What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma forms in the thin tissue surrounding the lungs, stomach and other organs. Inhaling or swallowing asbestos dust can cause particles to get lodged in the tissues, where they may remain for decades. Mesothelioma occasionally occurs in the heart and testicles as well.
Most people who develop mesothelioma worked in industries where asbestos is commonly found, such as construction, shipyards, manufacturing, plumbing, automotive, railroads and the military. Family members can also develop the disease as a result of secondhand exposure to asbestos particles on clothing and skin.
Doctors typically classify mesothelioma based on the location of where the disease began.
- Pleural: Involves the lungs and is the most common form of mesothelioma. It also responds best to treatment.
- Peritoneal: Affects the tissues surrounding the abdomen and can spread to other abdominal organs. The prognosis is generally poor for people with peritoneal mesothelioma.
- Pericardial: Occurs when cancerous cells form in the sac around the heart. It is uncommon, found in only approximately 1 percent of all patients.
- Testicular: Very rarely, mesothelioma can be found in the testicles. There is no fixed treatment protocol for patients with this form of the disease because there are so few cases.
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What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma can be tricky to diagnose because of its late onset and subtle symptoms. Many people do not seek out treatment until the symptoms have started to interfere with daily life. Often that means that the disease is quite advanced and may have spread to other areas of the body.
If you worked in a field where you know asbestos was abundant, you should tell your doctor immediately when you begin showing signs of the illness, such as:
- Breathing problems
- Pleural effusion (fluid buildup in the lungs)
- Stomach pain
- Swelling or lumps in the abdomen
- Night Sweats
- Muscle weakness
- Weight loss
- Anemia (especially in women)
How Do I Know If I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos?
Many people may not realize that they were exposed to asbestos at work. Because the diagnosis comes later in life, they may not connect it back to previous employment. If you aren’t sure if you worked in an industry where asbestos was present, consider these examples.
Asbestos can be found in:
- Roofing materials
- Friction products (brake linings in automotive and railroad industries, for example)
- Home or industrial insulation
- Military ships
- Protective firefighting clothing
- Power plants
- Textile mills
There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. If you suspect you were exposed or are showing signs of the illness, inform your physician right away. Mesothelioma may be detected in a variety of ways, including X-ray, CT scans, MRIs, biopsies and blood tests.
Could I Get a Mesothelioma Settlement in Savannah, Georgia?
Every situation is unique. The mesothelioma lawyers at the Spiva Law Group would need to evaluate your specific circumstances to determine if you have a possible claim. What we can say for sure is that mesothelioma treatment is costly, often placing a severe and unfair burden on patients and their families.
There are also several sources of compensation available to eligible claimants, including the Veterans Administration, asbestos trust funds and the companies themselves. Railroad workers are also protected under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Our attorneys can explain the various types of mesothelioma claims available to you during your consultation and help you figure out the next steps.
Mesothelioma lawsuits have been filed against many businesses and institutions in the Savannah area, including:
- American Cyanamid Chemical Co.
- American Oil Co.
- Georgia-Pacific Corp.
- Hunter Air Force Base
- Johns Manville
- Johns Manville Products Corp.
- Southern Cotton Oil Co.
- Union Camp Paper Co.
- National Gypsum Plant
- Savannah Machine & Foundry
- Southern Railroad Yard
- Continental Can Paper
What Types of Compensation Could I Receive?
Mesothelioma lawsuits fall under Georgia’s personal injury laws. To be eligible for compensation, you must file a claim within two years of your diagnosis of mesothelioma. Families who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Georgia is two years from the date of death.
Mesothelioma lawsuit settlement amounts can total in the millions of dollars. Victims may be awarded compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost future earnings, pain and suffering, punitive damages and more.
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