Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that effects the mesothelium, the tissue that surrounds the organs in the body. This tissue provides fluid which aids the smooth movement of the organs. There are three different forms of the disease, but 75% of all cases originate in the chest cavity as the pleural form. There is a single recognized cause for pleural mesothelioma which is exposure to asbestos in large amounts or over an extended period. Asbestos fibers cause scarring and damage to tissue cells surrounding the lungs, leading to the production of cancer cells. The cells divide rapidly and create tumors which build up fluid and thicken membranes.
Mesothelioma will stay dormant in the body for many years before symptoms become apparent. The patient is often in the advance stages of the disease before diagnosis is made. These latent cells may not appear for 20 to 50 years’ post exposure to asbestos. The disease is frequently misdiagnosed in its early stages as bronchitis, the flu or pneumonia. A dry or painful cough, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss are some of the symptoms. Other signs may mimic pneumonia, such as shortness of breath or breathing difficulty.
Asbestos – History of a Known Hazard
Persons who were exposed to asbestos in the workplace account for almost all cases of mesothelioma. The first cases were discovered in the early 1900s. among workers in asbestos mines. The material usage increased throughout the 20th century despite being a known health hazard. Because of its fire resistant and non-conductive properties, it was widely used in building materials until its regulation in the mid 1970’s. There are an estimated 700,000 buildings in the U.S. that still contain asbestos.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s many workers in factories, construction and demolition were exposed to asbestos. These workers, who are now in their sixties and seventies, are the latest wave of new mesothelioma cases.
Many asbestos remediation companies are thriving today, from performing the safe removal of asbestos from schools, buildings, and homes where asbestos products were used. Most installed asbestos products do not pose a great risk unless the asbestos is in the friable form. Friable is the term used for asbestos that is easily crumbled as in ceiling tiles or pipe wrappings. Friable asbestos is more likely to release fibers into the air which can be inhaled over an extended time leading to mesothelioma many years later. Homes constructed prior to 1980 should be professionally inspected for the presence of asbestos.
The dangers of asbestos exposure were well-known by manufacturers in the 20th century, but hidden from workers. For years, they worked unaware of the concealed health hazard. By the time of government intervention and production regulation, it was too late for many of these workers, who went on to develop mesothelioma decades later. Many who have suffered from mesothelioma or lost a loved one to the disease, have taken legal action against the employers and asbestos manufacturers. Many of these companies have filed for bankruptcy protection against lawsuits, but the government required trusts to be set up to compensate those who suffered. There are over 50 such trusts containing billions of dollars.
Why the Late-Night Commercials About Mesothelioma?
Along with commercials selling pans that can fry cheese without sticking, lawyers, usually from another state, are cruising the late-night TV crowd for mesothelioma victims to join in a class action lawsuit. When you can’t sleep, or come home late, and begin to channel surf, you can’t avoid running into one of these characters.
It is cost effective to run an ad at one or two in the morning and the late-night audience is less likely to change the channel. The cheap time slots enable the law firms to cover many regions of the United States, to hopefully get the attention of those who know someone with the disease or have been exposed to asbestos themselves. The motivation is to round up as many “clients” as possible to increase the total amount of a class action settlement. The settlement is divided among the thousands of sufferers and a large percentage goes to the law firm. Or it could be the firm is striving or be the “take charge” law firm in the class action, when the judge chooses their firm over all the other law firms filing similar actions, due to the large number of “clients.” Some advertisers are not even lawyers, but lawyer referral sites who take your case and pass it on to a local law firm in their state.
Why, if you live in California and have some of the top asbestos law firms in the country, would you give your case to a billboard lawyer in Florida? In this age of Avvo, Yelp, Google + and other professional review sites, who would pick up the phone and dial an out of state law firm to handle a case as serious as a potentially fatal disease? The 17% of people that don’t check reviews prior to retaining an attorney.
Contact a California Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or someone you care for is suffering, due to asbestos exposure, you should consult a California attorney that has the experience required in handling these complex cases. Vititoe Law Group is a leader in handling environmental exposure cases such as work related asbestos exposure. Our attorneys will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation available for you or your loved one. We will review all work history and medical records to gain an accurate assessment of your case. Reach out to an attorney at Vititoe Law Group today by calling 818-851-1886 or arrange a free consultation online. There is no cost to you until you receive compensation. Do not wait as the time for filing your case is limited.