New Orleans Mesothelioma Lawyer
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects many vital organs of the human body, particularly the lungs. According to the American Cancer Society, about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year. Most cases involve workers who have had long-term exposure to the carcinogen, asbestos. The most common settings that asbestos exposure can occur are ship construction and repair, factories, construction sites and automotive construction and repair.
Asbestos cases also derive from situations in which a person was living or working for an extended period of time in an older building that was infested with asbestos. Unfortunately, secondary exposure—or “Shaker Cases”—are also common in Louisiana.
Secondary exposure occurs when a family member is indirectly exposed to asbestos through a loved one who brings home asbestos in their clothing, skin, or hair.
Manufacturers, employers and insurance companies often deny liability in mesothelioma cases by arguing the uncertainty of where the asbestos exposure may have occurred. Since these companies aggressively defend their case, you will also require an aggressive advocate to tell your story and prosecute your case.
Our Approach–Personalized Attention
Cueria Law Firm, L.L.C. will treat your claim on an individual basis. Unlike other asbestos litigators, our firm does not file asbestos claims as a class action. This allows us to concentrate our time and resources on prosecuting your claim aggressively and efficiently without being “bogged down” in the backlog of class asbestos claims that have made media attention.
What is mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma, commonly referred to simply as “mesothelioma,” is an extremely rare form of cancer that starts in the cells that line the outside of the organs including the heart, lungs, and abdomen. Most often, mesothelioma initially develops in the thin layer of cells’ lining that serves as the outer lining of the lungs, called the pleura. When mesothelioma starts in this part of the lungs it is referred to as pleural mesothelioma. These types of cases account for about 70% of all mesothelioma cases. The other two types of mesothelioma are peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdominal cavity and pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining of the heart.
Doctors believe that the most prevalent cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos or asbestos particles through inhalation. Asbestos is a mineral composed of thin fibrous crystals. The prolonged inhalation of these fibrous crystals is the leading cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos was used by many companies in buildings and factories during the 19th century. It was used in the manufacture of plaster, drywall, vinyl floor tiles, bricks, ceiling insulation, roofing, siding, fireproof materials, pipe insulation, and much more. However, its use was not regulated in the United States until the late 1970s. Through litigation it has been determined that many of the companies using materials made with asbestos had known about the dangers of asbestos since the 1930s, but had attempted to conceal those dangers.
Many people who have been exposed to asbestos often do not know that they have been. Symptoms of mesothelioma will not appear in individuals exposed to asbestos until long after the exposure took place; sometimes years and even decades. If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, you should immediately consult a physician who is trained in diagnosing mesothelioma. The earlier mesothelioma is detected, the more likely it is that the disease will be in the early stages and therefore more easily treatable.
An individual may be at risk to develop mesothelioma if he or she was exposed to asbestos in the workplace or at home. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and the inhalation of asbestos particles. In most cases, mesothelioma symptoms will not appear in an individual exposed to asbestos until many years after the exposure has occurred. Those with a past asbestos exposure history experiencing symptoms should consult a physician with experience in accurately diagnosing mesothelioma. The earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be caught at an early stage. At earlier stages of mesothelioma progression, more treatment options are available and oftentimes a better prognosis is given. Additional mesothelioma information and statistics can be found in this section.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, you should immediately contact an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases. Mesothelioma litigation is complicated, and you need an attorney you trust to help you navigate your case. Contact Cueria Law Firm L.L.C. immediately.
What are the different types of mesothelioma?
Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining and wall of the lungs called the pleura and is the most common type of mesothelioma, representing 75% of the total mesothelioma cases. This type of mesothelioma is caused by the thickening or calcification of the lung lining. These calcifications and areas of thickening lining are called pleural plaques. In many cases these plaques develop into mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma often spreads quickly from the lining of the lungs to the outer chest wall, heart, and even abdomen in some situations. Most cases of pleural mesothelioma are fatal. There is no cure for pleural mesothelioma, but some treatment options are available such as chemotherapy and surgery in the early stages.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma is the second most common type of the disease and it affects the abdominal area. It occurs when the thin membrane of the abdomen becomes hardened normally due to ingestion of asbestos fibers. The fibers affect the digestion systems in the body. Peritoneal mesothelioma can also occur when pleural mesothelioma metastasizes from the lungs to the abdomen. Like pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma is fatal. There are some treatments available including chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Pericardial Mesothelioma is a more rare form of the disease. It affects the lining of the heart, and is most often diagnosed in men. It occurs when asbestos fibers are lodged in the pericardial membranes which line the heart. This leads to the thickening of the pericardial membrane, similar to the thickening of the membranes that occur in pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. This thickening causes a buildup of fluid in the pericardial membranes and puts pressure on the heart. Like the other forms of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma is hard to treat, and often the prognosis for patients diagnosed with this disease is not a good one.
Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of the disease, affecting the tissue around the testicles. Because it is so rare, little is known about this type of mesothelioma, and treatment is not well developed.
Benign Mesothelioma is different from malignant mesothelioma because it does not invade the nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. It is much more easily treated than malignant mesothelioma. However patients who are diagnosed with benign mesothelioma may exhibit the same symptoms as a patient with malignant mesothelioma. Benign mesothelioma is usually treated through surgery. The most common surgical procedure used to treat benign mesothelioma is called thoracotomy.
What are the causes of mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is often linked with exposure to asbestos in either the home or workplace. If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos in your lifetime it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma symptoms often do not appear until years or even decades after exposure to asbestos. Early detection of mesothelioma allows for many more treatment options and a better prognosis overall.
Asbestos is found in both commercial and private buildings and facilities. Any building built prior to the late 1980s may contain asbestos. Often renovations or DIY projects upset materials made with asbestos and cause exposure to asbestos dust. Many companies continued to use asbestos in building materials and other products even after becoming aware of the health hazards and risks associated with exposure to asbestos. These companies did not follow regulations put in place, and put their worker’s lives and other’s lives in danger every day. Some occupations of workers at risk for asbestos exposure include, harbor workers, electricians
Mesothelioma can result from primary (occupational) or secondary (paraoccupational) exposure to asbestos. Primary exposure occurs when a worker is directly exposed to asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers are found in many older building materials including insulation, sheetrock, pipes, boilers, and other materials. Asbestos is often found in factories, shipyards, and buildings built prior to the late 1970s, when asbestos was banned in the U.S. Carpenters, electricians, mechanics, boilermakers, machinists and naval veterans are just a few types of workers who might have been exposed to asbestos during their careers.
Secondary exposure to asbestos is also a cause of mesothelioma. Family members of those who work in buildings or areas where they are exposed to asbestos may experience secondary exposure to asbestos. This secondary exposure can occur if family members handle clothing that is covered in asbestos dust or if the worker has asbestos dust in his hair or on his body. Asbestos workers should shower and change clothes after working in areas where asbestos is present in order to prevent secondary exposure to others. Secondary exposure leads to the same types of mesothelioma as primary exposure. It is just as deadly as primary exposure, and it is just as hard to treat. Courts have held that victims of secondary exposure to mesothelioma are entitled to recover damages from employers whose use of asbestos materials is causally related to their disease.
Asbestos exposure is inextricably linked with a mesothelioma diagnosis. Study after study has shown that exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma.
What are the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma?
There are many different signs and symptoms associated with each of the three main types of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of mesothelioma, which affects the outer linings of the lungs, can lead to the following signs and symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Pleural effusion (the buildup of fluid surrounding the lungs)
- Wheezing or hoarseness
- Blood in the sputum
In extremely severe cases that are left undiagnosed, pleural mesothelioma can lead to tumors on the lungs or pneumothorax, which is collapsing of the lung. Like all forms of cancer pleural mesothelioma can metastasize and spread to other parts of the body including the heart and the abdomen. The majority of patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma do not survive for more than a year.
Peritoneal mesothelioma, the type of mesothelioma that forms in lining of the abdominal cavity can lead to the following signs and symptoms:
- Bowel obstruction
- Blood clotting abnormalities
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Ascites (the buildup of fluid in the abdomen)
Pericardial mesothelioma, the type of mesothelioma that forms in the lining surrounding the heart known as the pericardium can lead to the following signs and symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Heart murmurs
- Heart palpitations
Like pleural mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma is a potentially fatal disease.
