Jury’s Find Asbestos as Substantial Cause of Mesothelioma

(August 9, 2012) – Some large mesothelioma settlements this summer have resulted in more than $25 million for victims of the disease in the U.S.

A jury awarded a former shipyard worker $1.5 million, alleging two companies’ negligence in allowing his exposure to cancer-causing asbestos. The victim worked at one of the largest shipyards in his state. The jury found that the two companies named in the lawsuit produced products that were a “substantial and contributing cause” of victim’s mesothelioma. The shipyard will be closing in 2013 because of decreased business from the Navy.

In another case, a 70-year-old Navy veteran was awarded a $2.4 million verdict against a company that manufactures asbestos for boiler rooms, where he worked for ten years. The victim was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2010. He and his wife brought suit against John Crane, Inc., maker of asbestos-containing joint compounds, which most likely caused his mesothelioma.

At the same time, a New York jury awarded $2.5 million in damages to a former chemist who filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. The victim claims that his mesothelioma was triggered by asbestos he inhaled while using the Friction Assessment Screening Test (FAST) machine. The machine was designed to test the viability of asbestos containing brake materials by grinding the materials down. His suit claimed that his employer never warned him of the potentially lethal asbestos dust generated by the FAST machine.

One of the largest mesothelioma settlements in recent months also happened in New York. A jury awarded $2.2 million to the families of two men who died of mesothelioma after years of working with asbestos containing gaskets manufactured by Goodyear. Goodyear says it will appeal the verdict.

People that are exposed to asbestos over a long period of time can develop serious injuries or mesothelioma, which is a cancer that can attack the bodies’ internal organs.

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they inhaled asbestos, or were exposed to asbestos dust and fibers in other ways. It has also been suggested that washing clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos increases their risk for developing mesothelioma.

After a doctor tells a patient that they have mesothelioma, the next question the doctor asks is when was the patient near asbestos.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and unexplained weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest x-ray and CT scan, but must be confirmed with biopsy. Despite treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease carries a poor prognosis.

Symptoms or signs of mesothelioma may not appear until 20-50 years (or more) after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (pleural effusion) are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.

Asbestos is responsible for approximately 10,000 deaths in the U.S. per year. However, it is still not banned in the United States or Canada.

Mesothelioma is one of the most rare cancers in the world. It attacks the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. The most common causes of mesothelioma are asbestos particles in the air that are breathed in. Mesothelioma is a fatal disease of the mesothelium, which is the outer covering that surrounds most of out internal organs.

As mentioned above, asbestos illnesses can take 50 years or so to develop. If you were exposed to large amounts of asbestos in the past, you might still be at risk. If you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing sudden weight loss, persistent nausea or vomiting, chest pain, heart palpitations, persistent cough, fever or fatigue, you should seek medical attention.

Contact one of our Gacovino & Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for more information.

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