South Carolina Mesothelioma Lawyers
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer and an asbestos related disease. It is a cancer of the membranes lining the chest or abdomen. It is most often the result of workplace exposure to asbestos fibers, with about 70 to 80% of cases being linked to asbestos. Because diagnosis of mesothelioma is often made at a late stage of the disease, five-year survival rates are low compared to other cancers. If you have been exposed to asbestos fibers and diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may feel afraid and not know what to do.
The personal injury lawyers in South Carolina at McWhirter, Bellinger, & Associates, P.A., can help. We know that a mesothelioma lawsuit can help mesothelioma victims make plans for their future if they survive mesothelioma and for their family if they do not. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and legal options.
Mesothelioma Diagnosis and Treatment
In its early stages, the symptoms of mesothelioma are not very specific and hard to pinpoint. They may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. These may be accompanied by pain in the chest or abdomen, and abdominal swelling. If you have these symptoms long enough and go to a doctor, your doctor may order a chest x-ray, which should give sufficient evidence for a doctor to diagnose mesothelioma or order more detailed tests like a CT scan or an MRI. However, it is not uncommon for the x-ray to be misread, leading to a delayed cancer diagnosis.
Once mesothelioma has been diagnosed, there are three treatment options, which may be used singly or in combination:
- Radiation therapy
There are other treatment options under investigation, including intraoperative photodynamic therapy, when the cancer cells are made more sensitive to light and exposed during surgery. Therapies designed to boost the body’s immune system are also being tried.
No matter what treatment is used, though, the 5-year survival rate for mesothelioma is less than 10%.
Why File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you are suffering from mesothelioma, the chances are it is the result of workplace exposure to asbestos. The dangers of asbestos have been known since the 1800s, but because asbestos was a relatively cheap material with useful properties, asbestos manufacturers kept producing it. It was also commonly used through the 1970s in many applications. Despite its known danger, many employers allowed their employees to work with asbestos with no or inadequate safety equipment. And many of these decisions were profit-driven.
Construction workers are especially pronged to exposure. The asbestos contained in contaminated building products such as spackling, paint, roof shingles, drywall, and masonry compounds can be breathed in, which may cause mesothelioma.
Now you are facing long-term illness requiring expensive treatment. Your family is at risk of losing the emotional and financial support you provide. You want to provide for your family, and it is only right that those who risked your life for their profit be made to pay. This is the goal of a mesothelioma lawsuit.
With offices in Aiken, Camden, Columbia, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Sumter, South Carolina, our South Carolina mesothelioma lawyers are ready to serve you.
For immediate help, call today at 888-353-5513.
Is mesothelioma a form of lung cancer?
No. Mesothelioma affects the sac, or membrane, that lines the interior of the chest or abdominal cavity, not the lungs.
I worked with asbestos a long time ago, can it still be the cause of my mesothelioma?
Yes. The effects of asbestos exposure are long term. It is not unusual for people to be diagnosed with mesothelioma 30, 40, 50 years or more after working with asbestos. Even if you worked with asbestos in the 50s or 60s, there may be a connection between your exposure and your illness.
Could smoking be the cause of my mesothelioma?
No. Mesothelioma of the chest membranes is called “a signal tumor for asbestos exposure” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mesothelioma is only strongly associated with asbestos exposure. It is also not related to:
- Car fumes
- Paint fumes
- Chest x-rays
- Radon exposure
How do I know when I was exposed to asbestos?
If you worked in any of the following fields through the 1970s, it is likely that you may have been exposed to asbestos:
- Manufacturing of asbestos products such as insulation, roofing, brake pads, or others
- Automotive repair
- Construction or demolition
- Steel mills
- Shipboard or offshore work
If you worked in multiple fields or with different employers, it is possible that you received multiple exposures to asbestos.
How can a mesothelioma lawsuit help me and my family?
A mesothelioma lawsuit can help you and your family cover expenses related to the illness and to make up for lost income. This can get financial worries out of the way and help you focus on dealing with the emotional ramifications of the illness. A lawsuit can get compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship (consortium)
In addition, it can help many people come to terms with this tragic illness if they can point to a definitive cause and a person who is responsible.
What is the average mesothelioma settlement?
