Brainerd, MN Injury Lawyers and Mesothelioma Claims

In a nutshell, mesothelioma is one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose and treat. For these reasons, and because asbestos exposure is basically the only cause, compensation in these cases is usually quite high.

Initially, mesothelioma victims exhibit the same symptoms as Non-small cell lung cancer patients. NSCLC is much more common, so many doctors confuse these two different kinds of cancers. Because NSCLC is often treatable or even manageable, many doctors prescribe conservative treatment regimens. These approaches do not work against aggressive cancers like mesothelioma. So, the victim usually gets worse. Mesothelioma is hard to treat because the tumors are in the meso lining between the heart and lungs. It’s almost impossible to remove them, and difficult to shrink them with radiation without affecting other vital organs.

These issues help a Brainerd, MN injury lawyer build a claim for damages. These claims give victims the financial resources victims need to take on mesothelioma.

Discovery Rule

Generally, the statute of limitations in injury claims is two years. But mesothelioma’s latency period may be more than twenty years. So, if a person was exposed to asbestos in 2000, there is a good chance that this person is not even coughing yet. Furthermore, as mentioned, many doctors do not promptly diagnose mesothelioma. By the time the diagnosis comes, the two-year exposure statute of limitations has long passed.

The delayed discovery rule comes into play in these cases. In most cases, the two-year statute of limitations clock does not start ticking until the victim discovers the full extent of the injury and the victim seeks out a Brainerd, MN injury lawyer about a legal claim.

This legal principle comes up in other situations as well, such as occupational disease workers’ compensation matters. Most people do not run to the doctor as soon as they feel a twinge in their knees or they have trouble hearing. The discovery rule protects victims in these situations.

Brained, MN Injury Lawyers and Causation

Mesothelioma claims usually involve either direct exposure or ambient exposure. In general, Brainerd, MN injury lawyers may only file civil claims in ambient exposure claims.

For years, builders used asbestos, which is a fibrous mineral, as a fireproofing agent in buildings and ships. If the victim was exposed to asbestos during construction, demolition, renovation, or other projects, workers’ compensation may be the proper avenue. However, if the victim was exposed to asbestos during non-work hours, or the victim did not work in an asbestos-related industry, ambient (indirect) exposure probably caused the victim’s mesothelioma.

Sometimes, there is some overlap. Workers’ compensation is not always the exclusive remedy in direct exposure cases. Recklessness is a good example. If the employer knew that workers might be exposed to asbestos and the employer did not take all necessary precautions, a civil damages claim might be in order. The same thing is true if a defective product or a negligent co-worker substantially contributed to the injury.

Generally, the burden of proof on this point is a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). In most cases, either direct or ambient exposure is a possibility. A Brainerd, MN injury lawyer only needs to tip the scales of justice ever so slightly in one direction or the other.

Trust Fund or Direct Action

To get past this final legal hurdle, Brainerd, MN injury lawyers must do some detective work and also use the proper approach.

In the late 20th century, many companies that used asbestos declared bankruptcy rather than face lawsuits. Federal courts allowed these companies to do so if they funded trust funds for future victims. Today, these funds contain some $30 billion.

That sounds like a lot of money, but there may be millions of asbestos exposure victims. The trust funds must cover not only mesothelioma, but other asbestos-related illnesses as well, such as asbestosis. So, trust fund administrators are often very stingy. A Brainerd, MN Injury lawyer must have plenty of evidence as to damages. Without such proof, the victim may not receive fair compensation.

Many asbestos companies, especially renovation and demolition companies, are still in business. In these situations, Brainerd, MN injury lawyers may file claims against the companies. Causation, and not damages, is usually the biggest issue in these cases. Without sufficient proof of ambient exposure, a Crow Wing County judge may throw the claim out of court.

In addition to compensatory damages for things like medical bills and emotional distress, substantial punitive damages may be available in these claims as well. Typically, the company knew about the dangers of asbestos exposure but purposely failed to take the proper precautions for its workers.

Reach Out to Savvy Attorneys

Mesothelioma claims involve some complex legal issues. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd, MN injury lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis, Treatment, and Personal Injury Lawyers in Brainerd, MN

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.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis

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,
  • Boilers,
  • Asbestos manufacturing,
  • Construction,
  • Firefighters,
  • Heavy industry,
  • Power plant,
  • Shipyard,
  • Steel mill,
  • Insulation,
  • 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.

Mesothelioma Treatment

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.

