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Shapiro & Appleton

Important Legal Aspects of a Mesothelioma Case

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Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the pleura (lining of the lung). Due to it's aggressive nature and the catastrophic effects of the disease, juries are often sympathetic to victims and their families. According to 2001 Wall Street Journal article the average jury award in a mesothelioma case is between one and six million dollars. Of course, each case and jury is unique.

There are also unique legal aspects of mesothelioma cases which should be considered by victims of the disease:

1. Mesothelioma is strongly associated with exposure to asbestos dust, even low level or brief exposures. For this reason, when faced with a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a victim, his or her family, friends and co-workers should take time to catalogue any past exposures to asbestos dust including as much detail as possible (sources of asbestos dust exposures, locations, dates, durations of exposures, availability of respiratory protection). This information is often valuable in reconstructing the sources of exposure and assessing legal liability at a later date.
   
2. Mesothelioma may have a latency period up to 40 years. This means the disease may actually develop many years after exposure to asbestos dust. A common scenario we've encountered are railroad workers who were exposed to asbestos dust early in their careers find out they have mesothelioma just as they're about to retire. In recognition of the latency period of the disease, many courts have held the statute of limitations applicable to claims based upon mesothelioma do not begin to run until the victim knows (or should know) they suffer from the disease. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state and between the different laws applicable to the cases. It is important that a victim of mesothelioma seek prompt, qualified legal advice to insure the statute of limitations does not expire prior to action being taken to protect a claim.

Our attorneys possess experience handling mesothelioma cases, understand the severity of the disease and are ready to respond to any questions which may arise concerning this serious disease. 
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