Every year, thousands of people working throughout the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Some of the highest-risk individuals are those working in trades like construction, trucking, manufacturing, utility management, and other industries with large union representation. A North Carolina union workers asbestos exposure lawyer can help if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Wallace & Graham has a team of experienced attorneys with years of successful cases behind us. Our firm focuses specifically on asbestos-related claims, primarily pertaining to mesothelioma diagnosis. If you work in the state and are a member of a union, you are likely to interact with union officials and various other agencies on a daily basis in reference to your work. While union membership can be valuable in many ways, an attorney is necessary for a mesothelioma claim.
Our firm has years of professional experience helping many past clients with their asbestos exposure claims. We know how traumatic it can be for anyone to be diagnosed with mesothelioma and the many legal questions this diagnosis can raise, and our goal is to help our clients recover as fully as possible.
Your membership in a union offers many benefits, but they may only be able to provide limited support if you intend to seek compensation for a mesothelioma diagnosis. You will need an attorney who is familiar not only with the unique risk factors present in your line of work but also with the complex procedural issues that commonly arise in mesothelioma claims.
The attorneys at Wallace & Graham have successfully represented many union workers throughout the state, and we know the unique risks facing those in the trade-based industries. We have helped many clients hold various defendants accountable for asbestos exposure, and we are ready to put this experience to work in your case.
Mesothelioma is a fatal form of lung cancer with a single known cause: asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a fibrous material that, for decades, was used as a fireproof insulating material. However, the fibers that asbestos products can shed are very small, sharp, and very light, allowing them to remain suspended in the air for days at a time. Once someone breathes in these particles, they embed in the lung tissue and start to develop mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma symptoms typically begin with shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms that may be mistaken for signs of another less severe illness. These symptoms can rapidly progress and cause sudden weight loss, nausea and vomiting, and even collapsing lungs. However, one of the most distressing aspects of mesothelioma is that these symptoms take decades to appear after exposure to asbestos.
On average, most cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed between 25 and 40 years following asbestos exposure. It is possible to diagnose the condition within 10 years or even up to 50 years following exposure to asbestos. By the time noticeable symptoms have appeared, the disease has already progressed to a critical state, and the average life expectancy following mesothelioma diagnosis is only 18 months.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the psychological impact of the diagnosis can be incredibly difficult to bear. Mesothelioma is an incurable and terminal illness, and while it is possible to survive for several years following diagnosis with appropriate medical care, the disease will ultimately be fatal.
An experienced union workers asbestos exposure lawyer can help determine your most viable recovery options if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. You may have more recovery options available to you than you initially realize, and the right attorney will be invaluable for the difficult proceedings ahead of you. Wallace & Graham can help determine the cause of your diagnosis and develop a comprehensive recovery strategy.
North Carolina law requires virtually every employer in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance serves to provide financial support for workers who suffer injuries on the job or who develop illnesses from work. It also protects employers from civil liability for their workers’ damages associated with workplace illnesses or injuries.
If you develop mesothelioma or any other medical condition through your work, it will constitute grounds for a workers’ compensation claim. However, mesothelioma takes years to become apparent, so you may not have contracted the disease from your current place of employment. It is also possible that you may have been exposed to asbestos at multiple past workplaces over the years.
Your union workers asbestos exposure lawyer can help trace the origin of your condition. The right attorney can carefully review the details of your past employment, helping you determine exactly when and where you were exposed to asbestos. If your illness developed through your current job, you could file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer.
Your employer is legally required to facilitate your claim, and they must provide you with the materials you need to file your case. If your employer prevents you from filing, attempts to discourage you from filing, or if they directly interfere with a workers’ compensation claim in good faith, it can open the door to direct legal recourse against your employer.
If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits is approved, you can expect two types of compensation from your employer’s insurance carrier: medical expense coverage and income replacement benefits. The insurance company will pay for all medical care you need related to your work-related illness or injury, and the income replacement benefits you receive will depend on how much you earn and the impact of your condition on your ability to work.
The average claimant can receive about two-thirds of their usual weekly wage in their weekly benefits payments, but if they are unable to return to work at all in the future, they may qualify for permanent disability benefits. If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness such as mesothelioma, it is likely to qualify as a highly disabling condition that would justify the maximum benefit allotment.
