Finding out that you have mesothelioma can stop your life in its tracks. You may not know where to turn for answers, advice, or assistance. Bailey & Glasser, LLP has a team of asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys with years of experience representing clients in these difficult positions. We can help you move forward and plan for the future with greater peace of mind.
Our South Dakota mesothelioma attorneys can connect you to key resources and make sure you have everything you need as our client. We will guide you through the legal process with attention to detail and personalized legal services. Contact us today to start with a free case consultation.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, or the layer of tissue that surrounds and protects most of the internal organs. Pleural mesothelioma, for example, affects the lining that surrounds the lungs (the pleura). This is the most common type of mesothelioma, responsible for 82.1 percent of all mesothelioma cases from 1999 to 2018 (source: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Other types of mesothelioma are peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular mesothelioma.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was used to manufacture thousands of products due to its unique and desirable properties, such as durability, flexibility, high tensile strength, high melting point, and resistance to thermal, chemical, and electrical conditions. Unfortunately, it is a known carcinogen. In 1987, the International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed that all six types of asbestos have the propensity to cause cancer.
Anyone who inhales or ingests airborne asbestos fibers is at risk of related serious illnesses, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, other types of cancer, asbestosis, and pleural effusion. It is not possible to remove asbestos particles once they have become embedded in the body’s tissues. After becoming lodged, they can cause enough irritation and cell damage over the years to lead to the development of cancer. The average amount of time it takes for asbestos to cause noticeable health effects is 20-60+ years.
How Is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
The symptoms that a patient with mesothelioma may experience can vary based on the type and location of the cancer, as well as how far it has progressed. Unfortunately, a patient may not notice symptoms of mesothelioma until this type of cancer has spread (metastasized) and progressed into the later stages – often making it more difficult to treat. Part of the problem is that mesothelioma is commonly mistaken for less serious illnesses with similar symptoms, such as pneumonia.
Common symptoms associated with mesothelioma include:
- Persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Painful coughing
- Trouble catching your breath
- Wheezing noises
- Chest pain or a feeling of tightness
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Excessive sweating
If a patient presents any of these symptoms – especially with a history of asbestos exposure – a doctor should conduct a physical examination and order additional tests to rule out comparable illnesses. The only definitive way to diagnose mesothelioma is with a tissue biopsy to search for cancer cells. At the time of the diagnosis, the doctor will stage the cancer based on how far it has metastasized, if at all. The stage can help determine the patient’s available treatment options.
How Many People in South Dakota Have Mesothelioma?
South Dakota is almost at the bottom of the list – positioned only ahead of North Dakota – in the country in terms of mesothelioma cases. However, this disease still affects residents of South Dakota each year. Below is statewide data collected from 2015 to 2019, as reported by the CDC:
- South Dakota is 49th on the list of states for mesothelioma cancer cases.
- There were 25 deaths attributed to mesothelioma from 2015 to 2019.
- The state recorded 31 new cases of mesothelioma in this five-year period.
- In 2019 alone, there were seven new cases of mesothelioma and three deaths.
- The majority of patients were White, non-Hispanic males.
Although asbestos is not particularly prominent in South Dakota, residents could be exposed to asbestos in their own homes, workplaces, commercial buildings, schools and universities, and shipyards. Any building material or product that contains asbestos could release harmful fibers into the air if disturbed or damaged.
What Are Your Rights as a Victim of Mesothelioma?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a civil lawsuit or another type of claim. A mesothelioma lawsuit pursues a monetary recovery from one or more parties for allegedly causing a victim’s illness. These cases can be based on negligence (the failure to use reasonable care), recklessness or a wanton disregard for the safety of others. It is up to the victim to prove the grounds for the claim in this type of lawsuit.
You may also be eligible for compensation without needing to prove negligence if you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim in South Dakota. Filing a claim for an occupational illness due to exposure to asbestos on the job may be possible for victims of mesothelioma. Common sufferers include construction workers, demolition crew members, military service members, firefighters, and workers in power plants and manufacturing facilities.
Another possibility is a product liability claim against the manufacturer of an asbestos product or material. If the company has gone bankrupt in the years since it first released the asbestos-contaminated product, an asbestos trust fund claim could still be available. These trust funds were set up by many companies to reimburse victims for illnesses caused by their products or locations even after declaring bankruptcy.
Act Now – Time Is Running Out
South Dakota has a law called the statute of limitations that imposes a strict time limit on the ability to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. This legal deadline is currently three years from the date of the plaintiff’s diagnosis or from the date of the decedent’s death in a wrongful death case. With only some exceptions, if you miss your time limit, you will be barred from pursuing a monetary recovery for mesothelioma. This is why it is important to contact a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Bailey & Glasser, LLP Today
You do not have to face a mesothelioma diagnosis alone. At Bailey & Glasser, LLP, our attorneys can help you protect your rights with important information, knowledge, advice and legal resources. We will be there for you and your family during this difficult time. Contact us for a free case evaluation. Call (866) 871-7971 today.