelioma:

  • What injuries are caused by asbestos?

    Three serious health conditions may result from exposure to even a small amount of airborne asbestos fibers, which become embedded in the lungs or other parts of the body.

    It can take years for the symptoms of any of these illnesses to appear. Some experts believe that no symptoms appear for more than a decade after exposure. In some cases, it can take even longer for the illness to become evident.

    If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, contact us as soon as possible.

    Submit a simple, free consultation form now. We are ready to help. Get the Bernstein Advantage® today.

    Mesothelioma

    The medical profession used to consider this type of cancer as quite rare. While still uncommon, the number of workers diagnosed with mesothelioma has risen. Now, about 3,000 new mesothelioma cases are reported in the United States every year. The incidence of this disease is increasing at an even higher rate in Europe.

    Mesothelioma is a form of cancer, usually caused by asbestos fibers that actually penetrate lung tissue. It also is possible for mesothelioma to develop after these fibers penetrate the heart or the abdomen. In very rare circumstances, it is possible to have a benign (non-cancerous) form of mesothelioma, which is known as cystic mesothelioma of the peritoneum. But in most instances, mesothelioma is a malignant disease.

    Pleural mesothelioma occurs in the chest cavity and involves the lungs. It is the more common form of mesothelioma cancer. Its symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and perhaps rapid weight loss or persistent fever. Because these early problems may indicate other illnesses, a doctor may have difficulty making the initial diagnosis. If you are experiencing these symptoms and believe you may have been exposed to asbestos, you should notify your health care provider immediately.

    Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the abdominal cavity. This form of mesothelioma progresses more rapidly and is more deadly. However, early diagnosis and an individual’s response to treatment are important factors in combating the disease. The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include nausea, vomiting, and swelling of the lower extremities. Individual symptoms vary and may not all be present. If you are experiencing these problems and were exposed to asbestos in the past, you should see your physician.

    Asbestosis

    Sometimes, this term is used incorrectly to refer to all ailments resulting from asbestos exposure. However, it actually is a very specific condition. Asbestosis (also known as interstitial fibrosis) develops when inhaled asbestos fibers cause scarring of the lung tissue. Over time, this scarring reduces the capacity of the lung. Individuals with asbestosis may suffer disabling lung impairments, and must be monitored closely because they are at increased risk of even more serious asbestos-related conditions.

    Lung Cancer

    Lung cancer is all too common in our society and has many possible causes. However, there is evidence of a link between asbestos exposure and lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer is even higher for an individual who not only was exposed to asbestos, but also smokes cigarettes.

    If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, contact us as soon as possible.

    Submit a simple, free consultation form now.

    We are ready to help. Get the Bernstein Advantage® today.

  • How much time do I have to make an asbestos claim?

    The Statute of Limitations, or time limit for making a legal claim, depends on the state in which you live. Your time to make a claim certainly starts to run, once a doctor diagnoses you with the illness. For that reason, contact us immediately.

    Submit a simple, free consultation form now.

    We are ready to help. Get the Bernstein Advantage® today.

  • Why should I file a claim?

    Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are the result of employers who negligently allowed their employees to work in conditions where they would be exposed to these harmful substances. Asbestos manufacturers and employers who expose their workers to asbestos are responsible for the consequences of using this dangerous product. Even individuals unknowingly exposed by loved ones who carried fibers home on their bodies and clothing after working in an environment containing asbestos count among the victims of their actions. Consulting with a lawyer and filing for relief is intended to compensate you and your loved ones for your injuries.

    While we know that no amount of money will ever make up for your illness, that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to be compensated. A successful outcome in your mesothelioma claim means that you will have the ability to pay for costly medical bills and treatments. It can also provide peace of mind and financial security for you and your family for years to come.

    Filing a claim against those who are responsible for your exposure to such a deadly chemical is a powerful way to make your voice heard. Just filing the claim is a firm statement to the other party that allowing you to become exposed was wrong. You could also influence your employer’s future behavior, potentially helping to prevent countless more workers falling victim to diseases linked to asbestos exposure.

  • How long will my claim last before I get relief?

