Mesothelioma Lawyers IN San Antonio
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Many people have worked for years, even decades, surrounded by asbestos, which was originally intended to provide protection from fire and heat. However, asbestos is a highly dangerous material. Consistent, long-term exposure to asbestos is the primary risk factor in contracting Mesothelioma, a form of aggressive and often-fatal cancer.
Unfortunately, the destructive and often fatal nature of mesothelioma means mesothelioma victims and their families may have to pay high medical costs, along with the physical and emotional toll of losing their loved one. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should contact an experienced San Antonio mesothelioma attorney to help you determine whether you may be able to seek compensation from the entity responsible for the asbestos exposure that caused your cancer.
WHAT IS MESOTHELIOMA?
Mesothelioma is a cancer that usually affects the lining of the lungs, though in some cases it may occur in the heart or the abdomen. Mesothelioma causes growths to occur in the tissue that lines the lungs; it is an aggressive cancer that can result in death. While mesothelioma can be treated, there is currently no cure; however, early detection and new advancements in treatment may provide hope for some mesothelioma patients and their loved ones.
Pleural Mesothelioma is a type of mesothelioma that occurs in the lungs, and can result in a variety of symptoms, such as:
- Chest pain
- Painful coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
- Unexplained weight loss
Asbestos and Mesothelioma
While much is still unknown about mesothelioma, there is a clear link between asbestos exposure—especially prolonged exposure—and mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that has many properties that are useful in a variety of industrial and commercial applications, and it was used extensively for years in many workplaces. Therefore, it affects many types of workers, including:
- Oil and gas refinery employees
- Power plant employees
- Construction workers
- Railroad workers
- Shipyard workers
- US Navy veterans
Asbestos was used for decades due to its insulative properties and resistance to fire. However, whenever asbestos is mined, processed, or otherwise disturbed, it releases small fiber particles, which when inhaled, may settle in the lungs. Over time—sometimes years or even decades—those exposed to asbestos particles may begin to exhibit symptoms of Mesothelioma.
The danger is not restricted to those who may have been directly exposed to the material at work, however. The asbestos particles may also be carried by clothing or other surfaces that are exposed to an environment containing asbestos. This contamination can unfortunately result in family members developing mesothelioma, even if they were never directly exposed to the source of the asbestos itself.
An Ongoing Danger
While use of asbestos has rapidly declined over the years due to its hazardous nature, asbestos can still be found in many places, such as buildings, ships, and manufactured goods. One reason why it is still relatively common is that it is very difficult to safely remove. In many instances, it may actually be safer to leave asbestos intact rather than attempt to remove it.
The main danger from asbestos occurs when a person inhales the small fiber particles. These particles are generated when asbestos is disturbed or damaged, making removal a very costly and dangerous process.
If you think your home or business may have asbestos present, you should consult a qualified asbestos handling crew to determine the condition of any asbestos that may be present in your building. They may be able to provide you with a recommendation for safely dealing with any asbestos.
As with any cancer, there is currently no cure for mesothelioma. However, depending how early the cancer is diagnosed and the general health of the patient, some treatments may be available. In its earlier stages, the mesothelioma may be able to be safely removed by surgery.
This may provide the patient with an extended period of remission; as the cancer progresses, however, it may become more difficult or impossible to surgically remove the cancer. If surgery is not possible or deemed too risky, chemotherapy may be used to attempt to slow down the cancer. Treatments for mesothelioma may be performed to reduce symptoms in advanced cases, but the benefits may be short term in nature.
MESOTHELIOMA IN TEXAS
Texas has comparatively high numbers of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, due not only to population size, but also to the nature of the Texan economy. Indeed, Texas ranks as one of the five states with the highest rates of deaths caused by mesothelioma in the United States, ranking just behind the following states in mesothelioma deaths between 1999 and 2017, according to the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center:
- New York
Commonly Affected Industries in Texas
Many Texans work in the oil and gas industry. This industry heavily utilized asbestos for some time, as it provided excellent insulation against heat and flame. Another large industry in Texas is the maritime industry, as the large coastline of Texas on the Gulf of Mexico—along with its oil and gas industry—combine to support a large shipbuilding industry.
Asbestos was often used in the construction of ships due to its fire-resistant qualities. These industries represent a vast swathe of the Texan workforce and their frequent usage of asbestos means that many Texans may have been exposed as a result, putting them at risk for mesothelioma.
Even if you did not work in the oil and gas industry or in the maritime industry, you may still have been exposed to asbestos. This is because asbestos was also frequently used in power plants, heavy industry, automobile parts, and military bases.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should contact a catastrophic personal injury lawyer in San Antonio as soon as possible to help you determine where you may have been exposed to asbestos. Together you and your attorney can consider who may be liable, and then they can help you pursue any compensation you may be entitled to.
Pursuing a Mesothelioma claim in Texas
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be facing mounting medical bills. Depending on how and where you were exposed to asbestos, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. A skilled San Antonio injury lawyer will be able to help you determine how much.
The majority of asbestos exposure occurs on the job. If you were exposed to asbestos on the job, your employer may be liable, while the manufacturer of the asbestos may also be liable. If you were exposed during your time in the military, you may also be able to file a claim with the Veterans’ Affairs Administration.
As the number of people affected by mesothelioma grows, manufacturers of asbestos products declare bankruptcy. Generally, when this occurs, an asbestos claim trust will be formed. These trusts are set up to help ensure that there will be money to address future claims resulting from asbestos exposure.
A San Antonio mesothelioma lawyer will be able to help you determine if you are eligible to file a claim against your employer, an asbestos manufacturer, or an asbestos trust fund. In order to file a claim, your attorney may need access to your employment history and medical records.
Restrictions on Filing a Claim in Texas
In order to deal with the increasing number of mesothelioma claims, Texas has enacted laws especially for dealing with claims for compensation due to asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma. In Texas, you must be exhibiting symptoms of an asbestos-related illness to file a claim.
Victims generally have two years from the date of diagnosis to file a claim. Meanwhile, loved ones have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim if the victim dies due to an asbestos-related illness.
HOW A SAN ANTONIO MESOTHELIOMA ATTORNEY CAN HELP
While it is generally accepted that mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, it may be difficult to prove where this exposure actually took place, especially if you were employed at multiple sites where you could have potentially been exposed. An experienced personal injury lawyer in San Antonio may be able to help you determine where you were exposed to this hazardous material, beginning by checking your employment history for sites that have been confirmed as sites of asbestos exposure already.
However, once you are able to determine the nature of your exposure to asbestos, there may still be obstacles to seeking compensation. Many of the businesses and corporations that made use of asbestos or manufactured it may no longer exist, or they may have declared bankruptcy due to the number of claims they must settle as a result of the hazardous nature of asbestos. A San Antonio mesothelioma lawyer may be able to help you track down an appropriate asbestos trust fund against which you may be able to file a claim in this situation.
CONTACT a mesothelioma attorney near you TODAY
The widespread use of asbestos for so many years across the United States has unfortunately resulted in far too many thousands of deaths. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or if you have lost a loved one to this disease, you should contact the experienced San Antonio mesothelioma lawyers at Zinda Law Group as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
Your attorney may be to help you pursue the maximum compensation you may be entitled to by first conducting a thorough investigation to determine where the exposure to asbestos took place and determining who may be liable for this exposure. If the entity responsible for the exposure no longer exists, your lawyer will help you find an asbestos trust fund that you may be able to file a claim with.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.