If a Doctor Says I Have Mesothelioma, Should I Call a Brainerd, MN Personal Injury Lawyer?

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the answer to this question was “probably not.” Back then, bloated asbestos trust funds had plenty of money. So, filing paperwork was usually enough to obtain compensation. Moreover, mesothelioma survival rates were very low. Therefore, medical treatment options were limited.

Today, if you receive this diagnosis, you should definitely reach out to a personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN. Victim claims have sharply depleted asbestos trust funds. So, claims examiners are much stingier than they used to be. As a result, you need a forceful and experienced advocate. Additionally, cancer survival rates have increased significantly since the 1990s. A Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyer can arrange for the treatment you need.

The Nuts and Bolts of Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Once upon a time, construction engineers hailed asbestos as a miracle mineral. It was plentiful and cheap. Furthermore, it was a very effective fireproofing agent and insulator.

But researchers quickly discovered that the miracle mineral had a dark side. Toxic asbestos fibers are the sole cause of mesothelioma. This rare and aggressive cancerous tumor forms in the delicate lining between the heart and lungs. One microscopic asbestos fiber is enough to trigger mesothelioma.

Nevertheless, many companies kept using asbestos for many years. They intentionally put workers and their families at risk. Asbestos-exposure diseases are still a problem today. Many times, workers on renovation and demolition projects come into contact with asbestos fibers. And, many employers fail or refuse to take the proper safety precautions.

For many years, mesothelioma did not respond very well to traditional surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments. These therapies are much more effective now, and they are also much more expensive. Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyers arrange for victims to receive the assistance they need at no upfront cost.

Brainerd, MN Personal Injury Lawyers and Mesothelioma Medical Malpractice

As mentioned, mesothelioma is a very rare and aggressive kind of cancer. As a result, doctors do not always diagnose it immediately. In fact, doctors fail to properly diagnose the disease in about 40 percent of cancer cases.

To many doctors, cancer is a lifestyle or a genetic disease. So, if a patient comes into the office complaining of chest tightness and shortness of breath, yes the patient is a nonsmoker with no applicable family history, lung cancer is probably not on the doctor’s radar. Instead, the doctor is much more likely to diagnose something like chronic bronchitis or COPD.

Misdiagnosis problems continue once doctors determine that the patient does, in fact, have cancer. Since mesothelioma is so rare, when doctors see lung tumors, they identify them as Adenocarcinoma, or Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). The conservative treatment regimen they prescribe may be effective in NSCLC cases, but it does little good against mesothelioma. So, the cancer continues to spread.

Minnesota’s two-year statute of limitations is sometimes an issue in cancer misdiagnosis cases. By the time doctors correctly diagnose the condition, that two-year period has expired.

Fortunately, the discovery rule generally comes into play. The clock does not begin ticking down until victims discover the full extent of their injuries and connect those injuries to the defendant’s wrongful conduct. The discovery rule also affects other medical malpractice cases as well, such as dangerous drug injuries. Although construction defects are similar in nature, Minnesota has a statute of repose, so they are procedurally different.

Your Claim Against Operating or Defunct Asbestos Companies

Thankfully, the discovery rule also applies in asbestos exposure cases. Mesothelioma’s latency period could be up to seventy years. So, many people reading this post might have mesothelioma and not know it.

Some victims are directly exposed to asbestos. These people generally worked on construction projects or in shipyards that used asbestos. Typically, these victims do not have to prove fault or negligence to obtain compensation. However, a personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN may be limited to economic losses, such as medical bills.

Additional noneconomic losses may be available in direct exposure cases as well. Workers’ compensation is not the exclusive remedy for workplace injuries. If the victim/plaintiff establishes that the company acted with reckless disregard for worker safety, as is often the case, compensation for noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering, may be available.

Ambient exposure cases work a bit differently. These claims are quite common. Many times, workers unintentionally carried asbestos fibers home on their shoes or clothes. Other times, people who lived near construction sites or shipyards may have been exposed to this toxic substance.

These victims are automatically entitled to noneconomic damages. There is no need to make an additional evidentiary showing.

Count on a Tenacious Attorney

Asbestos fibers cause incredibly serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.

Another Talc Trial, Another Multi-Milliondollar Verdict

A California jury awarded almost $10 million in damages to a dying woman whose regular talcum powder use triggered her mesothelioma. However, the jury did not award any punitive damages. What can Brainerd injury lawyers learn from this outcome?

For the first time, jurors divided liability between manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive, a talcum powder retailer. This latest verdict is the 11th victory for victims since 2016. Despite this most recent setback, J&J continued to deny that its product was dangerous. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson spokesperson Kim Montagnino said the trial contained some “procedural and evidentiary errors,” but she offered no further details.

J&J faces about 14,000 talcum powder lawsuits.

The Link Between Talcum Powder and Asbestos

Chemically, talc and asbestos are similar substances. Both these minerals often come from about the same place. Furthermore, they are both extremely fibrous. In fact, roughly 20,000 asbestos fibers can fit between Abraham Lincoln’s nose and mouth on a penny. Just one fiber is enough to cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of heart/lung cancer.

Given these facts, it’s easy for a Brainerd injury lawyer to establish the connection between talcum powder and asbestos poisoning.

Extensive research supports this connection. As early as the 1970s, at least three different Johnson & Johnson laboratory tests revealed that its talcum powder products contained traces of asbestos. In one report, researchers said the asbestos amount was “rather high.” Yet the company hid these results from the Food and Drug Administration.

The evidence continued to mount. During a review of laboratory tests from the 2000s, analysts noticed that the reports used words like “rods” and “fiberforms.” These words are industry terms for carcinogenic asbestos fibers.

J&J lawyers dismissed all these adverse results as either “outlier” tests that proved nothing or as “background” asbestos fibers. These assertions may have been enough to appease FDA regulators and company shareholders, but they obviously do not resonate very well with jurors.

Your Claim for Mesothelioma Damages

Overall, cancer survival rates have increased dramatically since the 1990s. So, a mesothelioma diagnosis is no longer essentially a death sentence. However, for various reasons, the mesothelioma survival rate is still rather low.

Mesothelioma is a tumor that develops in the narrow and delicate lining between the heart and lungs. So, the traditional three-prong approach that works so well on other kinds of cancers is not terribly effective against mesothelioma:

  • Radiation: These treatments shrink malignant tumors so doctors can remove them. Today’s targeted radiation treatments do not kill very many healthy cells, so patients can tolerate higher doses. But mesothelioma is in such a sensitive area that such powerful treatments are usually not possible. The heart and lungs are too vital to risk.
  • Surgery: Once radiation shrinks the tumor, doctors remove it, or at least remove most of it. But because of mesothelioma’s location, surgery is usually not an option.
  • Chemotherapy: Sometimes, chemotherapy drugs alone are enough to treat cancer. These drugs kill cancer cells not only at the tumor, but also in other parts of the body, so they keep the disease from metastasizing. But mesothelioma is so rare and so aggressive that doctors often do not catch it early enough for chemotherapy to be effective.

 

Due to these complexities, mesothelioma treatments are enormously expensive. These costs usually exceed $12,000 a month. Additionally, most victims are unable to work while they receive treatments. The aggressive treatments have too many side effects, and the disease itself is extremely painful. Because of the excruciating pain and relatively poor general prognosis, Brainerd injury lawyers can also obtain significant compensation for emotional distress and other noneconomic losses.

In general, punitive damages are available if there is clear and convincing evidence that the company intentionally disregarded a known risk. The aforementioned misconduct certainly qualified as such. Yet many jurors do not award punitive damages unless there is a lot of evidence and a Brainerd injury lawyer explains why punitive damages are appropriate. So, to obtain maximum compensation, your attorney must have a special skill set.

How Brainerd Injury Lawyers Handle Mass Tort Claims

Asbestos poisoning, talcum powder, hernia mesh, and other mass tort claims affect thousands of victims in roughly the same way. However, every situation is different. So, it’s very inefficient for courts to handle these cases one at a time, but they are not similar enough to be a single class-action suit.

So, most of these cases are Multi-District Litigation matters. The MDL rue consolidates similar mass tort cases for pretrial purposes. So, if you partner with a Brainerd injury attorney over a talcum powder claim, that claim may initially go to another courtroom in another state.

Such consolidation has significant benefits for victim/plaintiffs. Judges usually appoint special masters who shepherd these cases through the discovery process. Additionally, different victim/plaintiffs can pool their resources and share information. And, when one case settles, that resolution often creates momentum for more settlements, like a chain of dominoes that fall over after someone topples the first one.

If the case does not settle during the pretrial phase, the MDL court usually sends it back to Crow Wing County or its other original jurisdiction for trial.

