Asbestos has been used in various types of construction throughout the United States for decades, but it took many years for its severe health risks to become apparent. Thousands of people throughout the country are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and it is important for everyone in the state to know relevant South Carolina asbestos statistics and the risk factors they may face throughout the state.
If you or a member of your family has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related health condition, it is essential to know the value of working with an experienced South Carolina asbestos exposure lawyer if you intend to pursue any type of legal recourse to assist with your recovery.
The attorneys at Wallace & Graham have years of professional experience representing victims of asbestos exposure throughout the Carolinas and the southern United States. We know the various challenges that might appear in any asbestos-related injury claim and how to help our clients secure as much compensation as possible for their damages.
Depending on how you were exposed to asbestos, you may have more than one legal option available to you that can help you recover. Our firm understands that any asbestos-related medical diagnosis is a life-changing experience, and it is crucial for you to have legal counsel you can trust on your side if you intend to maximize your recovery. The sooner you connect with an asbestos exposure attorney, the more time they have to build your case.
According to a recent study published by the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 850 people in the state have died from asbestos-related medical complications over the past 25 years. The majority of these deaths resulted from malignant mesothelioma, a specific form of lung cancer that only develops in response to asbestos exposure. Most of the asbestos deaths reported in the state during the past 25 years were within Charleston County.
South Carolina ranks 22nd in the United States for statewide asbestos-related deaths. Residents throughout the state could have been exposed to asbestos years ago in various places, and asbestos-related medical conditions often take years to manifest noticeable symptoms. Over the past century, more than 8,700 pounds of asbestos were shipped through the state and used in various construction projects.
Some of the most common types of buildings cited as sources of asbestos exposure include shipyards, steel mills, refineries, military bases, factories, cotton mills, and many other manufacturing facilities throughout the state. Asbestos was used for its fireproofing capability, but over time, the severe health risks of this substance became more apparent.
About 75% of all malignant mesothelioma cases involve pleural mesothelioma, which affects the pleura, the thin casing of the lungs. This form of mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed due to fluid accumulation in the chest. About 10 to 20% of mesothelioma cases involve peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the tissues of abdominal organs below the lungs. Once symptoms have become noticeable, it is a sign the disease has progressed to critical stages.
One of the most challenging aspects of any asbestos exposure case is the fact that it takes many years for symptoms of mesothelioma to manifest. It’s common for an individual to have been exposed years ago, only developing symptoms of mesothelioma after decades of no noticeable symptoms. Mesothelioma can be diagnosed ten to 50 years following exposure, and on average, most diagnoses occur within 25 to 40 years following asbestos exposure.
This can be incredibly frustrating and distressing for anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma. By the time the disease becomes noticeable, it has already likely progressed to a critical level, and the victim may have a very short time left to live. Mesothelioma is terminal and incurable, and the average life expectancy following diagnosis is only 18 months.
Asbestos fibers are microscopic, very sharp, and very light. This allows them to remain suspended in the air within interior spaces for days at a time, where they can be breathed into the lungs. Once asbestos fibers have entered the lungs, they will embed in the lung tissues and gradually form mesothelioma. Some people are diagnosed as early as ten years following exposure, but it usually takes several decades for signs of mesothelioma to appear.
Over the years, as the health risks of asbestos exposure became more apparent, many asbestos manufacturers and other companies went out of business, changed their operations significantly, and invested in asbestos abatement services to minimize the risk of asbestos exposure in the facilities they owned. While some companies tried to do everything possible to avoid liability for asbestos-related injury claims, courts compelled many to create injury trusts.
There are many mesothelioma injury trusts throughout the United States, and there are still billions in unclaimed benefits available to qualified claimants. If you acquired mesothelioma from asbestos exposure and trace the origin back to a company that has formed a mesothelioma trust, you are likely eligible to file a claim.
The claim filing process for mesothelioma injury trusts in the state is relatively straightforward, and many of these trusts allow for the filing of claims online. However, it’s wise to consult a South Carolina asbestos exposure attorney to assist you, as the claim filing process could be more challenging than you initially expected, and your attorney can assist you with gathering all the records and documentation you will need to submit with your claim.
A successful claim to a mesothelioma injury trust, on average, results in about $300,000 to $400,000 in benefits. This may seem like a sizeable amount of compensation, but when you consider the cost of the intensive medical care the victim will require for a mesothelioma diagnosis and the substantial economic impact of the disease on them and their family, it is important to remember that an injury trust claim may be just one phase of your recovery.
