Massachusetts is home to many historic sites as one of the oldest states in the nation. Thousands of homes and buildings in Massachusetts were built before asbestos was discovered to be carcinogenic, or cancer-causing. This means that many residents and workers in Massachusetts are at risk of being exposed to asbestos and developing related illnesses, including mesothelioma.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or a loved one recently passed away because of this illness, discuss your legal rights with the attorneys at Bailey & Glasser, LLP. Our asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in Massachusetts are committed to helping clients pursue justice and financial compensation. We understand the financial, physical and emotional toll that a mesothelioma diagnosis takes on patients and their families. Our attorneys are here for you during this difficult time.
Our Asbestos and Mesothelioma Case Results
At Bailey & Glasser, LLP, our asbestos attorneys have been fighting for victims of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other effects of asbestos exposure for many years. We have the dedication, experience and legal resources to achieve top results for our clients, even if that means going to trial.
Our past case results in this practice area include:
- $50 million won in a jury verdict for a steel mill worker who passed away from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at work.
- Over $22 million achieved in settlements for workers who were exposed to asbestos and lost their lives due to lung cancer, many of whom were cigarette smokers.
- Over $20.8 million in settlements obtained for workers who died from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos on the job.
- Over $1 million in settlements for workers who developed asbestosis, a non-cancerous scarring of the lungs, after being exposed to asbestos.
We were founded in 1999 by Ben Bailey and Brian Glasser and are now a full-service law firm with offices across the country. We collaborate with lawyers both inside and outside of our firm to achieve successful case results for clients. Our Massachusetts law office is located at 176 Federal Street, 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelial tissue, which is the thin protective layer of tissue that surrounds many internal organs. It is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring minerals that are thin and fiber-like in appearance. They are naturally durable, flame-retardant and resistant to corrosion. These properties made asbestos a popular building and manufacturing material for many decades.
Asbestos is directly linked to a wide range of health problems, including mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is terminal, with no known cure. The National Library of Medicine states that the average life expectancy for a mesothelioma patient is 12 to 21 months with treatment. Asbestos was nationally confirmed as a carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1987, at which point its use became regulated.
Mesothelioma Facts and Statistics
A study by the CDC from 2015 to 2019 reported that Massachusetts had 405 new cases of mesothelioma cancer. This ranked Massachusetts twelfth on the list of states for new mesothelioma cases. The age-adjusted rate of new cases was 1.0 per 100,000 people (95 percent confidence interval: 0.9-1.1). The majority of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma were male (302 compared to 103 female). In the five-year period studied, 361 people in Massachusetts lost their lives from mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Rates by County in Massachusetts (2015-2019)
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Where Is Asbestos Found in Massachusetts?
Asbestos is found mainly in older building materials. Anything built or manufactured prior to the 1990s could contain asbestos, especially if it needed to be fire-resistant. This includes construction materials, insulation, flooring and roofing tiles, fireplaces, paints and adhesives, cement and mortar, drywall, and friction products (e.g., automotive brakes and clutches).
Massachusetts once had an enormous shipyard industry, where it built ships for military and commercial use. For example, the Boston Naval Shipyard (now known as the Charlestown Navy Yard) employed close to 50,000 workers to build ships for the U.S. Navy during World War II. Shipbuilding often relied on asbestos-containing materials to prevent corrosion. This means that many Massachusetts workers who had occupations in shipyards were exposed to asbestos.
Some of the most common places for asbestos to be present in Massachusetts are:
- Asbestos mines and waste/dump sites
- Auto mechanic shops
- Buildings constructed before the 1980s
- Demolition sites
- Manufacturing facilities
- Military bases
- Office buildings
- Oil refineries
- Power plants
- Steel mills
- Textile mills
You can use the Energy & Environmental Affairs Data Portal to search for current and existing asbestos projects in Massachusetts. These are locations where asbestos has been confirmed to exist and efforts are currently underway to contain or remove asbestos from the premises. No matter where you were exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to financial compensation in Massachusetts after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Who Is Most at Risk of Developing Mesothelioma in Massachusetts?
Having direct or environmental contact with asbestos can put an individual at risk of developing related illnesses. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, overall evidence suggests that the risk of developing mesothelioma increases correspondingly with the amount of exposure to asbestos. Therefore, people who are regularly exposed to asbestos are more at risk of developing mesothelioma in Massachusetts.
Occupational Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma
Frequent and continuing contact with asbestos is most often due to someone’s occupation. This makes it more likely that the individual will be exposed to asbestos more than once. Certain occupations come with a higher risk of health hazards due to exposure to asbestos, such as jobs that involve the demolition of older buildings in Massachusetts.
The occupations in the Commonwealth that come with the highest risk of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma are:
- Asbestos abatement professionals
- Auto mechanics
- Construction and demolition work
- Deckhands and sailors
- Factory and manufacturing jobs
- HVAC workers
- Military servicemembers
- Oil refining workers
- Shipyard workers
If someone works with or around asbestos, they may also put their family members or loved ones at risk due to secondhand exposure. Secondhand exposure occurs when someone is exposed to asbestos fibers that came home with a worker on his or her skin, hair or clothing. To avoid this risk, workers in hazardous fields should shower and change their clothes before returning home.
