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Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Lawyers

Pennsylvania has a long industrial history, with huge numbers of its residents employed in shipbuilding, metal works, and railroads. Many of these industries have a high risk for asbestos exposure. Corporations often did not properly protect their workers, and Pennsylvania now has one of the nation’s highest rates of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. People who were harmed by asbestos exposure at work, as well as their families, may be eligible for financial compensation.

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Mesothelioma is a type of cancer usually caused by exposure to asbestos. This dangerous mineral was widely used for many years across a variety of industries because of its resistance to heat, flame, and corrosion. However, it’s also extremely dangerous to human health. Besides mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos can cause the chronic lung disease asbestosis, damage to the pleura (the membrane surrounding the lungs), and a variety of other cancers, including lung cancer and colon cancer

Pennsylvania’s industrial history has led to a large number of cases of mesothelioma here in our state. A study published in the International Journal of Occupational Health showed that Pennsylvania is one of five states with the highest number of mesothelioma cases. There are a large number of known sites of asbestos exposure in Pennsylvania, including some major sites of asbestos contamination that the EPA is still trying to contain.

Corporations made huge profits in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, they didn’t always properly protect their workers, even after the dangers of asbestos were clear. It takes decades for asbestos exposure to cause disease, meaning that many people who were exposed are only now developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Those who were harmed through a corporation’s failure to provide proper protection from asbestos may be eligible to take legal action, allowing them to receive financial compensation for the many costs of their preventable disease.

How Our Attorneys Can Help You File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

The process of filing a lawsuit for mesothelioma can be complex. There are two primary types of lawsuits that can be filed in these cases:

  • A personal injury lawsuit is brought by a person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
  • A wrongful death lawsuit is brought by the heir(s) of a person who died of mesothelioma.

Each case is unique, and the specific legal tasks that are necessary in a particular case may vary. In general, your mesothelioma lawyer will:

  • Conduct a thorough investigation of your asbestos exposure history to identify all possible liable parties
  • Draft and file your mesothelioma lawsuit in the appropriate court and handle all the legal paperwork
  • Gather evidence to support your claim, including medical records, eyewitness testimony, and expert testimony
  • Represent you at all hearings related to your case
  • Handle all correspondence and settlement negotiations with the insurance companies and other parties involved in your case
  • If necessary, take your case to trial

It’s important to choose an attorney with experience in this specialized field of law. Certain details can be crucial in determining the likelihood of success. In addition, it takes great skill to handle the process of legal negotiation, which can determine the size of a settlement. If you don’t have an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, then the corporation’s lawyers can take advantage of this to convince you to accept a much smaller settlement than you’re truly entitled to.

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Our Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Settlements

Our attorneys have a long track record of success in bringing lawsuits related to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Some of our notable achievements include:

  • $32,000,000+ asbestos exposure verdict at the conclusion of a trial involving secondhand exposure claims. Jurors assigned liability to both premises defendant Kraft Heinz and contractor defendant Metal Masters Inc.
  • $5,100,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a Navy machinist’s mate who went on to be a civilian maintenance mechanic and contracted mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure
  • $4,000,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a Puerto Rican sugar mill mechanic and laboratory equipment engineer who contracted mesothelioma from asbestos exposure; this case was initially declined by another law firm specializing in asbestos litigation.
  • $3,400,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a Navy boiler tender who went on to be a boiler-room operator and contracted mesothelioma, but was unable to testify on his own behalf
  • $3,150,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a painter/taper diagnosed with mesothelioma who had exposure to a limited number of asbestos-containing building and construction products
  • $2,300,000+ mesothelioma settlement for a school custodian who contracted mesothelioma but was unable to identify the manufacturers of the products containing asbestos installed in the school

Known Asbestos Sites in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Geological Survey has documented more than a dozen sites in Pennsylvania where significant asbestos exposure is possible. Some of these are areas of natural exposure, although there were four asbestos mines in the southeastern area of the state.

Ambler and The First Asbestos Manufacturing Plant

The town of Ambler, located in Montgomery County about 16 miles north of Philadelphia, was the site of a major asbestos operation for decades. In the 1880s, the corporation Keasbey & Mattison was formed. Having discovered that asbestos could be useful as insulation, the company began researching ways to use asbestos. In 1896, the first asbestos textile manufacturing plant in the United States was built in Ambler.

The company was not careful with the disposal of asbestos-containing materials. In 1930, it began simply dumping materials containing asbestos in an outdoor location in the town, known as the Ambler Asbestos Piles. This created a huge risk of exposure for everyone in the town because asbestos fibers could easily enter the air and water.

