New York Mesothelioma Lawyer
Mesothelioma is a deadly disease brought on by exposure to asbestos fibers. Such exposure is the result of intentional coverup activities by greedy corporations that knew asbestos was harmful but failed to disclose its presence or the dangers to their workers. These asbestos companies thought their money and power would save them from accountability for their willful concealment.
The resulting harm is widespread. One study revealed that 255,000 people around the world die annually because of asbestos exposure.
The New York mesothelioma attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm believe the law applies equally to everyone. We specialize in holding large companies accountable when they recklessly harm individuals.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a bundle of fibers composed of six minerals found naturally in the earth, which can be separated into thin threads. These fibers are non-conductive and resistant to fire, heat and chemicals. These qualities made asbestos useful in commercial and industrial applications.
Asbestos fibers are harmful when inhaled. Inhaled asbestos fibers lodge deeply into the lungs, where they can cause inflammation and genetic damage at the cellular level, leading to asbestos-related diseases later in life.
Asbestos Exposure in New York
New York City is home to many older structures, construction sites and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. These factors create increased risks for New Yorkers.
Past Occupational Exposure
The majority of asbestos exposure occurred in the past when asbestos-containing material was used on a large-scale basis before the dangers were known. Workers regularly handled asbestos-containing materials and inhaled microscopic fibers over an extended period of time without protective measures.
Blue-collar workers carry the highest risk of exposure to asbestos products.
Asbestos is no longer mined in the United States since the last mine was closed in 2002. However, due to the extended latency period of asbestos-related illnesses, former miners are still developing asbestos-related illnesses.
Construction workers are most at risk during remodeling and demolition projects. The New York State Department of Health regulates these activities and requires site inspections of all buildings to determine if asbestos is present. In cases where asbestos could present a risk to building occupants, the health department requires asbestos abatement.
Construction companies must notify the health department prior to performing activities that could disturb asbestos. These activities, as well as asbestos abatement, must be carried out by licensed, trained asbestos professionals.
Federal asbestos laws also regulate the handling of asbestos. OSHA enforces these regulations, which include the use of personal protective equipment during abatement and demolition activities.
Factory workers during the 20th century handled large volumes of asbestos-containing products while working in poorly-ventilated buildings constructed with asbestos-containing materials.
The city of Buffalo and the surrounding counties have experienced markedly higher rates of asbestos-related illnesses compared to state and national averages. It may be no coincidence that Buffalo is home to two major factories, among others, that used asbestos extensively throughout the 20th century: Lackawanna Steel Company, owned by Bethlehem Steel, and the General Motors Tonawanda Engine factory, an auto parts manufacturer.
Asbestos was widely used in the construction of commercial ships during the first half of the 20th century. It was used as a lining and insulation material, as well as in smaller components, such as pipe insulation, gaskets, filters, caulking and electrical wiring insulation.
Firefighters may be exposed to airborne building materials, including asbestos, while extinguishing fires in damaged structures. Regulations protecting construction workers do not protect firefighters, since older buildings with asbestos still stand and asbestos products are still used in building construction.
Auto repair workers may have been exposed to asbestos while repairing brakes, clutches and other parts that are subject to friction.
Power Plant Workers
Power plant workers may have experienced regular exposure to electrical wiring insulation, pipes and asbestos-containing appliances. Compounds such as sealant and cement contain asbestos, and workers frequently have had to cut through these products while repairing, manufacturing or installing appliances and electrical wiring, releasing asbestos fibers.
The World Trade Center 9/11 Terrorist Attack
The World Trade Center was constructed with more than 1,000 tons of asbestos, all of which became airborne on September 11, 2001. First responders and survivors were exposed to a large concentration of asbestos fibers.
The site smoldered for more than three months, emitting a cloud of asbestos and other toxic particles into the surrounding area, exposing nearby residents and workers involved in the cleanup efforts.
A New York City Department of Environmental Protection study found that 68 percent of NYC buildings harbor asbestos-containing materials. More alarmingly, 84 percent of the materials had surface damage, posing a danger of asbestos fibers being released into the environment.
Buildings in New York City that are known to contain or have contained asbestos include the following:
- New York-Presbyterian Hospital – The hospital has been upfront about the presence of asbestos and has followed all laws. Areas containing asbestos are conspicuously marked.
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority – This has been abated. For decades, the MTA pumped asbestos-tainted air into an East New York bus depot when it used asbestos-laced filters in 57 vents to dampen noise.
- Apartment buildings – Many of the apartment buildings in New York contain asbestos. Some landlords attempt to avoid asbestos abatement by falsifying inspection reports. In 2018, this led to the arrest of 17 landlords whose tenants were living with asbestos without their knowledge.
The mere presence of asbestos should not cause alarm, as long as state and federal laws are followed. New York City residents who are concerned or aware of the presence of asbestos can call 311 to report the issue.
Military personnel have experienced a high rate of asbestos exposure during combat and while carrying out job duties. Although veterans make up approximately eight percent of the United States population, they account for 30 percent of asbestos deaths.
Asbestos fibers were released when buildings overseas were destroyed or structures were damaged. However, the primary source of exposure came from the military’s own equipment, and the U.S. Navy experienced the highest levels. Shipyard workers lined all naval ships with asbestos and used asbestos in engine and boiler-room components.
High-risk naval professions included the following:
- Gunner’s mate
- Electrician’s mate
- Boatswain’s mate
- Hull maintenance technicians
- Fire controllers
U.S. Army personnel in the following occupations experienced the highest levels of exposure:
- Vehicle mechanic
- Aircraft mechanic
Asbestos Exposure and Your Health
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they settle deeply into the lungs, where they gradually cause harm over a period of 10 to 40 years, and even longer in some cases. The most well-known asbestos-related disease is mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma has no known cure. However, early detection and treatment can result in positive outcomes, including a longer lifespan with a higher quality of life. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Mesothelioma often is not detected until it is in the later stages because the early symptoms mimic other less serious conditions.
