Asbestos and Mesothelioma
If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos or has developed mesothelioma from asbestos related contact or work, you have found the right place. As a New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer with years of experience and knowledge on asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits, we would like to act as a resource of information.
It is very important that you contact an Asbestos attorney as soon as possible because even though Asbestos litigation is one of the longest running mass torts in history, there are still a statute of limitation for filing a claim. Asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits are looked at differently from most personal injury lawsuits because of the time that it takes to develop symptoms of asbestos related diseases, such as mesothelioma. Because of these extreme lengths of time, special provisions have been devised for timing of asbestos related personal injury lawsuits and claims. It is important to speak with an asbestos lawyer to look at the specifics of your case.
Upon speaking with your personal injury lawyer, you will be advised on the next steps of the process for filing a claim. You need an attorney who understands that many people who have developed mesothelioma are currently not in good health, so we make special arrangements to make the entire legal process as easy on you as possible. In addition, for plaintiffs currently extremely ill of of mesothelioma, your lawyer can have your lawsuit expedited and your court case move forward faster.
What to Expect from the Defendant in an Asbestos Lawsuit
In almost every case, the defendant will try to elongation the court process, but a good personal injury attorney, skilled in asbestos cases will work hard to expedite the court process so you can spend quality time with your family and loved ones.
Once you file your lawsuit, it is very common for the defendant to attempt to place blame for your mesothelioma or other asbestos related illness on you or your lifestyle. They may bring up personal aspects of your life they feel they can put liability on such as drug abuse, smoking or even drinking. They may also attempt to place liability on another workplace or even your home that could have exposed you to asbestos.
If you are suing in a wrongful death case, Expect that the defendant in an asbestos lawsuit may say that you are not entitled to place the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
These are very common responses and your personal injury attorney will walk you through each step and insure that your lawsuit moves forward.
Filing a Lawsuit for Asbestos or Mesothelioma
If you decide to file a lawsuit, your attorney will assist you through the process. While everyone’s case is different, there are a number of steps that apply to nearly everyone who files an asbestos-related lawsuit. Your attorney will handle each of these steps and explain the process as it goes along. For the most part, mesothelioma lawsuits follow these steps
If you are in poor health, as is often the case in asbestos-related medical situations, the entire legal process can be expedited. If there is no urgency, the process could take several months or longer. In either case, the defendant probably will try to drag out the process. Your attorney will work to resolve your case as quickly as possible, handling each step so you can focus on your health and spend time with your loved ones.
What to Expect from Defendant Responses
Once you file your claim, be prepared for defendants to deny all fault for your medical condition. They may allege that:
- Smoking, drinking or drug use caused your health problems.
- Your family history shows significant health problems among relatives.
- You worked at other places where asbestos was a bigger problem.
- You have not been properly diagnosed by a medical professional.
- The petition was not filed correctly, even if it was filed on time.
- You were exposed to asbestos and other dangerous substances in your own home, not just at work.
- You do not have the authority to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
- Your medical condition is not related to asbestos exposure.
Choosing Your Attorney
The first step in a successful filing process is choosing a personal injury lawyer. If you decide to file a claim, your attorney will prepare and file the necessary documents to start your lawsuit. Your case will proceed more efficiently and you may have the greatest chance for compensation if you work with an experienced asbestos and mesothelioma attorney. There are many options for personal injury attorney fees, including contingency options.
Why an Attorney is Important
If you worked for a large corporation that has closed or is bankrupt, funds may have been set aside to help pay medical and related expenses for mesothelioma patients. A mesothelioma attorney is knowledgeable about these funds and can help you file a claim. In addition, a mesothelioma attorney is familiar with asbestos manufacturers and can help you determine who is responsible for your suffering.
Shipyards and Asbestos Lawsuits
Because of its ability to resist high temperatures and corrosion, asbestos was an ideal material to use in the shipbuilding industry. Naval shipyard workers who served between World War II and the Korean War were frequently exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos, which increased their chances of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Many of these veterans have filed mesothelioma lawsuits to recover the costs associated with the diagnosis of these diseases
Asbestos in Lousiana
Because of the amount of oil pulled from the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana is home to many oil refinery laborers who were exposed to asbestos on the job and are at risk for developing mesothelioma. Asbestos was used to insulate tanks, vats and pipelines. Salt mines like as Cargill’s giant operation in Breaux Bridge used asbestos in the salt purification process. New to the list is the occupation of first responder. Police, fire and rescue personnel, not to mention volunteers, were exposed to asbestos while responding to Hurricane Katrina. Many others were exposed during the Katrina aftermath while cleaning up and rebuilding New Orleans and parishes around southern Louisiana.
Asbestos was the favorite material used to insulate pipelines in Louisiana’s oil refineries, in Shreveport, Princeton and Lake Charles. It was used for its heat resistant qualities, as oil is highly flammable and the refining process requires high temperatures and pressures. Asbestos was also used to insulate tanks, reactors, pumps and furnaces.
Louisiana and Asbestos Lawsuits
Because of Louisiana’s extensive history of asbestos exposure, companies in the state have defended numerous lawsuits. In September 2011, a jury awarded $7.55 million to a Slidell, Louisiana, man who contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos on the job.
Thomas M. Kenney of St. Tammany Parish successfully argued he was improperly exposed to asbestos by manufacturer John Crane Inc. and Haveg Inc. while working at American Can (now Rexam Beverage Can Company). Kenney was also a pipefitter and machinist for Tenneco. Crane produced and supplied asbestos gaskets to Tenneco, while Haveg supplied asbestos-laden piping to Tenneco while Kenney was employed there.
The W.R. Grace Site in New Orleans
Shipyards and oil refineries were not the only sources of asbestos exposure for New Orleans residents. From 1965 and 1985, W.R. Grace & Company’s New Orleans’ facility processed approximately 148,000 tons of asbestos-containing vermiculite from Libby, Montana. Land use around the now abandoned site was a mix of residential, commercial and industrial. Thousands of community members living, working and shopping around the W.R. Grace site were exposed to toxic asbestos without ever suspecting it. New Orleans’ Jefferson Parish, the site of the former W. R. Grace & Company’s vermiculite operations, is ranked 19th among all U.S. counties for mesothelioma deaths.
Although the H.R. Grace & Company terminated its New Orleans operations in 1989, its buildings are still standing and abandoned vermiculite processing equipment is still on the facility. Asbestos-containing vermiculite has been observed on the grounds, and it is possible that residents may have scavenged this material for use as fill or driveway surfacing material.
Job-sites with Known Asbestos Exposure:
Calumet Refineries in Princeton and Shreveport
Marathon Refinery in Garyville
Placid Refining Refinery in Port Allen
H.R. Grace Site in New Orleans
Higgins Shipyard New Orleans
Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans
Calcasieu, Conoco, Citgo and Valero Refineries in Lake Charles
Motiva Norco Refinery in New Orleans
Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport
Conrad Industries in Morgan City
Avondale Industries located 12 miles outside New Orleans