Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to tiny airborne asbestos fibers. Although asbestosis typically requires long-term exposure, mesothelioma has been known to occur even in family members of workers who brought home asbestos fibers on their clothing. Mesothelioma victims have a very poor prognosis; most are not expected to live more than one year following diagnosis. Because the latency period for this virulent form of cancer can exceed fifty years, many victims are only now beginning to feel the first symptoms of disease stemming from exposure experienced in the mid twentieth century.
Mesothelioma: Companies should be Held Accountable
The connection between asbestos exposure and serious illness was understood as early as the 1930s. By the 60s, conclusive evidence of a link between cancer and asbestos was well established. Despite this, most employers, builders, and asbestos product manufacturers took little or no steps to protect employees and the general public from the risks associated with exposure to even minute amounts of asbestos fibers.
In the landmark 1969 case Borel v Fibreboard, the U.S. Court of Appeals found that companies had a duty to warn their employees of the dangers associated with asbestos exposure, but had consciously chosen to remain silent. In a 1966 internal company memo, one Honeywell manager expressed these sentiments: “If you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products why not die from it.” By 2002, Honeywell alone faced approximately 50,000 asbestos injury cases, including nearly 1,000 mesothelioma claims.
Mesothelioma: Asbestos Link
Unlike other types of cancer, mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Although even minor exposures have been known to cause mesothelioma, the likelihood of developing it is closely linked to the overall extent of asbestos exposure. Most victims were exposed in the workplace, during the manufacture of asbestos containing products, the construction of buildings containing asbestos, or the use of machinery with asbestos laden parts.
Others were exposed through long term close proximity to asbestos fibers, as sailors on board vessels with asbestos insulation, as residents of buildings with crumbling asbestos products, or as family members of those exposed in the work place. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, think back through your long-term history for possible sources of exposure.
Mesothelioma: Don’t Wait to File a Claim
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos related illness, you have a limited time to file a claim for legal compensation. As the disease progresses, it may become more difficult to communicate with family members about potential sources of exposure. Statutes of limitations run from 1 to 6 years following diagnosis and from 1 to 3 years following death, depending upon the state in which the claim is filed.
Mesothelioma Victims: Obtain Representation Today
Don’t wait until it is too late to initiate your claim. If you are struggling with a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact an experienced asbestos litigation firm immediately to discuss your legal options. Bergman Draper Oslund has decades of experience serving mesothelioma victims. Call today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.