Finding out that you’ve developed lung cancer from asbestos exposure is a confusing and very frightening experience. Many of the more than 3000 people who are diagnosed annually find themselves feeling lost and confused after getting the news from their doctor, not knowing what to do next or who to turn to. If you have found yourself in this scary and difficult position, try to remain calm. Here are three important steps you can take to keep your life moving forward.
Step one: Find the best medical care available, and work with your care team to formulate a treatment plan.
The most common form of lung cancer from asbestos exposure is mesothelioma—an aggressive and almost unexceptionally terminal condition that is notoriously difficult to both diagnose and treat. If you have received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, you are going to want the very best medical facility, treatments and team of professionals available to you. This will often mean traveling to a hospital or cancer treatment center in a major city. As soon as you are diagnosed, find out where you need to be to get the best possible treatment and then get there fast.
Step two: Trace back your diagnosis of lung cancer to asbestos—when, where and how were you exposed?
It’s important for receiving any potential mesothelioma compensation to be able to pinpoint the exact time and circumstances of your exposure to asbestos. For many people, this exposure occurred at work. Find out what industries were likely to have been heavily using asbestos-containing materials prior to the onset of strict government regulation—which occurred in the late 1970s and 1980s. A few of those industries include building construction, automotive manufacturing and repair and all branches of the U.S. military. If your job fell under one of those occupational titles during the early to mid part of the 20th century and you now have mesothelioma or another lung cancer from asbestos exposure, then you were likely exposed at work.
Step three: Consult with an attorney about your options for legal recourse.
You’ll want to contact an asbestos lawyer as soon as possible after diagnosis, in order to preserve your rights to legal action against the parties responsible for your asbestos exposure and resulting illness. Your attorney will be able to file a claim on your behalf, compile the required documentation to prove that claim and provide said documentation to the other side. Most of the time, defendants in mesothelioma injury cases choose to settle out of court—in which case, a negotiation process will be conducted through your attorney to secure a settlement amount that is fair to you. If the defendant in your case fails to reach a settlement with you, then your case proceeds to the courthouse. So long as your lawyer can prove responsibility and negligence on the part of the defendant(s) listed in your claim, you should be successful in winning damages paid out as a financial compensation award to you.