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Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by inhaled asbestos fibers. It is estimated that around 3,000 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed every year. Usually, mesothelioma develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is an aggressive and fatal cancer. Because of mesothelioma’s aggressive and deadly nature, early detection and treatment are quite important.

However, before beginning treatment after a mesothelioma diagnosis, getting a second opinion is important. Even though most patients begin treatment immediately after a first diagnosis, experts advise people to get a second opinion before starting treatment. It is also vital to get a second opinion if one goes to the doctor believing they have mesothelioma, only to be told they have another illness. Receiving a second opinion on a diagnosis, can among other things, help an individual;

  • Eliminate the possibility of a misdiagnosis,

Dealing with mesothelioma can be extremely difficult. Sadly, many mesothelioma patients suffer from stress. Unfortunately, stress can negatively affect a person’s physical and mental well-being. Among other things, stress can:

  • Cause mental health issues
  • Increase the risk of stroke

A family that lost a loved one after she developed mesothelioma through second-hand asbestos exposure will have their day in court after a Louisiana court denied a wallboard company’s request for summary judgment. The deceased (who, for purposes of this article, will be referred to as Mrs. J) died of mesothelioma at the age of 75. Before she died, Mrs. J filed a lawsuit against several companies, accusing them of negligently exposing her to the toxic mesothelioma-causing substance known as asbestos. Though most of the companies the deceased took to court compensated her, one particular company, Hopeman Brothers, Inc., chose to file a motion for summary judgment. The company filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that Mrs. J had no proof that she had fallen victim to asbestos exposure because of their (Hopeman Brothers Inc.) products.

After Mrs. J died, her daughter continued the lawsuit. Mrs. J’s daughter maintains that her mother developed mesothelioma because of being exposed to asbestos through her grandfather, who used to come home with asbestos-contaminated work clothes. During the years that Mrs. J’s father worked at Avondale Shipyard, he worked in close proximity to Hopeman’s operations involving asbestos-contaminated wallboard. At that time, Mrs. J was still a child, and whenever her father got home, she would shake out his asbestos-contaminated work clothing, clean it, and clean up the asbestos that had accumulated on the floor.

Even though Hopeman accepted that some of their shipbuilding products were asbestos-contaminated, they argued that because Mrs. J’s father only worked on vessels that were pre-launch, he could not have been the one who took home the asbestos fibers and dust that led to his daughter developing mesothelioma. Hopeman claimed that their wallboard was only cut after a ship had been launched, meaning Mrs. J’s father, who worked on pre-launch vessels, could not have been exposed to asbestos. However, Mrs. J’s attorneys managed to present witnesses who said that wallboard was cut pre-launch at Wet Dock No. 2, where Mrs. J’s father had spent a tremendous amount of time cleaning up dust left behind. The witnesses also testified about the huge amount of dust that was generated, confirming that Mrs. J’s father would have carried asbestos fibers home on his work clothing.

People have been filing mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims for more than three decades now. Over the years, asbestos companies that recklessly exposed people to asbestos have been forced to pay plaintiffs huge amounts of money. Because of the huge payouts, some companies started filing for bankruptcy. Generally, companies began filing for bankruptcy to avoid liability. Most of the companies that chose to file for bankruptcy were not able to avoid liability. This is mainly because, as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, companies were required to establish trusts that would fund victims of asbestos exposure. This is where asbestos and mesothelioma trust funds originated from.

What are Asbestos and Mesothelioma Trust Funds?

Asbestos trust funds, asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, or mesothelioma trust funds are trust funds created on behalf of bankrupt asbestos companies with a possibility of having an asbestos suit filed against them. Many companies set up trust funds years ago after going bankrupt. They created the trust funds to pay out compensation to victims who had already filed their claims and any individuals who filed claims in the future. Generally, the purpose of asbestos and mesothelioma trust funds is to put aside money for current and future asbestos claims.

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