“I was awarded more than I imagined…Thanks so much.”
“The staff has been wonderful and great to work with.”
“I couldn’t imagine trusting anyone else to handle my case.”
“I would use Norris Injury Lawyers anytime I am in need of a lawyer… He is helping me with an asbestos claim.”
“They got me much more money than I had planned for! They are awesome! “
“Everyone is always so helpful! There is no doubt that I was exposed to Asbestos…”
“They are an office that holds themselves to the highest ethical standards, and will get the job done for you.”
“The staff truly cares for their clients and works hard to provide as much help as possible.”
“Wonderful people! Wonderful law firm!”
After being diagnosed with lung cancer, your main focus should be recovering to the fullest extent possible. Norris Injury Lawyers is here to take the weight of a personal injury case off your shoulders and fight on your behalf to receive the compensation that you deserve for the illness you never should have suffered.
The attorneys at Norris Injury Lawyers work around the clock to ensure that our clients’ claims are processed as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can claim the compensation to which they are entitled. With our legal team on your side, you may be able to receive compensation without ever setting foot inside of a courtroom–or even leaving your house.
If you’ve been diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, we at Norris Injury Lawyers know that you are probably overwhelmed with questions. That’s why we’ve created this guide–to provide an overview to some of the most common questions following a cancer diagnosis.
Our assistance doesn’t stop here–scroll down to learn more about lung cancer related to asbestos, or click on a section in the table of contents to find a subject that applies to you.
Let us guide you. Please keep reading or jump ahead to the part that interests you most…
Asbestos exposure is linked to a devastating number of deaths–in the United States alone, 10,000 victims die of asbestos-related cancer. This equates to nearly thirty deaths per day. To put this into perspective, asbestos-related cancers claim nearly the same number of lives as individuals with guns.
When it comes to its victims, asbestos does not discriminate–the complications of asbestos exposure can be suffered by anyone who has come into contact with the material. Asbestos has been classified as a carcinogen, which means the substance is known to cause cancer.
People who have come into regular contact with asbestos during their job, such as manufacturers of the product, are at the highest risk of developing asbestos-related lung cancer, as occupational asbestos exposure is generally frequent and prolonged. Manufacturers of asbestos aren’t the only group who face a high risk of complications from asbestos, however–other common careers which place a person at risk of asbestos exposure include:
- Construction workers
- Demolition workers
- Drywall installers/removers
- Automotive manufacturers
- Mill workers
- Car mechanics
- Railroad workers
- Shipyard workers
- Sheet metal workers
- Tile installers
- Military veterans
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are immune from asbestos exposure if you do not work in one of fields listed above, however; it’s nearly impossible to keep from coming into contact with asbestos at some point in your life. In fact, small levels of asbestos are present in the air we breathe.
Those who come into frequent contact with asbestos bring the product’s fibers home by way of their clothes, skin, and even hair. This puts the family members of these workers at an increased risk of asbestos-related lung cancer.
The general rule is that the longer and more frequent the exposure to asbestos, the greater chance a person has of developing asbestos-related lung cancer. This does not mean that there is a “safe” level of asbestos exposure, however–in fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that even with the 1% limit for products containing asbestos, one out of 300 workers will develop lung cancer from exposure to the substance. As asbestos is a known carcinogen, no matter how small the amount, there is no safe level of exposure to the substance.
Individuals Involved in 9/11 Face an Extra Risk
The tragic attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 rocked the nation, resulting in thousands of immediate deaths. The effects of the attacks are proving to have a long-term effect as well. As the North Tower of the World Trade Center was constructed using products containing asbestos, a monstrous amount of asbestos was released into the air during the collapse of the towers.
Individuals who are at the greatest risk of developing asbestos-related cancer include the rescue volunteers, firemen, and cleanup crew who came into prolonged contact with the asbestos-filled rubble at Ground Zero. These aren’t the only people who can be affected by the asbestos released during the attack, however; other potential victims include workers who escaped the collapsed buildings, those who evacuated other buildings during the attack, and resident who lived near the World Trade Center.
Asbestos can cause several forms of cancer in those who were subject to exposure to the product.
When is Asbestos Dangerous?
Although asbestos exposure poses a risk no matter the circumstances, the product becomes extremely hazardous when it is “friable,” meaning it can be broken up easily by hand. Crushing asbestos releases asbestos tiny fibers into the air, which is then inhaled by its victims.
Although most of the asbestos fibers will be trapped inside your nose and eliminated quickly, problem fibers can make their way through the nose and become lodged inside your organs. Your body is unable to break down the fibers, so they will remain untouched and can wreak havoc on your health.
The Risks Aren’t Immediate
The trauma that asbestos fibers can cause to your body doesn’t begin immediately. Asbestos-related diseases typically take quite a bit of time to develop after the initial contact with the product. This is called a “latency period.”
