If you knew a substance was hazardous to your health, would you continue using it? The average Utah citizen certainly wouldn’t. Unfortunately, many have been exposed to asbestos for long periods of time.
Decades worth of research proves that asbestos causes cancer and that manufacturers lied and covered up the consequences of asbestos exposure. As a result, thousands of citizens suffer exposure-related injuries and develop cancer in their later years.
What does a Utah asbestos cancer diagnosis mean for you and your family? Are you able to obtain compensation for asbestos cancer?
A Utah asbestos attorney can help you answer those questions.
However, we’ll provide you with an overview on asbestos cancer and the legal process. We’ll also discuss what types of cancers develop after asbestos exposure and explain how a Utah Mesothelioma lawyer can help you and your family recover. Read on to learn what you need to know about asbestos-related lawsuits.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral that can be found all over the globe. When man discovered how to harness fire back in the Stone Age, asbestos became invaluable. Why? Asbestos is fireproof.
Early humans used asbestos fibers in wicks to make candles and lamps. Later along in history, Egyptians wrapped deceased pharaohs in asbestos cloths. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it for similar purposes, but they also started to notice a strange “sickness of the lungs” in slaves who wore asbestos cloth and mined for the mineral.
Despite that, asbestos became invaluable once again during the Industrial Revolution. Man realized that the mineral is malleable and resistant to electricity and chemicals.
What Is Asbestos Commonly Used For?
Asbestos isn’t just fireproof, it’s also cost-effective and easily mass-produced. Due to these properties, it has a wide range of uses. Here are some of the most common ways asbestos is used:
- Asbestos-laced asphalt in some roads
- Roofing and flooring
- Fillers for caulk, paints, and plasters
- Fire-retardant coating
- Brake pads
- Transmission components
- Electrical wiring
This list is far from inclusive – asbestos has been found in household appliances like toasters and even talcum-based cosmetics, too.
Did the USA Ban the Use of Asbestos?
As asbestos use increased globally, doctors started to make a connection between asbestos exposure and breathing problems. In 1906, Dr. Montague Murray published a groundbreaking report that documented the first asbestos worker death.
An autopsy of the victim revealed asbestos fibers in his lungs, which Dr. Murray called “fibrosis”. Soon, other experts from Italy, France, and across the globe confirmed the doctor’s suspicions.
Just a few years later in 1918, the U.S. government recognized the risks of asbestos. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report confirming that asbestos workers were at-risk for early death.
In 1989, the EPA banned asbestos and began to phase it out. Unfortunately, this ban was overturned by a U.S. court. As a result, asbestos is still getting used in some modern-day products and industries.
What Professions Are Commonly Exposed to Asbestos?
Mesothelioma researchers discovered that most patients who develop asbestos cancer were repeatedly exposed to the substance at the workplace. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise considering the mineral is used in many industrial and commercial products. Here are the types of professions that suffer exposure more than others:
- Mining and milling
- Military members
- Manufacturing of asbestos products
- Shipbuilding trades
- Automobile manufacturers
- Demolition workers
What Cancers Are Caused by Asbestos?
When small asbestos particles are inhaled or ingested, our bodies can’t break them down. That means these tiny fibers get lodged into our body’s tissues. Most often, they get trapped in lung tissue, but they can also move to other tissues and organs.
At first, you won’t notice these asbestos particles. You won’t feel any discomfort, and you likely won’t experience any symptoms. Within several years, though, those fibers will start to wreak serious havoc.
They can cause inflammation and cell changes on the genetic level. This type of genetic mutation is called cancer. Here are four types of cancer that asbestos exposure causes:
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
Researchers are working hard to identify whether asbestos causes other forms of cancers. While findings are not yet definitive, experts are beginning to link asbestos to colon, stomach, and pharyngeal cancer.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops after exposure to asbestos material. It’s the only type of cancer that’s exclusively linked to asbestos.
According to experts, it can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to completely develop. It’s not surprising, then, that the majority of those diagnosed with mesothelioma are 60 years old or older. There are two main types of Mesothelioma:
- Pleural Mesothelioma
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Pleural Mesothelioma impacts a person’s lungs. This type of cancer develops after inhaling asbestos fibers. Experts estimate that nearly 80% of pleural mesothelioma sufferers are male.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma develops when a person ingests asbestos. The mutated cells impact the areas surrounding your abdomen. In contrast to Pleural Mesothelioma, about half of those diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma are female. This type of cancer is rare compared to Pleural Mesothelioma. It’s estimated that it only makes up about 10-15% of all Mesothelioma cases.
What Are the Symptoms of Asbestos Cancer?
- Fluid build up
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Dry cough
- Bowel irregularity
When you speak to your doctor about your symptoms, inform them about your asbestos exposure. The signs and symptoms above are often misdiagnosed as pneumonia, the seasonal flu or even irritable bowel syndrome.
Keep in mind that these symptoms won’t appear immediately after asbestos exposure. It takes decades for cell mutations to become tumors. Only then will your symptoms become apparent.
Can Asbestos Cancer Be Treated or Cured?
If you suspect you’ve developed cancer from asbestos exposure, then your doctor will order a biopsy to confirm that cancer is present. There’s no definitive cure for Mesothelioma. In any case, you do have treatment options that can help. Here are a few of the current treatment options available for patients:
- Multimodal (a combination of treatment methods)
- Experimental trials (such as Immunotherapy drugs)
- Alternative treatments
Your doctor will analyze your biopsy results to learn how far the cancerous cells have progressed. This determination will dictate which treatment option is best for you.
When cancer hasn’t spread further than where it began, surgery is often a patient’s preferred choice. If cancer has spread throughout your body, then you’ll need to consider other treatment options.
How Can a Utah Asbestos Lawyer Help Me?
