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Asbestos & Mesothelioma Lawsuit in 2024 (Latest Updates)

The ongoing epidemic of Asbestos-related disease diagnosis in the United States is expected to continue well into the 21st century.
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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

Asbestos Databases and Resources

Asbestos databases serve as an invaluable asset for law firms that focus on mesothelioma, gathering comprehensive information on asbestos-containing products and the companies that manufactured them over a long period. These carefully curated databases offer a wealth of information on past litigation cases, shedding light on former lawsuits and their results.

By understanding the depth and breadth of these databases, victims and their families can appreciate the rigorous groundwork that goes into building a robust case, ensuring that no stone is left unturned in their pursuit of justice.

Emotional Understanding of Mesothelioma

According to a 2016 study by the National Library of Medicine, Mesothelioma, beyond its physical implications, carries a heavy emotional toll on mesothelioma patients and their families. Navigating the intricacies of cancer treatment, coupled with the complexities of health insurance, can be overwhelming [1].

Recognizing this, empathetic mesothelioma law firms prioritize not just the legal aspects but also the emotional well-being of their clients. By sharing personal stories and testimonials, they foster a community of support, reminding victims that they’re not alone in their journey.

Nationwide vs. Local Firms

The choice between a nationwide and a local mesothelioma law firm can significantly influence the trajectory of a case. Nationwide firms, with their vast networks of attorneys, bring a wealth of expertise from various jurisdictions, ensuring that the case is filed where it has the highest likelihood of success.

On the other hand, local firms, deeply rooted in their communities, offer a personal touch and intimate understanding of local legal landscapes. Both have their merits, and the decision hinges on the unique needs and preferences of the victim.

Documenting Asbestos Exposure

Establishing a direct link between asbestos exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis is a meticulous process, demanding thorough investigation and evidence gathering. Specialized law firms delve deep into their proprietary databases, identifying potential asbestos-containing products and contaminated job sites that the victim might have encountered.

Asbestos exposure is the biggest risk factor for a mesothelioma diagnosis. Occupational asbestos exposure ranks as the No. 1 risk factor for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis and pleural plaques. – Karen Selby, RN.

This rigorous process often involves sifting through decades of employment records, product catalogs, and even old photographs. The goal is to construct a watertight case that leaves no room for doubt about the source of exposure.

Choosing the Right Mesothelioma Law Firm

Selecting the right mesothelioma law firm is a decision that can shape the outcome of a case. Potential clients should prioritize firms with a proven track record, years of experience, and a team of dedicated attorneys. A checklist can be invaluable in this process, guiding victims on the essential questions to ask, from the firm’s success rate to their approach to client communication.

Equally important is to be wary of red flags, such as vague fee structures or a lack of asbestos-specific expertise, ensuring that the chosen firm aligns with the client’s best interests.

What are the Diseases Associated With Exposure to Asbestos?

Several different kinds of diseases are eligible for mesothelioma settlements. They can be categorized in the following ways:

  • Cancerous: Some diseases are malignant (or cancerous), such as mesothelioma case and lung cancer.
  • Non-Cancerous: Others are benign (non-malignant or non-cancerous), such as asbestosis, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural fibrosis, and benign pleural effusions.

Why You Should Choose the Personal Injury Lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, to represent you against asbestos companies in filing a mesothelioma lawsuit

Our mesothelioma law firm has substantial expertise in the highly specialized field of occupational Asbestos litigation.

Many multidistrict litigation law firms in the United States advertise their legal services for mesothelioma lawsuits; however, most of these law firms do not litigate mesothelioma settlements against asbestos companies.

You can contact our law firm with confidence in knowing that we have earned nationwide respect and recognition from our peers for the successful representation of asbestos wrongful death lawsuits.

If you or your family members develop mesothelioma, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to mesothelioma compensation options by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit / wrongful death lawsuit against asbestos companies and our multidistrict litigation law firm can help.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to several naturally occurring minerals that have been used as ingredients in manufacturing products since the late 1800s.

