Advocates for Victims of Occupational Illnesses – Mesothelioma Lawyers
Despite a decline in the use of asbestos in recent decades, health care professionals diagnose 3,000 people with mesothelioma each year. The reason for the consistent development of new cases of mesothelioma is that the disease might not be diagnosable until between 20 and 50 years after exposure to asbestos. The vast majority of mesothelioma victims experience exposure to asbestos fibers in the workplace.
Pursuing All Remedies for Asbestos-Related Illnesses
If you have developed mesothelioma or other serious asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer or asbestosis through workplace exposure, you might have the right to workers compensation benefits from your employer. Workers compensation benefits can include free medical care, partial wage replacement, permanent disability payments, and death benefits. The right to these benefits does not require you to establish your employer’s negligence.; however, the total recovery tends to be far less than in a personal injury lawsuit because pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, punitive damages, and some other types of personal injury damages are not available under the workers compensation system.
Our experienced asbestos exposure personal injury attorneys also can explore potential third-party liability claims against the manufacturer of the asbestos product, contractors, property owners, and other parties. Personal injury damages will be more extensive, but negligence might need to be established although this depends on the third-party against whom the lawsuit is filed. The manufacturers of the asbestos or the product containing asbestos fibers might be strictly liable (i.e., liability without fault) under defective product law.
Advantages of Retaining Porter & Malouf for Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Many law firms indicate that they handle mesothelioma lawsuits related to asbestos exposure, but Porter & Malouf, P.A. has been a leader in this area of toxic tort litigation. Our asbestos exposure attorneys have developed a reputation as exemplary trial lawyers based in part on our participation in the last two major asbestos cases in the U.S. As early as 1998, Tim Porter participated in and presented the closing argument in the Cosey v. E. D. Bullard asbestos jury trial although he was only 29 years old. The jury returned a verdict of $48.5 million. Tim Porter also served as one of the lead trial lawyers in Simeon Johnson v. AC&S, et al., which resulted in a jury verdict of $150 million for 12 asbestos victims.
This track record of success, along with other multi-million dollar recoveries, has earned Porter & Malouf, P.A. numerous accolades and awards. Our law firm’s successful representation of thousands of asbestos victims, along with the hundreds of millions of dollars we have obtained in verdicts and settlements, has contributed to our law firm being recognized as the “14th Winningest Law Firm in the United States” by the 2002 National Law Journal. Our law firm also has received the honor of the AV® Preeminent Rating, which is the highest distinction conferred within Martindale-Hubbell’s rating system based on legal expertise, experience, peer evaluation, and integrity.
Asbestos exposure litigation is complex because of a variety of factual and legal challenges. The large scale of litigation involved in mesothelioma cases requires a law firm with the expertise and experience to handle large mass tort claims. Our lawyers have a track record that includes successful representation of thousands of clients in asbestos cases with cumulative recoveries of hundreds of millions of dollars. Because of our proven litigation results, including massive jury verdicts, insurance companies and the attorneys who defend these cases know that we are not only prepared to take mesothelioma cases to trial, but we also expect to win. This awareness promotes an environment of collegial respect that fosters efficient and effective settlement discussions. Our extensive history handling asbestos cases also has allowed Malouf & Porter, P.A. to establish relationships with a substantial number of nationally renowned experts who can provide critical testimony and opinions regarding the cause and prognosis of a client’s asbestos exposure-related illness.
What Is Asbestos?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines asbestos as the designation given to six minerals with long, thin fibers usually located within soil and rocks. Asbestos has been used in hundreds of products in a wide range of manufactured goods largely because of its strength, fire-resistant and insulating characteristics. The product has been used in the manufacturing of a wide array of goods and settings that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Friction Products (transmission parts, automobile clutch, vehicle brakes)
- Heat Resistant Fabrics, Gaskets, Coatings, and Packaging
- Machinery (valves, pumps)
- Construction Materials (siding, asbestos cement products, roof shingles, paper products, floor and ceiling tiles)
What is Asbestosis?
Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease that like mesothelioma is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. This serious lung disease involves scarring of the tissue of the lungs that compromises breathing. Asbestosis is incurable, but the prognosis frequently is much more positive than that of mesothelioma or lung cancer. While patients can live with the disease for many years, the patient’s condition will tend to deteriorate over time, necessitating more intensive treatment.