In extreme cases of mesothelioma more severe signs and symptoms of the disease are exhibited including:
- Severe Ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen)
- Pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the lung arteries)
- Severe Pleural effusion (accumulation of fluid around the lungs)
- Blood clots in veins
- Low blood sugar
Some symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to symptoms of lung cancer caused by smoking. These include scarring of the lungs, lung tumors, coughing up blood, and shortness of breath. Smoking has been shown to increase the development of mesothelioma by certain studies, although asbestos is still considered the main factor that causes the disease.
How is mesothelioma diagnosed?
Doctors often have a difficult time reaching a conclusive diagnosis of mesothelioma, as many of the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma are shared by or similar to other diseases. Diagnosis usually begins by looking at a person’s medical history and any history of asbestos exposure. If a person has had previous asbestos exposure and any of the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma are present a physical exam will then be conducted as well as lung function tests and possibly chest and abdominal x-rays. This is usually followed by a CT scan or MRI which will allow the doctor to see if the linings of the lungs, linings of the abdominal cavity and the linings of the heart appear thick. If these linings look abnormally think it is often indicative of mesothelioma and biopsies are often the next step in diagnosing.
Different types of biopsies are needed for each of the three main types of mesothelioma. Doctors try to use the least invasive biopsy necessary to conclusively diagnose or rule out mesothelioma. A biopsy to determine the presence of pleural mesothelioma is often done by testing the pleural fluid through thoracentesis or tube thoracostomy. A biopsy to determine the presence of peritoneal mesothelioma is often done by testing the ascites fluid through paracentesis or asceitic drain. Finally, a biopsy to determine the precesne of pericardial mesothelioma is often done by testing the pericardial fluid through pericardial effusion with pericardiocenteisis. In all cases the fluids are tested for malignant cells which would indicate mesothelioma.
If you or your family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the next step is to discuss treatment options with your doctor and develop a treatment plan. There have been recent breakthroughs in medical treatment for all types of mesothelioma. There are traditional treatments as well as experimental treatments, alternative therapies, and clinical trials available for some types of mesothelioma patients to participate in.
What are the stages of mesothelioma?
If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos, even many years ago, and you have symptoms of mesothelioma, it is important that you consult a doctor to determine if you have the disease. Technology is improving, and now there is a blood test that shows the markers for mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is also tested by scans and biopsies. Early detection of mesothelioma is very important. Treatments in the early stages of mesothelioma have a much higher success rate than treatments of later stages.
Mesothelioma staging is the classification of malignant mesothelioma according to the severity and extent of the cancer in the patient’s body. There are four stages of mesothelioma. The earliest stage of mesothelioma is called stage one and the most developed stage of mesothelioma is stage four:
- At stage 1, the tumor is restricted to the mesothelial lining, but has not spread to other organs or areas of the body.
- At stage 2, the cancer begins to spread and has made its way to nearby organs.
- At stage 3, cancer cells spread to tissues, lymph nodes, and other organs.
- At stage 4, the cancer has spread to most areas of the body including nearby and distant organs, tissues, and lymph nodes.
In 1993, Mr. Cueria founded the Cueria Law Firm, LLC, located in New Orleans, in order to focus on the representation of injured individuals, where his true passion is. Mr. Cueria uses his past experience to diligently advocate for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies.
At Cueria Law Firm, LLC, our team frequently handles a variety of personal injury and accident cases from start to finish. Our accomplished personal injury attorney worked as a defense attorney for insurance companies, and understands the tactics they use to justify their low-ball settlement offers. No matter what type of accident you or your loved one suffered an injury from, our team will take a dedicated and personal approach, ensuring you get the money you need to recovery.
Speak with Our Team
At Cueria Law Firm, LLC, we understand the financial stress that comes with being the victim of a personal injury accident. We offer a free consultation for any person who contacts our New Orleans office with a potential personal injury case. We have no upfront retainer fees, and only collect our payment once we have successfully secured your settlement or trial award. Let our team at Cueria Law Firm, LLC, guide you down the path of recovery while handling each step of your case.