Asbestos & Mesothelioma
Workers in Massachusetts have a reputation for their strong work ethic after completing years of diligent and conscientious labor during their lifetimes. Unfortunately, many of these hard-working people spent time in buildings, shipyards, and manufacturing plants were they were exposed to high levels of asbestos. Asbestos was often found in the workplace and in manufactured products, because it was inexpensive and could withstand high temperatures and corrosion. As such, it was commonly used to make insulation, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, paints, adhesives, plastics, water pipes, and other building materials. Sadly, many Massachusetts workers and their families have felt the devastating health effect of asbestos exposure, particularly mesothelioma.What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos. When products containing asbestos are disturbed, asbestos fibers are sent into the air, where they are easily inhaled into the lungs. The body cannot eradicate these fibers and eventually they cause inflammation and scarring. Over time, a person who has breathed in these fibers can develop mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the chest and abdominal cavities. Unfortunately, asbestos-related illness, particularly mesothelioma, is not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, a study conducted by the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine found that 86 percent of shipyard workers with 20 or more years of experience developed asbestos-related lung disease or lung cancer. Shipyards are not the only workplace with a historically high prevalence of asbestos. The most common industries for asbestos-related illness, in addition to shipbuilding, include mining, automobile manufacturing, textile manufacturing, construction and building, and drywall or asbestos removal. In all, millions of workers have been exposed to the dangerous material. Moreover, many of these workers carried asbestos fibers home on their clothing, hair, and skin, exposing their loved ones.
The dangers of asbestos have allegedly been known since the 1940s. Despite the known health-risks asbestos exposure carries, countless numbers of Massachusetts workers were unknowingly subjected to asbestos to maintain profitable business. This blatant disregard for workers' health may constitute grounds for legal action, where responsible parties can be found liable for their negligence or malfeasance.Bringing A Claim For Asbestos/Mesothelioma
Asbestos lawsuits have brought financial compensation for victims and their families who face high medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, they can be intricate and lengthy. Asbestos lawsuits fall under the category of "toxic tort" law, where an injured plaintiff can bring a claim against a responsible defendant, most often a company, for their damages. Asbestos litigation can be particularly challenging because it requires identifying the original manufacturer of the asbestos, the manufacturer's successor, or a party that marketed the asbestos that caused a later illness. Additionally, successful asbestos litigation requires the plaintiff to prove that his illness, often mesothelioma, was the direct result of asbestos exposure. Further, this exposure must be shown to be the result of negligence or malfeasance by the defendant. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to make the workplace safe and free of hazards, like asbestos, that were known or should have been known.
Identifying the responsible parties for asbestos exposure is often a uniquely difficult and complex endeavor. Since there is a long latency period before mesothelioma develops, usually between 10 to 40 years after exposure, those responsible for the exposure, such as asbestos manufacturing companies, have often ceased operation or changed their business name. Also, some of the responsible parties may have relocated or merged with another company. Often, responsible parties have filed for bankruptcy. If this is the case, a skilled legal professional is required to sort through bankruptcy trusts and supplemental government aid established for victims and their families.
Since there is a long passage of time between exposure and symptoms, successful preparation of an asbestos case requires a great deal of research into prior cases, past records, and old documents. Additionally, because symptoms can take decades to appear, it is difficult to find relevant witnesses, like former co-workers, who can competently testify to working conditions and environments in the distant past. Moreover, linking mesothelioma to a specific work location and timeframe may require a medical expert. In all, it takes skilled and knowledgeable legal professionals to piece together the necessary elements of a successful asbestos lawsuit.Diagnosis And Treatment
Finally, diagnosing and treating mesothelioma is expensive for patients and their families. Even if a victim has health insurance, covering medical costs and lost wages can be complicated and time consuming. Many older patients suffering from mesothelioma may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or worker' compensation. A mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating for victims and their families, both emotionally and financially, but it is comforting to know that there is often legal redress. The lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. will employ their full dedication, compassion, experience, and legal acumen to your case. After dedicating years of your life to hard work in the shipyards, manufacturing plants, and other workplaces in Massachusetts, you deserve to enjoy life without the ill-effects of asbestos exposure. You don't have to face the legal system alone. Contact Bellotti Law Group, P.C. today to discuss your case and options.