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“Do I have an Asbestos Case”? Your Questions Answered by Asbestos and Mesothelioma Attorney

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Top environmental attorney answers mesothelioma and other asbestos injury--related questions and advises that you could seek an additional opinion if your asbestos claim has been denied.

Birmingham, AL“People can still bring cases and pursue claims of asbestos exposure today, even though this litigation has been going on for decades,” says Gregory Cade, mesothelioma and asbestos lawyer and President of Environmental Litigation Group (“ELG”).  If your claim has been denied, attorney Cade explains how you may try to qualify again.

Thirty or forty years ago attorneys said asbestos lawsuits would end one day. Clearly they were wrong. ELG has settled over 230,000 asbestos claims. People continue to get sick and die from asbestos exposure, despite its limited use as required by state and federal regulations and legislation. (The U.S. still hasn’t completely banned asbestos.) “We represent people from 19 – 90 years of age who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma without pinpointing original exposure,” says Cade. “A 19-year-old is exposed to asbestos as a baby—one fiber is all it takes. The 90-year-old who worked for 30 years retires and then gets diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer--it’s a hit-or-miss scenario.”

Get a Second Opinion

The majority of people who call Cade have worked at an industrial or manufacturing facility, chemical factories or refineries, or in construction at some point in their lives—or their father did. “I first ask if they have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, how long ago and for how long were they exposed to asbestos,” he says.

And it’s important to note that some doctors are not qualified to determine whether their patient has been exposed to asbestos. The National Institute or Occupational Safety and Health offers a “B Reader Program” that trains and tests physicians to “improve and standardize the recognition and recording of radiographic abnormalities caused by the inhalation of dusts.” You may have been tested 10 years ago and nothing was detected. Now the disease has manifested--a common occurrence because mesothelioma is a progressive disease, as are all asbestos-related diseases. “A new reading would show that person now has an asbestos-related disease that could have caused certain cancers such as colon cancer,” Cade explains. “We can screen you and talk to our doctors who have the expertise to tie that asbestos cancer link.”

Asbestos Cancers

Historically an asbestos claim was only valid with a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer,  but many cancers have now been linked to asbestos. For instance, gastrointestinal cancer is associated with ingested asbestos. “We may look at colon tissue taken in a biopsy—if that person dies, in an autopsy we could see asbestos fibers in the tissue,” says Cade. And esophageal cancer is associated with asbestos. If an individual has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and smoked cigarettes, they could still have a case. Typically, blue-collar workers smoked, which of course is a strong defense. “But there is a synergistic association with smoking and asbestos because a person is more likely to develop asbestos cancer if he smoked, especially if you find one fiber in the lungs, and even with our causality issues,” adds Cade. In addition to mesothelioma and lung cancer, throat, stomach, and coloncancers may often be asbestos-related.

Filing Asbestos Claim for your Loved One

Cade got a call from a woman whose father worked as a millwright and died from mesothelioma. (Many millwrights developed health problems caused by occupational asbestos exposure.) The family didn’t request an autopsy and neither did they consider a claim, and then they figured it was too late to make a claim. But they were able to bring a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are typically product liability claims against one or more companies that exposed the deceased to asbestos. As for the Statute of Limitations, the date of diagnosis is usually an indication, but mesothelioma can only be caused by asbestos.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Say your dad worked in the military. You almost have to get permission from the federal government to sue but you can still pursue an asbestos claim because the military relies on companies that make asbestos. “That is where the liability stems from and we build a case around such companies,” says Cade. “Most of these companies back in the mid-1990s were in bankruptcy court trying to get out of liability so the federal courts forced them to establish trust funds. Currently almost 100 trust funds have plenty of money set aside, although claims are not as valuable as they were a few decades ago.” And some trusts, such as shipyard systems in California or Florida, pertain to certain geographical areas.  “We would probably have enough information to make a trust claim, or when needed, we have co-counsel to bring a suit in that particular area.”

Mary's father was exposed to asbestos for a long time and diagnosed with asbestosis and pleural disease. After he passed away she called ELG in Birmingham and they immediately started investigating her father’s work history. He worked for the US army between 1953 and 1956, where he handled artillery, and the following year or so as a maintenance man for a large corporation. Mary's father didn't live enough to get to benefit from his compensation, but his family is the beneficiary of the award the law firm managed to obtain.

If you didn’t have luck with a claim first time around, there is no harm in trying again. With the right legal advice, there may be doors that you haven’t opened.

Attorney Gregory Cade developed his personal vision of "Know your case". This is his leading principle that successfully combines all the necessary traits in order to solve complex legal issues. Having a solid science background is also a notable difference in his unique approach. Cade is using his Industrial Hygiene degree in handling injuries resulting from exposure to asbestos, benzene, creosote, coke emissions, dioxins, PAHs, PCBs, and other known toxicants. He currently focuses on asbestos exposure and AFFF contamination claims.


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