    In many jurisdictions, mesothelioma claims are treated urgently and given high priority. This is particularly true if the claimant is alive. However, there is no set timeframe for asbestos cases. In some states, the entire case can be resolved within four to five months. In other areas, it can take longer. Even in cases where it takes longer, some settlements are reached early. Your attorney may be able to expedite your case if you are at an advanced stage of cancer.

  • A family member died from asbestos exposure. Can I file a claim for them?

    Most states allow a spouse and other family members of a person who has passed away from mesothelioma to bring what is called a wrongful death case. However, there is a limit to the amount of time you have to file a suit, and in some states a probate court must first officially name the personal representative of the estate of the deceased person. It is important to take action as soon as you can, to make sure your legal rights are protected.

  • What happens once I file a claim?

    Although we will tailor our handling of each mesothelioma lawsuit to meet your individual circumstances and needs, you can generally expect the following:

    Responses

    Each defendant in your lawsuit will receive a copy of your complaint and have the chance to respond. Because many years likely have passed since you were exposed to asbestos, the responsible company could now be a different company or could be bankrupt. It may take some time to locate and provide the appropriate people with your complaint. Your attorney will oversee this process.

    Once served with a copy of your complaint, each defendant will have a certain amount of time to respond, usually 30 days. Understand that defendants rarely admit fault. They most likely will deny your claims and defend themselves. They may argue that your complaint is not valid or that someone or something else is responsible for your asbestos exposure. They may even claim that your condition is not related to asbestos exposure. Don’t worry. This is normal. Your attorney will reply to each defendant’s responses.

    Discovery Phase

    Once your mesothelioma lawsuit is filed, we enter the discovery phase. This is when lawyers on both sides gather relevant information about your allegations. Both sides will ask the other to answer written questions, produce documents and participate in depositions. We can direct written questions to each of the asbestos companies about your specific case. Documentation may include your medical, employment, and military records.

    Your attorney will prepare your responses to any written questions and document requests. Your lawyer will also go over likely deposition questions with you in advance and be present to assist you during the deposition. In addition to helping you respond to discovery requests, your lawyer will also make similar demands to the defendant for information supporting your claim that the defendant negligently exposed you to asbestos.

    The purpose of the discovery phase is (1) to prepare for a jury trial and (2) to gather information for settlement discussions between the lawyers for the asbestos companies and our office on your behalf. Some of the information gathered will become the evidence used at trial. Discovery may take several months, but if you are very ill, your attorney can ask the court to speed the process along before your condition worsens.

    Settlement or Trial?

    Before a trial starts, a defendant may offer to resolve the case by offering you money. If you decline the settlement offer, it’s possible the defendant will make another offer during trial. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf.

    In a mesothelioma case, settlements with some asbestos companies are made very quickly. Depending on the outcome of certain past cases, some asbestos companies will offer reasonable settlements very quickly. Other settlement offers are made once the discovery phase is nearing completion.

    Asbestos defendants will sometimes settle before starting trial. We will notify you every time a company makes a settlement offer, and either recommend that you accept or reject these offers, and explain why. The final decision to accept or reject the offer is up to you. Even if you accept reasonable settlement offers from most of the asbestos companies, we can still go to trial against any company that does not make an appropriate offer.

    Depositions

    Approximately three months after initial contact with your lawyer, you will be deposed by one of your attorneys and by the attorneys for the asbestos manufacturers. You will be videotaped offering testimony under oath, but out of court, either in or near your home. One of your attorneys will travel to your home prior to your deposition to help you prepare. The actual length of the deposition can vary, depending on the complexity of your case, but usually lasts between one to five days.

    The Trial

    If one or more defendants refuse to offer a fair settlement, you may choose to go to trial. Many companies will settle during the beginning of trial. Few cases go all the way to obtaining a jury verdict; the rest settle with all of the companies before or during trial. A jury trial usually lasts from three to six weeks. We have been successful in getting large jury verdicts for many of our clients whose asbestos lawsuits did go to trial.

    The trial process varies depending on where you file a claim. In many cases, it is not necessary for you to appear in court. If you win and the defendant does not appeal, you will usually start receiving payments a few months after the trial.