The asbestos manufacturing operation changed hands a few times. In 1987, the corporation that owned it was forced into bankruptcy after being faced with thousands of lawsuits related to the irresponsible use and disposal of asbestos.

Today, there are two EPA Superfund sites located in Ambler—the Ambler Asbestos Piles and the BoRit Asbestos Site. While the EPA closely monitors them and attempts to keep the asbestos contained, many people in Ambler and the surrounding area are understandably concerned about the presence of this dangerous mineral in their communities.

Harrisburg and The Cost of Industrial Growth

Harrisburg was a leading center of industry for many decades. Although this created economic opportunity and led to the rapid growth of the city, it also created health risks for many workers, including a risk of exposure to asbestos. 

There are a number of industrial sites in Harrisburg where asbestos exposure was particularly likely. Many companies used asbestos in insulation materials, including power companies and steel mills. Some of the known sites of potential asbestos exposure in Harrisburg include:

  • General Electric
  • Harrisburg Steel
  • Atlantic Refinery Plant
  • Harrisburg Steel Mill
  • Dauphin County Steel
  • Paxton Iron and Steel Company
  • Harrisburg Automotive
  • Pennsylvania Power & Light
  • Harrisburg Light and Power

This is not an exhaustive list. There are other sites in Harrisburg where asbestos exposure is known to have occurred. Your mesothelioma lawyer will help you determine whether your workplace has a known history of causing exposure to asbestos.

Industries in Pennsylvania Known for Asbestos Exposure

A number of Pennsylvania industries were known for a high risk of asbestos exposure. Some of these include:

  • Shipbuilding
  • Steel and other metalworks
  • Railroads
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Power generation
  • Chemical processing
  • Oil refining
  • Construction

Many homes and office buildings in Pennsylvania were built when asbestos was commonly used in construction. In fact, many public schools and government buildings across the state contain asbestos. While it poses little risk as long as it remains undisturbed, the buildings are now aging.

If asbestos-containing materials begin falling apart, then asbestos can enter the air of the building, creating a health risk for anyone working or studying inside. There’s also a significant risk for asbestos to become aerosolized during maintenance or construction on these buildings. An experienced Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer can help.

Pennsylvania Asbestos Laws and Regulations

There are stringent federal laws regarding the commercial use of asbestos in the United States. Each state can pass more stringent laws of its own and determine how to ensure asbestos regulations are followed. For example, Pennsylvania has specific procedures for ensuring that contractors involved in asbestos abatement, or the removal of asbestos from old buildings, are trained to do so safely.

The process of filing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits also varies from state to state. For example, Pennsylvania law doesn’t allow people to file a claim simply for having been exposed to asbestos; you have to wait until an asbestos-related disease develops to take legal action. Your Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyer will help you to understand the specific regulations in this state.

Statute of Limitations for Filing Your Case

In each state, a law known as the statute of limitations governs the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after an injury, diagnosis, or death. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations gives you:

  • Two years from the date of diagnosis of mesothelioma to file a personal injury claim
  • Two years from the date of death from mesothelioma to file a wrongful death claim

If you wait longer than this period of time, you’ll lose your opportunity to file a lawsuit. This means that you won’t be able to receive compensation, even if it’s clear that your disease was caused by a corporation’s negligence.

The period after a cancer diagnosis or a death is challenging, and many people put off taking legal action. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t always give you this option, and waiting could mean that you have to bear the costs of your disease alone. It’s important to contact a mesothelioma attorney early so you don’t lose your opportunity to file. 

Pennsylvania Courts and Asbestos Litigation

A 2020 decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has had a significant impact on asbestos litigation in the state. In Roverano vs. John Crane, Inc., the court held that when a person is exposed to multiple sources of asbestos, any resulting financial judgment must be paid equally by all of the defendants.

Previously, a jury had to decide what percentage of the judgment should be paid by each of the defendants. Not only did this present an extra challenge for the members of the jury, but it gave corporations a way to try to get out of paying their fair share of compensation to the plaintiff. Following the Roverano decision, this is harder for them to do.

Liability for Asbestos Related Mesothelioma

Corporations have a legal duty to ensure that the products they sell are reasonably safe and to warn consumers of any known dangers of these products. In addition, a corporation must take reasonable actions to keep workers safe while they’re on the job. If a corporation fails to meet these obligations, then it can be held legally liable for the harm caused to its employees or consumers.

