Exposure to asbestos can cause a range of serious illnesses such as lung cancer and asbestosis but perhaps no disease has come to be as closely associated with the harmful substance in recent years than malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer that attacks the thin membrane that lines the chest, abdomen and many of the body's internal organs. Because of its high fatality rate and the fact that many people came into contact with asbestos on the job, many individuals have chosen to file a mesothelioma lawsuit in recent years to help them gain access to money that can help them and their family cope with the illness.
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring minerals that were once prized for their resistance to fire. It has been used as a flame retardant since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans and its use has continued throughout the centuries. Asbestos began to be even more widely utilized during the Industrial Revolution across a number of industries, many of which still use the mineral today. However, by the mid-1960s it became clear that exposure to asbestos could cause serious health problems and its use began to be scaled back in many countries. The use of the carcinogenic mineral has been banned in more than 50 countries around the world. However, the U.S. is not one of them.
Due to its widespread use, many workers in such industries as insulation, ship building, construction, pipefitting, plumbing, mining, textile manufacturing and auto maintenance came into contact with asbestos while working. Like many asbestos-related diseases, it can take malignant mesothelioma decades to manifest symptoms in a victim. Because of this fact, many people who came into contact with asbestos on the job in past decades are only now filing mesothelioma lawsuits.
A mesothelioma lawsuit can help victims get the money they need to help combat the illness. According to the Mayo Clinic, "mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible. Instead, treatment for mesothelioma is often focused on keeping [patients] as comfortable as possible." Because of the severe nature of the disease, a mesothelioma lawsuit can help the family of the victim be compensated in case their loved one does not survive his or her battle with the devastating illness.
Perhaps even more insidious than the toll that mesothelioma has taken on many blue-collar workers is its impact on the loved ones of some of those workers.
According to the National Cancer Institute, "there is some evidence that family members of workers heavily exposed to asbestos face an increased risk of developing mesothelioma. This risk is thought to result from exposure to asbestos fibers brought into the home on the shoes, clothing, skin, and hair of workers. To decrease these exposures, Federal law regulates workplace practices to limit the possibility of asbestos being brought home in this way."
Such regulations may require that workers shower or change their clothes before leaving the job.
Those who have contracted the rare cancer in such a manner may want to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against the company that allowed asbestos to be inadvertently carried home by a loved one.
The World Health Organization estimates that about 107,000 people die each year around the globe because of asbestos-related diseases, including malignant mesothelioma.
As a result of the impact that the rare cancer has on peoples lives, many people file mesothelioma lawsuits to help them get the medical care and compensation they deserve.