Getting a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. If the type of cancer is mesothelioma, it will often come as a shock to individuals when the doctor tells them that it came from exposure to asbestos many years ago.
Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive malignant tumor that develops over time in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. The primary cause of mesothelioma is ingestion of asbestos fibers, which become lodged inside these organs, causing inflammation and scarring as well as tumor growth. Mesothelioma can take years to develop, and so many people get the news of their condition when they are elderly.
Most mesothelioma cases occur in individuals who had exposure to asbestos in many types of jobs throughout the Northwest, working as:
- Shipyard, factory and construction workers
- Auto manufacturing workers
- Military personnel
Veterans who worked in all branches of the military from 1930 to 1980 comprise 30% of all mesothelioma cases.
What is involved with a claim?
When someone gets a diagnosis when they are older, they may wonder if it is really worthwhile to file a lawsuit. There are many reasons why it makes sense to do so:
- Insurance may not cover all treatments, so a settlement will lower the patient’s financial risk and provide for their loved ones after they are gone.
- Filing a lawsuit holds companies accountable, especially in cases where they were aware of the risks of exposing their workers to asbestos.
- A settlement will improve the patient’s quality of life, as they will have access to all available mesothelioma treatments.
Mesothelioma patients did nothing to cause their condition and so are entitled to compensation for the health condition that they are now experiencing. Holding responsible parties accountable can give individuals peace of mind and just compensation for what they are now going through.
What are the stages of a mesothelioma lawsuit?
There are several stages that a lawsuit will go through, so it is important to realize that the process may take some time before a settlement is reached:
- The case evaluation will gather information about the individual’s health, family and work history, as well as where they have lived to establish a record of events that led to asbestos exposure.
- The case filing begins the litigation, identifying the parties in the case and the nature of the complaint.
- Discovery reveals relevant facts that provide evidence to support each side’s claims.
- Once the judge sets a date for the trial, offers for a settlement from the defendants may settle the case if both sides agree to the terms.
- If the outcome of a trial is successful, the defendants may appeal, which may delay the final verdict and award for damages.
For residents of Washington State and throughout the Northeast who have been affected by a mesothelioma diagnosis, it makes sense to explore options for relief and financial restitution for all they have suffered.