The development of asbestosis is linked to exposure to chrysotile fibers (one of the six known types of asbestos). Once the fibers have been breathed into the lungs, they cause long-term scarring. This scarring results in the lung tissue becoming thicker and less elastic. Patients suffering from asbestosis experience difficulty and pain when breathing. Symptoms of asbestosis include:
- Chest pain
- Inability to tolerate exercise
- Struggling to breathe during routine tasks
- Shortness of breath
Treatment of the condition could involve medications and surgery in some cases.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma usually develops many years after a person is exposed to asbestos in the workplace. While most cases of mesothelioma occur after long-term exposure to asbestos fibers, one-time and short-term exposure to asbestos fibers also can cause this form of cancer. When products containing asbestos are disturbed, the tiny fibers are circulated into the air. When these microscopic fibers are swallowed or inhaled, the fibers become trapped in the outer lung tissue and within the mesothelium, which is a thin membrane of cells that releases a lubricating fluid, enabling the lungs and other internal structures to expand and contract without friction.
The entrapped fibers stimulate biological changes over time that result in scarring, inflammation, and genetic damages that can lead to this form of cancer. Asbestos fibers are most frequently trapped within the pleura, which is the lining of the lungs resulting in mesothelioma or asbestosis. However, the tiny fibers also can become lodged in the pericardium (heart) or the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). While the fibers typically trigger biological modifications over a prolonged period, this slow development of mesothelioma creates a latency period that can last decades. When the cancer progresses, malignant cells multiply and can spread, implicating other organs and regions of the body.
Types of Mesothelioma
While there are technically four forms of mesothelioma: pleural (lungs), pericardial (heart), peritoneal (abdomen), and testicular, pleural and peritoneal comprise 90% of cases.
Pleural Mesothelioma (Lungs): This form of the disease develops in the lining of the lungs and constitutes the most common form of this cancer of the lung. Pleural mesothelioma represents approximately 75% of diagnosed cases of the disease. When this form of mesothelioma is diagnosed early, the possibility of a surgical cure might be possible. In later stages, treatment tends to be aimed at easing symptoms and maximizing the quality of a patient’s life. Symptoms of this form of mesothelioma include:
- Unremitting dry cough
- Night sweats and fever
- Persistent chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
Peritoneal Mesothelioma (Abdomen): This form of the disease is caused by asbestos fibers in the mesothelial lining of the abdomen, referred to as the peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for 20% of cases. When patients develop this form of the disease, they might experience thickening of the peritoneal membrane and the accumulation of fluid. This form of mesothelioma tends to metastasize to other areas of the body and organs more rapidly than other variations of the disease, so treatment options are typically limited although heated chemotherapy has shown promise. Symptoms of this form of the disease include:
- Nausea & vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal swelling
Pericardial Mesothelioma (Heart): This form of mesothelioma occurs in the exterior lining of the heart, referred to as pericardium. This form of cancer is rare and constitutes approximately 1% of mesothelioma cases. When the disease develops, fluid accumulates in the areas between the layers of the pericardium. This form of the disease is most typically subject to a palliative care regimen because surgery is risky given the proximity of tumors to the heart. Symptoms of this form of mesothelioma include:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Night sweats
- Difficulty breathing
Testicular Mesothelioma: This is the rarest form of mesothelioma, which accounts for under 1% of cases. This form of the disease develops in the lining of the testes, referred to as tunica vaginalis. This form of mesothelioma is usually diagnosed based on a swollen scrotum and pain emanating from lumps on the testes.
How Can I Know Asbestos Exposure Caused my Mesothelioma?
Asbestos exposure constitutes the primary cause of mesothelioma in most cases. Although other factors might contribute to the development of this form of cancer, these factors usually are relevant when a person also has a history of exposure to asbestos fibers. Approximately 70-80% of individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma have a history of asbestos exposure. Most mesothelioma victims are exposed to asbestos in the workplace, but there are some cases of environment exposure or third-party exposure, such as a wife inhaling fibers while washing her husband’s work uniform.
What Types of Jobs Face a High Risk of Developing Mesothelioma?
