If you work at construction sites, shipyards, factories, or in the military, you have an increased risk of asbestos exposure in the workplace. Asbestos exposure can occur at home or school but most commonly happens while on the job.
Many employers are aware of the dangers of asbestos, but they continue to use it in building materials because of its inexpensive nature. As a result, millions of people in the United States are at risk of contracting mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos in the workplace and ultimately diagnosed with mesothelioma, you deserve to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
At Mottaz & Sisk Personal Injury, we know the frustrations that surround asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnoses. Our skilled attorneys are here to analyze your unique situation, identify your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits, and take action to secure the financial compensation you deserve.
The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral composed of thin, soft fibers that resist heat, corrosion, and electricity. Millions of fibers bind together to create a lightweight but indestructible material. Asbestos is advantageous because it resists many harmful elements, but it has one major, dangerous drawback. When asbestos fibers are swallowed or inhaled, it can cause a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma.
Many manufacturers of asbestos-containing materials knew about these health risks years before the general public. These companies put greed and profits before public health by purposefully concealing the fact that asbestos was dangerous. Unfortunately, asbestos still exists in harmful amounts in many workplaces today.
Items that may contain asbestos include:
- Heat resistant textiles
- Vinyl tiles
- Home siding
- Roof shingles
- Car brakes
- Protective blankets for hot water pipes
- Other construction and automotive supplies
Manual labor and skilled trade occupations such as construction, mining, factory work, and firefighting put workers at the highest risk for asbestos exposure.
Health Problems Caused by Asbestos
Mesothelioma is the most common health problem associated with asbestos exposure. However, it is not the only one; asbestos inhalation can cause multiple types of cancerous and noncancerous conditions, including:
- Lung Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Laryngeal Cancer
- Asbestosis: Inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue, which prevents the lungs from expanding normally.
- Pleural Effusion: Difficulty breathing caused by a buildup of fluid around the lungs.
- Pleural Plaques: A fibrous thickening of the lung lining. This is the most common sign of exposure.
- Diffuse Pleural Thickening: Chest pain and breathing issues caused by extensive scarring on the lining of the lungs.
- Pleurisy: Severe inflammation of the pleural lining of the lungs.
- Atelectasis: The pleural lining folds in on itself, which causes the lungs to underinflate.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer almost exclusively caused by significant asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, which is the protective lining of the lungs, chest, and abdomen. An initial warning sign of mesothelioma is fluid buildup around the lungs.
Symptoms can include rib cage pain, a bad cough, difficulty breathing, pain or lumps in the stomach, constipation, and fatigue. Mesothelioma is rare, and it can take up to 20 years for symptoms to appear after asbestos exposure.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is paramount to immediately talk to a doctor about potential asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is incurable, but a prompt diagnosis can help increase the chances of a longer lifespan. Doctors diagnose mesothelioma by monitoring initial symptoms, conducting tests, and ultimately performing a biopsy. There are four different types of mesothelioma. They are:
This is the most common form of mesothelioma, and it affects the pleura, which is the protective lining of the lungs and chest cavity.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common form of mesothelioma. It develops in the lining of the abdomen, which is called the peritoneum. The survival rate for this type of mesothelioma is the highest of all forms if patients participate in curative treatment.
This form of mesothelioma is quite rare. Cancer forms in the pericardium, which is the lining surrounding the heart.
Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of mesothelioma. In this form, cancer develops in the lining of the testes.
Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
The prognosis for mesothelioma is influenced by a patient’s overall health, mesothelioma type, cell type, and cancer stage. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are a few different treatment avenues you can pursue. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and clinical trials.
Surgery involves removing cancerous tumors and the surrounding tissue and organs to help stop cancer from spreading. Chemotherapy can be administered over several weeks or months to kill the remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy focuses on shrinking cancerous tumors locally. Patients can also opt to participate in clinical trials of new medicinal advancements.
Navigating Workers’ Compensation
A mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating, and medical treatment can be expensive. You deserve full compensation for the physical and financial toll that workplace asbestos exposure causes.
If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos in your workplace that ultimately caused mesothelioma, you should notify your employer as soon as possible so that you can maximize your benefits. In addition, we encourage you to seek support through Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law so that you can receive the necessary guidance for protecting your right to workers’ compensation benefits. If you are entitled to compensation, we are here to help you secure your benefits.
Contact a Mottaz & Sisk Mesothelioma and Asbestos Attorney Today
Do you have an employment history with risks of asbestos exposure in Minnesota? If you have been exposed to asbestos at your workplace and ultimately diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is not your fault. If this is your experience, you may be entitled to compensation.
The empathetic attorneys at Mottaz & Sisk Personal Injury are fully aware of the devastating nature of a mesothelioma diagnosis, and we have many years of experience settling asbestos exposure cases. We are here to provide you with legal guidance so that you can obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact Mottaz & Sisk Personal Injury today to schedule a free consultation, and you will be on your way to securing workers’ compensation benefits.