Filing an Asbestos Lawsuit in the Commonwealth

For most, being diagnosed with mesothelioma is devastating. Asbestos fibers are proven to cause a deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other serious respiratory illnesses.

gavel-4-1409594-m.jpgAsbestos is comprised of six naturally occurring forms of silica, which has been mined for thousands of years. During the industrial revolution, which began around 1850, manufacturers started using asbestos in many aspects of production. Whether it was used in constructing a factory or in manufactured goods sold to millions of consumers, asbestos served as a cheap and efficient insulator from heat, electricity and chemicals.

Aside from these beneficial qualities, there is a significant risk involved in working with asbestos. When the fibers are inhaled, they become trapped in a layer of organ tissue known as the mesothelium. There is no way to remove the fibers, and most people do not develop any symptoms until the disease has nearly killed the patient. Once a mesothelioma diagnosis is made, there is usually very little time left for the patient.

However, doctors and scientists are working to change this. According to a recent news article from the Times and Democrat, one man received a radical new treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. This treatment is part of the work they are doing for the International Mesothelioma Project.

The procedure involved doctors removing one of the mesothelioma patient’s ribs so that a part of his right lung known as the pleura could be surgically removed. After removal of the pleura, the remaining tissue is washed for about an hour with a solution of heated chemotherapy drugs. While his is by no means a cure for mesothelioma, it has helped this patient extend his life and improve his condition.

Due to the deadly nature of mesothelioma, it is often the case that the victim does not live long enough to file or complete his or her asbestos lawsuit. This does not mean that his or her surviving family members are not able to financially recover for their loss.

As our asbestos exposure lawyers in Boston can explain, a surviving heir must first open an estate. If he victim died in Boston, the appropriate court would be the Family and Probate Court for Suffolk County. If the decedent had a will, the person who is named as the executor or personal representative will normally administer the estate. If the decedent died intestate (without a will) than a surviving heir can petition the probate court to be appointed as an administrator. Usually, this is a surviving spouse or adult child of the decedent.

Once an estate has been opened, a mesothelioma lawyer can file a mesothelioma lawsuit in the name of decedent’s estate with the personal representative signing the necessary documents. The surviving spouse may also, in certain situations, be able to file some claims in his or her own name, such as a claim for loss of consortium.

While this is generally the process by which an asbestos case proceeds, the facts of every situation are different and you should speak with your attorney about what will work in your actual situation.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional resources:

Raising awareness: Holly Hill Academy raising funds for graduate with mesothelioma, September 26, 2014, The Times and Democrat
More Blog Entries:

Mesothelioma Lawsuits for Shipyard Workers, July 30, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog

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