Because of the impermeability and heat resistant nature of asbestos, the substance was most commonly used in the construction, shipbuilding and construction trades. Workers with the highest risk of asbestos exposure include the following:
Shipbuilding and Shipyards
- Mill Wrights
- Ship Fitters
- Operating Engineers
- Factory Workers
- Tile Setters
- Sheet Metal Workers
- Masonry Workers
- Brake Service Repair Technicians
- Hoodliner Part Replacement Technicians
- Clutch Repair Technicians
Special Challenges Involved in Mesothelioma Litigation
When you are pursuing compensation for asbestos exposure-related illnesses like mesothelioma, your attorneys must have both extensive knowledge of the law regarding personal injury and asbestos, as well as comprehensive knowledge of this form of cancer. Our attorneys have nearly two decades of experience winning lawsuits and recovering hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of thousands of mesothelioma victims.
One of the most significant challenges when pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit is evaluating where the responsibility rests for a plaintiff’s asbestos exposure. Hundreds of businesses required their workers to perform their duties in settings where asbestos was present. Many other companies furnished products that contained asbestos, which was used by companies that employed workers who subsequently developed mesothelioma.
Because this form of cancer has a latency period that can last for decades, the process of tracking down these companies can be difficult. Our lawyers meet with clients to develop a thorough history of previous jobs, places of residence, and even occupations of close family members. Our law firm then works to correlate this information with records from prior mesothelioma lawsuits that comprise the legal history involving mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. We work diligently to identify all companies that might bear responsibility because some parties that contributed to a mesothelioma victim’s asbestos exposure might have gone out of business long ago. Since Porter & Malouf, P.A. has represented many asbestos victims, we have the financial resources and experience to conduct the careful investigation asbestos exposure lawsuits require to maximize the financial recovery.
Our extensive network of expert witnesses also provides a significant advantage for asbestos exposure victims. These experts have a thorough familiarity with the companies and products that handled and produced asbestos products, so they can assist in establishing the likely sources of your asbestos exposure. These experts also can provide important scientific, medical, and industry-related testimony in an understandable manner in the courtroom.
Why You Need to Immediately Seek Legal Advice if Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
You are not expected to file an asbestos exposure lawsuit if you have no reason to know you have developed an asbestos-related disease. All states have a statute of limitations that establishes a deadline for filing your lawsuit after you have received a mesothelioma diagnosis. Our mesothelioma lawyers can advise you regarding the deadline to file your lawsuit and file your case so that you are not permanently barred from seeking compensation for your personal injuries or the loss of a loved one. Failure to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs (expires) usually will constitute a complete bar to pursuing your claim.
Five Important Facts about Mesothelioma Lawsuits
At Porter & Malouf, P.A., our asbestos exposure lawyers are committed to keeping our clients informed about the progress of their case and responding to client inquiries promptly. Even in large-scale asbestos litigation, we treat each client as an individual. Our attorneys and staff recognize that our clients are more than plaintiffs and case files, they are beloved grandparents, parents, siblings, and children to their families, so we treat our clients with the respect and compassion that these important relationships merit. Because of our mission to ensure clients are informed, we have provided five critical facts about asbestos exposure litigation that all plaintiffs should know:
- Most asbestos exposure cases settle before trial
- An increasing number of recent lawsuits involving asbestos exposure involve non-traditional defendants, such as the manufacturers of cosmetic talc containing asbestos
- Existing mesothelioma trust funds contain more than $30 million in assets to satisfy verdicts and settlements obtained by mesothelioma victims
- Personal injury lawsuits involving asbestos exposure constitute the longest running “mass tort” litigation in U.S. history
- The total number of lawsuits involving asbestos-related illnesses has continue to climb significantly in recent years
Speak to a Mesothelioma Lawyer Today
Porter & Malouf, P.A. works tenaciously in pursuit of the maximum financial recovery for our clients. Our Mississippi mesothelioma attorneys also work with experts in a vast array of industries while conducting a thorough investigation of the facts and engaging in extensive research of novel legal issues. Our results provide the most compelling reason that clients trust us to tenaciously pursue the maximum compensation for their loss. Examples of verdicts and settlements our law firm has obtained include:
- $150 Million personal injury asbestos lawsuit
- $72 Million jury verdict for ovarian cancer caused by talcum powder
- $7.6 Million personal injury lawsuit involving silica exposure
- $7 Million personal injury lawsuit arising from exposure to lead paint
- $2 Million personal injury lawsuit related to an auto accident
We invite you to contact Porter & Malouf, P.A. at (866) 957-1173 or complete an online contact form for a free case evaluation.