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Television ads about mesothelioma can be scary. Advertisements on all media platforms describe the horror of asbestos exposure and diagnosis. They promote the need for lawyers and litigation. They often push the viewer to immediate action.
As a consumer, you may be wondering about the truth of these commercials and the trustworthiness of lawyers. you may also wonder if you should be worried about mesothelioma. While some messages may seem misleading, most are paid for by real mesothelioma law firms. These law firms genuinely want to help victims of asbestos exposure. However, before you make a move, let us help you sort through the fact and fiction in mesothelioma commercials.
What is Mesothelioma and Asbestos?
The advertisements you see about mesothelioma and lawsuits target people who worked around asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was once used extensively in a variety of industries. Because of unique qualities, asbestos was used for decades in things like construction materials, ship building, and the automobile industry.
When asbestos fibers become airborne, they can ingested or inhaled by anyone in the vicinity. Asbestos fibers are tiny and sharp. Once the enter the body, they can become lodged in tissues, causing damage and irritation over time. Some people exposed to asbestos later develop serious illnesses, including mesothelioma, a rare but aggressive deadly cancer. Most commonly, asbestos triggers pleural mesothelioma, a cancer in the tissues around the lungs.
Why Are There so Many Mesothelioma Commercials?
Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer. Only about 3,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. Yet if you watch television, you will see more than one advertisement for mesothelioma and asbestos lawsuits. The use of asbestos in most industries largely halted in the 1970s due to strict government regulations. However, mesothelioma has a long latency period. People exposed decades ago are only now being diagnosed, and those people often need legal help.
Most mesothelioma cases can be traced to one or more companies and negligent asbestos exposure. This means that asbestos cases can be lucrative for law firms. Settlement and jury award amounts can be generous. This is why you will see firms actively seeking new mesothelioma clients.
Who is Behind Mesothelioma Commercials?
The ads you see on TV or online for mesothelioma are usually paid for by personal injury law firms. These lawyers specialize in helping people take legal action against companies that were negligent in causing injury or illness. In the case of mesothelioma, past employers and companies that made asbestos products are often found negligent in causing the cancer.
Not every law firm that advertises for mesothelioma cases specializes in these types of legal actions. Many are simply general personal injury firms. While this doesn’t mean they don’t have experience in asbestos law cases, you cannot assume from a commercial that a law firm only takes asbestos clients.
Can You Trust These Commercials?
Most mesothelioma commercials come from bona fide law firms that either specialize in all types of personal injury cases or specifically in asbestos cases. Generally, you can trust the message. However, you should always research specific lawyers and law firms. Check out the firm’s website and contact information. Always ask for background information and past asbestos case experiences before hiring attorneys to go after compensation for your mesothelioma.
What Are Asbestos Trust Funds?
Some of these ads may mention something called an asbestos trust fund. There are more than 80 companies to date that have filed bankruptcy due to asbestos litigation. Trusts have been set up to ensure qualifying individuals who wish to seek compensation can do so should the company is no longer in existence when the lawsuit occurs. If you qualify, lawyers can help you make a claim to receive compensation from a fund.
Is “No Money up Front” Legitimate?
When law firms advertise that you will owe nothing up front, they are telling the truth. The best personal injury lawyers only take on cases they feel confident about winning. This means they can charge clients on a contingency basis. Clients only pay if and when they get a settlement or jury award.
Lawyers experienced working with mesothelioma victims know their clients don’t have the funds to pay in advance. Therefore, they charge a percentage of the compensation you win. Percentages vary by law firm, so be sure to sort this out before getting started.
Do I Really Need to Call Now?
The advertisements you see on TV may urge immediate action. While you should take time to find a law firm you trust, it is also important to get started as soon as possible. Mesothelioma is aggressive, and every state has a statute of limitations on filing lawsuits. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or you have experienced asbestos exposure, it is important to take legal action soon.
Are Certain Jobs More at Risk of Mesothelioma?
Commercials for mesothelioma lawyers often mention industries that put people at greater risk of asbestos exposure and illness. This is because asbestos exposure on the job is a main cause of mesothelioma. Some of the industries and workplaces that used asbestos include:
- The military, especially the U.S. Navy.
- Shipbuilding and repair.
- Oil refineries.
- Auto mechanics and garages.
- Power plants.
- Metal works.
If you worked in any of these industries, or in a job where there may have been asbestos, exposure was a real risk. Talk to your doctor about screening for asbestos-related illnesses.
Hiring a Mesothelioma Lawyer
For anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma, hiring a good lawyer is important. It is possible that one or more companies is negligent for your asbestos exposure and illness. To find a lawyer to guide your next steps, be sure you feel comfortable with the experience, contingency pricing, and time they will spend on your case. Many lawyers offering to help asbestos victims are trustworthy and professional. However, you need to find one that will work well for you.
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Anne Courtney, AOCNP, DNP
Anne Courtney has a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and is an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner. She has years of oncology experience working with patients with malignant mesothelioma, as well as other types of cancer. Dr. Courtney currently works at University of Texas LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes.