NYC Mesothelioma Lawyer
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma lawsuits more often than not lead to significant financial recovery for damages. People with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure — or surviving family members of the deceased — are eligible to file claims against one or more parties for the harm.
- What Are Mesothelioma Symptoms?
- Types of Mesothelioma
- Mesothelioma and Asbestos Research
- Mesothelioma and New York
- Types of Mesothelioma Claims
- Asbestos Trust Funds
- Mesothelioma Lawsuits In New York City, New York State And New Jersey
- Statutes Of Limitations
- Contact Our Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyers
What Are Mesothelioma Symptoms?
It typically takes 10 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos for mesothelioma to form. About 3,000 new mesothelioma diagnoses occur every year.
Depending on the location of cancer, it can cause difficulty breathing, low oxygen levels, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, bowel obstruction, heart palpitations, coughing, or chest pain. The average life expectancy upon diagnosis is six to 18 months. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma.
Types of Mesothelioma
Pleural or lung mesothelioma is the most common type of this cancer. This type of mesothelioma originates in the soft tissue or lining of the lungs and is caused by asbestos exposure. The pleural lining is made up of two layers, one that covers the chest cavity and another that covers the lungs.
When the fiber-like particles of asbestos are inhaled, they adhere to the lungs and eventually make their way into the pleural lining. causing inflammation, irritation, and eventually the growth of cancerous cells which can quickly move from one layer to the other. Masses can grow in the lung along with an accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity.
Symptoms are often not present until the disease is in the later stages and can include chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, difficulty swallowing, and a dry cough. Tests are typically conducted to confirm a diagnosis including imaging scans and biopsies. The period from the exposure point to the onset of symptoms at between 20 and 50 years.
The average age of diagnosis for a pleural mesothelioma patient is 72. This type of mesothelioma accounts for 75% of all cases. While the anticipated lifespan is approximately 18 months, depending upon treatment plans and other factors, some may live years after they are diagnosed. Treatment plans typically include chemotherapy, surgery radiation therapy and immunotherapy.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is much less common than pleural mesothelioma, accounting for around 20% of all cases. This cancer originates in the lining of the abdomen and is caused by the ingestion of asbestos fibers where these fibers have traveled from the digestive system to the peritoneum.
The cells become irritated, and DNA is damaged, and over time the abdominal lining is thickened. Symptoms of the disease include abdominal pain, abdominal distension, a feeling of fullness, and constipation or diarrhea. As these symptoms can be indicative of other conditions, testing to confirm a diagnosis would be done by a biopsy. The latency period is typically 20 to 40 years from the point of exposure.
There are three stages of this type of cancer:
- Stage 1: Cancer cells are minimal, and tumors are held within the abdominal lining.
- Stage 2: Cancer cells are moderate, and tumors are held within the peritoneal lining.
- Stage 3: Cancer cells have become more pervasive, and tumors may have spread past the abdominal lining and into the lymph nodes.
The average life expectancy is approximately 12 months past diagnosis; however, a combination of treatments can extend the lifespan of patients by more than 5 years. Treatment plans may include surgery and/or heated chemotherapy, also known as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy or HIPEC.
Pericardial mesothelioma starts in the heart lining. This type of cancer is very rare, accounting for only 1% of all diagnosed cases. Over time after exposure, excess fluid builds up in the pericardial sack, and the pericardial lining thickens.
Symptoms may include heart palpitations, trouble breathing, persistent coughing, and fatigue. As this form of cancer is rare, symptoms may go unnoticed until the advanced stages.
Prognosis is generally poor for this type of cancer, with an expected life span of fewer than six months. Testing is done to confirm a diagnosis including an echocardiogram, which is a test utilizing soundwaves to test heart function and effusion cytology, in which a pathologist inspects fluid around the heart for signs of mesothelioma. Clinical trials and other treatment options include surgery, pericardiocentesis, draining of fluid around the heart, and chemotherapy.
Testicular mesothelioma is extremely rare, accounting for less than 1% of all cases. This cancer forms on the membrane lining the testes. Doctors do not yet understand how asbestos exposure results in this rare form of the disease.
Symptoms are typical of other conditions, so this form of mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed. The most common symptom is a buildup of fluid in the scrotum. This type of cancer may be painless. Tests to confirm a diagnosis would entail the evaluation of a biopsy. The most common treatment is surgery with a small percentage of patients receiving radiation therapy.
