Friday, February 4, 2011

Mesothelioma Claim

As cases of mesothelioma increase, more and more claims and lawsuits are filed against the companies responsible for asbestos exposure. Consequently, there are now a large number of lawyers available that deal with mesothelioma lawsuits, sometimes on an exclusive basis. The amount of compensation varies from case to case, but the job of mesothelioma lawyers is to make these negligent companies pay their victims for the pain and suffering of this usually fatal disease.
Many people are unsure about how to file a claim for compensation. The process is relatively simple but you must act quickly in order to be eligible to claim. Most states set a time limit of one to two years for mesothelioma claims, and it is important to file your lawsuit within those time limitations in order to optimise your chances of getting compensation from these companies. The same applies to those who are seeking compensation for the death of a loved one from mesothelioma as well as those who have been affected by an asbestos related disease through close contact with a family member who has been exposed to it.
The first thing you need to do is find a mesothelioma lawyer. It is best to look for a lawyer or law firm that already has experience within the area of mesothelioma and has dealt with at least a few mesothelioma lawsuits. This will mean that the lawyer already has contacts within the field which may enable your case to be processed a little more smoothly.
An experienced lawyer will also be able to assist you with additional resources such as contacts for support. It is always worth asking the lawyer for some testimony of experience, such as the number of mesothelioma cases he has dealt with, how many of them were successful, what sort of compensation figures were successfully obtained, and why certain cases (if there are any) were not successful.
Many people are worried about how much all this is going to cost them, but in truth it won’t cost you a penny unless you are actually awarded compensation. Look for a lawyer that works on a contingency fee basis, as most mesothelioma lawyers do. This means that there is no upfront payment required from you and if the lawyer is unsuccessful in getting you compensation you will not have to pay anything at all.
If you do get compensation, your lawyer will take his fee from that, normally a percentage fee of around 35%. This may seem slightly high, but bearing in mind that many compensation claims run into hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, this will still leave you with a hefty sun even after the lawyer has taken his percentage.
Once you have found a lawyer with whose fees and testimony you are satisfied, it will be time to go through all of the details with him. He’ll need to know all about your condition, the type of mesothelioma you have, whether it can be treated, whether you have been informed that it is terminal, when you were diagnosed etc. You will also need to provide details of when and where you were exposed to asbestos. However, many people cannot recall these details but the lawyer can assist by hiring someone to do the research and find this information. Again, you won’t have to pay for this service is the lawyer will foot the bill.
Based upon the details you provide, your lawyer can decide whether your claim is worth pursuing and what type of lawsuit should be filed (e.g. a lawsuit against a company, a manufacturer etc.). You will need to be totally honest and frank with your lawyer as well as passing information on to him in a timely manner because time will be a very important factor in getting you the compensation to which you are entitled.
You will now find many lawyers who advertise on the Internet as well as details in local phone directories. You will find that not only does the level of experience vary from lawyer to lawyer but so does the fee that they take from your compensation. The things to look out for most importantly are: that the lawyer works on a contingency fee basis; that the lawyer is experienced within the field of mesothelioma and not averse to providing testimony to this; and that the lawyer tells you upfront what his percentage will be when you get compensation.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that can arise in the mesothelial lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen. Some cases have even been reported to develop in the lining of the testicles as well. These four types of mesothelioma are called pleural mesothelioma(lung), pericardial mesothelioma (heart), peritoneal mesothelioma (abdomen) and testicular mesothelioma.
Combined, these cancers affect 2,000 to 3,000 people in the United States each year. Receiving a diagnosis can be difficult due to the similarity of symptoms to other, more common conditions and doctors may overlook mesothelioma as a diagnosis. Another contributing factor that makes these cancers difficult to diagnose is the severe latency period of symptoms. From the time of someone's initial exposure to asbestos, the primary cause of mesothelioma, signs of development may take as long as 20 to 50 years to arise.
Symptoms or signs of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years (or more) after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (pleural effusion ) are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to  ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever . If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.
Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:
  • Chest wall pain
  • Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or anemia
  • Wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
  • Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)
In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax ,or collapse of the lung. The disease may metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.
Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Ascites,or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
  • A mass in the abdomen
  • Problems with bowel function
  • Weight loss
In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:
  • Blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation,a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
  • Jaundice,or yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Low blood sugar level
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
  • Severe ascites
A mesothelioma does not usually spread to the bone, brain, or adrenal glands. Pleural tumors are usually found only on one side of the lungs.