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MESOTHELIOMA – A Medical Overview and Legal Options

Medical Overview

Mesothelioma is a caner caused by asbestos. It is an aggressive type of cancer. One way Mesothelioma is classified is by the location it takes hold in an individual’s body. Three areas the cancer targets include the abdomen (Peritoneal Mesothelioma), the chest (Pleural Mesothelioma), and the heart (Pericardial Mesothelioma). The most common sites of mesothelioma are the chest and abdomen; the least common occurs in the heart.

Although there is not one survival rate for all patients, survival rate among mesothelioma patients is not high. Patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma (abdomen) typically have ten months to survive from the onset of the caner, while patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma (chest) generally have only 17 months.

Although there are three primary mesothelioma-staging systems, results among each system only vary slightly. Each system has four stages with stage 1 mesothelioma being the least severe and stage 4 being the most. In stage 1 mesothelioma the cancer is localized, has not yet spread to the lining covering the lung, and lymph nodes are not yet activated. The cancer is still isolated to one area and surgery is a very possible remedy. In stage 2 the tumor is more advanced and begun to spread. By stage 2 the cancer has invaded the lining of the chest wall, chest cavity, lungs, and diaphragm. Lymph node activity may be present and surgery although possible will need to address the cancer that has likely spread to the diaphragm muscles and lungs. By stage 3 the cancer has significantly advanced. In addition to the characteristics from stage 2, the cancer in stage 3 has most likely affected lymph nodes near the lungs and the diaphragm, and even spread into tissue cells, fat in between the lungs, and possibly the sac covering the heart (pericardium). By stage 4 mesothelioma has spread to the chest wall, the diaphragm, and lymph nodes. The spread of the cancer has becomes so pervasive surgery becomes futile.


Legal Options

If you or a family member is a victim of mesothelioma you may have likely been wronged by a large corporation and are now seeking compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process to receiving compensation.

Compensation may come in one of two forms. A plaintiff may find recovery in the form of a settlement offer from the defendant corporation or take his chances at trial and receive compensation only if the lawsuit is successful.

Defendant corporation take several factors into consideration before deciding to proceed to trial or make a settlement offer. The defendant will consider the cost of on-going litigation, the availability of expert witnesses, evidence from internal document and depositions, and even the corporation’s reputation in the public.

An experienced plaintiff attorney will analyze the defendant’s history of asbestos claims, the plaintiff’s employment history, plaintiff’s hardship as a result of asbestos exposure, medical diagnosis, and jury’s likely opinion on liability among many other factors to advise you whether a accepting a settlement is in your best interest.

Often times however, the defendant corporation will try and settle before a case goes to trial. No one will ever be able to exactly predict if, and when, a settlement agreement will be reached or the dollar amount. Accordingly, an experienced attorney will always be ready to go to trial.

If you or a family member is the victim of mesothelioma contact an experienced attorney to help you understand and fight for your rights.

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