Everyone has seen advertisements about mesothelioma. It became news again after the World Trade Center collapse sent thousands of tons of asbestos dust into the air. Fortunately, mesothelioma is uncommon, but for those who suffer from it and their families, it is a devastating disease.
If you believe you may be suffering from mesothelioma due to workplace or military exposure, you should contact the New York workers’ compensation attorneys of Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. right away. The statutes of limitation for mesothelioma claims are three years for a personal injury claim, beginning on the date of injury, or two years for a wrongful death claim, beginning on the date of death. That means you have a limited time from the date of your diagnosis to file a lawsuit for compensation for your illness. There may be exceptions, but you need to speak with an attorney if you believe you have such an exception. Call us at 516-496-0400, or contact us online today.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that begins in the cells that line the chest or abdominal cavity. As with all cancers, the specific cause of mesothelioma is not fully understood, but it is known that long-term exposure to asbestos, especially in industrial or mining conditions, greatly increases the risk.
It is believed that some types of ionizing radiation may also increase the risk of developing mesothelioma. Smoking and a diet high in fatty processed meats may exacerbate the progression of the disease.
Mesothelioma is rare, with only about 200 cases diagnosed in New York annually. However, it clusters in certain jobs, such as mining, shipyards, automotive and factory workers, and military installations. Individuals who work in these areas are known to be exposed to asbestos and are at higher risk than the average person.
When the World Trade Centers collapsed on 9/11, tons of asbestos-laden dust were flung into the air around the WTC and hung in the air for days. It is believed that an increase in mesothelioma and other cancers may have been due to this cause.
How To Seek Compensation for Mesothelioma
The main difficulty with obtaining compensation for mesothelioma is the long delay between exposure to asbestos and the onset of symptoms. It can take 20 to 30 years after exposure to develop cancer, making the link from the source to the cancer unclear. Because asbestos was widely used in so many areas before the hazard was recognized (it was used in bathroom tiles, glue, fabric, brake pads, roofing materials, and more), a workplace exposure may not have been the only one.
The best proof that your mesothelioma is work-related will be showing that you or your loved one were employed at a known manufacturer or user of asbestos who has acknowledged the use of the material during a time when others were also exposed. Working in an industry known to use asbestos is another clear sign of possible exposure.
There are several ways you can make your claim, depending on how the exposure occurred.
- Personal injury claim. If you are claiming for yourself, you may file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations is three years from the date of injury. Because of the length of time it takes for mesothelioma to become detectable, this statute may be extended to the date you discovered the illness, but your attorney will need to advise you on this.
You will need to demonstrate that you worked in an industry that used asbestos and that your employer was aware of the risk and did nothing to protect you from the risk or mitigate the harm. For instance, if your employer provided safety masks and goggles and workers chose not to wear them, proving the employer’s fault would be more difficult.
Currently, there are asbestos trust funds set up by several companies that admit to asbestos use to pay out on future claims. Many companies have failed or declared bankruptcy because of multiple mesothelioma claims, so these trust funds were established to provide claimants with a defendant for their lawsuits. Your attorney can determine if you worked for one of these companies and file your case accordingly.
- Wrongful death claim. If a family member has died because of mesothelioma, you may sue for wrongful death under the same conditions required for a personal injury suit. The statute of limitations is two years, not three. As with a personal injury claim, you will need to prove that your family member was employed in an asbestos-related industry and that their employer knew or reasonably should have known their employees were being exposed to asbestos but did not take steps to avoid the exposure.
- Veterans compensation. Veterans of the Navy, Army, Coast Guard, or Marines may have been exposed to asbestos during their service, as the material was frequently used on ships and in military facilities before the danger was widely known. About one-third of mesothelioma cases originate in service members from this period. Veterans’ benefits include disability, healthcare services, housebound benefits, and aid and attendance benefits for survivors.
The laws and regulations surrounding mesothelioma claims are complicated. If you believe you have a claim, you should contact legal assistance before attempting to make any claim on your own. Even if you believe the statute of limitations may have run, you should call Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. and let us review your case. The laws are complex, but we will help you work through them.
How We Can Help
Having a mesothelioma diagnosis is one of the most devastating announcements you can receive. Learning that you have such a terrible disease can leave you wondering what to do next. You don’t have to go through it by yourself. Call the experienced legal team of Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. at 516-496-0400 and let us help you determine your next steps. We can take you through the legal process step by step so that nothing gets missed.
At Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C., we want to see you get the compensation you need. We will help you gather the documents needed for your insurance claim and complete the investigation needed to present your case if going to trial becomes necessary. No matter what happens, our attorneys will be at your side until the case is finished. Call us at 516-496-0400, or contact us online today. Our legal team is standing by.