Top New York Mesothelioma Lawyer

You probably still remember the day that your doctor told you that you have mesothelioma cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Every New York mesothelioma lawyer from our law firm understands that any type of cancer diagnosis is a shock. It can feel like more of a betrayal with mesothelioma when your asbestos exposure occurred on the job or from living in a building made with materials containing asbestos. You may have also developed a different type of asbestos-related disease other than cancer.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned asbestos as a material in insulation and fireproofing materials in 1973 and instituted the Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out Rule in 1989, it can take decades for asbestos-related diseases to develop. Unfortunately, some building contractors ignore EPA regulations and continue to use asbestos products to this day. 

You may be considering asbestos litigation if another party’s negligent actions caused you to breathe in asbestos fibers and later develop a mesothelioma-related illness. At Raphaelson & Levine, we realize you face anxiety about an uncertain future. When you are unable to work and have medical bills to pay due to another party exposing you to asbestos, we think it is only right that the responsible party face accountability and receive financial compensation.

As the voice of the injured in New York City and the surrounding boroughs since 1992, we are here to help you pursue financial compensation in your mesothelioma cancer case. Our legal team has secured more than $700 million in successful personal injury claims on behalf of our clients in our nearly three decades of service. Several of our mesothelioma attorneys have won awards in the legal community for our unwavering dedication to personal injury victims’ rights. 

Your asbestos lawyer at Raphaelson & Levine will aggressively pursue justice by uncovering evidence proving the defendant bears responsibility for causing your mesothelioma cancer or another asbestos-related disease. We care about your health and the future of you and your family members. Please call our law firm today at 212-268-3222 to request your free consultation.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the membranes that provide added protection for the heart, lungs, and other vital organs. The only confirmed cause of mesothelioma cancer is prolonged asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a fire-resistant mineral used to create building materials. Asbestos exposure was exceptionally high in the construction and manufacturing industries as well as the military.

Mesothelioma cancer develops slowly, with symptoms taking 10 to 50 years first to appear. Diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer can be challenging because its symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, both asbestos-related diseases and diseases not related to asbestos. For this reason, doctors often cannot make a positive diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer until it reaches the later stages. 

If you suspect that you have developed mesothelioma cancer, your first step in receiving a proper diagnosis and starting treatment is to visit your doctor and request an imaging test. After your doctor receives the CT, MRI, or PET scan results, the next steps are to take a blood sample and order a biopsy. A biopsy helps your doctor determine the type of mesothelioma cancer you have based on which organ contains abnormal cells. 

Asbestos-Related Diseases 

Approximately 3,000 people in the United States receive a diagnosis involving one of the three types of mesothelioma cancer each year. The three mesothelioma cell varieties are epithelial, sarcomatoid and biphasic.Here are a few subtypes of mesothelioma cancer but are not limited to:

  • Pericardial: This type affects the protective lining surrounding the heart. At an incidence rate of one percent, pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest type. Common symptoms of this mesothelioma sub-type include chest pain, excessive heart palpitations, fatigue, labored breathing, and night sweats. Survival rates for pericardial mesothelioma cancer are 51 percent at one year, 26 percent at three years, 23 percent at five years, and no current information available for 10 years.
  • Peritoneal: The term peritoneal refers to the protective lining of the abdominal cavity that houses the intestines, liver, kidneys, and stomach. Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for approximately 20 to 24 percent of all new cases. Typical symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal pain, fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity, hernias, irregular bowel movements, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma cancer are 92 percent at one year, 74 percent at three years, 65 percent at five years, and 39 percent at 10 years.
  • Pleural: The pleural type of mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs. Approximately 75 percent of people diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer have the pleural type. Symptoms associated with pleural mesothelioma include difficulty breathing, fatigue, fever, persistent chest pain, persistent coughing, shortness of breath, and weight loss. Survival rates for pleural mesothelioma cancer are 73 percent at one year, 23 percent at three years, 12 percent at five years, and 4.7 percent at 10 years.

Because mesothelioma cancer is rare, cancer researchers have not yet developed a unique way to stage the asbestos-related disease. This leaves them to rely on the four-stage model used in other types of cancers. In most cases, people who receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer have the most significant recovery chance in the earlier stages. The current stages of mesothelioma cancer include:

  • Stage 1: At this early stage, a tumor has developed in the mesothelium but has not yet spread beyond that point.
  • Stage 2: Tumors at this stage are larger and may have spread to other areas outside the mesothelium.
  • Stage 3: The original tumor has spread to one side of the body and may have also reached the esophagus, chest wall, lymph nodes, heart, or ribs.
  • Stage 4: In late-stage mesothelioma cancer, the original tumor has spread to both the left and right side of the body. It may have also invaded the lymph nodes, cells far away from the origination point, bone cells, and other organs’ tissues.

This staging model refers to malignant mesothelioma, meaning that a doctor has located a cancerous tumor. It is also possible for you to receive a diagnosis of non-malignant or benign mesothelioma. Unlike mesothelioma cancer that can take decades to develop, benign mesothelioma symptoms appear earlier and are easier to treat.

Symptoms are often similar between malignant and non-malignant mesothelioma. Still, some people with the benign form of this asbestos-related disease remain asymptomatic, meaning they have the disease but do not experience any symptoms. Secondary symptoms can develop with benign mesothelioma if the tumor grows large enough to affect nearby organs’ functioning. 

Perhaps the most significant difference between benign mesothelioma and mesothelioma cancer is the cause. While asbestos exposure remains the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer, medical researchers do not yet know what causes the benign type. Non-malignant mesothelioma is more uncommon than mesothelioma cancer and has four sub-types. These include:

  • Adenomatoid tumors: Known clinically as an adenomatoid mesothelioma tumor (AT), this sub-type of benign mesothelioma is slow-growing and typically develops in male or female reproductive organs. AT’s typically cause no symptoms, and the most likely manner of diagnosis is accidental during a routine patient examination.
  • Benign metacystic peritoneal mesothelioma: Other names for this sub-type of benign mesothelioma include benign cystic mesothelioma, benign multicyclic mesothelioma, and BMPM. Non-cancerous peritoneal mesothelioma is most common in women who have not yet started menopause. The risk of peritoneal mesothelioma is highest for women who have or had endometriosis, pelvic surgeries, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Localized fibrous tumors: Doctors also refer to this sub-type as benign fibrous mesothelioma. Approximately half of mesothelioma patients with this diagnosis remain asymptomatic while the other half develop non-cancerous tumors in the pericardium, peritoneum, pleura, or tunica vaginalis.
  • Well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma: Mesothelioma patients with this rare benign sub-type typically remain asymptomatic although some people have developed pain and swelling from it. The most typical locations of tumors with WDPM are the pericardium, peritoneum, pleura, and tunica vaginalis.

Asbestos exposure can cause other illnesses in addition to mesothelioma cancer and benign mesothelioma. Asbestos lung cancer, which is a different diagnosis than mesothelioma, makes up approximately 15 percent of the 200,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in the United States each year. Asbestos lung cancer further breaks down into non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. The first type is less aggressive and represents about 80 percent of new cases, while small cell lung cancer aggressively spreads throughout the body and makes up the other 20 percent of cases. 

Asbestosis is a chronic condition of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure. It develops when asbestos fibers become lodged in the lungs and form scar tissue. Because of the scar tissue, people with asbestosis have difficulty breathing due to the lungs not expanding and contracting. 

Unfortunately, asbestosis is a progressive disease, and approximately 15 percent of people diagnosed with it in the United States die of respiratory failure. In terms of mortality from asbestos-related diseases, an average of 2,800 Americans die of mesothelioma cancer and around 1,500 die of asbestosis every year. 

Types of Treatment for Mesothelioma Cancer and Benign Mesothelioma

Your doctor will take a curative or palliative approach with mesothelioma cancer depending on your preferences. Curative treatment involves removing as much of the tumor as possible while focusing on extending your survival time. With palliative care, the focus is on keeping you comfortable rather than treating your mesothelioma cancer. The goal is to improve the quality of life rather than extend your lifespan. Below are the most common types of treatment for mesothelioma cancer. 

  • Chemotherapy: Typically given as an injection or infusion, chemotherapy for mesothelioma cancer is to diminish the pain you experience with the disease. If you opted for a curative approach, your oncologist would use chemotherapy in combination with other treatments such as radiation therapy or surgery. Chemotherapy, on its own, does not kill cancer cells for mesothelioma patients.
  • Radiation therapy: The goal of radiation therapy is to target and kill cancer cells in mesothelioma victims. Although radiologists can use this treatment at any stage of mesothelioma cancer, radiology administration depends on your specific diagnosis and staging. Like chemotherapy, oncologists often use radiation therapy in combination with other treatments for mesothelioma cancer.
  • Surgery: Oncologists consider surgery the most effective treatment method for Stage 1 or Stage 2 mesothelioma cancer because the tumor has not yet spread beyond the abdominal cavity, heart, or lungs. Surgeons perform tumor removal for mesothelioma patients at Stage 3 or Stage 4 to improve quality of life and not necessarily as a cancer treatment. 

Some mesothelioma patients choose to participate in clinical trials to have access to additional treatment options and to help improve care for future mesothelioma victims. Since treatments and medications used in clinical trials have not yet received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you typically incur little to no cost to participate.

