Answers to Our Frequently Asked QuestionsGet Help Now
When you are involved in an accident or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice or abuse, you may not even know the right questions to ask at first. Browse our collection of frequently asked questions to see what others have asked and read our answers to learn all you can about your case.
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What damages can be recovered in a mesothelioma case?
Before you can make an informed decision about whether to pursue a mesothelioma lawsuit, you should know what your potential compensation might be if your case is successful. While each individual case is different, it’s important to understand the possible damages that are compensable if you pursue a legal recovery.
Compensatory and Punitive Damages in Mesothelioma Cases
If you can prove that someone else was responsible for causing your mesothelioma, you have the legal right to recover compensatory damages for your past, current, and future:
Mesothelioma often requires extensive treatment. This may include surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, experimental treatments, medications, and palliative care. Transportation and lodging costs may also become necessary when accessing medical care.
Whether you are unable to work at all, you are forced to cut your hours, or you must take a lower paying job, you may be unable to earn the income that you did prior to your mesothelioma diagnosis. Your recovery should include any lost income, including wages, bonuses, benefits, or income from being self-employed.
Physical Pain And Emotional Suffering
After receiving a diagnosis for mesothelioma, you may be in significant physical and emotional pain. While financial compensation can’t undo your suffering, you may be eligible for compensation for your hardship and anguish through the legal system.
Your costs may increase if you are suffering from mesothelioma. For example, you may need help running errands, cooking meals, taking care of your home, or taking care of yourself. Additionally, you may need to outsource tasks that you once managed yourself such as taking care of your aging parents or a sick spouse.
In some cases, you can also recover for:
Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and to deter other companies from being negligent in the future. The amount of punitive damages is dependent on the egregiousness of the defendant’s actions.
Find Out What Your Mesothelioma Case May be Worth
The value of your case is dependent on many factors, including any of the following:
- Your age
- Your medical history
- The number of companies you are suing
- The quality of your evidence
- The quality of your legal arguments
Our experienced mesothelioma attorneys can explain your specific case and what it might be worth. After reviewing your case, we’ll help you make an informed decision about whether pursuing a mesothelioma claim is the right course of action.
Pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit will not cost you anything up front. Instead, our lawyers will work on a contingency fee basis and only be paid if your claim is successful. Please contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and potential recovery.
Are there laws in place to protect against unwitting exposure to asbestos?
Although still not completely banned in the United States, there are many regulations and federal laws that work to protect Americans from asbestos exposure. While there are now strict regulations dictating how companies can produce, use, and dispose of asbestos, these laws came too late for some members of the public now suffering from mesothelioma.
Federal Laws and Rules to Prevent Asbestos Exposure
Most regulations concerning asbestos are managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and both agencies have the authority to enforce these regulations and charge companies with violations.
Federal rules enacted to protect the public from asbestos exposure include:
- Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). The AHERA allowed the EPA to require educational administrations to inspect their school buildings for asbestos and develop plans with an accredited asbestos inspector to remove the hazardous material.
- Asbestos Information Act (AIA). In response to the growing number of construction workers developing asbestos-related diseases, the AIA was passed in 1988. The law requires manufacturers to clearly disclose the presence of asbestos in their construction materials.
- EPA Asbestos Worker Protection Rule. This rule allowed the EPA to expand asbestos protection requirements to state and local government employees, many of whom were not covered under OSHA asbestos regulations.
- Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This act gave the EPA the power to regulate asbestos use and ban new uses of asbestos in the future. However, corporate interests prevented a full ban on asbestos use, and only a handful of products containing asbestos remain banned in the U.S.
- Clean Air Act of 1970. This act identified asbestos as a potential air pollutant, since its fibers can easily break apart and become airborne.
- Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Much like the Clean Air Act, the SDWA creates the standards for levels of hazardous materials in drinking water, including asbestos.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can identify who may be liable for your exposure and who should compensate you for your medical bills and pain and suffering. We represent asbestos injury clients on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs. Simply contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free consultation. To learn more about options, order our free eBook, Mesothelioma and Your Legal Rights.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Asbestos has been determined by the Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency to be a human carcinogen. Many people who have been exposed to and breathed in asbestos while working have decades later been diagnosed with various diseases associated with asbestos.
