Asbestos is a natural mineral made of fibers that are resistant to corrosion, electricity, and heat. It is because of its qualities that the mineral was widely used in the 20th century. However, even though asbestos boasts of these useful qualities, asbestos is highly toxic. When an individual inhales the asbestos fibers, the fibers can cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive type of cancer.

Today, asbestos is no longer being used in most new products and buildings. However, many old buildings, homes, and products still contain this toxic substance. Even after it was discovered that the substance is harmful, most asbestos-containing buildings were not banned. Additionally, many asbestos-containing materials and products were not forcibly removed from circulation, either. As a result, asbestos still poses a threat to homeowners, workers, and many other people.

Many people would want to know what asbestos looks like. Homeowners and renovators, most especially, would want to know how to identify this toxic substance before beginning home construction or renovation. Many schools, homes, and other buildings built before the 1980s contain asbestos, and during construction or renovation, people interact with asbestos-containing materials without even realizing it. Unfortunately, identifying asbestos is not that simple.

A New Orleans, Louisiana jury recently awarded an $8.2 million mesothelioma verdict to a former mechanic against Ford. Ford Motor Company is a multinational company that designs, manufactures, markets, and services cars, trucks, utility vehicles, and luxury vehicles. After only 60 minutes of deliberation, the Louisiana jury ordered the manufacturing giant to pay the victim $8,261,874 as compensation for the malignant mesothelioma he blamed on the repeated asbestos exposure he suffered while servicing vehicles manufactured by Ford. The jury’s quick decision came after three weeks of testimony about how the former mechanic was repeatedly exposed to asbestos while servicing clutches and brakes installed on Ford vehicles and buses.

Over a year ago, the Louisiana resident was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer. Immediately the former mechanic learned that he had mesothelioma, he filed a negligence and strict liability lawsuit against Ford Motor Company. The former mechanic worked as a gas station mechanic and as a school bus mechanic. It was while working these jobs in the 1960s and 70s that he suffered repeated asbestos exposure. While servicing asbestos-containing clutches and brakes on vehicles manufactured by Ford, the former mechanic was exposed to asbestos dust. When asbestos fibers get stuck in the lining of the lungs after being inhaled, they cause inflammation and scarring to DNA and mesothelial cells. Mesothelioma then develops due to the inflammation, typically decades after initial asbestos exposure.

Ford Motor Company’s failure to warn of the presence of asbestos or related dangers was at the heart of this mesothelioma litigation. The plaintiff’s attorneys and the jury determined that Ford knew about the dangers of asbestos long before the former mechanic’s exposure. They also determined that the manufacturing giant failed to warn the former mechanic about the dangers of asbestos. Due to that, the jury awarded the plaintiff $8.2. million in compensatory damages.

A lot happens after an individual is diagnosed with mesothelioma. For example, a mesothelioma patient will want to know how the illness will affect their lifestyle and relationships with family and friends. Additionally, shortly after diagnosis, mesothelioma patients start wondering how mesothelioma will affect them financially. The reality is that a mesothelioma diagnosis is bound to affect an individual’s life in many negative ways.

After a mesothelioma diagnosis, people have to make tough medical, personal, and financial decisions. Fortunately, a doctor can help a mesothelioma patient and their family make some tough medical decisions. Doctors can help mesothelioma victims get the treatment they need. When a victim’s doctor cannot provide them with the best options, the doctor will refer the patient to a mesothelioma specialist.

Specialists can help patients and their families learn how mesothelioma is likely to affect their lives. A specialist can help a patient determine the new regimen of activities and drugs they need to adopt. Nonetheless, even though medical professionals can do all this, some questions remain: How can a patient pay for everything if they do not have the financial capability? Why should a patient even have to pay for these things?

According to a July 8, 2021 opinion, Washington Supreme Court reinstated an $81.5 million ruling in full after overturning an appellate court ruling for a wrongful death claim of an auto mechanic. According to the Supreme Court ruling, the Court of Appeals “overstepped the limited role played by appellate courts in the civil justice system and substituted its own subjective judgment for that of the jury and trial courts based on nothing more than the size of the verdict.”

