Asbestos is a type of fibrous material that was typically used in buildings constructed between 1950 and 1990. During this period it was commonly used for its properties—asbestos is a fire-resistant insulator that is resistant to chemical erosion.
It was often mixed with other materials and may still be found in products such as cement, furnaces and heating systems, floor and ceiling tiles, car parts, house siding, and building insulation.
But exposure to asbestos has serious effects, including cancer.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that affects the inner membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. It can be traced back to asbestos exposure—the main cause and risk factor for mesothelioma.
This form of cancer can be difficult to diagnose swiftly, as symptoms tend to be similar to a number of other diseases. Though there is no known cure for mesothelioma, treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery may help to slow the progress of the disease, thereby increasing life expectancy.
The several types of mesothelioma reflecting the parts of the body they affect. They include but are not limited to:
- Pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma affects the inner lining of the lungs. It is the most common form of mesothelioma.
- Pericardial mesothelioma. This form affects the cardiac cavity.
Legal help is available for individuals with diseases that have been caused by exposure asbestos and their families. Since these cases are especially time-sensitive, it is important to contact a mesothelioma lawyer immediately. He or she can guide you through the process and help you to understand what you can expect when you pursue a lawsuit against the company or individual responsible for your asbestos exposure.
In general, mesothelioma lawsuits include the following stages:
- Preparation. During this phase, your lawyer gathers information about your exposure and illness. He or she will determine the court in which to file your lawsuit. You may qualify to file in more than one court.
- Filing. Your lawyer will file a written complaint to begin the legal process. This complaint must follow certain court guidelines related to your claim.
- Responses. During this period, defendants receive information about your complaint and are given the chance to respond. If your exposure occurred a long time ago, it may take some time to locate the company and people responsible. Defendants are not likely to admit fault; instead, they will try to defend themselves.
- Discovery. During this stage, your lawyer and the defense lawyer will gather information to help prove or discredit the allegations. The defendants may be required to answer questions or give depositions. You may also have to give a deposition during which you answer questions under oath.
- Settlement. Before the trial begins, the defendant may try to resolve the case by offering you a settlement of money. If you decline it, the defendant may try again during the trial. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf.
- Trial. During the trial, depositions from both sides will be presented in court and a judge will assess the case. If you win, you will receive a settlement determined by the judge. In some cases, the defendants may appeal.