According to a 2023 study by Minesh Khatri, MD, from WebMD, asbestos deposits have been mined extensively in Canada, South Africa, Australia, Russia, and the United States. Once asbestos is mined and/or used in the mesothelioma lawsuit process, tiny fibers are created. These fibers cause disease when they are inhaled into the lungs [2].

There are several different types of mesothelioma and asbestos cases. The following is a list of the different types of asbestos:

  • Amosite
  • Chrysotile
  • Tremolite
  • Actinolite
  • Anthophyllite
  • Crocidolite

Of these six, the three most commonly used are chrysotile (white), amosite (brown/off-white), and crocidolite (blue).

All types of asbestos tend to break into very tiny fibers. These individual fibers are so small that many must be identified using a microscope. Because asbestos fibers are so small, once released into the air, they may stay suspended there for days.

Asbestos fibers are also virtually indestructible. They are highly resistant to chemicals and heat. Asbestos fibers are durable, flexible, strong, and resistant to wear. Because asbestos has so many useful properties, it has been used in over 3,000 different products.

Usually, the asbestos fibers are mixed with other materials to form a product. The asbestos fibers often serve as a binder to keep the other materials in the product intact. Depending on the product, the amount of asbestos in asbestos-containing materials varied from 1%-100% by weight.

A Brief History of Asbestos

Unlike many of its doomed chemical contemporaries, asbestos is not a product of modern technology. Its use predates history, and the recognition of health hazards associated with asbestos is recorded in writings from the first century.

Asbestos has been used for more than 2,000 years. It was named by the Ancient Greeks, its name meaning “inextinguishable.” The Greeks used asbestos for the wicks of the eternal flames of the vestal virgins, as the funeral dress for the cremation of kings, and as napkins.

Asbestos was used marginally through the 1700s but did not become popular until the Industrial Revolution during the late 1800s. It then began to be used as insulation for steam pipes, turbines, boilers, kilns, ovens, and other high-temperature products. Ancient observations of the health risks of asbestos were either forgotten or ignored.

At the turn of the twentieth century, researchers began to notice a large number of deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. In the 1930s, major medical journals began to publish articles that linked asbestos to cancer.

Even though many materials, such as fiberglass insulation, were created to replace asbestos, companies that used asbestos ignored the safer alternatives.

The conduct of the asbestos manufacturers is especially egregious, however, because the mesothelioma victims were largely exploited workers who were unaware of the serious health risks they were exposed to asbestos daily.

When the use of asbestos was at its highest – probably in the 1940s to the early 1970s – an estimated 3,000 products made use of its unique properties. Asbestos victims could find asbestos in hair dryers, irons, and ironing board covers, toasters, coffee pots, and electric blankets.

Because asbestos is also found in vermiculite or talc, trace amounts could also be detected in cosmetics and powders, as well as in fertilizer and potting soils.

The use of asbestos stabilized after 1976 (the year of peak production), decreasing only in the late 1980s as its associated health risks became a matter of increasing public concern.

Although in the USA the last domestic mine closed in 2002, asbestos is still imported here (6000 metric tons in 2003), mostly from Canada. Asbestos (predominantly chrysotile) is still widely mined outside the USA, especially in Russia (39%), Canada (18%), China (14%), Brazil (9%), Kazakhstan (7%), and Zimbabwe (6%).

What was Asbestos Used for?

Asbestos is a natural mineral that was mined by itself or within other ores extensively up until its federal ban in 1980. Many everyday products contain asbestos because of its insulation qualities. However, its uses were not just limited to insulation itself and could be found in anything from clothing to roofing shingles.

The term “asbestos” refers to several naturally occurring mineral fibers. These fibers are strong, durable, poor conductors of electricity, and are heat resistant. Because of these properties, they have been used since 1880 in more than 3500 products including:

  • Friction products such as railroad and automotive brakes and clutches
  • Fireproofing and acoustical texturing products
  • Insulation
  • Gaskets and packing products
  • Textiles and clothing
  • Vermiculite products
  • Packing, taping, and spackling products
  • Building materials such as siding, roofing, wallboard and tiles

Many asbestos-containing products have been pulled from the market, but not in time to prevent thousands of deaths from mesothelioma and asbestos exposure history. If you’re concerned that you may have been exposed, contact your physician right away. For more information on specific products, ask an experienced mesothelioma attorney at Schmidt & Clark, LLP.

