In the United States alone doctors diagnose at least 3000 cases of mesothelioma every year, in which most are associated or traced to job-related exposure to asbestos. Now, although the use of asbestos has gone done in the past few years, there are a steady number of people diagnosed of mesothelioma. This is due to the fact that cancer develops 20-50 years after the person has been exposed to asbestos and symptoms are not immediately visible for an oncologist to make a conclusive diagnosis or most of the time the symptoms mimic other common illnesses.
Asbestos poses a threat to your health when work duties or other work-related activities disturb asbestos containing materials causing the fiber to be released in the air. When you inhale or swallow the miniscule fibers it then gets trapped inside the body no matter how much your body tries to get rid of it. Over time, it brings forth biological changes that cause irritation and inflammations, scarring and genetic change that results in cancer.
There are three major types of mesothelioma and they are differentiated and categorized according to the organs primarily affected.
* Pleural mesothelioma represents almost three quarters of all reported mesothelioma occurrences and it affects the lung’s protective lining in the chest cavity.
* Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the thin cell walls around the abdominal cavity. This is a rare type of cancer that typically represents around 500 patients in the United States every year.
* Pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining of the heart, lining of the lungs and the abdomen wall. It is the rarest of all type of mesothelioma cancer and only consists 10 per cent of all reported incidences annually.
If you are suffering from any asbestos-related illness or disease, you should contact a qualified and highly-skilled mesothelioma lawyer straight away. Remember that these cases require immediate attention and are time sensitive and only a lawyer trained in asbestos litigation should help you determine if you should and when you should file a lawsuit against the company that may be liable for exposing you to asbestos. A competent and experienced lawyer will also be able to guide you through the entire process and set your expectations regarding the lawsuit you will file.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process
The best idea would be to hire Mesothelioma that specializes in asbestos lawsuits. But do give you a brief overview of what a Mesothelioma Lawsuit consists of the following has been put together. It is true that each case of mesothelioma lawsuit is different, however for the most part, mesothelioma lawsuit follow these steps:
* Preparation – this is the time when your lawyer will gather all pertinent information related to your asbestos exposure and illness to conclude who really is responsible for your condition and also decide in which court to file your case.
* Filing – the lawyer representing you will file a written complaint with a court to set into motion the legal process. For the case to move forward, the complaint you filed has to follow court rules as to how the document filed by your attorney is written and the details provided in the complaint.
* Responses – the defendants in your complaint will receive a copy of your complaint and will have a chance to respond to your complaint (usually within 30 days), wherein your attorney will reply to each defendant’s response.
* Discovery – your lawyer and the defendants’ lawyers will then gather information pertaining to your allegations. During this time both lawyers will have to answer written questions, produce documentations and take part in depositions, wherein some of the gathered information will be used at the trial. This process may take several months, however if you are terribly ill, your lawyer may request the court to speed up the process before your condition turns to worse.
* Settlement – the defendants may offer to resolve the issue by offering money. If you decline the initial offer, the defendant will most likely try to make another offer during the trial. In any case you should let your lawyer negotiate on your behalf.
* Trial – In most cases, it is not necessary for the complainant to appear in court. In the event you win and the defendant does not appeal, you will start receiving compensation and damages payment a few months after the trial.
* Appeal – If you win the trial and the defendant files an appeal (usually done within 30-180 days) there will be a delay on any monetary award you will receive but the defendant will still need to post a bond for the amount awarded to you while the appeal process is ongoing. If the defendant loses the appeal, you will start receiving payments but if the defendant wins you end up getting less than the awarded amount or nothing at all.
Published in Costa Rica, in the Costa Rica Times