Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma develops mainly in the lungs, abdomen, or heart. People who work in fields in which they are likely to be exposed to asbestos have a higher risk of developing this form of cancer, and may not realize the danger they face until decades later. It can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years for a person to develop symptoms and be diagnosed with the disease after exposure.
Treatment for mesothelioma is expensive, and patients may want to seek compensation from a former employer to cover the costs of treatment and the pain and suffering associated with their condition. One concern in doing this may be the long time frame from exposure to diagnosis, and what it means in terms of being able to sue an employer, especially if the victim no longer works for that employer.
Fortunately, while Georgia law does have a statute of limitations on when a person suffering from mesothelioma may bring a claim, this statute of limitations does not start to run at the point in time that the patient is exposed to the asbestos that causes the cancer. Georgia’s statute of limitations begins to run two years after a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma. For a patient’s family seeking to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute of limitations begins two years after the patient dies as a result of the mesothelioma.
The patient who files a lawsuit does have to connect his or her exposure to asbestos to the negligence of a past employer. If the patient worked in one field or profession in which he or she was exposed to asbestos, but worked for more than one employer, the patient can file a claim against all the past employers in an effort to seek compensation. In addition, there may be a claim against a manufacturer, contractor, or other party who may have been responsible for the patient’s exposure to the asbestos that caused the patient’s mesothelioma.
In some cases, because the exposure to asbestos occurs as part of a person’s employment, and the diagnosis happens while the person is still employed, the person may have to pursue compensation for the exposure in a workers’ compensation claim. If there are third parties that caused a person’s exposure to the asbestos, in addition to the employer failing to take the appropriate steps to protect workers, both a personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation lawsuit may be appropriate.
As part of investigating a claim, an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia may give a better idea of which parties the lawsuit can be filed against, especially if the attorney also has experience handling workers’ compensation claims.
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If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and have a history of working in fields in which you may have been exposed to asbestos, you have a limited time within which to file a claim for compensation. For more information on how you can begin the process, and what would be involved in making a claim, contact the personal injury attorney at the Georgia law firm of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today.