Mississippi sits in the middle of statistical data for asbestos-related fatalities, making it a part of the growing litigation surrounding asbestosis and mesothelioma lawsuit claims. Asbestos and related conditions are not a focal point within the community, and there are no mesothelioma specialists in Mississippi to date. However, a resident of Mississippi received the largest asbestos verdict in U.S. history – an award of $322 million. Additionally, Hurricane Katrina’s destruction in 2005 along the Mississippi coast left wreckage that many believe was tainted by asbestos. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Mississippi saw an increasing number of asbestos lawsuits; from 1995 to 2000, there were 9,740 residents in Jefferson County, Mississippi, and nearly 21,000 asbestos-related claims.
Occupations at Risk
Since Mississippi borders the Gulf of Mexico, several residents used this location to their advantage when they began to seek employment as shipyard and oil refinery workers. Both occupations are a well-known risk factor for developing asbestosis vs. mesothelioma cancers as a result of asbestos exposure. Other risky occupations include:
- Gas fitters
- Electrical plant operators
- Dock workers
- Demolition workers
- Chemical workers
- Boiler operators
Asbestosis vs. Mesothelioma: What is the Difference?
Since both conditions can cause similar symptoms, many people may not fully understand the difference in asbestosis vs. mesothelioma. The diseases may leave patients with a shortness of breath, chest pain and a dry cough, and while asbestosis is a lung cancer that can spread to other areas of a patient’s body, it typically begins in the lungs.
On the other hand, mesothelioma starts in the lining of the lungs rather than the lungs themselves. It is not considered to be an official lung cancer, but it can cause similar symptoms such as difficulty breathing. There is no cure for mesothelioma although physicians may perform various imaging scans and biopsies to determine the extent of the disease.
Asbestos Lawsuit Verdicts
A record $322 million was awarded to a plaintiff who had worked as a “roughneck” on oil drilling rigs between 1979 and the mid-1980s. According to his asbestos lawsuit, he inhaled asbestos dust while mixing the mud that was sold by Chevron Phillips Chemicals and manufactured by Union Carbide Corp. When he was 30 years old, the plaintiff allegedly developed asbestosis and was forced to use an oxygen tank 24 hours a day.
Attorneys for the defendants claimed that the plaintiff could not prove that he was exposed to a harmful amount of asbestos or that there was negligence by the companies. However, the jury found otherwise and awarded the plaintiff with $300 million in punitive damages and $22 million in actual damages. The judge was subsequently removed from the case when it came to the court’s attention that his parents had previously been involved in an asbestos lawsuit with Union Carbide. A new judge throughout the previous verdict in December 2011, and a new trial was ordered for mid-2012.
Another asbestos lawsuit awarded $1 million in damages to a former Ingalls Shipbuilding worker. The defendant acknowledged liability and was assigned fault after the plaintiff allegedly contracted an asbestos-related disease when he was repairing ships at Ingalls while traveling to Mississippi.
Do You Need Legal Representation?
If you or someone you love has questions about asbestosis vs. mesothelioma lawsuits or if you feel you have developed an asbestos-related disease as a result of exposure to the mineral, consider seeking legal counsel. Attorney Group for Mississippi can inform you of your legal rights, review your potential lawsuit and connect you with an affiliated attorney who can work to help you seek the compensation to which you may be entitled.