Mesothelioma compensation is the result of an award for injuries or death as a result of asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is the result almost exclusively of asbestos exposure and lawsuits and claims for mesothelioma compensation have skyrocketed in recent years.
Asbestos Use in the United States
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been mined in the United States since the 1800s. However, it was not until after World War II that asbestos began to be used quite extensively in many products and in many different industries. Known for its usefulness in heat and corrosion protection, asbestos was used in an estimated 5,000 products in the United States, ranging from automotive and industrial brakes, ceiling tiles, insulation, flooring, and much more.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the effects of asbestos use became better understood and the link between asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma came into the awareness of the public. Part of the reason for this was that it can take many years for mesothelioma to develop and cases were appearing from people who had been working in asbestos rich environments for more than 30 years or longer.
In recent years, individuals who are exposed to building materials as a result of demolition work or through working in environments rich in destroyed building materials have found themselves developing mesothelioma symptoms. A good example of this is the firefighters and workers who worked at the recovery site of the World Trade Center in New York City after the September 11, 2001 attacks. These individuals have been showing increasing rates of developing mesothelioma symptoms due to the extreme rates of asbestos fibers they inhaled.
Unfortunately, even though the risks associated with continued use of asbestos products and exposure to asbestos fibers is well known today, employers and manufacturers continue to use these products. As a result, mesothelioma litigation has gained in popularity as a method of recovering the costs and losses associated with asbestos-related injury.
Mesothelioma compensation can range from the hundreds of thousands to the millions of dollars. The Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act was passed in 1999. While this piece of legislation placed limitations on when a mesothelioma compensation claim could be filed – not until after a diagnosis of mesothelioma, it also increased the likelihood of winning a case, since early mesothelioma symptoms are often vague and a diagnosis is usually not made until well into the illness.
Unfortunately, because mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until the late stages of the illness, the potential for a wrongful death suit also is an ugly fact that many claimants and their families will face.
Working with an Attorney
Mesothelioma compensation attorneys usually agree to take the case if they believe there is a good chance of winning, since most attorneys in these cases take the case on a contingency basis. Commonly, their rates are between thirty and forty percent of any award or settlement amount.
The attorney earns their fees by interviewing supervisors and coworkers and anyone else familiar with the work environment and the specifics of the potential for asbestos exposure. The attorney is also responsible for any negotiations with the opposing side and for being present at any legal hearings and for filing legal documents in the case.