Mesothelioma and Asbestos Class Actions

Asbestos was once a common building material, used for electrical and building insulation because of its resistance to fire and heat. It is a silicate mineral consisting of fibers that are easily inhaled, leading to significant health problems for many. Once its negative health effects were discovered, it gradually fell out of use, but the process of removing asbestos from old buildings continues to this day. Litigation over asbestos has continued for decades, leading to substantial jury awards against the companies that manufactured and distributed the material. Some plaintiffs have filed class action suits on behalf of themselves and others with similar injuries, thus allowing a large group of claimants to pursue their rights in a single lawsuit. The Chicago asbestos lawyers at Nationwide Consumer Rights have extensive experience advocating for people injured by asbestos exposure.

Asbestos and Its Health Effects

While asbestos was once a common building material, Congress categorized it as a “hazardous air pollutant” in Section 112 of the Clean Air Act of 1970, 42 U.S.C. § 7412(b)(1). Its negative health effects became apparent in the early 20th century, when people who worked in and lived near asbestos mines began displaying lung problems and early mortality. In the United States, asbestos use was particularly heavy in shipbuilding, with asbestos used to cover engine parts and line boilers. People who worked in the shipping industry in the early- to mid-20th century have had particularly severe health problems related to asbestos exposure.

Health effects associated with asbestos exposure, usually from inhalation of asbestos fibers, include numerous lung and skin conditions. Asbestosis is a progressive lung disorder marked by breathing difficulties. Asbestos warts, which are benign but unpleasant, can result from fibers that become stuck in the skin. The most severe illness associated with asbestos, however, is mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure, which may take anywhere from ten to forty years to manifest. It commonly begins in the outer lining of the lungs, but is also associated with other areas of the abdominal cavity. Exposure to asbestos in the workplace is commonly associated with mesothelioma, but family members of exposed workers have also developed the disease, possibly from handling the worker’s exposed clothing. Although treatment for mesothelioma is improving, it still has a very poor prognosis.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Class Actions

Sometimes, a defendant’s use or production of asbestos causes health problems for a substantial number of people. Rather than try to pursue their claims individually, these people may be able to assert their interests together in a class action lawsuit. Class actions enable large numbers of people with similar factual and legal claims to bring a single lawsuit on behalf of people with similar grievances, known as the “class.” Individual plaintiffs, whose injuries or legal claims are typical of the class members, advocate on behalf of the class. This eases the burden of litigation on most plaintiffs, many of whom may be too ill to pursue their claims, and it presents a legal case that the defendant cannot easily ignore.

The Chicago asbestos attorneys at Nationwide Consumer Rights have spent decades fighting for the rights of workers and consumers who have suffered severe health effects from exposure to asbestos. We are committing to representing victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses around the country with dignity and professionalism. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an asbestos lawyer in the Chicago area, contact us today online or at (877) 990-4990.