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Mesothelioma: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Filing Lawsuits

Updated on February 15, 2015


Mesothelioma is a relatively rare cancer, affecting approximately 1 in 1,000,000 people in the United States each year. The cancer causes malignant cells to develop in the mesothelium, which is a protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs. The most common organ affected by mesothelioma is the outer layer of the lungs, but it can also develop in the lining of the abdominal cavity or the heart.


Some of the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma in the lining of the lungs are:


  • Chest pain
  • Fluid surrounding the lungs
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Coughing up blood


Some of the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma in the lining of the lungs are:


  • Chest pain
  • Fluid surrounding the lungs
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Coughing up blood

If you suspect that you may have mesothelioma, your doctor may use chest x-rays, lung function tests, Cat scans, or an MRI to research the suspicion. However, a biopsy is usually needed to confirm the disease.

The most common cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Many workers are at risk of developing mesothelioma because asbestos is widely used in cement, brake linings, gaskets, roof shingles, textiles, insulation, and flooring products. Families of these workers are also at risk of contact with asbestos so it is important that the workers shower and change clothes before coming home. Because mesothelioma is most commonly contracted by inhaling asbestos on the job site, many lawsuits take place seeking compensation.


If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and wish to seek financial compensation, you will need to take action as soon as possible. Though it varies from state to state, the typical time limit for filing a lawsuit is 2 years. If the victim has passed, the family is also entitled to file a lawsuit for compensation.


            To prepare to file your lawsuit, you will need to gather as much relevant information as possible supporting your case, including medical records and history of exposure. Most law firms will ask you to sign an agreement with them to represent your case. However, before any agreement is signed, you should ask about any fees you will incur from the lawsuit. Most mesothelioma lawyers will work on a no win, no fee basis. Also ask the lawyers for references before making a decision.


When you file your suit, you will need to outline all of your intentions, including requests for compensation. The defendant will have a certain amount of time to respond with either a request to dismiss the claim or denying responsibility. Many lawsuits are settled out of court, but some do end up going to trial. If the jury finds in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant will have the opportunity to file an appeal.




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