The prognosis for this type of cancer has a much better survival rate than other types, with 49% of patients surviving more than 5 years and 33% surviving more than 10 years.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed or passed away from mesothelioma, contact the experienced attorneys at Meriowitz & Wasserberg today for a free and confidential consultation.
Get the advice and guidance you need to get the compensation you and your family deserve. Hablamos Espanol. Call us today at 212-897-1988 to discuss your case.
New York Cancer Centers
If you have been exposed to asbestos, are suffering symptoms, and suspect it may be cancer, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible with a qualified specialist.
For the best possible outcome, it is imperative to obtain a firm diagnosis and review what treatment options may be available. New York has some of the most comprehensive cancer centers in the world.
- Albert Einstein Cancer Center, Bronx
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center, Cold Spring Harbor
- Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo
- Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, New York City
- The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, New York City
- Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone, New York City
What is Asbestos?
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, asbestos refers to six different minerals that occur naturally in rock and soil. These silicate minerals are composed of long fibrous crystals or “fibrils.” These fibers do not dissolve in water or evaporate and have no odor or taste.
Of the six types, one belongs to the serpentine mineral family, and the others belong to the amphibole family. While all asbestos forms are considered dangerous and cancer-causing, the amphibole family appears to be more hazardous to health than the chrysotile.
Asbestos is naturally occurring and plentiful. It is typically found in three rock types: altered ultramafic rocks, serpentinites, and other mafic rocks. Its parallel fibrous structure can be worked like any other type of fiber. Asbestos is lightweight and can withstand heat, chemical corrosion, and electricity. Asbestos is also a known carcinogen.
When asbestos fibers enter the environment, fibers may be suspended in the air for a long period of time and can be moved by the wind. Most exposure to asbestos is caused by breathing in these fibers suspended in the air.
A Brief History of Asbestos Use
Because it was so abundant, inexpensive, and resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion, asbestos was considered a “magic mineral” in the 19th century. However, once the mineral’s inherent dangers were discovered, it became anything but magical. In the mid-19th century, asbestos was widely mined due to increasing demand for a variety of products, including construction materials and insulation.
During the late 1800s or Industrial Era, asbestos was used to insulate the boilers and pipes of steam engines. In 1899, a chemist by the name of Ludwig Hatschek created a fiber adhesive he called Eternit, which combined asbestos and cement. The product became hugely popular in construction at the time because it was both fire-resistant and inexpensive. Companies devised other ways to integrate asbestos into other products, including toothpaste and talcum powder.
Asbestos use was prevalent in World War II in the shipyards of New York, as it was used to insulate Navy ships. Roads built in the 1930s through the 1950s in the U.S were constructed with asphalt and asbestos. Consumption of asbestos in the United States reached the highest point in 1977. World use of asbestos peaked in 1978. Asbestos mining was banned in the United States in 2002, but asbestos itself is still legal to use. While over 50 countries have banned its use, the U.S. continues to import and use asbestos.
What common products contain asbestos?
Asbestos can be found in a variety of commonly used products.
- Tiles: Both flooring and ceiling tiles, along with the adhesive used to lay them down, may contain asbestos.
- Cement: Because asbestos is lightweight, heat-resistant, and strong, it has been mixed with cement.
- Textiles: In the past, asbestos has been added to cloth fibers such as blankets, rope, and even firefighting uniforms.
- Automobile Parts: Asbestos is still used in brake pads and clutches.
- Roofing Materials: Corrugated sheeting and roofing materials may still contain asbestos.
While most manufacturers phased out the use of asbestos in products in the 1980s due to burgeoning illness and liability, it remains legal. In 1989, the EPA banned the use of asbestos products, but this decision was overturned by the New Orleans Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Based upon this court decision, only new uses of asbestos were banned, other than those specifically indicated by the court, which included flooring felt, roll board, corrugated and commercial paper.
Mesothelioma and Asbestos Research
Mesothelioma may date back centuries with the tumors on the lung first recorded in 1767. The term mesothelioma was coined by J.G. Adami in 1909 as doctors began to research the origins of the cancer. It wasn’t until the late 1920s, however, that renowned researcher, Dr. ERA Mereweather, was asked to conduct a study of the impact of asbestos exposure on the lungs. In his research, he concluded that asbestos workers faced a significant risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis or lung disease. A few years later, Dr. Mereweather also linked asbestos exposure to an increase in lung cancer.
