The Mesothelioma Lawsuit: The Legislation and the Plaintiff
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer caused by inhalation and too much exposure to asbestos fibers. It greatly forms in the lining of the lungs or chest walls (pleural), it affects the abdominal lining (peritoneal), and it develops in the lining of the heart (pericardial).
Mesothelioma is mostly diagnosed with individuals who are exposed to asbestos products such as paints, adhesives, sealants cement, etc. Asbestos is the only clear cause of Mesothelioma. It is said to be a natural mineral, but some researches emphasized that it has dangerous health risks when exposed.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Patients with potential mesothelioma cases are not easily diagnosed due to its nonspecific symptoms. Several tests will be needed to confirm if a person has mesothelioma.
It also has a latency period of 10-50 years, so people that are diagnosed with this disease are probably those who are in their 60s or 70s. They have an average survival of 12 months or more.
There are treatments for mesothelioma including surgery and chemotherapy, but these will either focus on improving life expectancy or in relieving side effects. Thus, consulting a mesothelioma expert may help in having the most effective way of treatment.
What if Someone Dies in the Middle of the Mesothelioma Case?
If someone dies, specifically the patient, while the case is still in the legal process, the process can become a bit complicated. The claim for the deceased will now be part of their estate. This means that an estate representative will be chosen. It would be decided with the following ways:
- If the patient had no one appointed to be the said representative before his death, the court would have the power to appoint the representative.
- A friend or another family member was named to become the representative.
It is now upon the estate representative’s decision whether he or she will continue with the legal process. He is, essentially, the person that will be speaking on behalf of the deceased. But the claims will now go to the estate and not to the representative. But it can still be divided in several ways, like how a will divides the assets to the surviving family members.
Why will things become complicated? Since the original plaintiff had passed away, the asbestos exposure may now be difficult to prove, and there is no more chance that he can be asked for attestation. It will be a big help to seek for the help of the lawyer who specializes in cases such as a mesothelioma case.
If a person with mesothelioma dies, asbestos legislation can be done. Family of the patient can file a wrongful death lawsuit to the parties liable of the asbestos products or materials which caused that person to be ill or to the company he worked for.
Asbestos was known to be dangerous to human health, but companies still used it. Those that used asbestos can be made responsible in this type of situation because they knowingly allow their employees to be exposed in such danger, so it is highly reasonable for them to be held responsible. Federal agencies with Asbestos regulation can also appeal in such cases.
These agencies include:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
The EPA deals with the environmental cleanliness not only in the outdoor places but also indoor spaces, water, air and other factors in the environment.
When it comes to asbestos, EPA can use its authority to limit its exposure while other agencies may also have an impact on asbestos regulation.
The federal agencies above received their authority from bills passed by Congress and signed into law.
Examples of Federal Asbestos Legislation
- Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
- Clean Air Act
- Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
- Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
Today, the use of asbestos has been regulated. However, many were expecting that the mesothelioma cases will reach its peak shortly. When this happens, and many people die because of mesothelioma, asbestos may be banned entirely. Companies that manufacture asbestos products won't be able to regulate and earn money, or worst they may face bankruptcy.
The economy may be negatively affected, but Global health will be protected.
On the other hand, Asbestos can be replaced with an alternative. Cellulose fiber is one of the most commonly known and used alternative for asbestos. Cellulose fibers are fibers which can be obtained from the bark of the tree, wood and plant leaves. It is a quick-drying fiber, absorbent and is slightly stiff and possesses high natural luster similar to asbestos.