Two commonly known lung diseases caused by asbestos exposure include asbestosis (non-cancerous form) and mesothelioma (cancerous form). There is a long latency period associated with all asbestos diseases. People who are affected may have been exposed in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s or 1970s. Unfortunately, there is still asbestos in some older buildings, and people are still being exposed and becoming ill.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects cells that are found in the lining of the chest (pleura), the heart (pericardium) or the abdomen (peritoneum), according to the National Cancer Institute.
The only reliable test for diagnosis of mesothelioma is a tissue biopsy. Fluid biopsides have given a higher percentage of negative results than the tissue biopsy test.
Lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure is thought to occur at a younger age than other lung cancers. These types of cancers tend to occur in the lower lobes of the lungs as well. If the exposed person is a smoker, the risk of getting asbestos-related lung cancer rises exponentially.
There are several stages of mesothelioma. Localized malignant mesothelioma, or Stage I, is generally localized to the lining of the chest cavity around the lung or heart, in the diaphragm or the lung. Advanced malignant mesothelioma, or Stage II, means the cancer has spread beyond the chest, affecting the lymph nodes in the chest as well. Stage III affects many areas of the chest wall including, but not limited to, the heart, chest, through the diaphragm, or the abdominal lining and sometimes into nearby lymph nodes. Stage IV means the cancer has spread to distant tissues and organs. Recurrent malignant mesothelioma means the cancer has returned after treatment. It can come back in the area originally affected or in other parts of the body.
Prognosis depends on several factors, including but not limited to, the size of the tumor or the extent of cancer in the body. Treatment of the disease depends on these factors, and consists of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and can comprise a combination of all three.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma you need to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.
What do I need to know about filing a Mesothelioma lawsuit in Louisiana?
You or a loved one may have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Now, you want to take legal action. However, you may be unsure about what lies ahead. Not knowing what to expect may actually make the idea of pursuing a mesothelioma claim seem very daunting.
At Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, our role is to ease your stress by using our legal skill, experience, and resources to efficiently and effectively handle your claim. While you focus on getting the best treatment possible, we can focus on pursuing the compensation that you and your family need and deserve.
The following is a brief summary of how the mesothelioma lawsuit process works in Louisiana. We would be glad to explain this process with you in more detail, discuss your case and answer all of your questions in a free consultation.
Call or click here today to get started.
As difficult as it may seem, you will need to take legal action as soon as possible. Under Louisiana law, you have only a brief period to file a mesothelioma claim. The limits are:
- One year from the date of diagnosis or discovery of the disease, or
- One year from the date of your loved one’s death.
You should meet with a mesothelioma lawyer from Neblett, Beard & Arsenault when you are ready to take action. Your consultation will be free and confidential. We can meet at our Alexandria office or a location that is most convenient for you – even in your home.
During your consultation, you can feel free to ask as many questions as you have about our law firm’s background in mesothelioma claims, our approach and the services we can provide.
We will also want to learn more about you and your case, including:
- Your work history, including military service
- Your personal habits such as whether you are a smoker
- Your family’s history with cancer or other health problems
- Your diagnosis and medical history.
Once we agree to work together, we will get immediately started on your case. However, this won’t be the last time you hear from us. You can expect us to stay in constant contact with you. We will keep you informed about your case at every stage. We also will always be available to answer your questions.
INVESTIGATION AND PREPARATION
Because of our experience with mesothelioma claims, we know what it takes to research and prepare a solid case. Our main focus will be on identifying the cause of your disease and who should be held responsible for it.
Mesothelioma has been directly linked to exposure to asbestos, a toxic material that was once widely used in:
- Auto parts (such as brakes or brake components)
- Insulation (due to its flame-resistant properties)
- Construction materials (such as tiles, shingles, cement, stucco and siding).
Asbestos also was used to line pipes and boilers, making exposure common among dock workers and shipbuilders.
We will research your military and work records to determine how and when you were exposed to asbestos. It may take anywhere from 10 to 40 years after exposure for mesothelioma to appear. So, this research must be thorough and may require overcoming many obstacles.