The original claim was brought forward by the family and estate of the deceased mechanic who died in 2015 at the age of 67 of peritoneal mesothelioma. In 2017, after an approximately 12-week trial, a jury unanimously found NAPA Auto Parts and Genuine Parts Corp (GPC) liable in the mechanic’s death and awarded the deceased mechanic’s survivors $81.5 million. In its verdict, the jury found that NAPA and GPC were strictly liable and negligent for their defective asbestos-containing products used by the mechanic. Before his diagnosis and death, the deceased had worked with brake pads containing asbestos, and other parts manufactured by GPC and sold through NAPA for decades.

After the jury awarded the $81.5 million to the deceased’s mechanic’s survivors, GPC and NAPA moved for a new trial or alternatively to have the damages awarded lowered, which the trial court denied. The Court of Appeals then vacated the jury’s $81.5 million verdict and reversed the trial court in part. The Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court made a mistake when it excluded one of NAPA and GPC’s expert witnesses and applied what was referred to as “subjective determination.” The Court of Appeals also concluded that the jury’s award was excessive and ordered a new trial on damages.

The number one leading cause of mesothelioma is occupational primary asbestos exposure. However, even those who do not directly interact with asbestos at the workplace can fall victim to asbestos exposure. Second hand asbestos exposure usually happens when a worker brings home asbestos fibers. Since there is no safe level of any form of asbestos exposure, bringing home asbestos fibers on one’s clothes, hair, or even skin inevitably puts everyone in that home at risk of asbestos-related health issues such as mesothelioma.

Primary asbestos exposure was common in the 20th century. During that time, men were at a greater risk of falling victim to primary asbestos exposure because they were employed in labor jobs such as construction jobs that used asbestos products. Second hand asbestos exposure, on the other hand, was more prevalent among women and children. It was common for men who worked with asbestos to unknowingly bring asbestos to their homes on their tools, skin, hair, shoes, and even clothes. Unfortunately, even today, people are still at risk of second hand asbestos exposure because asbestos is still in many American buildings and products. Today, a construction worker can, for instance, bring asbestos fibers home after renovating or demolishing an asbestos-contaminated house.

Second hand asbestos exposure is a type of non-occupational asbestos exposure. Second hand asbestos exposure is also called secondary, para-occupational, or take-home exposure. Repeated second hand asbestos exposure can be just as risky as primary asbestos exposure. Therefore, it is incorrect for anyone to assume that people who have not worked with asbestos cannot get mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Being repeatedly exposed to asbestos fibers by a worker who brings home asbestos fibers can cause asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

When faced with a personal injury or wrongful death claim situation, it can get confusing and complicated. Things can get especially complicated and confusing for a person dealing with a mesothelioma case. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by asbestos. It is a type of cancer that can be so deadly because of the precise reason that it can go unnoticed for decades. Every year, there are about 3,000 new mesothelioma diagnoses in the United States. Unfortunately, since mesothelioma’s diagnosis rate is not as high as that of other types of cancer, a lot of misinformation surrounds mesothelioma legal claims. Misconceptions about mesothelioma legal claims can cause people to make decisions that may not be in their best interests.

Below are four common myths about mesothelioma legal claims.

Myth #1: An Individual Can Wait as Long as They Want to Begin the Legal Process

People suffering from mesothelioma usually go through a lot of difficulties. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs after asbestos exposure. For starters, mesothelioma treatment can be costly. Victims of mesothelioma and their loved ones usually spend a lot of money from the time of diagnosis through post-treatment care. Some spend thousands of dollars, and, others, even more. The amount of money a victim of mesothelioma spends generally depends on their treatment plan, health care provider, and other factors.

Secondly, mesothelioma often causes pain, which is usually one of the early signs of mesothelioma. As fluids build up and tumors grow, it usually becomes difficult for a victim to digest food, breathe, and even cough without experiencing pain. Additionally, fluid buildup, which leads to increased pressure, can also cause pain in a victim’s abdomen or chest.

Severe pain can interfere with the day-to-day life of a mesothelioma patient. For instance, pain can prevent a patient from working or participating in other everyday activities, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. The day-to-day lives of families of patients also suffer when pain is involved.

