Cancer Caused by Asbestos
Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer that develops in the lining of internal organs and is caused by exposure to asbestos, typically medium- to long-term exposure in the workplace.
Asbestos is a combination of naturally occurring silicate minerals, which became popular in manufacturing and construction in the late 19th Century because of it’s strength, heat-resistance and affordability. Unfortunately, it also causes a host of serious and deadly health problems, including mesothelioma and asbestosis.
The Beginning of Asbestos-related Deaths
The first documented death was in 1906. However, asbestos continued to be used in various manufacturing and construction materials well into the 1970s. The U.S. government and the asbestos industry has long been criticized for ignoring the dangers by continuing to expose employees to asbestos exposure risks. Court documents from the 1970s show the asbestos industry had been aware of the risks since the Great Depression.
In fact, due largely to court challenges, asbestos is not officially banned in the United States. However, its use in consumer products has declined drastically largely because of the threat of litigation. Historically, products containing asbestos include drywall and joint compound, floor tiles, roofing materials, industrial and marine gaskets, brake pads, thermal pipe insulation, and HVAC ducts and other air-conditioning and heating material.
Chicago Mesothelioma Lawyers – Diagnosis & Justice
Because of mesothelioma’s decades-long latency period, the number of mesothelioma cases in Illinois and elsewhere in the nation is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years. Most patients are not diagnosed until 30 to 35 years after exposure.
Life-expectancy after diagnosis is only 8-14 months.
Types of Mesothelioma include:
- Pleural Mesothelioma: Accounts for about 75 percent of diagnoses. Develops in the lining of the lungs, which is known as the pleura.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Accounts for up to 20 percent of cases. Develops in the lining of the abdomen.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma: Develops in the lining of the heart and accounts for only about 1 percent of cases.
- Testicular Mesothelioma: Also rare, accounting for about 1 percent of all cases.
Mesothelioma Litigation in Illinois
Because half a lifetime often passes between asbestos exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis, these are typically very complex cases. Short survival time makes choosing an experienced law firm a critical task as soon as possible after diagnosis.
At Abels & Annes, we work with mesothelioma victims and surviving family members to hold those responsible accountable, and to help ensure a family’s financial security.
Determining where and when the exposure occurred, and identifying those responsible, is often the first challenge. In many cases, large corporations responsible for exposing employees have been already been forced into bankruptcy by mesothelioma lawsuits. In some cases, a trust fund may be available to pay damages. In other cases, a company may have been sold and then resold to a large corporation still in business under a different name.
And in still other cases, it’s the government that is responsible. U.S. military veterans – particularly those who served in Navy shipyards or aboard ship, are at particularly high risk for developing mesothelioma. Hollywood Actor Steve McQueen died at the age of 50 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. He believed he might have been exposed to asbestos while working aboard ships as a Marine at the conclusion of World War II.
In fact, the government estimates some 100,000 people in the United States have died as a result of asbestos exposure in the ship building industry.
Nationwide, about 3,000 people will be diagnosed with mesothelioma each year and about the same number will die from this preventable form of cancer. Illinois is one of about a dozen states reporting above-average death rates of 14-17 annual patients per 1 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you are dealing with a diagnosis of mesothelioma, there is no time to waste. Please contact the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers of Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free consultation. We can be reached at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or by filling out our online form.