An aggressive and painful cancer, mesothelioma is usually caused by exposure to asbestos fibers; asbestos was used in insulation, motors, flooring, and many other materials for decades. Many of the cases of both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma (lung lining and abdomen lining, respectively) were preventable, and most happened as a result of employment. Carpenters, Navy veterans, miners, factory workers, and construction workers are among the high-risk occupational categories. Anyone with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases caused by their job has real grounds for a lawsuit against the manufacturer who created the asbestos-laden product.
Millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos at their jobs, and, as the cancer it causes takes from twenty to fifty years to manifest, new cases are being diagnosed every year. The first asbestos related lawsuit went to trial in 1966, and thousands have followed. Juries have mainly sided with the plaintiffs, finding that companies negligent to the dangers of asbestos acted “with malice” when they hid the truth about the material. Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma pursue litigation to compensate themselves and their families for the medical bills, pain, suffering, and loss of quality of life.
Frequently there is a time limit to start any legal action; this makes it important to talk with a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible, if you or your family is considering suing for compensation. Usually a mesothelioma lawsuit will sue to recover lost wages, medical expenses (and related travel expenses), support for the patient and his or her family, mental and physical distress, and funeral expenses. Many mesothelioma and asbestosis lawsuits are expedited, because these diseases kill their patients within a year. U.S. veterans can receive support and legal assistance from the Veterans Administration (typically, legal claims are filed through this office).
Statistically, most defendants in asbestos related cases choose to settle out of court. If the case progresses to a jury trial, without a settlement offer made during the trial, the jury issues a verdict; if the defendant is found liable for criminal negligence, the jury awards compensation based on both compensatory and punitive damages. Asbestos litigation continues today; earlier in 2012, a jury awarded a former construction worker with mesothelioma $48 million. Because of the tidal wave of lawsuits, billions of dollars have been paid to plaintiffs since the 1960’s, and almost 100 companies have been driven into bankruptcy and reorganization. Another consequence of the lawsuits was the establishment of compensation trusts, dedicated just to settling asbestos related lawsuits. The first of these was set up in 1988, by Johns Manville. The largest asbestos fund is USG Corp.’s, at $4 billion. Filing a claim with a trust fund is a little different than filing a lawsuit; in both cases it’s a good idea to have an experienced attorney guiding you through. In 2010, the average trust settlement was 25 percent of the claim amount.
U.S. veterans, particularly Navy vets, are another very high risk group for asbestos exposure. Those who have become stricken with mesothelioma and other asbestos caused diseases are entitled to both disability compensation and health care benefits, from the Veterans’ Administration.
If you or someone you care for has suffered injury or illness as a result of negligence, you have options. Contact Mike Agruss Law, at 312-224-4695 for a free consultation. We are a Chicago injury law firm representing individuals and families who have suffered an injury or loss due to an accident. Mike Agruss Law, will handle your personal injury case quickly, will advise you every step of the way, and will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
Lastly, Mike Agruss Law, does not get paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. Therefore, you have nothing to risk when you hire us–just the opportunity to seek justice.