In the span of two weeks, two juries in Massachusetts have rendered multi-million dollar verdicts in favor of plaintiffs in mesothelioma lawsuits. According to a recent news article form EHS Today, in the second of the two cases, the plaintiff started working as an insulator part-time when he was in high school.
Following high school, plaintiff got a job repairing boilers. Insulation was very commonly made entirely out of asbestos products. The deadly fibers were either spun into sheets like we see with fiberglass insulation, or it was kept lose and spaying into the walls by construction crews on the job.Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance that is made up of six silica elements. The different configuration of the silica elements will determine the type of asbestos, and while some are more dangerous than others, all can be fatal. As our Boston mesothelioma lawyers can explain, when the fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become trapped in a layer of tissue known as the mesothelium. This is a protective layer of that lines most internal organs in the body. Most people think of mesothelioma as lung cancer, and while it can effect the lungs, it is a distinct form of cancer.
That being said, the most common place for the cancer to form is in the lungs where it is known as malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), but this is not the same form of cancer we see with people who smoke or otherwise get lung cancer.
Asbestos Exposure Takes Years to Manifest in Illness
There is of no question that plaintiff was harmed by the deadly fibers since virtually every case of malignant mesothelioma was due to exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is considered an extremely rare disease that occurs when a victim inhales or ingests the deadly fibers, they body has no way to expel the fibers and there is also nothing doctors can do to remove them. Over a period of 20 to 50 years, with 40 being the most common, they metastasize into malignant mesothelioma. As discussed above, the most common place for the cancer to develop is the lungs, but it can also develop in the chest where it is known as malignant pericardial mesothelioma or in the abdomen where it is known as malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.
The plaintiff will typically have have no idea they cancer for many years. The only real way the cancer is ever caught early is when the plaintiff has some other type of accident or illness that requires a scan, and the mesothelioma tumor is caught in a scan being conducted for an unrelated purpose. Eventually the plaintiff will develop symptoms of mesothelioma such as stomach pain or shortness of breath and go the doctor what is wrong. The vast majority of plaintiffs are shocked to find out they have malignant mesothelioma, and more shocked to find out they have only have months left to live.
There are treatment options at this point, but they are often very invasive, and even in the best case scenarios, will only increase a plaintiff’s life by a several months, or many a year or two. This is at the cost of serious pain and suffering in many cases. Some procedures involve performing surgery to remove all or part of one lung, then giving the plaintiff internally applied chemotherapy drugs followed by a dose of radiation.
According to the American Cancer Society, while malignant mesothelioma is a very rare compared to other cancers, there are about 3,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. This is far less than we have with some other types of cancers, but we must keep in mind that these are not just numbers. Each case of represents a real person and that real person has a real family. To victims and their families, this has nothing to do with statistics. For that reason, the best thing a plaintiff or plaintiff’s family can do is to speak with an experienced Boston mesothelioma lawyer who not only knows who to handle these complex cases, but also understands to the plaintiff, this is far more than a case or a statistic. Plaintiff should also not worry about being able to afford such an attorney because there is no fee for a consultation, and these cases are generally handled on a contingency fee agreement.
Contingency Fee Agreement With Mesothelioma Attorney
A contingency agreement is a written agreement where a client and attorney agree to representation where the attorney does not require to plaintiff to pay any legal fees unless plaintiff is successful in obtaining money in a settlement agreement or from a jury following a favorable verdict after trial. The amount of the fee will usually between 33 and 45 percent of the proceeds after costs have been repaid, and the amount typically works on a sliding scale. This means that if the case is settled prior to the need to file a case in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, the fee will typically be at the lower end of the scale. If a case gets filed, it will increase, and if there is a trial, it will increase once again. This is done so that a plaintiff who cannot afford to otherwise hire an experienced attorney will not have to worry about that, and the plaintiff’s fee, if there is a recovery, is tied to the amount of time, money, and work plaintiff’s attorney expends in obtaining that successful result.
One of the most important aspects is reaching that settlement is being able to prove who was responsible for plaintiff’s exposure, which may have happened decades before the case. The best thing to do is write down ever place plaintiff worked and who worked with plaintiff at those jobs. Also, plaintiff should write down where all family members who lived in his or her household worked during the time they lived together. This is because there were many cases in which a worker would come home at the end of the day still covered in asbestos dust and his family would be unknowingly exposed to the dust. This is called a take home asbestos case.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Renovation boom revives a deadly demon for Massachusetts workers, December 19, 2016, B Martha Beginger, and Colby Curdic, NECIR
More Blog Entries:
Montana Settles Asbestos Claims for $25M, Feb. 19, 2017, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog