Mesothelioma is a very rare and aggressive form of lung cancer which develops in the mesothelium lining between the heart and lungs. Toxic asbestos fibers cause mesothelium cells to divide at an astronomically high rate. The cells form a tumor and often spread quickly to other parts of the body.
This cancer is extremely difficult to diagnose, and not just because it’s only connected with asbestos exposure. The latency period could be up to fifty years. So, if a victim was exposed to asbestos in the 1980s during a construction project, he may not develop any symptoms until the 2030s.
Cancer survival rates have improved significantly since the 1990s. But this improvement is largely based on effective diagnosis and treatment. These things are often absent in mesothelioma cases.
Although a personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN is not a doctor, an attorney plays an important role in mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment. This role could literally be the difference between life and death.
Delayed diagnosis is very common in mesothelioma cases. Because it is so rare, many doctors mistake mesothelioma for Adenocarcinoma (NSCLC), which is much more common. NSCLC is also not nearly as aggressive as mesothelioma. As a result, many doctors prescribe conservative treatment options, thinking that such an approach is best. Unfortunately, the prescribed treatments may not be aggressive enough, so the disease spreads.
That’s assuming the doctor diagnoses cancer at all. Most mesothelioma victims have no family history of lung cancer and do not smoke. Doctors hardly ever diagnose lung cancer in these situations, especially since initial mesothelioma symptoms, like fatigue and trouble breathing, are rather generic.
So, the doctor might diagnose the patient with bronchitis, COPD, or another relatively mild lung disease. Once again, precious time ticks off the clock and victims do not get the help they need.
A personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN may make a difference. Attorneys refer clients to mesothelioma specialists who can accurately and promptly diagnose this disease, thus increasing survival rates. If you, someone in your family, or one of your neighbors worked in any of the following jobs, you should probably contact a personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN if you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms:
- Asbestos mining,
- Asbestos manufacturing,
- Heavy industry,
- Power plant,
- Steel mill,
- Factory, or
- Textile mill.
Since attorneys send letters of protection to medical providers which guarantee payment when the case is resolved, many mesothelioma specialists charge no money upfront for their services.
These letters of protection are also useful during the treatment phase. Mesothelioma treatment often costs about $12,000 a month. For liability reasons, most health insurance plans do not cover injury-related costs, such as mesothelioma treatment. Even if payment is available, deductibles and copays alone could be thousands of dollars a month.
The nature of the disease makes mesothelioma treatments more expensive than other cancer treatments. As mentioned, mesothelioma tumors form in a very sensitive area. As a result, the traditional three-tiered approach (radiation to shrink the tumor, surgery to remove it, and chemotherapy to kill cancer cells) is not always effective. For example, even targeted radiation treatments may also adversely affect the heart and lungs. So, more aggressive, and more expensive, treatments are necessary.
Without assistance from a personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN, mesothelioma victims might have to make do with the treatment they can afford and not get the treatment they truly need.
Personal Injury Lawyers in Brainerd, MN and Legal Issues
The statute of limitations in injury cases is generally two years. After that time, victims are unable to obtain legal compensation for their injuries. Due to the aforementioned latency period, by the time victims develop mesothelioma, that deadline has long passed.
But this deadline is not the one that matters in these cases, thanks to the discovery rule. The statute of limitations clock does not start running when the victim was exposed to asbestos. Instead, the clock starts running when victims discover the full extent of their injuries and they connect their injuries to the defendant’s’ negligence. So, no matter when a wayward asbestos fiber entered the victim’s body, the victim probably still has legal options.
Reach Out to a Diligent Attorney
One microscopic asbestos fiber is sufficient to cause mesothelioma. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.