Latency periods can last for decades. In some cases, those who are being diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer haven’t been exposed to the product for nearly half a century. This means that a substantial amount of these cancer cases are being diagnosed in people who were exposed as early as the 1960s.
It’s Not All About Lung Cancer
While lung cancer is the most common cancer related to asbestos exposure, other forms of cancer are also connected with the substance.
Smoking Increases the Risk
While anyone who has been exposed to asbestos can develop asbestos-related cancer, the chances of a cancer diagnosis are especially high among smokers who have been exposed to the substance. As asbestos fibers build up in the lungs and create scar tissue, the inflammation caused by smoking can add insult to injury.
A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine examined the developing lung cancer after asbestos exposure, comparing the likelihood of cancer in both smokers and nonsmokers. The study found that occupational exposure to asbestos caused a five-fold increase in lung cancer in and of itself. Compared to non-smokers, however, smokers who were exposed to asbestos were 28 times more likely to die from lung cancer.
The study did contain a bright side, though–quitting smoking can greatly reduce a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, those who hadn’t smoked in at least 30 years showed a lung cancer risk that was similar to those who had never smoked before.
- Primary cancer contracted by asbestos exposure
- Increased risk if the individual is a smoker
- Symptoms: prolonged coughing, trouble breathing, chest pain, fatigue, coughing up blood
- Rare, incurable form of cancer
- Causes damage to the linings of the heart, lungs, or stomach
- Long latency period
- Asbestos fibers can become trapped in lining of esophagus
- Symptoms: weight loss, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness
- Pharyngeal cancer (voice box)
- Laryngeal cancer (throat)
- May be caused by swallowing asbestos fibers
- Second most common fatal cancer
- Symptoms: loss of appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss, vomiting
- Asbestos-related gastrointestinal cancer kills around 1,200 people per year
Colon / Rectal Cancer
- Second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men
- Symptoms: severe abdominal pain, blood in feces, and diarrhea/constipation
- Fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women
- Possibly caused by asbestos fibers migrating and penetrating ovaries
What if I Don’t Know When I was Exposed to Asbestos?
If you are unable to determine when you were exposed to asbestos, you aren’t necessarily out of luck–with your help, the attorneys at Norris Injry Lawyers can comb through your work history to determine who holds the responsibility for your cancer. Leave the detective work to us–your main focus should be on recovering to the fullest extent possible, or at least remaining comfortable if your diagnosis is terminal.
Creating the Most Convincing Argument
Formulating a timeline of your job history–along with any other periods of time that you could have been exposed to asbestos–is extremely important when it comes to formulating a successful asbestos-related cancer lawsuit. This isn’t the end of the requirements, however; there is a variety of evidence that must be collected in order to craft a convincing argument that your exposure to asbestos caused your cancer. This includes making sure that you meet the eligibility requirements for a lawsuit and compiling a mountain of medical records.
Special Criteria for Lung Cancer Victims
Whereas there isn’t a strict list of criteria for cancers such as gastrointestinal cancer and ovarian cancer, the criteria to link asbestos to lung cancer is black and white. Created in 1997, these are known as the Helsinki criteria, and include:
- A minimum period of ten years between exposure and diagnosis;
- Development of lung cancer;
- Higher than normal level of asbestos fibers in lung tissue;
- Higher than average exposure to asbestos; and
- Diagnosis of asbestosis.
Even if you developed cancer in an area other than your lungs, vast amounts of medical information must be collected in order to have a strong case showing that your cancer was caused by asbestos exposure.
Don’t Face Your Legal Battle Alone
Between knowing the procedural rules and gathering the necessary evidence to prove the link between your cancer and asbestos exposure, these cases can quickly become overwhelming for someone who doesn’t have the proper experience. The best decision that you can make for your asbestos lawsuit is to arm yourself with an experienced attorney.
With Norris Injury Lawyers by your side, you can rest easy knowing that your case is being handled by a team of attorneys with years of experience handling asbestos claims. We’ll do the dirty work in your case and determine what type of compensation you may be entitled to–after all, your efforts should be spent fighting your illness, not a legal action.
Because of its effectiveness in resisting heat, asbestos was used on a wide-scale level starting in the early 1940s. Although the majority of today’s cases of asbestos-related cancer involve individuals who were exposed to high levels of asbestos when the product wasn’t regulated, nearly anyone who has been in contact with the product can become the victim of asbestos-related cancer.
Although it is widely known that insulation was–and still is–used in insulation, the product is much more far-reaching. From old household products to those produced today, asbestos can be found in hundreds of products which are used anywhere from the automotive industry to inside your own home.