Even if you were not directly exposed to asbestos at work, you may have developed mesothelioma from inhaling asbestos fibers that were carried home from work by a family member. For this reason, we will investigate their work history, too.
Generally speaking, you cannot sue an employer for asbestos exposure from work. However, you can take action against the company that made, sold or installed asbestos-containing materials – without warning about health risks. Our goal will be to identify those parties.
Additionally, we will review your medical records and consult with experts. We believe that the more solidly prepared your claim is, the faster it can be resolved.
After we have gathered and analyzed as much evidence as possible, we will proceed with filing your mesothelioma claim with either a victims’ trust fund or in the proper court.
Many companies that have exposed people to asbestos have set up special funds to compensate victims or their surviving family members, including companies that may now be bankrupt or closed. We can file a claim if such a fund is available in your case.
Otherwise, we will likely file a lawsuit, or complaint, in court. Typically, the court will be in the parish where the asbestos exposure occurred or where the company is based. However, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in another state or in a federal court.
The lawsuit will allege the facts in your case, describe the harm you or your family members have suffered and state the legal theory that your claim is based on.
After a mesothelioma lawsuit is filed, the party that is sued – or the defendant – will have 30 days to file a response, or answer. The party will either admit or deny your allegations.
The next stage will be a formal evidence-gathering process called discovery. We can request documents, submit written questions (called interrogatories) and seek sworn written statements (affidavits) or oral statements (depositions).
The defendant(s) may ask you to give a statement in a deposition or to submit to medical examination. We will be your side throughout that process. Our goal will be to ensure your rights are fully protected.
If the defendant(s) resist during discovery, we may need to get a court order that compels them to cooperate. If any evidence is destroyed, we can file a claim based on spoliation of evidence.
SETTLEMENT OR TRIAL
The goal of investigation and discovery is to present your case for a settlement demand. We can make this demand in a carefully prepared demand letter or in a demand package that contains documents, graphics and videos.
Any demand we make will seek full and fair compensation for your:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and inability to earn future income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a loved one’s services and companionship
If your loved one dies from mesothelioma while a claim is pending, you may step into his or her place. If your loved one has already passed away, it would be proper to bring a Louisiana wrongful death claim that seeks a different set of damages, including compensation for burial expenses or lost financial support.
A settlement may be reached if liability is admitted or clearly established, and if your claim for damage has been solidly supported with evidence. However, if the defendant(s) refuse to agree to a reasonable settlement, our legal team will be well-prepared to take your case into court. You may not need to testify or even appear for the trial.
The trial may focus on establishing liability and damages. However, if liability is admitted, the trial may only concern how much you are entitled to receive in compensation.
Both sides can present evidence, including exhibits and testimony. They can also cross-examine each others’ witnesses. At the end of the trial, a judge or jury will return a verdict, and the judge will enter a judgment.
After a judgment is entered, either side can file a post-trial motion. For instance, a defendant may file a motion to reduce the amount of a judgment. Either side can file an appeal.
At Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, we will stay on your case and resolve any post-trial litigation. Also, we can continue to seek a settlement throughout trial and even after a judgment.
COLLECTION AND DISBURSEMENT
If a settlement is reached, we will move quickly to collect the funds and properly disburse them. The settlement may be paid in a lump sum or in a series of payments.
It is possible that a lien may be attached to your recovery such as one filed by a health care provider or workers’ compensation insurer. We can resolve those liens as efficiently as possible.
If a judgment is entered, we will take any actions necessary to enforce the judgment and collect the funds owed to you, including interest. We won’t rest until you have been paid.
REACH OUT TO OUR LOUISIANA MESOTHELIOMA LAWYERS
The mesothelioma lawyers of Neblett, Beard & Arensault will work hard to resolve your claim as quickly as possible, whether it is through a trust fund claim, settlement or verdict. Our goal will be to ensure you are paid for all of the harm you have suffered due to wrongful exposure to asbestos.
When you are ready to take action, please contact us by phone or online. We serve clients throughout Louisiana. We can get to work for you today.
