Mesothelioma is cancer, a rare type that causes unmeasurable pain and suffering. It is cancer that is preventable but for exposure to certain chemicals, like asbestos. Over time, asbestos fibers, when inhaled or ingested, inflame internal tissue and disrupts an organ’s ability to function. Persons most at risk are commercial and industrial workers who are exposed to asbestos regularly due to the nature of their jobs. From 2005 to 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported more than 27,000 deaths due to Mesothelioma. There has been no indication of the numbers of in death decreasing; rather, the numbers have remained pretty consistent at around 2,700 deaths per year.
As it is, mesothelioma is deadly and causes serious pain and suffering for the victim as well as the victim’s family. Getting just and fair compensation is the victim’s right, but only when the mesothelioma was caused by a company that knowingly exposed you to asbestos. To get compensation, you must prove your case. Here is a brief discussion on what proving your mesothelioma case may involve.
Elements of a Mesothelioma Case
Many people can file a lawsuit or claim for mesothelioma related damages if you were exposed to asbestos at work or in the military. You may also be able to file a claim if you were exposed to asbestos products or second-hand asbestos.
To qualify for compensation, however, more than a diagnosis and exposure are required. There are certain basic elements of a mesothelioma case that must be proven before you can recover compensatory damages: (1) causation; (2) liability; and (3) damages.
In asbestos-related mesothelioma cases, it must be shown that the defendant’s product (asbestos) was a substantial factor that caused or led to cancer. Evidence indicating any exposure is not legally sufficient to satisfy this element. It is the degree of exposure and the dose of that exposure that is important.
Being exposed a few times to asbestos, especially exposure to a limited dose of asbestos, will not likely lead to the biological conditions necessary to create mesothelioma. Long-term exposure, on the other hand, and proof of the same (e.g., working for 20 years as a contractor in homes laden with asbestos) may be sufficient. There is not a precise mathematical equation to determine what exactly is and is not sufficient in terms of exposure, but it is true that the higher levels of exposure increase the risk of mesothelioma.
As such, you should be able to provide:
- A showing of all the times or length of time you were exposed to asbestos; and
- An estimate of the dose of asbestos to which you were exposed.
Once it is shown that the asbestos product was a substantial factor causing the mesothelioma, you must prove liability. Two primary examples of potentially liable parties include:
- The maker of an asbestos product; or
- An employer who failed to provide safe working conditions.
Responsible parties may be:
- strictly liable; or
- liable if found negligent.
Proving liability is different depending on strict liability or negligence. Under strict liability, you must be able to show the product was inherently dangerous. Asbestos is, in fact, an inherently dangerous material.
Under a negligence claim, you must prove the party’s negligence. For example, you would need to show that your employer knew of the asbestos but failed to provide a warning or safety gear. In cases of an asbestos manufacturer, you would need to show that the maker knew the material was dangerous but failed to warn consumers.
Damages is another requirement. You must have been injured in a way that results in monetary damages, like medical expenses. In mesothelioma cases, the damage is real and severe. Mesothelioma — as noted above — is a life-threatening disease that, regardless of whether you live or die, causes substantial pain and suffering to the victim and all his or her loved ones.
Medical records, treatment plans diagnosis, prognosis, among other things, can be used to successfully prove damages and the extent of those damages. If you are suffering from mesothelioma and you think it may have been caused by asbestos, contact the Ledger Law Firm today. Our experienced mesothelioma attorneys in California are helping many families prove their cases and recover fair and just compensation. Contact us for a free initial consultation.