How Does Asbestos Exposure Occur?

According to a 1994 study from the National Institute of Health, exposure occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled. If an asbestos-containing product is left intact, then exposure to the asbestos fiber is less likely. However, if that asbestos-containing product is cut, sawed, mixed, drilled, buffed, vibrated, sanded, or otherwise disturbed, this causes asbestos fibers to be released into the air [3].

Because individual asbestos fibers are so tiny that they can only be seen with a microscope, they are very lightweight and stay in the air for a long time.

Friable asbestos is especially dangerous. The term friable means that the asbestos crumbles easily, releasing asbestos fibers into the breathable air. An example of friable asbestos is acoustical ceiling and wall spray.

As stated by a 2021 study by the National Cancer Institute specified that once inhaled, the asbestos fibers can cause many respiratory problems, including the development of mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers are very strong – too strong for the human body to break down [4].

Asbestos fibers can also be swallowed, lodging themselves in the digestive tract. This may also lead to disease.

Which Professions Are Affected by Asbestos Exposure?

Though the government now heavily regulates worksites where asbestos is present, many asbestos companies fail to take the necessary steps to protect their employees from asbestos inhalation. Because of this, the threat of asbestos-related disease remains a serious concern among many occupations.

Because low levels of asbestos are present in the air, water, and soil, everyone is exposed at some time during their life. In most lawsuits filed with a mesothelioma attorney, however, people do not develop illnesses requiring professional medical advice from their exposure.

Asbestos diseases, such as asbestosis or pleural plaques – or even the more fatal forms of asbestos-related disease such as lung cancer or mesothelioma – usually occur in people who work directly with the material or who are exposed to asbestos on a regular, prolonged, or substantial basis.

What follows are some of the occupations of individuals who are exposed to high levels of asbestos daily and may be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit with a mesothelioma attorney:

  • Pipe Fitters
  • Steamfitters
  • Shipyard workers
  • Electricians
  • Power plant workers
  • Demolition workers
  • Railroad workers
  • Steel mills workers
  • Plumbers, maintenance workers
  • Drywallers, plasterers, painters
  • School teachers

In addition to people who worked with asbestos either directly or indirectly, workers’ families and other household contacts may also be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit with our attorneys.

Before strict industrial hygiene rules were put in place, asbestos workers went home covered in asbestos dust; family and household members were then exposed via inhalation of the dust from workers’ skin, hair, and clothing, and during laundering of contaminated work clothes.

Studies have shown increased rates of illnesses and deaths in the household contacts of asbestos workers.

J&J Ordered to Pay $37 Million in Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit

A New Jersey state jury has ruled against J&J and one of its talc suppliers, Imery Talc America, Inc., in a mesothelioma lawsuit filed by a mesothelioma victim and their loved one with the disease, awarding him and his mesothelioma attorney $37 million in compensatory damages after determining that his use of talcum powder caused the cancer.

Currently, there are approximately 3,000 new mesothelioma cases per year. According to an experienced attorney, the development of Asbestos cancer can occur 20 or sometimes even 40 years after the initial exposure to the dangerous asbestos fibers.

Exposure at Reynolds Aluminum Plant

Workers at the Reynolds Aluminum plant were at daily risk of exposure to asbestos and other toxic substances like cyanide. This was especially true before the 1970s, when the dangers became better understood and workers began to wear adequate protection and receive warnings.

Reynolds Metals Company (RMC) was the second-largest aluminum company in the United States, and the third-largest in the world. The company became well-known for the consumer product Reynolds Wrap as well as being a leader in developing and promoting new uses for aluminum; its RV Aluminaut submarine was operated by Reynolds Marine Services.

Headquartered for most of its existence in Richmond, Virginia, it was acquired by Alcoa in June 2000. It was acquired by Graeme Hart, a New Zealand businessman in 2008 – named Reynolds Packaging Group, now a private company again.