- Brake pads
- Brake shoes
- Building insulation
- Electrical insulation
- Drywall joint compounds
- Fireproof drywall
- Roofing felt
BEAUTY AND HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
- Baby powder (talcum powder)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Pre-1980 hairdryers
- Older kitchen appliances
- Portable heaters
- Gas logs
- Wood-burning stoves
- Ironing boards
- Light bulbs
- Potting mixes
- Protective clothing
This certainly isn’t the whole list of products containing asbestos–in the 1970s, more than 3,000 products containing asbestos were manufactured.
Asbestos: Then and Now
Up until the late 1900s, there was no regulation on how much asbestos a product could contain. Typically, asbestos made up as much as 25 percent of piping or insulation. However, some products, such as asbestos paper that was wrapped around pipes, could be made entirely of the material.
Although asbestos was the gold-standard in terms of heat resistance, it didn’t meet the same level of quality to the U.S. government–in 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a ban on most of the products that use use of asbestos in products that hadn’t contained the substance before.
Use of asbestos is still legal today, although on a much lesser scale. Today, a product can only contain asbestos if the material makes up less than 1% of the product.
Today’s asbestos lawsuits allege that manufacturers of the material failed to warn workers of the risks that they could face from prolonged asbestos exposure. The malfeasance by asbestos manufacturers doesn’t stop at failing to warn workers and residents in close proximity of the increased risk of cancer, though. In some cases, these companies worked to actively hide any evidence that asbestos was causing health complications.
Even though asbestos is the culprit of many cases of cancer in those who were exposed to the substance, these cancers can also be caused by other factors, such as obesity and smoking. Sometimes, even an otherwise completely healthy person can develop the cancers listed above. This can make it difficult to prove that asbestos was the direct cause of a person’s cancer diagnosis. Mesothelioma, however, is a different beast.
Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Cancer Diagnosis
Mesothelioma differs from other cancer diagnoses because this rare form of cancer has always been linked to asbestos exposure–there is no other known cause of mesothelioma that researchers have come across. Unfortunately, there is also no cure for the cancer–while treatment is available, a cure is not possible.
Causes of Mesothelioma
When a person inhales or swallows tiny asbestos fibers that become airborne, the fibers can become lodged inside of the lining of the person’s organs. With no way out, the fibers begin to cause inflammation to the cells of this lining–called mesothelium–and causes the tissue to become inflamed.
As time passes by, the prolonged inflammation by asbestos fibers can actually change a person’s DNA and cause cells to reproduce incorrectly. This causes tumors to form on the affected tissue.
Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma presents itself in two primary forms: pleural and peritoneal.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the cancer, and affects the tissue lining the lungs and chest cavity. Around 80% of mesothelioma cases are pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Prolonged coughing
Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common, and affects the lining of the abdomen and its organs. This form of mesothelioma accounts for approximately 20% of all mesothelioma cases. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Unintentional weight loss
Treatment of Mesothelioma
Although a cure for mesothelioma doesn’t exist, several treatment options are available to ease the pain the cancer causes and increase a person’s life expectancy. Treatment options include:
- Surgery to remove all or part of the affected tissue;
- Radiation treatments on the affected tissue; and
- Chemotherapy treatment.
Oftentimes, a victim of mesothelioma is someone who worked hard all of their life to provide for the needs of their family.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma is a blow to both the victim and his or her loved ones. When you’ve received such a diagnosis, it can be hard to think of anything else. If you’re facing such a reality, though, it’s important not to lose sight of the most important aspects.
1. Do your homework to be sure that you are receiving the best medical treatment available, including pain management. The months following your diagnosis of mesothelioma will undoubtedly be a difficult period. It’s important to make sure that you are receiving quality medical care to treat the cancer. Have you read experiences or spoken to others who have or are going through the same experience? Do you feel confident that the care you are receiving is the best possible? If so, and once treatment is no longer an option, you should look into ways to relieve the physical pain the cancer has caused. Preparing yourself for the future is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for yourself after a diagnosis of mesothelioma.
2. Life your life to the fullest. Now is the time to devote your energy to the relationships that matter most to you. Whether it be with your spouse, family members, or friends, spend all of the time you can memorializing these relationships. This doesn’t just benefit you–it gives your loved ones quality time to spend with you.
3. Take advantage of the legal resources available to you. Your mesothelioma diagnosis is one that should never have happened, because you should have been warned of the risk of asbestos exposure. Because of the correlation between mesothelioma and asbestos, financial compensation is nearly always available for victims who exercise their legal right to receive the justice they deserve. The compensation you receive can be used to fulfill “bucket list” items, care for yourself during your treatment, and provide for your family members and loved ones.
At Norris Injury Lawyers, our approach to an asbestos cancer lawsuit is different from other personal injury law firms. We understand that while our clients may be suffering from the same disease, each and every client has a different story to tell.
Representation Tailored to Your Needs
With each client comes a family who is uniquely affected, a diagnosis that differs slightly from other cancer patients, and an individual lifestyle that was shattered by the diagnosis.