What types of compensation are available for mesothelioma victims?
Mesothelioma victims can receive substantial compensation, which could include the following damages:
Factors that determine the type and amount of compensation include the total medical expenses, severity of the illness, projected lifespan and types of claims for which the plaintiff is eligible.
Asbestos Trust Fund Claims
Under the U.S. Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Code, businesses can reorganize and obtain bankruptcy protection against debtors. The rising number of claims against asbestos companies has led to the bankruptcy of many. They reorganized under Chapter 11 Subsection G, which required them to establish trust funds for the benefit of their asbestos exposure victims.
More than 60 companies currently have mesothelioma trust funds established. Anyone who has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease is eligible to file a claim. These claims are filed directly through the trusts, without the involvement of the tort system. This is typically a faster process than lawsuits.
Claimants who have been exposed to asbestos through multiple sources may have additional legal options, including VA claims and mesothelioma litigation.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Mesothelioma victims with sources of exposure other than bankrupt companies can file a personal injury lawsuit. Asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits in New York City are often handled as mass torts. This is meant to help resolve your case more speedily and does not impact your compensation.
What options are available for family members?
In the devastating circumstance in which the victim passes away before a case can be filed, the family has the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit, trust fund claim, VA claim or a combination thereof.
If the victim had already filed a trust fund claim, the family has the right to continue the claim. If the victim was already receiving payments, the payments will be transferred to the spouse or dependent children.
The VA offers monetary benefits to the surviving spouse, dependent children or surviving parents.
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the family representative, usually the executor or administrator of the estate. Proceeds are distributed to the surviving spouse and family members.
Family members can claim the pain and suffering of the deceased, medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship and loss of society. New York law does not permit the family to claim damages for their own pain and suffering in wrongful death lawsuits.
What is the statute of limitations to file a mesothelioma claim in New York?
In New York, asbestos injury lawsuits must be initiated within three years of the injured person’s diagnosis. Lawsuits based upon the death of an asbestos victim must be brought within two years of date of death.
It is important to contact a New York mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after diagnosis to ensure the lawyer has adequate time to build your case before the statute of limitations runs out.
Do I need an attorney to represent me in my asbestos case?
Asbestos cases require an individual to oppose a large corporation with massive resources. These companies use their resources to hire high-powered corporate attorneys to minimize compensation or oppose it altogether. You need an asbestos lawyer on your side who is at least as adept as the opposing counsel.
Why should I choose The Lanier Law Firm?
Founded in 1990 by Mark Lanier, The Lanier Law Firm has amassed over 30 years of experience in asbestos litigation. Having witnessed firsthand the physical and emotional suffering experienced by mesothelioma patients and their loved ones, it gives us great satisfaction to help these families in their time of need.
When you hire The Lanier Law Firm to handle your mesothelioma case, you can count on us for the following:
- A detailed investigation into your life and work history to discover all sources of exposure to asbestos
- Skillful litigation of your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, up through and including trial if necessary
- Sound legal advice
- Personalized, compassionate service delivered with integrity, transparency, and respect
- Attorneys who will travel to you if you are unable to meet in our office
- No upfront fees for our service: we charge a percentage of your compensation after you receive it
The attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm have a 32-year history of successfully standing up to large companies on behalf of everyday individuals. We treat every client with respect, compassion and dignity while striving for nothing less than the maximum available compensation. We call our philosophy “redefining legal care” because we truly care about each client.
Below is a sample of the feedback we have received from our clients:
The Lanier Law Firm is one of the leading mesothelioma law firms in the world. We are known throughout New York and the United States for our extraordinary case results, such as the below:
- $2.1 billion verdict on behalf of 22 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer following exposure to asbestos from the use of baby powder
- $115.6 million verdict on behalf of 21 steelworkers diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses
- $1,975,000 for a woman exposed to asbestos brought home on the work clothes of her husband
- $1,800,000 for the family of a retired truck driver exposed to asbestos on the job
We are well-known worldwide for our asbestos litigation experience. As one of the most experienced mesothelioma law firms in the world, we have been invited to speak at national conferences to share our knowledge in multiple forums.
What We Do
One of the most challenging aspects of many asbestos exposure cases is identifying the source of exposure. During your initial consultation, our attorneys will gather detailed information about your life and work history so we can ensure all sources of exposure are taken into account. This ensures each company is held accountable for the devastating harm it has caused by negligently and willfully exposing you or your loved one to asbestos.
We then immediately begin pursuing every legal option available, including filing trust fund claims, handling your VA claim and filing your lawsuit. Our skilled legal team will always attempt to negotiate for the settlement you need and deserve. If the opposing party refuses to offer a fair and reasonable settlement, however, we are always prepared to fight vigorously for you in the courtroom.
We understand no amount of financial compensation can make up for the pain and suffering brought on by the illness, but it is our hope that you and your family can experience a sense of justice, access the best medical treatment available and enjoy financial security.
Our attorneys are consistently designated for the highest honors available to those in our profession, including Super Lawyers, Rising Stars and U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers in America. Our talented New York asbestos attorneys are listed below:
When you hire The Lanier Law Firm, you can count on us to provide legal advice and representation that can match the prowess of the asbestos company’s corporate counsel. We understand the difficult circumstances you are facing, and we handle the details so you can focus on your treatment and family. We will travel to you if you cannot easily come to us, and we never charge upfront fees for our services. We get paid when you get paid.
We are located in midtown Manhattan:
Tower 56 126 E. 56th St. 6th Floor New York, NY 10022
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