A corporation may also be held legally liable for the harm it causes to workers’ families. The asbestos fibers can easily travel home on a worker’s clothes, hair, or skin if proper decontamination practices are not followed. They then become aerosolized in the home, and others who live there can be exposed to high enough levels of asbestos to cause disease. This is known as secondary asbestos exposure.

People who developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease due to secondary asbestos exposure have received significant financial compensation through settlements and lawsuits.

Compensation Available to Pennsylvania Residents Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

The amount of compensation you may receive from an asbestos settlement will depend on several factors, including:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Your exposure history
  • Whether you were diagnosed with a terminal illness
  • Your age and health at the time of diagnosis
  • Your income and ability to work
  • The impact of your injuries on your quality of life
 

Based on records of recent mesothelioma compensation awards, the average mesothelioma settlement ranges between $1 million and $1.4 million. The average trial verdict award is about $2.4 million.

Of course, money alone can never make up for the suffering caused by asbestos exposure or bring back all that you’ve lost. However, compensation from an asbestos settlement can help you and your family cover costs related to:

  • Medical expenses (both past and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral expenses

These costs are known as economic damages because they can be measured in terms of dollars. However, the law recognizes that these costs don’t truly cover all of the harm caused by mesothelioma. An asbestos settlement can also cover non-economic damages, which include things like:

  • Pain and suffering (both physical and emotional)
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of consortium (the loss of one’s life partner)

How long does a mesothelioma settlement usually take?

The amount of time it will take to settle your mesothelioma lawsuit will depend on various factors, including the severity of your injuries, the number of parties involved and whether you can reach an agreement out of court.

In most cases, settlements are reached within one to two years. However, if your case goes to trial, it could take several years to reach a verdict.

No matter how long it takes to settle your case, you can rest assured that our skilled and experienced Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyers will be with you every step of the way, fighting for the compensation that you deserve.

People who were harmed by asbestos exposure during their military service may be eligible to receive compensation from the Veterans Administration (VA). There are specific requirements for filing a VA asbestos claim. We’ll be happy to assist you with this process to ensure you are meeting all of the requirements.

Pennsylvania Asbestos Trust Funds

Corporations that manufactured asbestos-containing products or used them extensively in their manufacturing were exposed to a large number of lawsuits related to mesothelioma and other diseases. Some of these corporations went bankrupt, either as a result of the lawsuits or the natural course of doing business.

It generally takes decades for asbestos exposure to cause mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. If a person were to develop an asbestos-related disease, but the corporation that caused the exposure had already gone bankrupt, then this person would be unable to access the compensation they deserve.

Fortunately, the U.S. government requires that a trust fund be created as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process if there’s the potential for future asbestos-related lawsuits. This ensures that people harmed by the company through exposure to asbestos are able to get the compensation they’re entitled to, even if the company itself has gone bankrupt. Currently, there’s an estimated $30 billion remaining in asbestos trust funds in the United States.

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Who is eligible to access asbestos trust funds?

Anyone who would have been eligible to file a lawsuit against a corporation for asbestos exposure may also be eligible to access funds from an asbestos trust in the event that the corporation has undergone bankruptcy. This includes people who:

  • Were exposed to mesothelioma at work
  • Were exposed to asbestos-containing products, either in the workplace or in the home
  • Experienced secondary asbestos exposure as a result of a family member’s workplace asbestos exposure
  • Were exposed to asbestos through the environment (for example, those who live near an asbestos mine)
  • Have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, caused by any of the above 

In order to access funds from an asbestos trust, you will need to provide certain details to demonstrate your asbestos exposure. Your Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyer will help you complete all of the steps correctly to ensure you get the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.

Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP—Trusted Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Lawyers

We believe in seeking justice for those who have been harmed through corporate negligence. Many corporations treated their workers as disposable, exposing both workers and their families to a significant risk of disease in order to protect their own profits. Our lawyers are committed to ensuring that those who were harmed are compensated fairly.

It’s very important that you choose an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. Pennsylvania law has certain nuances that can affect your case, so you need someone who has experience filing these cases in this state. Seemingly minor details can have a significant impact on the likelihood of receiving a settlement or a judgment in court.

Our team of Pennsylvania mesothelioma attorneys have many years of experience in this specific field of law and a proven track record of success. Our clients have recovered millions of dollars in compensation. If you developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, or if you’ve lost a loved one to one of these conditions, contact our mesothelioma lawyers today for a consultation. 

We’ll talk with you about the details of your situation, free of charge. There’s no obligation to proceed with any legal action; we’ll give you all of the information you need to make your own decision about whether you’d like to file a claim. Remember that the statute of limitations gives you only a short period of time in which to file, so don’t delay. Contact us to get the process started now.

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