Mesothelioma Lawyers Serving Lake Charles Area
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that develops in the lungs or abdomen. In most cases, it is caused by overexposure to asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral fiber. Because asbestos is both durable and flame resistant, it has been used in the manufacturing of many products over the years.
While its durable properties made it desirable from a manufacturing standpoint, they’re also what made asbestos so dangerous. Since asbestos fibers are microscopic, it is easy for them to be inhaled. The rigid asbestos fibers stick in the soft tissue of the lungs, abdomen, or heart making them extremely difficult for the body to break down or dispose of.
Since its use became widespread, millions of people have been exposed to asbestos. Thankfully, today asbestos is highly regulated to prevent exposure and cut down on the number of mesothelioma cases seen nationwide.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean exposure never happens. People are still being exposed to asbestos without ever knowing it and are being seriously harmed by something that could be preventable. This has led many people around the country to file mass tort lawsuits against those responsible for unnecessary asbestos exposure.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson L.L.C. you may be able to help you get compensation for your medical treatment, bills, pain and suffering.
Types of Mesothelioma
There are three kinds of mesothelioma, each with their own unique symptoms and warning signs. If you have experienced any of the following symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor ASAP.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common kind, making up 75 percent of all diagnoses. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Even with treatment, most patients are only given between 12 and 21 months to live.
Pleural mesothelioma develops when asbestos fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs. The asbestos fibers cause inflammation which, in turn, causes fluid to build up in the tissue between the lungs and the chest wall. This fluid buildup thickens the lining of the lungs and makes it impossible for them to fully expand. Symptoms include:
- Chest discomfort or persistent cough
- Painful breathing or shortness or breath
- Fever, fatigue or body aches
- Weight loss
This form of mesothelioma makes up between 20 and 25 percent of all cases. While not a good diagnosis, it carries a longer life expectancy than other forms. It can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled, coughed up, and then swallowed. The fibers become lodged in the abdomen and can cause genetic damage to the cells. This can cause cells to duplicate without ceasing, ultimately forming a malignant tumor. Symptoms include:
- Stomach pain or abdominal swelling
- Fever, sweating, or fatigue
- Blood clots or anemia
- Fluid buildup
- Nausea, bowel problems, or appetite loss
This is the rarest form of mesothelioma, accounting for only one percent of all cases. It is very hard to detect, but can be treated by a special surgery, called pericardiectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Pericardial Mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers become imbedded in the lining of the heart. It affects men two times more frequently than women. Unfortunately, since it is so rare, very little research is done, leaving patients with a short life expectancy. Symptoms include:
- Chest discomfort or coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the face or arms
- Pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart), irregular heartbeat, or heart murmurs
Regardless of which kind of mesothelioma a patient is diagnosed with, the prognosis is usually not good. There is no cure for mesothelioma but the earlier a patient is diagnosed the better. Even with early treatment, the outcome depends heavily on the patient’s overall health, how much the disease has spread, and where the tumors are located.
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Some people are exposed to asbestos because it was used in the walls or ceilings of their homes. Most however, are exposed because of where they work. Below are some of the most common occupations where asbestos exposure is a legitimate concern:
- Mechanics, carpenters, and electricians
- Coal miners or construction workers
- Machinists, iron, and steel workers
- HVAC technicians
- Plumbers and pipefitters
- Plasterers, drywall finishers, roofers, and tile setters
- Railroad, power plant, and shipyard workers
- Navy and Air Force veterans
Products Known to Contain Asbestos
Products containing asbestos can be found in your home, workplace, and in the business you visit on a daily basis. Below are a few of the thousands of products that could contain asbestos:
- Adhesive and tape
- Clay and asphalt
- Ceiling tiles, shingles, and roofing paper
- Attic insulation
- Hair dryers
- Mineral wool blankets
- Spackle, wallpaper, and paint
- Talc powder
- Electrical wires
- Furnaces and pipes
- Packing material
What to Expect During a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
The first step in filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is to find an attorney with experience handling these kinds of cases. They should be willing to handle most of the work so you and your family don’t have to. That means being prepared to do research and conduct interviews that can be used to argue your case. After your mesothelioma attorney begins preparation, the next steps will likely include:
- This is when your attorney filed a complaint that details your injuries and explains why the defendant should be held accountable.
- This is the defendant’s chance to respond to your complaint. They will likely say whatever they can to get the judge to dismiss your case. If you have a seasoned attorney, they will push for the case to go on.
- During this time, both parties are able to gather additional evidence, collect documents, and conduct depositions. You may be questioned by the defendant, which your attorney can help you prepare for.
- Settlement/Trial. At this point, the defendant may offer you a settlement to avoid taking the case to court. You should consult with your attorney to see if taking the settlement is a good choice. If not, your case will go to trial where the amount of compensation you’re entitled to will be determined by the judge, not the defendant as in a settlement.
- If you are awarded compensation, the defendant may choose to file an appeal. This can make it take longer for you to receive your money. If the defendant loses the appeal, you will start receiving your payments within a few months. If they win, they may have to pay you less than the original ruling stated.
Here are some questions we are often asked from people filing mesothelioma lawsuits:
How long will a lawsuit take?
That depends. If your health is in poor condition, the lawsuit may be able to be expedited. However, if there is no urgency, it could take anywhere from several months to a couple of years.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
In Louisiana, the statute of limitations is one year from your diagnosis.
Can I get disability for mesothelioma?
How much will my lawyer be paid?
The attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson L.L.C. work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid if you win. Prior to taking your case, we will sit down with you to discuss what percentage of your settlement will be owed to us if there is a successful outcome.
Why Contact a Mesothelioma Attorney?
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can be difficult. Because they happen frequently, you may find that the defendant is well-prepared to combat your case. They will do whatever they can to prevent paying you what you deserve. They will say they aren’t responsible, claiming that:
- Your disease is related to your family history
- Smoking, drugs, or drinking caused your health issues
- You have worked at other places where asbestos exposure was more of a problem
- You did not file your complaint correctly
- You were exposed to asbestos at home, not just at work
- You were improperly diagnosed
- Your condition isn’t caused by asbestos
These false claims on behalf of the defendant can be frustrating. Your focus should be on getting treatment, not on proving you’re sick. That’s our job. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson L.L.C. to schedule your free consultation at 337-436-6611.