In 1943, a German study done by H.W. Wedler was the first to link asbestos workers with cancer in the pleural lining. Roughly 20% of these workers were diagnosed with cancer.
A famous 1960 study published in the British Journal of Medicine, medical researcher J.C. Wagner and physician Chris Sleggs documented the causal connection between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. Their paper followed 33 cases of mesothelioma related to a mine in South Africa. Of these cases, eight were occupationally related, and the remaining cases were in patients who had lived near the mines.
In 1964, Dr. Irving Selikoff unveiled a study at the Biological Effects of Asbestos Conference. His research concluded that the mortality rate for employees of an asbestos and rubber company based in New Jersey resulted in a 25% higher than normal mortality rate among employees. Many died of asbestos-related conditions such as lung cancer and other cancers such as stomach, lung, and colorectal.
Occupational physician and epidemiologist Molly Newhouse published a report in 1965 linking asbestos to mesothelioma. She and Hilda Thompson conducted the first case-control study, which showed that 53% of 76 patients had exposure to asbestos dust. She became a world authority on the subject of mesothelioma and published over 40 papers on asbestos. Her work directly led to the banning of asbestos and removal from buildings all over the world.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed or passed away from mesothelioma, contact the experienced NYC asbestos attorneys at Meriowitz & Wasserberg today for a free and confidential consultation. Get the advice and guidance you need to get the compensation you and your family deserve. Hablamos Espanol. Call us today at 212-897-1988 to discuss your case.
Mesothelioma and New York
New York state has a long history with asbestos exposure. In 1858, the H. W. Jones was formed in New York City and used asbestos to create fire-resistant roofing materials. The company merged with the Manville Covering Company in 1901 to create the H. W. Johns Manville Company. This newly formed entity continued so manufacture asbestos-filled products including roofing and insulation, and other products. The company buried data for years regarding the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma.
As people became ill during the 1970s and 1980s, countless claims were brought against the company. When a coverup was brought to light, the company’s liability became so large, it eventually declared bankruptcy. As part of the bankruptcy process, the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust was created to address compensation for those harmed by exposure to the company’s asbestos products. The company is still in existence and was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001. The company no longer uses asbestos as one of its materials.
New York state currently ranks 5th in the nation for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths. Because the state has been such a hotbed of asbestos-related litigation, a special court was created, the New York Asbestos Litigation court, just to address these cases. While much of the exposure to asbestos in New York may have occurred in New York City, the potential for exposure exists throughout the state.
With its coastline and rivers, shipping has been an integral industry in the state of New York. Asbestos was used extensively in shipbuilding because it was lightweight and fire-resistant, creating a high risk of exposure for workers and service members.
World Trade Center
Many of New York’s buildings contain asbestos, but as long as the asbestos is contained within the structure, the asbestos does not present as much of a threat. If degradation or renovation occurs, however, asbestos fibers can be released into the environment, causing a significant exposure. The 9/11 disaster of the world trade center was one of the most shocking examples of construction dust and debris being released into the air. First responders were likely to have inhaled toxic building substances, including asbestos.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed or passed away from mesothelioma, contact the experienced attorneys at Meriowitz & Wasserberg today for a free and confidential consultation. Get the advice and guidance you need to get the compensation you and your family deserve. Hablamos Espanol. Call us today at 212-897-1988 in New York to discuss your case.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims
For victims of mesothelioma, the two most common types of claims are personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits. Veterans may be eligible for benefits from the Veterans Administration.
The basic premise of a personal injury claim is one in which someone has suffered harm at the hands of the other party and is owed damages due to their negligence.
For these types of cases, juries may award damages for loss of income, medical bills, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.
If a loved one has passed from melanoma, a wrongful death suit can be brought by surviving family members. In these types of cases, juries may award reimbursement for funeral costs and medical care.
Former members of the military may have been exposed to asbestos during their time serving in the Navy, Army, Coast Guard, and Marines as asbestos has been used in ships, military vehicles, and military bases. For service members, a claim can be filed with the Veteran’s Administration.
Approximately 30% of all mesothelioma cases originate from service members as asbestos was widely used by the military before its dangers were known. For those suffering from asbestos-related conditions related to their time in service, the following compensation is potentially available:
- Disability Compensation: Monetary compensation for post-service-related conditions such as mesothelioma.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Surviving family members monetary compensation for service members who have passed due to asbestos exposure.
