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Chicago Asbestos & Mesothelioma Attorney

The team at Duncan Law Group is dedicated to helping people who have been harmed by the negligence of others to claim compensation for their injuries, and if you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a workplace accident, a Chicago personal injury attorney from the firm is ready to fight for you. One of the most serious types of cases that the firm represents is when a person has been exposed to asbestos in the workplace and has subsequently developed the grave health complications associated with this dangerous industrial material.

Chicago Asbestos and Mesothelioma FAQ:

What is asbestos exposure?

Link between mesothelioma and asbestos?

Who is liable for asbestos exposure in Chicago?

What are the different types of mesothelioma?

What is the process of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit in Chicago?

chicago asbestos and mesothelioma attorney text over a picture of an old house being torn down with asbestos in the walls

About Asbestos Exposure in Chicago

Asbestos has been used by humans for approximately 6,500 years, dating back to the days when it was used to add strength to the clay pots and utensils used by tribes in northern Europe. Over time, it began to be recognized for its fire-resistant qualities, which made it an excellent material for insulation, for use both in providing fireproof insulation in buildings and in other applications such as in making brake pads for trains.

It has, however, been recognized to be hazardous to human health since Roman times, when the historian Pliny the Elder noticed that slaves working in asbestos mines suffered from respiratory illness. More recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has moved to ban the material, and there have since been widespread efforts to not only stop using it but also to remove it from buildings where it has been installed.

Link Between Mesothelioma and Asbestos

People who live or work in environments where asbestos is present are at risk of suffering serious health issues as a result of the fact that small fibers of the material tend to become airborne, where the person may breathe them in. As soon as they enter the body, they are liable to cause the development of mesothelioma in the tissue lining the various internal organs – particularly in the lungs. Mesothelioma is a malignant and aggressive form of cancer, and it is almost exclusively associated with exposure to asbestos.

Who Is Liable for Asbestos Exposure in Chicago?

To determine who is liable for your mesothelioma diagnosis, you will need to determine where your asbestos exposure occurred. This may be difficult to determine since mesothelioma can take decades to develop. The attorneys at Duncan Law Group have the resources and experience necessary to launch a comprehensive investigation into your diagnosis, helping you name a defendant and file your claim.

Most cases of mesothelioma occur due to workplace exposure; many employers have exposed their employees to toxic materials on the job, including asbestos. Mesothelioma may also occur if you come in contact with a product contaminated with asbestos, such as talcum powder. Property owners who have asbestos

Asbestos injuries and the economic and non-economic damages associated with mesothelioma are completely preventable. As a result, you can file a lawsuit against any person or entity responsible for your asbestos exposure, including the following.

  • Asbestos manufacturers
  • Manufacturers of products that contain asbestos
  • Employers who fail to protect employees from asbestos exposure
  • Mining companies who operate asbestos mining operations
  • Property owners who do not protect the public from asbestos exposure

Since a combination of actions often leads to asbestos exposure, there is usually more than one defendant in these lawsuits. For example, you can file a claim against an asbestos manufacturer and a negligent employer who exposed employees to the manufacturer’s product at the same time. Speak to an attorney at Duncan Law Group to determine who is responsible for your mesothelioma injuries.

Types of Mesothelioma

Asbestos particles develop into tumors depending on where they enter the body. Medical professionals categorize mesothelioma based on where these tumors develop. Mesothelioma may develop in the heart, abdomen, lungs, or testicles.

  • Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs, also known as the pleura. It is the most common form of this type of cancer. If you have pleural mesothelioma, you may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, a persistent cough, blood in the saliva, and fatigue. Doctors can misdiagnose this condition as lung cancer.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen. Rarer than pleural mesothelioma, early symptoms may mimic other abdominal conditions and doctors may initially misdiagnose the condition. With peritoneal mesothelioma, you may experience abdominal pain, swelling, night sweats, constipation and diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma is a very rare cancer that develops in the lining of the heart. Like other forms of mesothelioma, this condition’s symptoms often mimic other types of heart disease. Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain, and fatigue.
  • Testicular mesothelioma is another rare form of asbestos-related cancer. This condition develops on the membrane that lines the testes. Unlike other types of mesothelioma, there is no set of symptoms that are unique to testicular mesothelioma and it can be very difficult to diagnose. You may experience a buildup of fluid in the scrotum or a painless tumor mass.

