Alabama Asbestos Litigation FAQ
Asbestos has been the cause of thousands of injuries to Alabama residents, often decades after exposure in the workplace. The asbestos fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs and over a period of time cause irritation which ultimately develops into asbestosis or mesothelioma (a kind of lung cancer specifically associated with asbestos exposure).
The DiLorenzo Law Firm, LLC has a proven track record representing victims and assisting them in geting the compensation they deserve from the companies that caused their injury. Let us know if we can help you.
The DiLorenzo Law Firm, LLC 's asbestos injury lawyers handle cases throughout Alabama and the southeastern United States. We have the experience to assist you in seeking justice for the asbestos-related injury you or a loved one now suffers and our experience can help you through the litigation process.
We have a track record of success and we routinely handle cases in the states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Let us know if we can help you.
Mesothelioma - Frequently Asked Questions
If you are researching attorneys that handle Mesothelioma cases, you already have a pretty good idea that Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by a previous exposure to asbestos. When asbestos dust is inhaled, some of the particles attach to the lining in the lungs where they may remain for many years. Eventually, the asbestos dust causes the malignant (cancerous) cells to form in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs.
The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.
The mesothelium has different names, depending on its location in the body. The peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The mesothelial tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.
Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. In most cases, mesothelioma begins in either the pleura or peritoneum.
Mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer, although the reported cases have increased over the past 20 years. Between 2,000 and 4,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Although mesothelioma occurs more often in men than women, this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.
Working with asbestos is single largest risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.
Although smoking does present certain identifiable and harmful side effects, it does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the air passageways in the lung.
Anyone who has been exposed to the substance.
Asbestos has been mined and used commercially since the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during World War II and since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other related industries. Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos are required to wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure to asbestos dust.
The risk of asbestos-related disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. However, some individuals with only brief exposures have developed mesothelioma. Conversely, not all workers who have been heavily exposed to asbestos dust develop asbestos-related diseases.
Studies have shown that family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of asbestos workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestos fibers, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.
Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
Often, the symptoms of mesothelioma, mentioned above, do not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. It is important to see a doctor if you have been exposed to asbestos and fear that your previous exposure might be the cause of any of these symptoms. Only a doctor can make a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. A doctor begins with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be necessary, including x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. In an MRI, a powerful magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed.
A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In a biopsy, a surgeon or a medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer) removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a peritoneoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small opening in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument called a peritoneoscope into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
If mesothelioma is the diagnosis, the next step is to learn the stage (or extent) of the disease. Staging involves more tests in a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to which parts of the body. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.
Mesothelioma is described as localized if the cancer is found only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified as advanced if it has spread beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patient’s age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, a combination of these treatments will be utilized.
- Surgeryis a common treatment for mesothelioma. The doctor may remove part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it. For cancer of the pleura (pleural mesothelioma), a lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed.
- Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy affects the cancer cells only in the treated area. The radiation may come from a machine (external radiation) or from putting materials that produce radiation through thin plastic tubes into the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy).
- Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Most drugs used to treat mesothelioma are given by injection into a vein (intravenous, or IV). Doctors are also studying the effectiveness of putting chemotherapy directly into the chest or abdomen (intracavitary chemotherapy).
To relieve symptoms and control pain, the doctor may use a needle or a thin tube to drain fluid that has built up in the chest or abdomen. The procedure for removing fluid from the chest is called thoracentesis. Removal of fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis. Drugs may be given through a tube in the chest to prevent more fluid from accumulating. Radiation therapy and surgery may also be helpful in relieving symptoms.
Alabama Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits and Legal Representation
The asbestos injury lawyers at The DiLorenzo Law Firm, LLC have a proven track record of success in helping our clients obtain compensation for injuries resulting from the exposure to dangerous substances like asbestos.
Our experienced team of legal professionals and Alabama Asbestos Injury Attorneys have been helping victims of asbestos exposure diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma for years.
We are dedicated to achieving real justice for the clients we serve can assure them that we will work diligently to achieve a satisfactory result.
Contact Alabama Mesothelioma Injury Attorneys
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can help patients and their families affected by the defective product recover the financial compensation necessary to pay for expensive treatment and long term care.
If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma after asbestos exposure, even many years ago, you may have a defective product claim against the manufacturers. Call our Birmingham, Alabama office today for a free consultation. Our office number is 1 - (800) 200-3604. Do not wait another day and risk losing your claim.
Alabama has a two year statute of limitations on filing certain product liability and personal injury claims. It takes time to acquire medical records, employment records, and draft pleadings, so please do not delay in contacting us if you have any concern that your mesothelioma or asbestosis may have been caused by a former employer.