    Appeals

    If you win the trial, the defendant may file an appeal. The defendant will have a limited amount of time to file an appeal, usually between 30 and 180 days. This will delay any monetary award, but the defendant will need to post “bond” for the amount awarded while the appeal proceeds. If the defendant loses its appeal, you will start receiving payments. If the appeal is successful, the defendant may only need to pay a smaller amount or nothing at all.

    An appeals court generally accepts the facts of the case as the trial judge and jury interpreted them, including how credible the jury thought certain witnesses were. Usually the only thing an appeals court decides is whether the trial court correctly applied the law in the case. If a mistake was made that affected the result of the trial, the appeals court may order a new trial. In other cases, the appeals court will just correct the mistake without a new trial, such as when the amount of the award was calculated incorrectly. If your case is appealed, your attorney will be available to explain the process to you.

  • Will my asbestos case be settled or go to trial?

    Many claims never go to trial because the companies settle before trial. Of course, each case is unique and there is always the chance that your case may go to trial. Sometimes the parties reach a settlement after the trial starts. Your mesothelioma attorney will advise you throughout the case process.

    If the claim goes to trial, you will not have to travel. Your mesothelioma lawyer will come to you to perform an interview, record your deposition, and will go to court on your behalf.

  • What will be my costs for filing an Asbestos claim?

    Asbestos lawyers generally work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only receive compensation if and when you do. You do not pay out-of-pocket expenses during the litigation. If you win or receive a settlement, the attorney receives a percentage of your compensation. The contingency fee is determined when you hire your attorney.

  • Can I get disability or worker’s compensation for my asbestos-related diagnosis?

    If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you can apply for expedited Social Security Disability benefits.

    You may also be eligible for workers compensation benefits. Each state’s laws vary and your state workers compensation board can provide more information. A mesothelioma attorney can also help you consider your options.

  • What is expected of me if I pursue a claim?

    We know that your health needs come first, and we try to make the legal process as easy as possible for you. We will travel to your home to meet with you, rather than having you travel to our offices. We will work around your doctors’ appointments and treatment schedule. Much of the paperwork can be handled by mail or email.

    If a case is filed, in order to evaluate your claim, the companies that you sue will want to develop information about you before they offer money to settle or choose to respond to the lawsuit. Your lawyers will help you provide the necessary information to those companies.

    You might also be asked to give a deposition to preserve your testimony in case you are unable to testify. Your lawyers will assist you in preparing for the deposition and will be at the deposition to defend you. They will come to you and represent you through the entire litigation process. Your deposition can take place in your home or at another location convenient for you.

  • What happens if I pass away before my case is resolved?

    If you are in poor health, you can petition the court for an expedited case process. If an asbestos-related disease takes your life during the case, the case comes to a halt, and your family members will have an option to resubmit the claim as a wrongful death suit. Your estate will act in your place and divide any award among your survivors.

  • Are certain individuals more likely to develop illness?

    Yes. There is an increased risk of developing asbestos-related illness if a person worked in an industry requiring constant, prolonged exposure. These individuals include many factory and construction workers, as well as ship builders, miners, automotive brake mechanics, and anyone else who worked with insulation materials.

    There is no level of harmless exposure to asbestos. Even small doses can cause illness that manifest many years later. Yet, some who worked around asbestos never develop illness. While some scientists believe that certain individuals are genetically more able to withstand exposure, no one has been able to identify an asbestos-resistant gene.

    If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, contact us as soon as possible.

    Submit a simple, free consultation form now.

    We are ready to help. Get the Bernstein Advantage® today.

  • Can other types of cancer be caused by asbestos?

    Just as asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer, there are also studies that link asbestos exposure to increased risk of other cancers, including cancer of the colon, kidney, larynx, pancreas, and esophagus. If you believe asbestos played a role in your illness, you should consult a doctor and contact us as soon as possible.

    Submit a simple, free consultation form now.

    We are ready to help. Get the Bernstein Advantage® today.

  • I don’t know how or where my asbestos exposure happened. Can I still file a claim?