All four types of mesothelioma have poor prognosis. The relative five-year survival rate for localized pleural mesothelioma is 20%, and for distant tumors that spread beyond the lungs, the survival rate drops to 8%. If you received a mesothelioma diagnosis, the entities responsible for your asbestos exposure must be held accountable — and Duncan Law Group can help. We understand that mesothelioma is a painful disease, and our attorneys will utilize the full extent of our firm’s resources to build a compelling case for your compensation.

Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Chicago

There are multiple pathways to compensation for mesothelioma victims. The type of claim you file will depend on who is responsible for your asbestos exposure and the circumstances surrounding your claim. You can file a product liability claim if your exposure involves dangerous products or manufactured asbestos, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit if your case involves a negligent employer or property owner. Your attorney will examine the facts of your claim and determine which pathway is right for you.

If you are filing a product liability claim, you will need to prove that the manufacturer failed to ensure that their products are safe to use, and their actions caused you to develop mesothelioma. There are four main types of product liability claims: breach of warranty, design defects, failure to include adequate safety instructions, and manufacturing defects.

  • Breach of an express warranty occurs when a manufacturer falsely claims its asbestos-containing product is safe to use, leading you to purchase the product and develop cancer. In some cases, your claim may fall under Illinois’s implied warranty laws that state the product must be fit and safe for the manufacturer’s intended purpose.
  • Design defects occur when a product is inherently dangerous from the beginning. In asbestos cases, this means the product contains dangerous levels of asbestos that would expose users to mesothelioma during intended use.
  • Manufacturing defects occur when a product somehow becomes contaminated with asbestos during the manufacturing process.
  • Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide adequate warnings and safety instructions on their products, especially if they contain asbestos. Entities who do not include this information could be liable for your injuries if you develop mesothelioma.

To prove a product liability claim in Illinois, you will need to prove four important elements:

  • You developed mesothelioma and suffered injuries and losses due to your diagnosis.
  • The product is defective in some way, which will depend on the type of claim you are filing.
  • The defect caused you to develop mesothelioma.
  • You were using the product as the manufacturer intended.

Personal injury claims against negligent employers and property owners look slightly different from product liability cases. These lawsuits rely on the presence of negligence, and you will need to establish four facts to prove your claim.

  • Duty: The defendant owed you a duty of care. For example, employers have a responsibility to maintain a safe working environment and protect employees from asbestos exposure. Property owners also have an obligation to maintain safe premises, which includes limiting exposure to this toxic mineral.
  • Dereliction: The defendant breached his or her duty of care to you. An employer who failed to require safety equipment when working with asbestos-containing materials, for example, would breach his or her duty of care. Owners who fail to properly inspect their properties for asbestos also breach their duties to occupants and visitors.
  • Direct causation: The defendant’s actions directly caused your mesothelioma diagnosis. You can prove this element through your medical records, witness testimony, and expert witnesses who can provide insight on your condition.

Damages: You suffered economic and non-economic losses due to your diagnosis that you can collect in your lawsuit. This may include your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of quality of life, and other financial, emotional, and physical damages.

Taking Legal Action in Cases of Chicago Asbestos Exposure

Proving fault for a case of mesothelioma can be difficult, to say the least. This is due in large part to the fact that it is often challenging to accurately establish the time and place of the asbestos exposure. It typically takes many years or even decades before the individual who has breathed in asbestos fibers to eventually develop mesothelioma, so an exhaustive investigation and study of the situation is necessary to determine who is responsible.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or have lost a loved one and believe that you may have grounds for legal action, contact our firm now for a free case evaluation to discuss the matter with an accident lawyer in Chicago.