MICHIGAN ASBESTOS AND MESOTHELIOMA LAWYERS
Asbestos is a term for several commonly found fibrous magnesium silicate minerals. Due to their durable and versatile nature, asbestos materials were widely used 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. The most known of these conditions is Mesothelioma.
While we know that no amount of money will ever make up for your illness, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be compensated. A successful outcome in your claim means 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 from falling victim to diseases linked to asbestos exposure.
OUR EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS WILL FIGHT TO WIN YOUR MESOTHELIOMA OR ASBESTOS-RELATED ILLNESS CLAIMS
Due to the complexity of these cases which include medical examinations, investigations into employers and the environments of exposure, we recommend speaking with one of our experienced asbestos lawyers to make sure you receive all the compensation you deserve.
Fill out the quick form on this page or call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
We're here to answer any of your asbestos or mesothelioma legal questions, and please feel free to explore the contents below as a resource for FAQs related to your claim. We've also included several useful segments of information related to where you might have been exposed and the health impacts you may be experiencing as a result. Continue reading to learn more.
MESOTHELIOMA LAWYERS AND EMPLOYER-RELATED LAWSUITS
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 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 an asbestos lawyer and filing for relief is intended to compensate you and your loved ones for your injuries.
Different Types of Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits Include:
Primary Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits
These personal injury lawsuits apply when the person who has fallen ill from direct exposure to asbestos files a claim.
Secondary Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits
Secondary exposure lawsuits are pursued if you have developed mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related illness, but you were not directly exposed to the primary source location of the asbestos. As mentioned above, exposure might have been from someone you know mistakenly carrying asbestos fibers home from their work environment.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Surviving family members are still able to file a lawsuit against all liable parties responsible for asbestos-illnesses such as mesothelioma that resulted in wrongful death.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ASBESTOS AND MESOTHELIOMA LAWYERS AND CASES
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A MESOTHELIOMA LAWYER?
Asbestos and Mesothelioma 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.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO MAKE A MESOTHELIOMA OR ASBESTOS-RELATED CLAIM?
The statute of limitations, or time limit for making a legal claim, depends on the state in which you live. Your opportunity to make a claim begins to count down once a doctor diagnoses you with the illness.
For that reason, we recommend contacting our team of attorneys immediately.
Fill out the quick form on this page or call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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 time frame 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 mesothelioma attorney may be able to expedite your case if you are at an advanced stage of cancer.
A FAMILY MEMBER DIED FROM MESOTHELIOMA AS A RESULT OF 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 possible to make sure your legal rights are protected.
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 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.
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 surviving family members.
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 or asbestos-related disease claims such as mesothelioma cases. 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.
CAN I GET DISABILITY OR WORKERS COMPENSATION FOR A MESOTHELIOMA 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 HAPPENS ONCE I FILE A MESOTHELIOMA CLAIM?
Although we will tailor our handling of each mesothelioma lawsuit to meet your individual circumstances and needs, you can generally expect the following:
Each defendant in your lawsuit will receive a copy of your complaint and have the chance to respond. Because many years have likely 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 will most likely 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.
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.
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. Your asbestos lawyer 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, you can still go to trial against any company that does not make an appropriate offer.
Approximately three months after initial contact with your lawyer, you will be deposed by one of your attorneys and 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 and five days.
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.
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 MESOTHELIOMA 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 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.
Information about Asbestos and Mesothelioma
THE SCARY TRUTH ABOUT ASBESTOS
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.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ASBESTOS AND MESOTHELIOMA
Despite warnings to the public, asbestos continued to be used in several different industries. In fact, the use of asbestos remained on the rise from around 1930 to 1970. During this time, it became undeniable that exposure to asbestos was linked to the development of mesothelioma, a form of cancer.
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose, as this type of cancer has non-specific symptoms coupled with a long latency period. It is not unusual for someone with mesothelioma to be misdiagnosed when they first seek treatment. Due to the difficulty in diagnosing this disease, along with other factors, the prognosis for someone diagnosed with mesothelioma is grim. The five-year-survival rate for this form of cancer is only 9 percent. On average, a mesothelioma patient has a one-year life expectancy.
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.
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. Approximately 3,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with mesothelioma annually. On average, about 2,500 mesothelioma-related deaths occur in the U.S. each year.
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 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.
SIGNS OF MESOTHELIOMA
Early diagnosis and swift medical intervention are extremely important when it comes to fighting this disease. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer, and it can be located in different areas of the body, including the lung lining (pleural) and the abdominal lining (peritoneal). Below are some of the signs and symptoms of pleural mesothelioma that you should watch out for if you are concerned about asbestos exposure:
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of the arms and face
- Pain in the lower back or side of the chest
- Excessive sweating
- Additional symptoms to be aware of that may indicate the presence of peritoneal mesothelioma include: vomiting and nausea, constipation, abdominal swelling or fluid, and abdominal pain
If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos-related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, call us today. Our team of experienced Michigan asbestos lawyers will fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.
Sometimes, this term is used incorrectly to refer to all ailments resulting from asbestos exposure. However, it is actually a 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 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.
Are certain individuals more likely to develop asbestos-related illness?
Yes. There is an increased risk of developing asbestos-related illness, like asbestos mesothelioma, if a person worked in an industry requiring constant, prolonged exposure. These individuals include many factory and construction workers, as well as shipbuilders, 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 manifests many years later. Yet, some who worked around asbestos never develop an illness. Scientists believe that certain individuals are genetically more able to withstand exposure, but 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.
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 mesothelioma or lung cancer diagnosis, you should consult a doctor and contact us as soon as possible.
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
- Roofing materials
- 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. If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos-related cancer or mesothelioma cancer, contact us as soon as possible.
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
- concrete workers
- steel erectors
- pipe fitters
- oil field workers
- steel workers
- drywall finishers
- iron workers
- floor coverers
- 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
- steel mills
- manufacturing plants
- commercial construction sites
- residential construction sites
- smelters, paper mills
- oil fields
- navy shipyards
- 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.
Does working with asbestos really mean I have a higher risk?
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.
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