Every mesothelioma case is different, and settlements are influenced by factors including the person’s age, their stage of cancer, medical expenses, lost wages, their number of dependents, pain and suffering, and more. Rather than researching average payout amounts, victims are advised to contact an experienced South Carolina personal injury lawyer who can put a fair value on their case.
Mesothelioma cases are particularly unique because the funds used to pay victims often come from asbestos bankruptcy trusts. These trusts were set up so that victims could receive compensation from negligent asbestos companies, even after those companies went bankrupt. Each trust has a system of rules and regulations that must be followed in order to make a claim, and a personal injury attorney will be able to help you navigate those rules.
If you’re a veteran who was exposed to asbestos while serving our country and later developed mesothelioma, you aren’t alone. In fact, veterans account for one in three mesothelioma cases each year. Although you cannot sue the military, you may be able to sue the companies that provided the military with products containing asbestos. You may be entitled to VA benefits.
Only an experienced mesothelioma attorney will be able to determine what your case is worth. Once they have calculated the value of your case by analyzing your economic and non-economic damages, they will fight hard for you to receive a fair sum – even when the other side tries to say your case is worth far less. Your personal injury lawyer will also take a long-term approach, taking into account any costs you are likely to encounter in the future as a result of your mesothelioma diagnosis.
If you’ve lost a loved one to mesothelioma, a personal injury lawyer may be able to represent you in a wrongful death case to help recover damages related to their death.
Mesothelioma is a devastating type of cancer, and it’s important that those responsible for your diagnosis or the diagnosis of a loved one be held accountable for the role they played.
Can you sue for asbestos exposure?
If workplace asbestos exposure caused you to develop a serious illness, you may be eligible to file a claim. Most claims are settled outside of court, but others go to court when a settlement can’t be reached. However, simply being exposed to asbestos is not grounds for a claim.
Although mesothelioma is the asbestos-linked illness that we most commonly hear about, the truth is that asbestos can cause a number of catastrophic health diagnoses that could warrant a claim.
The following health issues are associated with asbestos exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Larynx cancer
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pleural disease
In addition, current evidence also suggests that asbestos may cause cancer of the pharynx, stomach, and colorectum.
If you have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions after being exposed to asbestos at your workplace, you are advised to contact a South Carolina personal injury attorney who can listen to your story and determine whether you have a case.
Although you are not required to hire a lawyer to represent you in a South Carolina mesothelioma lawsuit, proving that a company is responsible for your diagnosis can be an extremely difficult task. This is largely due to the fact that symptoms of asbestos-linked illnesses can take years and sometimes decades to show. In fact, mesothelioma can take 20 to 60+ years to develop, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A personal injury attorney will know exactly what is needed to prove your case, and can use their vast experience and excellent research skills to build the strongest case possible. Most South Carolina personal injury law firms offer free case evaluations, so you have nothing to lose by calling and sharing your story.
The physical, emotional, and financial impact of asbestos-linked illnesses can be devastating, so it’s a good idea to investigate whether you are eligible to receive compensation for the hardships caused by your diagnosis.
How do you prove asbestos exposure?
Proving asbestos exposure can sometimes be difficult because of the time that typically passes between getting exposed to the material and being diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness.
Oftentimes, victims aren’t sure when or where they were exposed to asbestos. This is a common situation for people who worked for multiple employers or in multiple industries that commonly used asbestos products.
However, that doesn’t mean that proving asbestos exposure is impossible. Personal injury lawyers can often help their clients determine when they were exposed by using the asbestos database, a catalog which shows the companies that worked with asbestos or asbestos-containing materials.
You may also need to rely on eyewitness testimony from co-workers. These testimonies can help prove that your employer required you to work with asbestos and did not take adequate measures to protect you from the dangers posed by it.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there is an 80% chance that you developed it due to asbestos exposure. It’s certainly worth investigating the exact point of exposure so you can pursue a claim against the responsible party.
Once the cause of your asbestos exposure has been confirmed, there are often additional hurdles standing in the way. One of those usually occurs when a person has pre-existing conditions that the other side can claim contributed to the severity of their health issues. Fighting back against those accusations on your own can be difficult and stressful. However, a qualified South Carolina mesothelioma lawyer will be able to stand up to the other side using their research, education, and experience.