Not only will you need to shell out money for medical care, but you’ll likely suffer other losses, too. Here’s an overview of the common types of losses that you can expect after a cancer diagnosis:
- Significant medical bills
- An inability to return to work right away
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Do you have any legal recourse after an asbestos cancer diagnosis? A Utah Mesothelioma lawyer can help you answer that question. Here’s what you can expect a good Utah asbestos lawyer to help you with:
- Identifying whether your cancer was caused by asbestos exposure
- Determining who manufactured or supplied the asbestos products
- Gathering documentation and proof of your injuries
- Initiating a lawsuit against the liable parties
- Negotiating a fair settlement amount
At Creekside Injury Law, we’ll help you navigate the challenges of a Utah asbestos cancer lawsuit from start to finish. We’ll powerfully tell your life story and prove to the court how your diagnosis has impacted you and your family’s lives.
If your loved one’s life was suddenly cut short by asbestos cancer, then we’ll help you determine whether you have the basis for a wrongful death claim.
You won’t have to pay any money up-front, and we’ll work with you to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation possible. Reach out to our office now at if you’re ready to get started.
What if the Asbestos Manufacturers Are Bankrupt?
Asbestos manufacturers aren’t immune to lawsuits, so many of them have already gone bankrupt as a result of multiple claims. If the party you’re attempting to seek compensation from falls under this category, then you’re not out of luck.
The United States passed a law that requires bankrupt asbestos manufactures to create trust funds for asbestos cancer victims. These trust funds allow individuals to seek out a claim with the trust fund rather than directly against the company responsible. Right now, there’s an estimated $30 billion remaining in trust funds.
Creekside Injury Law will pursue a claim against trust funds if the responsible asbestos manufacturer is no longer doing business. This option isn’t ideal because the average payout is often less than when the company hasn’t gone bankrupt. If the company is still active and running, then we’ll file a lawsuit directly against the business.
What Factors Impact My Utah Asbestos Compensation?
A Utah asbestos cancer diagnosis causes significant losses, but no two claims are the same. The overall value of your lawsuit depends on several factors including:
- The type and severity of your cancer
- Possible other causes of the cancer
- The total costs of your current and future medical care
- The wages you’ve lost by missing work
- Your pain and suffering
- Any emotional distress your diagnosis causes
- The impact of your cancer diagnosis on your family
Some of these factors are easy to calculate – like your medical bills and lost wages. Other losses, like you and your family’s emotional distress, are harder to value. If you’re unsure how much your claim is really worth, then it’s advised you reach out to a Utah Mesothelioma lawyer who can help you calculate your losses.
What is the Average Asbestos Cancer Compensation Amount?
Researchers estimate that the average asbestos cancer compensation award is valued at around $1 to $1.4 million. However, compensation can be much less if all of the asbestos manufacturers that you were exposed to are now bankrupt.
What is Utah’s Asbestos Cancer Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations sets a legal time limit for victims to pursue a lawsuit against a party. When it comes to asbestos-related lawsuits, Utah law gives victims three years to pursue a lawsuit.
As explained above, asbestos-related injuries often aren’t discovered for decades after contact. For that reason, the law doesn’t limit you to seeking out a claim three years from the time you were exposed. Instead, you’re given three years from the date you’ve discovered (or should have reasonably discovered) your injury.
How Will I Pay for a Utah Asbestos Cancer Lawyer?
When you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you don’t have much time to focus on anything other than your physical recovery. You also may be spending money on medical bills and missing time from work. With all of this going on, how are you supposed to afford a Utah asbestos lawyer?
Creekside Injury Law understands what you’re going through. We don’t charge an up-front fee.
Instead, Creekside Injury Law will represent you on a contingent fee basis. This means that you won’t pay anything until you have received compensation from the responsible party. Our office will cover the costs of pursuing a lawsuit, and we won’t seek reimbursement until after your case is settled. If no compensation is obtained, you will owe us nothing.
What Legal Documents Should I Prepare Due to my Utah Asbestos Cancer?
While death is inevitable, it’s not something that anyone wants to think about. A Utah asbestos cancer diagnosis forces you to face this harsh and uncomfortable reality. In response, it’s crucial to start preparing certain documents to ensure your wishes are fulfilled throughout your treatment if anything goes wrong.
A will or trust will help protect your family in the event that you pass away during treatment. A will is a legal document that explains how you want your property to be distributed upon your death through probate court. Trusts help ensure your wealth gets distributed as you see fit after you pass, without the need of probate court. It is highly recommended that you discuss your options with an estate planning attorney.
Depending on the severity of your condition, you may also want to prepare a power of attorney document. This type of agreement allows another person to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated during your treatment. A power of attorney gives this other person the ability to sell your property, handle your bank accounts, apply for benefits or even run your business. You have all the control with a power of attorney, so you can dictate what this other person can and can’t do under your name.
A health care directive is a legal document that gives another person the ability to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so. This type of form ensures that your wishes will be carried out if you’re unable to make decisions for yourself.
Do You Have Questions About Your Asbestos Cancer Diagnosis in Utah?
Getting diagnosed with any form of asbestos cancer is gut-wrenching. Often, a Utah asbestos cancer patient doesn’t experience symptoms in the early stages. It isn’t until cancerous tumors begin pressing against other body parts that individuals realize there’s a problem.
Mesothelioma is almost always a result of asbestos exposure. An experienced Utah Mesothelioma lawyer can help you identify where and when your exposure occurred.
From there, your Utah asbestos lawyer will identify if you have the basis to seek out a claim. If you are looking for a Utah asbestos attorney, please reach out to our office now. We serve all of Utah.
DISCLAIMER: this article is for general informational purposes only. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship with the reader. No representations or warranties are made about the accuracy of this article.