Even though mesothelioma and lung cancer are both deadly cancers, they are different diseases. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining around the lungs and chest when a person inhales asbestos fibers. Asbestos, which is the only known cause of cancerous mesothelioma, is a naturally occurring mineral. The mineral was used as a building material before people became aware of its hazardous properties. Asbestos leads to mesothelioma because it causes changes at a cellular level. This toxic substance triggers inflammation, scarring, and damage that can cause cancer. Usually, when asbestos is disturbed, it releases tiny fibers into the air. When these fibers are inhaled, they get stuck in the pleural lining of the lungs and chest. Asbestos exposure is most prevalent in industrial workplaces.

On the other hand, lung cancer develops in the lungs and not in the lining of the lungs. Unlike mesothelioma, which has one known cause (asbestos), lung cancer has many known causes. Nonetheless, even though lung cancer often occurs because of other factors, the reality is that asbestos exposure can also cause lung cancer. When asbestos fibers get stuck in a person’s lungs, they can develop lung cancer.

After symptoms that suggest a serious lung problem start emerging, an individual might think they have lung cancer, when in fact they have mesothelioma, or vice versa, because both diseases can present a similar set of symptoms. Nonetheless, a history of being exposed to asbestos fibers is what physicians look for when trying to identify mesothelioma specifically. Some of the symptoms people with mesothelioma or lung cancer experience include;

In a recently decided Ohio mesothelioma lawsuit, a jury awarded the estate of an 83-year-old Korean War Veteran $12.1 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury awarded the veteran’s estate this amount after hearing and deliberating on the details of the veteran’s decades-long asbestos exposure and his ensuing diagnosis and death from malignant mesothelioma. At first, the jury had awarded the plaintiff compensatory damages amounting to $6.1 million. The judge then decided to add another $6 million in punitive damages against John Crane, Inc.

The war veteran worked in the stockroom at the Pfaudler Co. plant in Elyria, Ohio, for more than four decades. He started working at the Pfaudler Co. plant after his service in Korea. While working at Pfaudler, the veteran was responsible for preparing shipments of specialized glass-coated steel bowls used in chemical and pharmaceuticals manufacturing. Every week, he would spend hours cutting asbestos-contaminated rope using a band saw. Because the material was asbestos-contaminated, cutting it with a band saw led to the spread of asbestos particles into the air, which he then inhaled.

According to reports, the veteran was a hard-working man who always did what he was told to do at work. Unfortunately, neither he nor his fellow employees were ever informed of the hazards of the product they were handling because Pfaudler was in the dark. Pfaudler was never warned about the asbestos-contaminated rope, and the evidence presented at trial proved this fact. Crane Packing Co., now formally known as John Crane Inc., the material’s manufacturer, knew that the material had a high concentration of blue crocidolite asbestos, but never warned Pfaudler of the material’s potential danger or advised the plant on proper handling. The material’s manufacturer always advertised the material as ‘completely non-toxic.’ However, once Pfaudler realized that the material was toxic – an entire three years before John Crane issued any form of public warning – the company stopped using it. Unfortunately, by then, it was late for the war veteran, as he had already been exposed to asbestos for many years.

Construction workers are prone to several dangers. In fact, the construction sector is considered among the most dangerous sectors in which to work. Unfortunately, people have become so accustomed to the dangers that construction workers face daily that occupational hazards in the construction sector have become acceptable risks. Construction workers are, for instance, prone to slip and falls, which is the main leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Apart from being prone to slip and falls, construction workers also risk being exposed to harmful substances. One of the harmful substances that construction workers risk being exposed to is asbestos.

Asbestos, a dangerous substance that causes mesothelioma and other life-altering diseases, continues to threaten the health and lives of many construction workers. Even though current laws limit the use of asbestos, construction workers are still prone to occupational exposure. Asbestos exposure remains a significant problem in the construction industry and might pose an even greater risk for years to come. Considering asbestos was commonly used in the construction industry, construction workers today come across this substance regularly. When construction workers come into contact with asbestos-containing materials, they can develop illnesses such as mesothelioma that can alter their lives and those of their families forever.

Asbestos can remain hidden in almost every part of a building or structure. Therefore, just because a person does not construct new buildings or structures, does not mean they are safe from exposure to asbestos. Workers conducting maintenance, renovations, or demolitions are all at risk of asbestos exposure in the same way those who interact with asbestos during the construction of new buildings or structures are.

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