Massachusetts Asbestos Laws
Companies, employers, manufacturers, property owners and building supervisors in Massachusetts are required to obey federal and state laws regarding asbestos. These laws are in place for the safety of the public. Federal laws are enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They include the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Asbestos Information Act and Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act.
Massachusetts also has its own laws for the control and containment of asbestos. They include:
- The Massachusetts Clean Air Act: similar to the federal law of the same name, this law created a department that is responsible for adopting regulations to prevent the pollution or contamination of the atmosphere, including by asbestos.
- The Department of Labor Standards (DLS) Asbestos Safety Program: a program created to oversee asbestos regulations in the workplace. The DLS works to create healthier conditions for employees and protect the public from excessive asbestos exposure.
- MassDEP Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15): all buildings in Massachusetts are subject to the rules of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). This includes rules for renovations and demolitions to protect people from asbestos-containing materials.
If someone violates a state or federal asbestos law and exposes another person to asbestos, this is negligence. In personal injury law, someone is negligent if he or she fails to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to others. Negligence can be grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death claim in Massachusetts. This includes a claim brought for the development of mesothelioma after a victim is negligently exposed to asbestos.
Sources of Compensation for Mesothelioma Victims in Massachusetts
Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are the most common types of cases filed for mesothelioma in Massachusetts. To win this type of lawsuit, you or your attorney will need to establish that the defendant was more likely than not responsible for exposing you to asbestos. This evidentiary standard is known as a preponderance of the evidence. It requires clear and convincing proof that the defendant owed you a duty to exercise reasonable care, breached this duty, and caused or greatly contributed to your illness.
Most personal injury lawsuits in Massachusetts are resolved with settlements. A settlement is an agreement signed by the plaintiff and defendant to agree to resolve the legal dispute without going to trial or to stop a trial from proceeding. If a settlement cannot be reached in a mesothelioma case, your lawyer may need to take your case to court. If successful at trial, you will receive a jury verdict in your favor. This is a decision made by a jury to order the defendant to pay you financial compensation.
Mesothelioma victims also have unique sources of financial compensation. Asbestos trust funds, for example, were set up by companies to put money aside for future asbestos claims after the company files for bankruptcy. If you were exposed to asbestos on the job in Massachusetts, you may also be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Finally, you could have access to compensation through a veterans’ claim if your mesothelioma is connected to asbestos exposure while in the military.
How Much Is Your Case Worth?
Mesothelioma is a devastating illness in many regards. One of the issues you will face after being diagnosed with mesothelioma is the financial strain of a terminal illness. You and your family may have to pay for multiple surgeries, chemotherapy treatments, radiation therapy, prescription medications, palliative care, medical devices and live-in care. PubMed Central estimates the cost per mesothelioma hospitalization to be approximately $24,124.
It is important to seek a fair and full amount in financial compensation for an illness as serious as mesothelioma. Fair case results can enable you and your family to pay for necessary medical treatments. Although insurance companies may try to take advantage of you to protect their own profits, an attorney can help you negotiate with claims adjusters for just compensation.
The value of your mesothelioma claim will depend on factors such as the amount of your lost wages, the price of your required health care and the overall impact that the diagnosis has had on your life. Every case is unique; there is no such thing as an average mesothelioma settlement amount. This is why it is important to discuss the value of your individual case with an attorney before you accept a settlement offered by an insurance company.
How Long Do You Have to File a Mesothelioma Claim in Massachusetts?
Do not wait too long to seek advice from an asbestos attorney in Massachusetts. A deadline known as the statute of limitations places a time limit on your ability to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. State law says that you have two years from the date of your mesothelioma diagnosis to file a claim, with rare exceptions. If you miss your deadline, you run the risk of losing your right to recover financial compensation.
The clock on the statute of limitations for a mesothelioma claim usually starts ticking on the date that the patient discovered or reasonably should have discovered his or her illness. If you are bringing a wrongful death cause of action after the passing of a loved one due to mesothelioma, however, you will have two years from the date of death. Do not assume that you have lost the ability to file a lawsuit because of the statute of limitations. Contact an attorney to discuss your rights as soon as possible.
Contact a Massachusetts Mesothelioma Attorney Today
We are here for you if you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Massachusetts. The attorneys at Bailey & Glasser, LLP care about their clients and have extensive experience handling asbestos and mesothelioma claims. We will give your case its best odds of success with proven legal strategies, aggressive negotiations and attention to detail.
We will also focus on the personal side of your mesothelioma case. Your lawyer will answer your questions, set you up with a mesothelioma support system, connect you to resources in your community and ensure that you have everything you need to get through this difficult time. Start your case with a consultation at our local law office. Contact us online or call (618) 693-2462 today to learn more.