If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, then among the range of emotions and thoughts that you are undoubtedly wrestling with is the question “Who is responsible for this?” The answer to that question may very well take you back a few decades.
Until the last few decades, mesothelioma was considered a very rare cancer. Over the past few decades, however, mesothelioma diagnoses have increased at an alarming rate. Experts believe that the reason for the increase in people diagnosed with mesothelioma is a combination of better diagnostics and the fact that mesothelioma has an extremely long latency period – sometimes as long as 40 or 50 years. While mesothelioma was once considered a rare form of cancer, its main cause has been known since the turn of the century.
As many as 80-90% of all occurrences of mesothelioma cancer are thought to be the result of exposure to asbestos. As far back as the early 1900’s, doctors noticed a link between patients that had worked around asbestos and early deaths due to cancer of the lungs. For years, the link between asbestos and cancer was kept as quiet as possible due in large part to the fact that so many industries were dependant on asbestos laden materials for their livelihood. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber mined from the earth. It was favored by many industries because it is strong, flexible, and resistant to heat, chemicals and electrical conditions. Asbestos was used in over 3000 products that spanned many different industries. Asbestos was turned into a woven form for use in the textile industry, mixed with a binder to make cement products and widely used as insulation for decades. You could also find asbestos in the automotive industry in the making of breaks and even in shipbuilding by the U.S. Navy.
Because of its long incubation period, many of the workers that were employed in industries that regularly used asbestos products in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s are just now developing symptoms or being diagnosed with mesothelioma. The way asbestos causes mesothelioma is rather simple. Anywhere that asbestos products are being used tends to have asbestos particles in the air. Workers then inhale the asbestos particles. These particles, over time, attach to the mesothelium – a sac of sorts that covers and protects many of out internal organs. As the years pass, those particles begin to change the cells of the mesothelium. As the cells change, they divide and turn into cancerous cells. This process frequently takes place over 20 to 30 years but can take as long as 50 years or more. There is no cure for mesothelioma and the cost of care can be extremely expensive. So who is responsible?
According to California personal injury lawyer Emery Ledger of Ledger & Associates, under the laws of negligence in the State of California, it may be that the manufacturers of the products used or even the employers that were using the products may be responsible. Unlike most personal injury negligence cases, in the case of negligence caused by the use of asbestos, the plaintiff may still file a lawsuit despite that fact that the exposure to the asbestos was decades ago. California law essentially starts the statute of limitations running when you suffer from a disability as a result of the exposure or should have known you were suffering a disability as a result of the exposure. California has taken into account the long latency period of asbestos damage and allowed a mechanism for victims of asbestos exposure to be justly compensated.
If you think that your mesothelioma may be the result of exposure to asbestos in the workplace, contact California personal injury attorney Emery Ledger of Ledger & Associates for a free and detailed evaluation of your situation at 1-800-300-0001 or visit him online at www.ledgerlaw.com.