- Special Compensation: Compensation paid out to veterans or their surviving family for specific circumstances. These awards are tax-free and are sometimes referred to as aid and attendance.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed or passed away from mesothelioma, contact the experienced attorneys at Meriowitz & Wasserberg today for a free and confidential consultation. Get the advice and guidance you need to get the compensation you and your family deserve. Hablamos Espanol. Give us a call at 212-897-1988 to discuss your
Special Veteran Compensation
Veterans with mesothelioma may also receive special compensation awards. Veterans who worked on or built naval vessels and warships could be eligible for asbestos-related disability benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The VA outlines certain criteria mesothelioma sufferers must meet to qualify for this type of ongoing compensation.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos trust funds are monies set aside by negligent companies to pay out compensation to those impacted by asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma if the company is bankrupt.
These funds are funded with enough money to anticipate future claims and allow affected parties to sue the fund rather than the company for compensation. In 1994, U.S. Congress established section 524(G) under the bankruptcy code allowing companies with exposure to asbestos lawsuits to create trust funds for this purpose. Numerous companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy which required the creation of these trusts or Chapter 7 bankruptcy which required companies to sell all assets and distribute funds to victims.
It is estimated that $30 billion remains in the 60 asbestos trust funds in the U.S. Some of the largest trust funds currently in place belong to the following companies; Johns-Manville, Celotex, Eagle Pitcher, and UNARCO.
In order to receive compensation, victims may file claims with these funds. Financial assistance may be available for many difficulties a family will face after a diagnosis or death. Limitations exist as to how many times one may file a claim, and other requirements must be met including proof of asbestos exposure and a diagnosis of a condition or illness related to this exposure. Other trust-specific criteria may be required. Those who may be able to file a claim include the following:
- Victims of asbestos exposure
- Family members of victims of asbestos exposure
- Family members or an attorney, if the victim is too ill to file on their own
Compensation amounts vary by the type of the fund and contemplate a variety of factors. Each trust fund maintains a payment schedule in order to ensure enough money remains for future payouts. These amounts are typically determined by how much a victim is entitled to and the current payout percentage of the fund.
These percentages vary based on the number of claims received and how much has been budgeted for a period of time. In order to receive compensation, victims may file a claim, and compensation may include payouts for medical bills and for lost wages. While trust funds are regulated on the federal level, state restrictions may apply in the form of set-offs. Set-offs reduce the amount of monies received from a trust fund from future settlements.
Mesothelioma Lawsuits In New York City, New York State And New Jersey
Mesothelioma claims in New York are unique compared to other personal injury lawsuits. Since mesothelioma can take decades after initial exposure to appear, bankrupt or dissolved companies are common problems in these lawsuits. The asbestos trusts provide enough funding to pay out mesothelioma claims even if the company no longer exists or cannot afford to pay.
Aside from settlement and jury award compensation types, mesothelioma sufferers could also be eligible for compensation through asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, which exist with the sole purpose of reimbursing victims of asbestos exposure even when the company at fault has gone out of business or declared bankruptcy.
Statutes Of Limitations
The state of New York only allows three years from the date of diagnosis to file a personal injury claim.
If your loved one passed away from mesothelioma, you only have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death claim. Missing the statute of limitations can mean the courts will not hear your case.
However, the courts may allow an exception to the deadline in certain scenarios. It is important to speak to a qualified New York City personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a mesothelioma diagnosis to improve your chances of a successful lawsuit.
Failure to timely file a claim may result in courts refusing to hear the case. The courts may agree to hear the case in certain circumstances if these deadlines are not met; however, this is not guaranteed. Consultation with an attorney who specializes in these types of cases is important to determine options in order to timely file a claim and comply with applicable legal requirements.
The laws surrounding asbestos and mesothelioma litigation are complex. If you have been affected by mesothelioma, you have limited time to file a claim. The attorneys at Meriowitz & Wasserberg specialize in these types of cases, are well versed in New York state law, and will work with you to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a New York City mesothelioma attorney at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, can help. There is a high chance you could be eligible for a financial award from asbestos exposure, even if it occurred decades ago.
Call us or contact us online for your free consultation with our experienced legal team.
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