Mesothelioma is a cancer that is almost exclusively the result of asbestos fiber exposure. Mesothelioma may not develop until many years after the exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma litigation attempts to assist victims of mesothelioma gain financial compensation to deal with the high costs associated with treating this illness or the loss of a loved one due to mesothelioma.
Asbestos Use History
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been mined in the United States since the 1800s. However, after World War II, it began to be used extensively in many industries, as the economy and industry expanded. Asbestos was integrated into textiles, was used in construction insulation, in brakes, in ceiling tiles, in ship building materials and in many other items. Known for its heat and corrosion resistance, asbestos was used in over 5,000 products manufactured and used in the United States.
Risk Industries for Mesothelioma Litigation
Almost any industry involved in the manufacturing or construction industry used asbestos products. This includes ship building, automotive, construction and demolition, rail roads and more.
Recently, one field that has seen sudden spikes in the development of mesothelioma is firefighters due to the inhalation of asbestos fibers in burning buildings or in recovery efforts that occur after a building is destroyed. A prime example is the number of firefighters that have developed mesothelioma after working in recovery efforts at the World Trade Center after September 11, 2001.
It is not only direct workers that were and are exposed to asbestos fibers too. Family members or people in close proximity to those who are exposed to asbestos fibers are at risk because fibers permeate clothing, hair and skin and are transferred through close contact or the handling of clothing.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops either through the breathing or ingestion of asbestos fibers. Mesothelial cells are found in the pleura – the membrane lining of the chest cavity which contains the lungs – or the abdomen (the pertieneum) which is the membrane lining of the abdomen and holds the intestines and digestive tracts. Asbestos fibers become lodged between mesothelial cells and the cells become irritated and inflamed, resulting in the growth of cancerous cells and tumors. It may take years for symptoms of mesothelioma to surface, sometimes as many as 20 to 50 years.
Reasons for Mesothelioma Litigation
The primary reason for mesothelioma litigation is that many industries and employers continue to use asbestos materials, even though the risks of developing mesothelioma from exposure to these products has been known for many years now. Willful exposure of employees to these toxic products is a liable action and those injured as a result are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income and expenses all related to the injury that results from asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma is an illness that does not only affect the person exposed to asbestos fibers, but also may affect those who are in close contact with someone exposed to the fibers. The costs associated with this illness are substantial and may go on for a very long time. Mesothelioma litigation makes an effort to provide a means for recovery of these costs or to cover the expenses associated with the treatment of this illness. Also, families may find it necessary to file mesothelioma litigation if a loved one dies as a result of asbestos related illness.