Treatment of non-cancerous mesothelioma typically involves curative surgery to remove the tumor. A diagnosis of benign mesothelioma usually does not affect the typical lifespan. With mesothelioma cancer, the average survival time after diagnosis is 12 to 21 months. However, the type of mesothelioma cancer and the stage a doctor diagnoses it to play a significant role in actual survival rates.

Common Locations of Asbestos Exposure in New York 

New York State is home to several natural asbestos deposits, with several presents in New York City. Naturally occurring asbestos typically does not cause harm but can be harmful when disrupted at work sites such as constructing a new road or building. When asbestos fibers become disrupted at work sites, they can easily get into the soil, water, and air. 

Shipyards in New York State have been especially problematic for asbestos exposure. From the 1940s to the 1970s, the shipbuilding industry used asbestos at a rate much higher than any other sector. Those working on or near the ships faced asbestos exposure that later developed into mesothelioma cancer and different types of asbestos-related diseases. Veterans of the United States Navy reported exceptionally high rates of illness due to asbestos exposure.

The former World Trade Center buildings contained asbestos that posed no threat to humans if it remains undisturbed. That all changed on the morning of September 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks caused the World Trade Center buildings to implode in an instant. Asbestos accounted for about one percent of the dust that accumulated where the World Trade Center buildings once stood. Numerous first responders and others present near Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks later developed respiratory illnesses such as mesothelioma lung cancer and asbestosis. 

Here are some other notable job sites, including shipyards, buildings, and factories throughout New York State with a high degree of asbestos exposure:

  • Alcoa Aluminum, Rochester
  • Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, New York City
  • Brooklyn Coastal Dry Dock, New York City
  • Brooklyn Naval Shipyard, New York City
  • Danskammer Generating Station, Newburgh
  • Indian Point Energy Center, Peekskill
  • International Paper Company, Ticonderoga
  • New York Naval Shipyard, New York City
  • Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, Syracuse
  • Penn Station, New York City
  • Schenectady Chemical Plant, Schenectady
  • United States Naval Shipyard, New York City

Some occupations also present a greater risk of asbestos exposure than others. Your risk of developing cancer or other asbestos-related diseases are higher if you currently or previously worked in one of these occupations:

  • Airplane mechanic
  • Automobile mechanic
  • Chemical or power plant operator
  • Demolition specialist
  • Drywall installer
  • Electrician
  • Firefighter
  • Military veteran who served any time before the mid-1970s
  • Millworker
  • Shipbuilding worker

Asbestos Laws in New York City

According to federal, state, and NYC guidelines, asbestos regulations in New York City require removing materials containing asbestos. The first step in the asbestos removal process is to notify the Department of Environmental Protection in New York City at least seven days before the scheduled removal. Business owners must hire an asbestos investigator to confirm the presence of asbestos. Once verified, the business owner needs to hire an Asbestos Abatement Contractor licensed by the New York State Department of Labor. 

Once asbestos abatement has taken place, the business owner needs to arrange air testing and continue to monitor the areas affected by asbestos exposure. The contractor who performs testing and monitoring must also hold a license with the New York State Department of Labor. The business owner bears responsibility for ongoing asbestos monitoring and can face liability if a customer or worker becomes ill due to asbestos exposure.

Do I Have a Mesothelioma Case?

Fortunately for mesothelioma victims, determining eligibility for asbestos litigation is straightforward. Can you answer yes to any of these questions?

  • Did you experience asbestos exposure at work?
  • Were you ever subject to secondhand asbestos exposure?
  • Have you received a mesothelioma diagnosis or have another asbestos-related disease?

If you can answer yes to even one of these questions, we encourage you to consider a mesothelioma lawsuit. As a premier mesothelioma law firm in New York City, Raphaelson & Levine would be honored to take your case. 

Statute of Limitations to File a Mesothelioma Claim in New York City

The statute of limitations in New York State allows three years from the date you received a diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, or another asbestos-related disease to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you lost a family member to mesothelioma cancer or a related illness, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of your loved one's death.

Call Now for a Free Consultation with a New York Mesothelioma Lawyer

At Raphaelson & Levine, we are proud of our reputation as the voice of the injured for people living in New York City, Astoria, the Bronx, Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and other locations throughout New York State. With nearly 30 years of experience, our skilled and knowledgeable mesothelioma lawyers treat every client as an individual, not a case number. We get to know you and your family members well before diving into work on your asbestos case. 

Leading mesothelioma attorneys Howard Raphaelson and Andrew Levine have received recognition as Super Lawyers for five consecutive years, as have many of our other attorneys. When you are ready to have a Super Lawyer represent you, please contact our law firm at 212-268-3222 to request your free consultation or complete this online form.

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