Maine Mesothelioma Lawyer
Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers and their family members have been directly or indirectly exposed to asbestos. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can become lodged in the lungs and, over time, cause serious, life-threatening asbestos-related illnesses, including mesothelioma.
Asbestos & Its Link to Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous mineral which is easily separated into thin, microscopic threads. These fibers are strong, flexible, heat-resistant, fire-retardant and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos was once a staple in most insulating products, many industrial and construction products, and was used extensively on U.S. Navy ships.
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that occurs in the thin membrane lining of the lungs, chest and abdomen. Each year, 3,000 Americans are newly diagnosed with mesothelioma. The one and only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning that the symptoms of the disease typically do not appear until many years after exposure has occurred. The symptoms can take up to 30 or even 40 years to appear. The average age at which a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma is between 50 and 70 years.
Who is at Risk of Developing Mesothelioma?
Individuals most at risk for developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases include workers whose jobs directly exposed them to asbestos fibers. At job sites throughout Maine and across the United States, millions of U.S. workers have been exposed to asbestos-containing products including those in the following trades:
- Auto mechanics
- Construction workers
- Iron workers
- U.S. military
- Paper mill workers
- Maintenance workers
- Metal workers
- Railroad workers
Bystander or Second Hand Exposure
Both first-hand and second-hand exposure to asbestos can put an individual at risk. Family members, including spouses and young children, can also be exposed to asbestos which loved ones brought home with them on their clothes from work. This is called second-hand, bystander, or take-home exposure.
Mesothelioma litigation is a type of toxic tort brought against manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and sellers of asbestos. Mesothelioma cases usually involve people facing terminal illness and great hardship.
Even so, these cases can be very difficult to prove, in part, because of the long period of time that often elapses between asbestos exposure and the diagnosis of mesothelioma. As more time passes, evidence needed to prove the cases can be lost forever as co-worker and family member witnesses pass away, companies go out of business and records are destroyed.
Asbestos Settlement Trusts
Many companies who manufactured or sold asbestos-containing products have filed for bankruptcy protection. When this happens, the bankruptcy courts have required the companies to establish trust funds to pay compensation to victims of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma.
Filing claims with an asbestos bankruptcy trust can be confusing, time-consuming and laborious. Although the bankruptcy trusts have been set up to pay claims quickly, claims are often denied and delays in claim review frequently occur. Since each trust fund sets its own claim processing procedures and eligibility criteria, the best way to determine if you are eligible for compensation is to speak with a Maine mesothelioma attorney at Fitzgerald Law Group and we can explain the requirements.
Claimants generally must prove that they or a loved one were exposed toa particular asbestos-containing product or at particular jobsites or worksites. Many asbestos trusts have also established strict medical criteria that must also be satisfied. If the asbestos exposure or medical criteria are not properly documented and supported by contemporaneous records, claimants may be denied payment.
Each bankruptcy trust also sets its own payment schedule. The actual amount a claimant can receive from a bankruptcy trust ultimately depends on many different factors, including their eligibility.
A big concern with the bankruptcy trust is whether they will have sufficient funds to continue making payments to future claimants. Many of the companies that have established bankruptcy trusts are no longer in business, and the money deposited in the fund may limit how much can be paid to claimants now and in the future.
Maine Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries.
To speak with an experienced, Maine mesothelioma lawyer, contact Fitzgerald Law Group at (844) FITZ-LAW or (844) 348-9529, or complete the contact form on this website for a free, confidential, case assessment.