Aluminum smelters, like the Reynolds Plant and many others that were located throughout the Pacific Northwest, made wide use of asbestos, recognized for decades for its ability to insulate and resist fire. Asbestos was used in the carbon bake furnaces, on the potlines, and in the cast house as well.

Employees who worked with extremely hot materials were able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. They wore asbestos gloves and aprons while pouring liquid aluminum alloys that measured up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit to keep their hands from blistering and to avoid asbestos-related injuries.

Others who qualified for a mesothelioma lawsuit wore asbestos coats, and asbestos masks were used as well, meaning that workers wore the hazardous material on their faces, making it especially easy to inhale dangerous fibers.

Over the years, many Reynolds Aluminum Plant employees and their loved ones have been screened for asbestos-related illness and the numbers affected have been alarmingly high, according to several reports. Many of the plaintiffs in the mesothelioma lawsuit had toiled at the plant for decades, unaware that they were exposed to such a high level of dangerous asbestos fibers for such a long time.

Asbestos Exposure in Cigarette Smokers

It has long been established that smoking cigarettes greatly increases the risk of developing lung cancer. The vast majority of lung cancers attributed to asbestos exposure have occurred in smokers.

Many studies have shown that the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure is particularly hazardous. Smokers have a risk of developing lung cancer that is greater than the individual risks from asbestos and smoking added together.

There is evidence that quitting smoking will reduce the risk of lung cancer among asbestos-exposed workers and their loved ones.

How Can I Protect Myself from Asbestos-Related Diseases?

If you or a loved one work in an area where you are affected by asbestos particles, you should use all protective gear and equipment provided by your employers and follow recommended workplace practices and safety procedures.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established regulations dealing with asbestos exposure on the job, specifically in construction work, shipyards, and general industry that employers are required to follow at all times.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a component of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and is the Federal agency responsible for health and safety regulations in maritime, construction, manufacturing, and service workplaces.

Types of Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuits

If your family is bearing the burden of asbestos exposure, a mesothelioma lawsuit may be right for you and your family members.

Mesothelioma patients may be eligible to file for mesothelioma lawsuit compensation if they received a mesothelioma diagnosis, or wrongful death lawsuits if they lost family members to the disease.

The steps to file a mesothelioma lawsuit vary depending on the types of legal claims filed by mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuit

A person with a mesothelioma diagnosis is eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against the companies responsible for exposing them to asbestos.

Asbestos verdicts in a mesothelioma class action is usually based on companies’ failure to warn employees and consumers about the dangers linked to inhaling the toxic mineral. When financial compensation is awarded in most mesothelioma lawsuits or a settlement, mesothelioma patients are the recipients.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The estate of a deceased mesothelioma patient is eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, seeking financial compensation or a settlement to cover medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income.

Similarly, if mesothelioma patients file a wrongful death lawsuit but pass away before it is resolved, the estate may continue the mesothelioma claim. When financial compensation or asbestos verdicts are awarded in a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit or mesothelioma class action, the estate is the recipient.

Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

If you think you may qualify to file a mesothelioma lawsuit, first you must find an experienced and qualified attorney who will prepare and file a written complaint with a court. Your attorney will walk you through every step of the litigation process.

Steps to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Each step of the mesothelioma lawsuit process may take several months, which is why it is important to be patient. If you’re been diagnosed with a terminal illness, your attorney may file a request with the court to speed the litigation process up. Your attorney will guide you and represent you the whole way if you wish to file an asbestos lawsuit.

1. Choose an Attorney
Choosing an attorney experienced in asbestos cases is paramount if you wish to file your mesothelioma lawsuit successfully. Top mesothelioma law firms will provide you with a free consultation to discuss your mesothelioma lawsuit and go over your legal rights.

In preparation for an initial consultation, you should gather all relevant information about your diagnosis and asbestos exposure. Don’t fret about recalling all the details or being able to answer every question accurately. A qualified mesothelioma lawyer will help investigate your asbestos exposure history to help with your mesothelioma lawsuit.

2. Case Review and Preparation
An initial case evaluation is an opportunity for you and your law firm to learn about each other before you file an asbestos lawsuit. How the firm handles the consultation process will tell you a lot about how it operates and interacts with clients.