Mesothelioma patients sometimes feel that a claim isn’t worth pursuing, particularly if they’re simply trying to enjoy their remaining years as stress-free as possible. Choosing to pursue legal action is a highly personal decision, and it’s understandable if you’re unsure about whether you want to file a claim. That’s why a great first step is to speak with a South Carolina mesothelioma lawyer who can provide you with a free, no obligation case evaluation. One simple phone call to an attorney who is experienced in handling cases like yours can be all it takes to provide clarity.
Can you get disability for asbestos exposure?
Simply being exposed to asbestos is not enough for you to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Instead, you must prove that you not only have an asbestos-linked illness, but that you are unable to work because of that illness.
However, applying for SSDI is notoriously difficult, with complicated paperwork and strict rules and guidelines set by the Social Security Administration. If the application process is not followed correctly, it could lead to disability benefits being denied. However, a South Carolina Social Security Disability attorney can make sure every form is filled out correctly and on time, and can deal with any issues as they arise. If your application gets denied, they can help you appeal the decision.
Since SSDI is funded by payroll taxes, the amount you will receive in disability benefits depends on the Social Security Administration’s formula which will factor in your age, the number of years you have worked, and your average earnings while you worked. Your benefits will continue for as long as you are unable to work due to your disability.
If you are a veteran who was exposed to asbestos in the military, and you didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, you may be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs can be slow to act on applications and can take a significant amount of time to request further documents to support your claim. If a claim is not filled out in exactly the right way, it could result in a denial. However, a Veterans Disability Denial lawyer can help you appeal a denial.
How do you prove mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma can only be diagnosed by a doctor, who will generally start with a physical exam to check for lumps or any other unusual signs. They may also order imaging tests. While those protocols can be extremely helpful and informative, a positive biopsy is the only way a definitive diagnosis can be made.
Your medical records will provide proof of your mesothelioma diagnosis. They will show the date of your diagnosis, along with your prognosis and all of the treatments you have received.
The first thing your lawyer will do is ask questions about your background, particularly who you were employed by and what your job tasks were. You will need to describe in detail how long you worked for your employer and how often you came into contact with asbestos-containing products. Any employment records you have will strengthen your case.
If you’re a veteran and believe your diagnosis was caused by asbestos exposure in the service, your military records will be extremely valuable. It is sometimes possible to use those records to identify a particular military assignment that exposed you to asbestos. For example, in the case of Navy seamen assigned to a ship, records from the U.S. Naval Archive often show every piece of equipment (including those containing asbestos) that were loaded onto the ship.
Proving mesothelioma is easy once you’ve received a diagnosis, but holding the appropriate party accountable is an uphill battle that is best left to a qualified mesothelioma lawyer.
Can you sue for mesothelioma?
If your mesothelioma was caused by workplace exposure to asbestos, you may be eligible to file a claim against the responsible party. If a loved one died as a result of workplace exposure, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
You are not required to hire a lawyer to represent you in your case, but many people find that doing so helps alleviate stress, particularly when you’re battling a cancer as aggressive as mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma claims can also be tricky, which is why it’s often best to have a qualified legal professional by your side.
Those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to workplace asbestos exposure file claims for a number of reasons, including to receive compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
Family members filing a wrongful death claim can often receive compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Funeral costs and other end-of-life expenses
- Lost financial contributions of your loved one
- Pain and suffering
- Lost prospect of inheritance
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of support services
- Loss of guardianship and parental guidance
In addition, mesothelioma claims and lawsuits help hold employers and manufacturers accountable for their negligence, and can encourage others with asbestos-related illnesses to pursue justice.
If you choose to hire a South Carolina mesothelioma attorney for your claim, they will be with you every step of the way and will do all the heavy lifting so you can focus on managing your illness. They will gather all of the evidence needed in order to build the strongest case possible, consulting with physicians and other experts whenever needed. They’ll take care of all communication with the other side, and will remain in constant contact with you throughout the entire process.
Mesothelioma lawyers understand how devastating this type of cancer is, and will do everything they can to get you the compensation you are rightfully owed.
How do I start my mesothelioma lawsuit?
Simply contact the injury lawyers in SC at McWhirter, Bellinger, & Associates, P.A., They can provide you with some free legal advice that carries no obligation whatsoever. Don’t wait, please call or email today.
With offices in Aiken, Camden, Columbia, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Sumter, South Carolina, our South Carolina mesothelioma attorneys are ready to serve you.
For immediate help, call today at 888-353-5513.