As another new year begins and we are all thinking about intentions and resolutions for the coming months, we’d like to add a specific and urgent task to your list: contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that, once diagnosed, often leaves victims and their families little time to put their affairs in order. Despite the fact that the disease has likely been developing for many years, once you learn that mesothelioma is the cause of the cancer, the clock starts running for you to initiate a potential legal claim. 

Nothing can ease the pain of a mesothelioma diagnosis. However, obtaining fair compensation from those responsible for your injuries has the power to ensure your family’s financial security.

The Magic Number: 3 Years (Or More?)

One of Massachusetts’s most frequently asked mesothelioma legal questions is when a lawsuit can be filed. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in the Commonwealth, including those involving mesothelioma, is three years. This means that you have three years from either 1) the date of your mesothelioma diagnosis, or 2) when you knew or reasonably should have known about the probable link between your diagnosis and prior exposure to asbestos, to file a claim. 

It is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible after learning you or a loved one has mesothelioma, even if you think you may be outside of the three-year time limit. In certain circumstances, that time frame may have been tolled, or paused, as was the case with the statute of limitations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your lawyer can tell you if the deadline in your case can be extended past the typical three-year mark. Be sure to contact an attorney intimately familiar with mesothelioma lawsuits in Massachusetts to get the best possible advice for your specific case. 

We are happy to provide our honest opinion about whether you have a valid mesothelioma legal claim in Massachusetts, free of charge. Don’t worry if you don’t have your medical records or employment details at hand: we’ll help you obtain whatever documentation we need to build a strong case. 

Talk to Your Doctor As Soon As Possible

We recommend talking to your doctor right away if you think you may have been exposed to asbestos at any point during your working years, particularly if you’ve worked in industries such as shipping, plumbing, construction, paper mills and others, or if you are a Veteran. Set up regular monitoring of your lung health, such as annual lung scans or other checks to ensure you spot potential symptoms of mesothelioma as early as possible. We urge you not to ignore the warning signs of mesothelioma which include: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pains
  • Coughing blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating (profusely)
  • Weight loss

Talk to your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms and be sure to let them know about your past asbestos exposure.

Remember: the earlier the diagnosis, the more treatment options may be available to you or your loved one, and the greater the likelihood of recovery.

If you do experience any of these symptoms, or have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, we also encourage you to talk to your family about your work history to begin putting the puzzle pieces together about when, where and how you may have been exposed to asbestos. Since the only known cause of this disease is asbestos exposure, it is important to establish and document that history, particularly if you plan to pursue a lawsuit. Let your loved ones know how you may have been exposed to asbestos, what employers you worked for, which job sites you worked at, what equipment you used and who your co-workers were. All of this information will be important to a successful legal claim and the sooner we begin building your case, the greater the likelihood you will be awarded compensation. Read more about what to do if a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma

Think About Possible Secondary Asbestos Exposure

When asbestos dust settles into clothing, furniture, shoes, hair, car upholstery and elsewhere, it can be re-released into the air when disturbed. Because of this, some people have unknowingly exposed loved ones to asbestos at home, even if that loved one has never worked around asbestos themselves. Sadly, a simple welcome-home hug could send fibers into the air to be breathed in by family members. 

Unfortunately, this unwitting transfer is the primary method by which many women and children were exposed to asbestos in the early to mid-1900s. We’ve seen first-hand the terrible suffering of one of our clients who developed mesothelioma as a result of doing her husband’s laundry over many years: the asbestos dust embedded in his clothing became dislodged as she handled the items and she then breathed in those toxic fibers. This was a devastating burden to bear for her husband; however, since they were able to put the pieces together of how she developed mesothelioma, they were able to receive substantial compensation for her injuries.

If you or a close family member worked around asbestos during their lifetime and has developed mesothelioma, we encourage you to think about whether you might be able to seek financial compensation for their suffering. Understandably, an overwhelming sense of guilt leads some people into denial, but rest assured, there was no way to know about the dangers of asbestos fibers if the companies didn’t tell you about them. 

Companies that knowingly perpetuated the use of this harmful material for decades after it was known to be dangerous should be held accountable. It was their responsibility to warn purchasers and users about the true hazards, and to list the precautions that should be taken to fully protect against exposure to asbestos from their products. They didn’t and allowed hundreds of thousands of people to suffer.

Time Is Of The Essence 

Many mesothelioma victims are successfully filing lawsuits in Massachusetts to get the compensation they deserve. However, in order to recover maximum financial awards for your asbestos-related injuries, it is important to file a claim as quickly as possible to ensure that your claim falls within the three-year statute of limitations, and that we have time to gather the evidence we need regarding your work history and potential exposure.

Call us today if you think you might have a mesothelioma legal claim and we will help you navigate the process. At Shepard O’Donnell, we have helped hundreds of individuals and their families get justice for their injuries, regularly obtaining settlements and verdicts in the millions. We are happy to offer you a free case evaluation and will tell you honestly if we think you have a viable claim.