A mesothelioma diagnosis can be terrifying for patients. Depending on the type and stage of the disease, the outlook may be grim. While many of the physical symptoms can be managed with treatment, being diagnosed with a serious illness can be mentally draining. You may be experiencing extensive emotional suffering if you believe your condition could have been prevented. When that’s the case, you need a Chicago mesothelioma lawyer.
If you’ve lost a loved one from mesothelioma, you also have the right to seek justice. A Thomas Law Offices attorney can help you file a claim on behalf of the deceased, so the liable party is held accountable for your family’s loss.
Filing a successful mesothelioma claim would mean walking away with the compensation you or your family needs to move forward. Serious diagnoses are expensive, so the monetary award could cover those costs, in addition to any other applicable losses.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that generally occurs in the thin membrane lining of the lungs or abdomen. The main risk factor for mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 3,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. The majority of patients are older, white men.
As a naturally occurring compound, asbestos is one of the most widespread occupational hazards in the United States. It appears in many building materials like ceiling tiles, insulation, and roofing shingles because of its sturdiness and ability to withstand heat.
The compound is so dangerous because it is a known carcinogen. Inhaling the small fibers has the potential to lead to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Often, people won’t realize they’re being harmed because the medical conditions caused by asbestos exposure take a long time to develop.
In the 1970s, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began implanting regulations and the use of asbestos declined. Even with phasing the compound out, exposure was still prevalent in a number of industries. Construction workers, power plant workers, shipyard workers, and cement workers are just some of the people potentially affected by asbestos exposure.
Types of Mesothelioma
The type of mesothelioma a person is diagnosed with can play a role in indicating how they developed the disease. In most cases where asbestos is involved, tumors are found in the chest. In total, there are four different types of mesothelioma, which include the following:
- Pleural mesothelioma. As the most common type of mesothelioma, this accounts for 70% to 75% of all cases. The location of the tumor is in the chest. Patients typically experience shortness of breath, chest pain, weight loss, fever, and fatigue.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma. Accounting for 10% to 20% of all mesothelioma cases, this is located in the abdomen. Common symptoms include abdominal swelling, bloating, loss of appetite, and bowel changes.
- Pericardial mesothelioma. With only 200 cases reported in medical literature, this type of mesothelioma is rare. With this diagnosis, the tumor is located in the heart and a patient would likely experience irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and difficulty breathing and coughing.
- Testicular mesothelioma. With fewer than 100 cases reported, this form of mesothelioma is the rarest of the four. The tumors form in the lining cover the testes, causing swelling and painless lumps.
If you’ve received any of the diagnoses above, getting in touch with a mesothelioma lawyer could put you on the path to securing the proper treatments and your family’s future.
Treatment Plans and Outlook
Because there is no cure for the disease, mesothelioma patients typically receive poor prognoses. Patients will hear terms like “good,” “favorable,” “bad,” or “poor” depending on how the cancer is expected to progress. Most patients live about one year after an official diagnosis, but how long a person lives depends on how well they respond to treatment.
People diagnosed in stage 1 or stage 2 have the best chance at long-term survival. Some may qualify for surgery, with a median life expectancy of 22.2 months. When diagnosis happens at stage 3 or 4, surgery is typically not an option and the median life expectancy is 14.9 months.
Patients who beat the typical outlook often credit life span to multimodal treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy, and improvements in their diet. When mesothelioma is caught early, surgery is performed, and treatments are successful, a patient’s survival could be improved by a number of years.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Illinois
Knowing what to expect when filing a legal claim can help you combat nerves. An experienced Chicago attorney from Thomas Law Offices will explain the process to you and guide you through it every step of the way.
When you first come to us, we’ll conduct a case evaluation. We’ll look at the details of your disease based on your doctor’s findings and how you think the exposure occurred. We’ll gather as much information as we can and determine if there’s strong evidence to suggest asbestos exposure caused your illness. Overall, an evaluation determines the initial strength of a possible lawsuit, the potentially negligent parties, and what compensation is owed.
Once the case review has been completed and you’ve decided to pursue legal action against the party you believed caused your mesothelioma, your attorney will start a fact investigation. They’ll collect detailed information about your medical and work history. We know which occupations are the highest risk when it comes to asbestos exposure, so your field of employment will let us know right away if exposure was a possibility. In addition to looking into your work history and medical records, we’ll take a look at the relevant laws that could apply to your case so we’re prepared from every angle.
Once the facts are gathered, we can begin filing your claim. Both sides will present their evidence and make requests to the judge. While there is a chance you could settle outside of court, many mesothelioma cases proceed to trial. If your claim results in a lawsuit, you’ll go through to trial and an official verdict will be made by a judge or jury.
Regardless of whether your case settles or goes to trial, your Thomas Law Offices attorney will fight to get you full and fair compensation. That includes covering economic and noneconomic losses like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Legal Representation from Thomas Law Offices
If you believe you’ve developed a form of mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure, you may have grounds to take legal action against the company or agency that let the exposure happen. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact a Chicago mesothelioma lawyer today.