Frequently Asked Questions About Mesothelioma

Experienced NJ Mesothelioma Lawyer Answers Asbestos Exposure FAQs

New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyer Answers Asbestos FAQs.After a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may have many questions regarding your health, the future of your family, and financial matters. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor everything you want to know about your illness. For questions about who is responsible for your condition and your options for compensation, call a qualified New Jersey mesothelioma lawyer. The attorneys at Keefe Law Firm offer free initial consultations so that you can discuss your concerns and find out if you have grounds for an asbestos lawsuit.

Below, our attorneys answer common questions about mesothelioma cases:

Q: What is mesothelioma?

A: Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute describes mesothelioma as a rare form of cancer in which malignant cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura), the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum), or the lining around the heart (the pericardium).

Q: How do you get mesothelioma?

A: Mesothelioma results from asbestos exposure at work or through products that contain asbestos. Since they are almost invisible, a worker may inhale or swallow asbestos particles, causing serious health problems.

Employees with prolonged exposure over an extended period of time face the highest risk. However, mesothelioma may occur after only minimal exposure as well. Workplaces where shingles, flooring materials, cement, brake linings, textiles, and insulation are manufactured and/or sold, which all may contain asbestos, pose the greatest risk to workers.

Q: How will I know if I have mesothelioma?

A: Symptoms of mesothelioma include pain and swelling, shortness of breath, coughing, weight loss, blood clots, anemia, and fever. However, your symptoms may vary depending on the type of mesothelioma you have. While doctors may suspect mesothelioma in a particular case, they need a tissue sample to give a final diagnosis. If you think you may have the symptoms of mesothelioma, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Q: After asbestos exposure, how long does it take to develop mesothelioma?

A: Mesothelioma usually develops decades after exposure to asbestos. Some workers exposed in the mid-20th century are just now being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Since the disease takes a long time to develop, identifying the source of exposure may be difficult. However, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can investigate your work history to find companies or industries known for asbestos exposure. Previous claims by injured workers may help pinpoint the party responsible for your illness.

Q: What are my mesothelioma treatment options?

A: Mesothelioma treatment options depend on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patient’s age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, either alone or in conjunction with one another.

Non-conventional treatment options may also be helpful in your case. If applicable, speak to your doctor about any clinical trials that may be underway to see if you may benefit from participating.

Q: Can I collect workers compensation benefits for mesothelioma?

A: The laws dealing with employer responsibility for asbestos exposure vary from state to state. However, there is usually some way for an employee to recover for asbestos-related injuries sustained at a workplace. If your employer is still active, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim for an occupational illness.

Additionally, even if your former employer went out of business or filed bankruptcy, you may still be able to recover compensation. Many states require businesses in asbestos-related industries to establish bankruptcy trusts to cover the cost of future mesothelioma claims.

Q: I live in New Jersey, and years ago I filed an asbestos claim. Recently I was diagnosed with mesothelioma. What are my rights and am I permitted to sue?

A: Like many states, New Jersey has a two-disease rule concerning asbestos exposure cases. This means that people with repeated exposure to asbestos have legal options open to them if they develop multiple health problems such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

For example, if you develop a non-malignant asbestos-related disease like asbestosis, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover monetary compensation for medical bills and lost wages. If, years later, you develop a malignant asbestos-related disease, like mesothelioma, you can file a second asbestos lawsuit, irrespective of the first.

Q: Does smoking increase my risk of developing mesothelioma?

A: Although smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma by itself, it does increase the risk of lung cancer in general. However, smokers who also have a history of asbestos exposure are more than 50 times more likely to develop mesothelioma.

Q: Am I still at risk if I work in an asbestos-related industry?

A: Currently, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits on acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. Additionally, according to OSHA standards, employers must take steps to protect employees who work with asbestos.  This includes taking safety precautions and providing personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure.

Q: Is my family at risk for asbestos exposure?

A: There is some evidence that family members of asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma. The reason is that family members may come into contact with asbestos dust on the worker’s clothes, skin and hair. To reduce the chance of secondhand asbestos exposure like this, companies should require workers to shower and change clothes before leaving work.

Q: What are my legal rights if I have mesothelioma?

A: If you have received a mesothelioma diagnosis, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can advise you on whether you may be able to bring an asbestos lawsuit to recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and other costs. Even if you are unsure where your asbestos exposure may have occurred, you may have grounds for legal action.

The attorneys at Keefe Law Firm have decades of experience helping thousands of mesothelioma victims. We have handled successful cases in New Jersey, as well as across New England and the United States. Our law firm has locations in Red Bank, New Brunswick, Newark and Point Pleasant, but we are happy to travel to meet you wherever you are. If you have questions or need assistance with an asbestos lawsuit, contact us online or call one of our offices today.