State law requires almost every employer to have workers’ compensation insurance, the purpose of which is to provide financial compensation for individuals who suffer injuries and develop illnesses from their work.
One of the most frustrating aspects of mesothelioma diagnosis is the disease usually isn’t diagnosed until years after exposure. If you were exposed to asbestos at work and developed mesothelioma, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, unless you have been working the same job for many years, proving the exact source of your condition could be very challenging.
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in the state, the claimant must prove that their illness or injury directly resulted from the performance of their job duties. An experienced attorney can be an essential resource to consult for the help they can provide in tracing the root cause of your condition. Once you identify the cause, your attorney can determine whether you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is similar to what you could expect in any other insurance claim filing process, but you face the additional complication of your employer’s involvement in the process. An experienced attorney can help resolve any issues you encounter with your employer and/or their insurance carrier, ensuring your claim is handled in good faith and you receive an appropriate determination of benefits.
While workers’ compensation benefits and/or a claim through a mesothelioma injury trust may be viable recovery options for some individuals afflicted with mesothelioma, it is important to discern whether you may have grounds for a personal injury claim against a specific party responsible for your diagnosis. If so, the compensation you can secure from a successful civil suit can far outweigh what you receive through other recovery options.
Under South Carolina law, the defendant responsible for causing a personal injury is liable for all associated damages. If you are able to prove that a specific party is directly responsible for your mesothelioma diagnosis, a good attorney can help hold them accountable for all damages you cannot recover through other means.
For example, if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in the state, you may receive full coverage of your medical expenses but only limited compensation for your lost income and lost earning potential. Workers’ compensation also will not compensate you for your pain and suffering.
When you have grounds to file a personal injury claim for asbestos exposure, the right attorney can help maximize your final case award. For many people afflicted with mesothelioma, filing a personal injury claim is typically their most viable option for recovering compensation for their condition.
South Carolina’s personal injury laws enable a plaintiff to seek full compensation for all direct financial losses they incurred because of a defendant’s actions. In an asbestos exposure case, these economic damages are likely to include medical expenses and lost income. While it’s possible to recover some compensation for these losses through an injury trust and/or workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury suit allows for a more robust recovery.
You can not only claim compensation for your immediate economic damages related to your diagnosis but also for the future long-term impact of the disease. The defendant who caused your asbestos exposure is liable for immediate and future medical treatment costs, including any costs that are not covered by workers’ compensation or other benefits programs available to you.
Similarly, you can not only claim compensation for lost wages but also lost future earning capacity. Due to the long incubation period of mesothelioma, many people diagnosed with the condition are diagnosed later in life, but if you expected to be able to continue working for many years, the defendant in your case will be responsible for the income you will no longer be able to earn during this time.
While you may be able to recover substantial compensation for your economic damages, the bulk of your personal injury claim award is likely to be your pain and suffering compensation. South Carolina personal injury law enables the plaintiff to seek as much pain and suffering compensation as they believe to be appropriate to reflect the severity of the harm the defendant inflicted on them.
Mesothelioma is a terminal illness that causes painful symptoms. This is not only physically stressful for the victim but also psychologically harmful. It is difficult for anyone to accept a terminal diagnosis. Your asbestos exposure attorney can be your most valuable asset when it comes to securing compensation for the physical and psychological impact of your condition.
Residents report many asbestos-related medical diagnoses each year, leaving most wondering how they can recover fair compensation for the damages associated with mesothelioma. It can be daunting to consider the various legal efforts you may need to make to recover compensation, but the right attorney can help you approach these proceedings with confidence.
When you choose Wallace & Graham to represent you in a mesothelioma claim, you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to maximize the compensation you obtain from all the various channels of recovery that could be available to you. We are familiar with state asbestos statistics and have years of experience pursuing accountability for those responsible for harming our clients.
Our team accepts clients in asbestos claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will only pay a percentage of your final case award as our fee if and when we win your case. There is no fee at all if we are unable to secure compensation for you. You could have more recovery options available to you than you initially realize, and the right attorney is your most valuable asset for maximizing the compensation you obtain.
If you are ready to start pursuing compensation, the team at Wallace & Graham is ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a South Carolina asbestos exposure attorney and learn more about the legal services we provide.