While workers’ compensation can provide some measure of economic relief following asbestos exposure through work, it may not fully cover all the damages associated with your diagnosis. Workers’ compensation insurance typically protects employers from facing civil liability for their workers’ damages, but there are exceptions to this rule, and it is also possible for a third party to bear fault for your damages.
In the event you are unable to fully recover your damages through workers’ compensation and other recovery channels available to you, a personal injury suit may be your most viable option for ensuring the fullest possible recovery. If you are able to prove that a specific party is directly responsible for your asbestos exposure, you have the right to seek accountability for the damages you have suffered.
The defendant in your claim might be an asbestos product manufacturer, a company that owned a building with known asbestos hazards, or your employer if they compelled you to work in a place they knew to contain dangerous levels of asbestos. Once you have determined the target of your civil suit, you can proceed with claiming compensation for your damages.
The main objective of a personal injury suit is to hold a defendant accountable for the harm they have caused to the plaintiff. Once the plaintiff has proven that the defendant is solely responsible for their claimed damages. They must show the full extent of those damages to recover compensation. Under North Carolina’s personal injury laws, the plaintiff has the right to claim compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
It’s possible for the plaintiff to have recovered medical expenses through their workers’ compensation claim or another avenue of recovery, but all medical treatment costs they cannot otherwise recover may be cited as economic damages in their personal injury claim. They may have also recovered some compensation for lost income and lost future earning potential, but again, any remainder not covered by other avenues of recovery can be cited in the civil suit.
When it comes to pain and suffering compensation, state law does not limit how much a plaintiff may seek from the defendant in their case. They have the right to claim as much as they believe to be appropriate to reflect the severity of the condition that the defendant caused. When the plaintiff has been afflicted with a terminal illness, it entails not only a high level of physical pain but also significant emotional distress.
There is no cap on how much pain and suffering compensation you can seek with a personal injury claim in the state. If you are unsure how to determine a fair monetary value for intangible damages like physical pain and emotional distress, your union workers asbestos exposure lawyer can provide guidance on this aspect of your case, helping you to recover as much as you reasonably can.
For many union workers in the state afflicted with mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, workers’ compensation claims and personal injury suits offer them the greatest chances of successfully recovering compensation. However, it is possible for you to have additional avenues of recovery depending on how and where you acquired your condition.
Many companies throughout the United States were compelled to create mesothelioma injury trusts intended to compensate the victims of their asbestos products. These trusts still contain billions in unclaimed benefits, and if you were exposed to asbestos because of a company that has since created such a trust, you are likely to qualify to file a claim.
An experienced attorney can help you submit your claim for benefits to the appropriate trust, gathering any medical documentation and other records you must submit with your claim. While it is possible to file this claim on your own, having an attorney’s assistance will make it much easier and faster. On average, mesothelioma injury trusts award roughly $300,000 to $400,000 per claimant.
Many union workers throughout the state are former military veterans, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers medical benefits and disability benefits to veterans afflicted with various health conditions. It’s possible for you to qualify for VA benefits for your mesothelioma diagnosis, and an experienced union workers asbestos exposure lawyer can make this process much easier to complete.
When you choose Wallace & Graham to represent you in an asbestos exposure case, you are investing in years of professional experience with mesothelioma claims. Our firm has successfully helped many of our past clients recover compensation for asbestos exposure, and we know the unique challenges many union workers encounter in their recovery efforts.
Our team can help develop a comprehensive legal strategy that aims for maximum compensation. We can assist you in tracing the origin of your condition and identifying the location or locations where you were most likely exposed to asbestos. Once we determine this, we can then ascertain whether you can file a claim to a mesothelioma injury trust, a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, seek VA benefits, or file a personal injury claim against another party.
If you have concerns about the cost of hiring an attorney, our firm will not take a fee from you unless and until we recover compensation for you. We take asbestos exposure claims on contingency, meaning our client only pays a fee if and when we win their case. Additionally, the fee is a percentage of their final case award, so there is no risk of your legal expenses overshadowing your recovery.
You have a limited time in which to begin pursuing compensation for your asbestos exposure claim. If you are a union worker afflicted with mesothelioma and need help tracing the source of your condition and determining your most viable recovery options, our firm is ready to assist you. Contact Wallace & Graham today to schedule a free consultation with our team and learn more about the legal services we provide.