Partner with an Aggressive Attorney

If you frequently used talcum powder, a doctor probably needs to perform a mesothelioma screening. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd injury lawyer, contact Carlson & Jons, P.A. You have a limited amount of time to act.

Can Brainerd Personal Injury Attorneys Obtain Compensation for Mesothelioma Victims?

Mesothelioma is a very rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. Asbestos exposure is basically the only known cause. Back in the day, builders commonly used this natural mineral in ships, skyscrapers, churches, and even family homes. The tiny fibers are so small that about 20,000 of them can fit in the space between Abraham Lincoln’s nose and lips on a U.S. penny. Victims can easily inhale one of these fibers. These fibers are also small enough to absorb through the skin. In other cases, workers unintentionally carry these fibers home on their clothes, exposing their families to possible mesothelioma.

Rather than face aggressive Brainerd personal injury attorneys, many companies which used asbestos filed bankruptcy. Whether or not the negligent company is still in business, substantial compensation may be available.

Difficulties in Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma tumors form in the soft lining between the heart and lungs. The pressure creates symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing. These symptoms are rather generic. If blood or other tests indicate cancer, many doctors diagnose mesothelioma patients with non-small cell lung cancer. NSCLC is by far the most common type of lung cancer in the United States. It is also not very aggressive, so many times, doctors recommend conservative treatments. These treatments, while effective against NSCLC, are essentially useless against mesothelioma. So, the cancer continues to grow.

There are other difficulties as well. As mentioned, just one tiny asbestos fiber may trigger mesothelioma. So, a victim could walk by a construction or renovation worksite and inhale a fiber without ever knowing it. Symptoms may not appear for twenty to forty years. After so much time passes, it’s very difficult to trace mesothelioma to such a random incident.

So, by the time the victim receives an accurate diagnosis, the disease might already be at an advanced stage. At this point, mesothelioma is very difficult to treat.

Mesothelioma Treatment Options

The cancer mortality rate has dropped precipitously since 1991. Back then, a mesothelioma diagnosis was basically a death sentence. Since tumors form in the meso lining, they are difficult to remove. Additionally, they are so close to vital organs that other treatments are problematic.

But since then, standard cancer treatments have improved significantly. These improvements give hope to mesothelioma victims:

  • Radiation: Before doctors try to remove tumors, they use radiation blasts to shrink them. Today’s radiation therapy treatments are much more targeted than they were thirty years ago. So, doctors know that they are shrinking tumors and not harming nearby organs.
  • Surgery: Tools and technology have advanced so much that it’s easier to remove most or all of these tumors. Successful removal often leads to remission.
  • Chemotherapy: These drugs kill cancer and other fast-dividing cells. Yesterday’s chemotherapy drugs had many side effects, so patients could only tolerate limited doses. That’s not true today, at least in most cases.

There are other emerging treatment options as well, such as gene therapy and phototherapy. Gene therapy, which usually includes stem cells, may actually reprogram cells so they are no longer cancerous. Phototherapy has shown tremendous promise in clinical trials.

Treatment options are available, even in cases like Stage III mesothelioma. But these treatments are quite expensive. That’s where a Brainerd personal injury attorney comes in. Attorneys help families obtain the financial resources they need to fight their illnesses and live their lives.

Brainerd Personal Injury Attorneys and Your Claim for Damages

Asbestos was legal in most parts of the United States until the early 1980s. Many people were exposed back then, but they are only now developing symptoms. Asbestos is a dangerous product. Its carcinogenic properties are very well known. So, the companies which used it in construction projects are strictly liable for damages. Victims typically need only prove cause. And, since asbestos is mesothelioma’s sole major cause, this showing is relatively easy to make.

Other victims can apply to asbestos trust funds. Collectively, there is about $30 billion in these funds. Once again, victims typically need only prove cause. However, trust fund managers are very stingy. The more money they pay, the less money they keep. So, most trust fund claimants need an assertive Brainerd personal injury attorney to ensure full compensation. Otherwise, victims may not have enough money to fight their diseases and live their lives.

Finally, many demolition and renovation companies do not take the proper precautions when they remove asbestos from old buildings. If their lack of care substantially caused injury, these firms are legally responsible for damages. In all three kinds of cases, these damages usually include money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. In many defective product cases, additional punitive damages may be available as well.

Reach Out to Tenacious Lawyers

Asbestos-induced mesothelioma is one of the most widespread mass torts in history. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd personal injury attorney, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.

 

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