The first steps of a mesothelioma lawsuit review may take place in person or virtually. In many cases, the asbestos lawsuit review begins with a phone conversation between the potential client and the asbestos attorney. The attorney will ask general questions to understand the patient’s diagnosis and asbestos exposure.

3. File Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Your attorney will study which type of claim and asbestos compensation options best fit your particular case when you file an asbestos lawsuit. A qualified attorney will help you prepare all the documents and evidence you need to support your claim. The attorney will handle all the paperwork when you file an asbestos lawsuit, a wrongful death lawsuit, or a claim with a mesothelioma trust fund.

After gathering all the relevant data, your attorney will file the mesothelioma lawsuit on your behalf. They will handle the legal proceedings and recommend whether to settle or negotiate for additional compensation for your damages.

4. Responses and Discovery
Each defendant listed in your mesothelioma lawsuit will receive a copy of your complaint. They will have a designated period to respond to the claim. In nearly every case, defendants will not admit fault, deny your allegations, and argue against the validity of your complaint.

Defendants may argue that something else is to blame for your mesothelioma diagnosis. However, your attorney will respond to the defendant’s allegations and argue for you.

Lawyers on both sides will gather information about the case. This step is referred to as discovery. Both sides ask each other to answer written questions, produce documents, and take part in depositions. Some of the information may eventually be used as evidence at trial. You may be required to do a deposition and answer questions under oath. This may be done from the comfort of your own home, and always under the supervision of your trusted attorney.

5. Settlement or Trial
Before a trial begins, defendants may offer you a settlement to resolve the case. Mesothelioma settlements depend on many factors and can influence you about whether to go to trial. If you decline to settle, the defendant may counter with another offer. Your attorney will negotiate for you.

In most cases, going to trial is rare. Even in the rare chance that a case does go to court, you may not be required to appear. The trial process varies depending on the jurisdiction where you file a claim.

How the case plays out depends on your history of asbestos exposure, the jurisdiction where the mesothelioma lawsuit was filed, your medical history and numerous other factors. If you win and the defendant does not appeal, you will usually start receiving payments a short time following the verdict.

6. Resolution
If you are successful at trial, the defendants may want to appeal the verdict. There is a limited amount of time to file an asbestos lawsuit. This will delay any monetary award, but defendants will need to post a “bond” for the amount awarded while the appeal proceeds.

When to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Those looking to file mesothelioma lawsuits should file their claim and begin the process as soon as possible. Many patients file mesothelioma lawsuits soon after they’re diagnosed with the disease.

Others wait to file mesothelioma lawsuits for one reason or another – focusing on treatment or stressing about the legal process – but delaying the process can be risky due to the statute of limitations, or SOL.

The statute of limitations is a law that limits how much time you have to take legal action. Each state has its own SOL for the filing of mesothelioma lawsuits. Mesothelioma lawsuits are either personal injury claims (if the person diagnosed is still alive) or wrongful death claims (if the person with cancer has passed away).

In most states, the statute of limitations for mesothelioma lawsuits is 2-4 years. This means victims have 2-4 years from either the date of their diagnosis (personal injury) or the date of their loved one’s passing (wrongful death).

Filing mesothelioma lawsuits as soon as possible ensures that the SOL does not expire before you can be compensated for your injuries. Once you choose an attorney and go through your history of asbestos exposure, your lawyer will handle filing the lawsuit and make the process as stress-free as possible.

See More Related Asbestos / Mesothelioma Lawsuit Cases:

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The Asbestos Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of mesothelioma lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in mesothelioma lawsuits against asbestos companies. Our mesothelioma lawyer is handling individual and group asbestos litigation nationwide and currently accepting new mesothelioma lawsuits in all 50 states.

If you or your family members have been exposed to Asbestos and developed mesothelioma, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to mesothelioma compensation or a mesothelioma settlement for medical expenses through the filing of an asbestos lawsuit/mesothelioma lawsuit and a mesothelioma lawyer can help.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307510/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/asbestos-mesothelioma
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307510/
  4. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet

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