What are the four types of Mesothelioma and the symptoms of each?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that affects the tissues lining the chest cavity, abdomen, heart, and many of a person’s internal organs. This tissue lining is called mesothelium and is made up of mesothelial cells, thus the name for the cancer. The primary risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, which can be found in common industrial and household materials such as insulation, floor tiles, shingles, and auto parts.
Physicians categorize mesothelioma into four types, which are based on where in the body the cancer is found. Symptoms and treatments vary depending on the type of mesothelioma a person is diagnosed with, but unfortunately there is no cure.
WHAT IS PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA?
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of the disease. In fact, the American Cancer Society reports that about 75 percent of mesothelioma cases are categorized as pleural. This type of mesothelioma affects the chest cavity and the tissue around the lungs.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
Pain under the rib cage
- Coughing that is painful, dry, or persistent
- Shortness of breath
- Lumps under the skin on the chest
- Weight loss
- Fever or excessive sweating
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma because when materials containing asbestos are disturbed, the asbestos fibers go airborne and are most often inhaled. This means that a factory or construction worker does not have to be working directly with asbestos insulation or other building materials to develop mesothelioma; people who are just in the vicinity of asbestos products can inhale the fibers and develop cancer.
Treatment options for pleural mesothelioma vary depending on how advanced the disease is when a person in diagnosed. However, because mesothelioma can take 10 to 60 years to develop, the cancer is often advanced by the time a person is diagnosed. Unfortunately, there is no cure for pleural mesothelioma, and the disease is often fatal. However, the following treatments may extend a patient’s life:
- Surgery to remove the bulk of the cancer, the affected lung, or the tissue around the lung
- Insertion of a tube in the chest to reduce fluid build-up
- Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells
- Radiation to target specific concentrations of the cancer
- Clinical trials to experiment with new treatment methods such as targeted, biological, or gene therapy
WHAT IS PERITONEAL MESOTHELIOMA?
Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second-most common type of mesothelioma, affecting the tissue lining the abdominal cavity and surrounding abdominal organs.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:
- Pain or swelling in the abdominal area
- Lumps in the abdomen
- Constipation or intestinal obstruction
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss
Peritoneal mesothelioma is most often caused when a person ingests asbestos fibers, which then lodge in the organs in the abdomen. Treatment for this type of mesothelioma can be complicated due to the complex connections among organs in this part of the body. Treatment options, which vary depending on the stage of the cancer, include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and other post-surgery treatments.
WHAT IS PERICARDIAL MESOTHELIOMA?
Pericardial mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma, accounting for about 5 percent of new cases each year, according to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. It affects the tissue around the heart, with symptoms including difficulty breathing, chest pains, fluid in the sac surrounding the heart, coughing, and heart palpitations. Exposure to asbestos is again the culprit in causing pericardial mesothelioma, although it is unclear how exactly the fibers make their way to the pericardial area. Treatment options include radiation and chemotherapy.
WHAT IS TESTICULAR MESOTHELIOMA?
Testicular mesothelioma, also called mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, is also very rare. It affects the tissue around the testicles. Due to the rarity of this type of mesothelioma, symptoms are not clearly defined, although the most common reported signs are a lump or swelling in the testicle. Exposure to asbestos is the determining cause of testicular mesothelioma, and the standard treatment is radical orchiectomy, which involves removing the testicle(s).
GET HELP NOW
Mesothelioma is a devastating cancer with no cure, but it has a definite cause: Asbestos exposure affects people throughout Louisiana, including those who work in factories, oil refineries, construction sites, shipyards, textile mills, and salt plants. Even loved ones of these workers can be exposed when asbestos fibers are transferred from clothing or uniforms.
Remember that it can take 10 to 60 years for mesothelioma to develop, which means a person may need to think back decades to determine how and where they were exposed to the asbestos. However, victims of mesothelioma have limited time to take action.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the attorneys at the Louisiana law firm of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault right away. The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault represent mesothelioma victims throughout the state of Louisiana and can assist you immediately. Our attorneys are adept at handling these types of complicated legal claims and ensuring expedited access to Social Security Disability benefits.
You can contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 for your free consultation.