What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that occurs in the mesothelium, the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs. It can be treated, but there is no cure. It usually affects the lungs or abdomen, but can also occur around the heart or the testicles.
The five-year survival rate for mesothelioma patients varies depending on the stage at which the disease is recognized, but rarely do people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma live more than two years. And unfortunately, most cases of mesothelioma are not diagnosed until they are more advanced.
Mesothelioma is most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos. The latency period from exposure to development of the cancer is typically several decades, which means the average mesothelioma patient does not realize there is a problem until many years later. And despite asbestos no longer being used in new construction projects, many people who have received recent mesothelioma diagnoses were exposed years ago when the substances were still heavily used in construction or are exposed today in older buildings.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma typically begins in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. Small nodules develop, but actual symptoms do not appear until these tumors have grown in size or spread, which typically occurs around stage 3 or 4. It’s nearly impossible to recognize symptoms in the early stages of the disease, increasing the odds it will spread and be less responsive to treatment by the time it’s diagnosed.
Once symptoms do arise, they include:
- Dry coughing, wheezing, and other respiratory complaints
- Shortness of breath
- Chest or abdomen pain
- Muscle weakness
- Fever or night sweats
- Fluid buildup in the lungs (pleural effusion)
In many cases, early mesothelioma diagnosis occurs by accident during a routine chest x-ray or blood test.
Many mesothelioma cases are settled out of court and never go to trial. Trust funds have been established for mesothelioma victims and contain more than $30 billion in assets that can help those diagnosed with the disease receive compensation for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In addition to workplace negligence, lawsuits related to consumer products containing asbestos have also grown in frequency.
There are two common types of mesothelioma lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death. If you received a mesothelioma diagnosis, you could be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit that would allow you to receive compensation for medical bills and other costs related to your disease. And if you’ve lost a loved one because of mesothelioma, you could file a lawsuit on his or her behalf.
The amount of money you receive from a mesothelioma lawsuit varies from case to case depending on your specific situation. Unfortunately, some of the companies responsible for employee asbestos exposure have gone out of business and the funds associated with lawsuits against these companies have been depleted. The degree to which the disease affected your life also factors into the amount of compensation you could receive. To date, many mesothelioma cases have resulted in settlements or awards of more than $1 million. Some have received as much as $5 million or more.
There is a statute of limitations with both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that is usually less than five years. The sooner you act the better. Waiting to file could result in the loss of your right to compensation. It’s important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after receiving a diagnosis or losing a loved one.
In many cases, patients are eligible for compensation from an asbestos trust fund. Trust funds have been created by companies that previously admitted liability for asbestos-related damages, and if your situation matches a fund’s criteria, it’s possible you could receive remuneration quickly.
Don’t wait to contact a mesothelioma expert. Patients or family members of those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma may be eligible for compensation for their injuries or loss through an Actemra lawsuit. Every case is unique and must be evaluated separately by a legal expert.