    Yes. If you are not sure who is responsible for your asbestos exposure, you can still file a claim. Your mesothelioma lawyer will investigate where you were exposed to asbestos and which companies are responsible for your illness. If more than one company is at fault, each is usually assigned a percentage of the damages. Your attorney will gather all of the information needed to file your claim.

  • Where is asbestos located?

    Michigan industries kept making and selling products with asbestos until it was banned during the latter part of the 20th century.

    Asbestos was used widely in:

    • Heavy industry,
    • Insulation in hair dryers,
    • Electrical wiring,
    • Cement,
    • Paper,
    • Roofing materials,
    • Floorboards,
    • Hundreds of other common items.

    Despite the legal ban on new uses, many Americans are endangered by exposure to existing asbestos sources every year through contact with older items. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that over 700,000 public buildings in this country still contain asbestos. This number includes approximately one in ten existing school buildings.

    If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, contact us as soon as possible.

    Submit a simple, free consultation form now.

    We are ready to help. Get the Bernstein Advantage® today.

  • Where does asbestos exposure commonly happen?

    Asbestos products release fibers into the air – the dust is so fine that, in most cases, it can only be seen through a microscope. Many workers breathe in asbestos dust for years without knowing it and without being aware of the effect it is having on their body. Because of the airborne nature of asbestos dust, workers do not have to be in direct contact with asbestos materials to become exposed.

    Trades Working with Asbestos

    The trades likely to have a high number of asbestos disease cases include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Asbestos workers,
    • insulation workers,
    • automobile mechanics,
    • shipyard workers,
    • sailors on seagoing vessels and in dry dock,
    • maintenance employees,
    • chemical and petroleum workers,
    • locomotive repairmen,
    • stationary engineers,
    • stationary firemen,
    • power station operators,
    • electric and gas utility workers,
    • fabricated plate workers,
    • paper mill workers,
    • construction contractors,
    • plumbers,
    • concrete workers,
    • steel erectors,
    • carpenters,
    • electricians,
    • pipe fitters,
    • welders,
    • oil field workers,
    • boilermakers,
    • steel workers,
    • drywall finishers,
    • painters,
    • plasterers,
    • iron workers,
    • floor coverers,
    • masons, and
    • pot tenders.

    Common Job Sites of Asbestos Exposure

    Asbestos exposure is particularly heavy at certain job sites. Here is a partial list of common sites where exposure occurs:

    • Chemical plants,
    • power plants,
    • refineries,
    • steel mills,
    • shipyards,
    • manufacturing plants,
    • commercial construction sites,
    • residential construction sites,
    • smelters, paper mills,
    • oil fields,
    • navy shipyards, and
    • the military.

    Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

    Many people are surprised to find that their mesothelioma was the cause of second-hand exposure. Workers who handle asbestos products often carry deadly fibers on their hair, shoes and clothes into their household. There have been cases of women and children who interact with an exposed worker after he returns from work and become exposed themselves; these could later cause mesothelioma or asbestos cancer.

  • If my former workplace declared bankruptcy, can I still file a claim?

    Many law firms are fighting to challenge bankruptcies that corporations try to use as a shield against financial exposure to asbestos claims. An experienced team of researchers can find out to whom the business you worked for was sold or merged. The company debts and liabilities are routinely transferred in a transaction. Also, an attorney can trace the manufacturer and installer of the asbestos at your work site.

    Many currently bankrupt companies that produced asbestos products were required to establish a fund to compensate asbestos exposure victims. The amount of compensation you might receive through a bankruptcy trust fund is usually less than what you might have recovered had the company not filed for bankruptcy, yet it might be your only option for compensation. Your lawyers will evaluate your case and file for compensation through bankruptcy trust funds if you are eligible.

    If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, contact us as soon as possible.

    Submit a simple, free consultation form now. We are ready to help.

  • Does working with asbestos really mean I have a higher risk?

    Absolutely Yes. Unfortunately, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that asbestos workers were 344 times more likely to die from mesothelioma than the average population. Other studies also show a clear connection between asbestos exposure and serious illness.

    If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, contact us as soon as possible.

    Submit a simple, free consultation form now.

    We are ready to help. Get the Bernstein Advantage® today.