This is why at Norris Injury Lawyers, the representation of our clients is custom-tailored to the unique circumstances of the individual’s case. We are not satisfied with a cookie-cutter approach to our client’s cases–our clients are not identical, and therefore the handling of their cases shouldn’t be the same either. The plan of attack we formulate to fight on your behalf depends on a variety of circumstances such as:
- Your diagnosis;
- The stage of your cancer;
- The level of exposure you faced; and
- Your level of health.
Providing the Compassionate Representation You Deserve
When it comes to our clients’ cases, only one factor remains the same–the amount of care that we put into each victim’s case. Norris Injury Lawyers is proud to provide exceptional and compassionate representation for our clients because we realize that you are more than just a case–you’re a person.
Regardless of the specifics of your diagnosis, your normal way of life has been put on standby by your cancer diagnosis. The decrease in your health also means a decrease in your energy. That’s why we are dedicated to ensuring that we fully fight your legal battle on your behalf so that you can focus all of your energy on fighting the most important battle of all–your illness.
We’re Here When You Need Us
Our legal team also understands that your illness doesn’t operate on a nine-to-five schedule–and because of that, we don’t either. No matter the time of day, Norris Injury Lawyers has legal staff on call to discuss your questions and give you an idea of what to expect in an asbestos-related lung cancer claim.
No matter the time of day that you call, our legal team will work to set up a consultation with you and your family as soon as possible. Your illness isn’t on a delay, and because of that, neither are we. Our team will work to expedite your claim by beginning investigation of your illness the day of your consultation. It doesn’t matter where you are located–Norris Injury Lawyers welcomes any person who is suffering from cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Your Call and Consultation Won’t Cost You a Nickel
There’s no getting around it–even with great health insurance, a cancer diagnosis can quickly cripple a person’s financial stability. As your time and money are better spent on your treatment, our phone calls and consultations are always quick and free. We will use the information we gather from your initial consultation to determine if you have a potential case. Our clients aren’t simply a source of income, so we won’t string you along on false promises of compensation that you aren’t entitled to. We’ll let you know quickly if your asbestos exposure is sufficient to create a case that can be pursued.
If you do have a potential case, you won’t pay anything out of pocket for our services. We believe that everyone should have their chance at obtaining the compensation–along with the closure–that they deserve for the illness they never should have suffered.
We also know that the fear of paying an attorney for a case that isn’t guaranteed can deter some people from pursuing a case at all–that’s why Norris Injury Lawyers is proud to offer a no-fee guarantee, meaning that we don’t get paid unless you do. In doing so, we hope that knowing that you won’t be slapped with an enormous legal bill at the end of your case can give you the peace of mind to pursue your claim.
Time is Limited.
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer that you believe you developed because of exposure to asbestos, it’s critical to seek legal representation from an attorney as soon as possible. You don’t have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim to recover compensation for your illness.
Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
Lawsuits are subject to a time limit called the “statute of limitations,” which gives a specific amount of time that a person has to file his or her claim. Since asbestos-related cancer cases fall under the umbrella of personal injury, the cases are subject to the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. These time limits vary from state to state, and can be anywhere from one to six years. After the statute of limitations has run, it can be extremely difficult–if not impossible–to file a lawsuit.
The “Discovery Rule”
Because of the extremely long latency period for asbestos-related cancers, a person’s case would fall outside of the statute of limitations for personal injury cases if based off of the time when the exposure occurred. This is taken into account in asbestos-related cancer cases–rather than the date of exposure, the clock starts running on the day of your diagnosis.
Easier Than You Might Think
Although seeing a case through to trial is often necessary in highly-contested personal injury cases such as asbestos lawsuits, this isn’t always the case. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to financial compensation without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom. Sometimes, asbestos-related cancer diagnoses can be settled without ever filing a lawsuit, meaning ou may not even have to leave your house.
Providing The Knowledge and Experience You Deserve
Personal injury cases stemming from cancer caused by asbestos exposure aren’t for the amateur lawyer. With all of the moving parts in this type of case, representation should only be taken on by a seasoned personal injury attorney. At Norris Injury Lawyers, we’ve got you covered. Our attorneys are equipped with over forty years of [combined?] experience in protecting the rights of our clients and their families, regardless of the state in which they live.
When you are armed with the representation of an attorney from Norris Injury Lawyers, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your case is being handled by an attorney with decades of experience in asbestos-related cancer cases. We know the ins and outs of formulating a plan of attack for asbestos cancer cases, and are proud to have established a reputation of quality representation while providing the compassion that our clients deserve.
If you think that your cancer diagnosis may be attributed to asbestos exposure, it’s critical to confirm the correlation by having a doctor perform medical tests. These tests can help you and your attorney formulate your argument that your cancer was caused by asbestos exposure.