Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Asbestos & Mesothelioma Cancer

Asbestos

Asbestos (5)

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that is crushed and milled into a fine particulate, and shipped to corporations for building and insulation materials. Asbestos mines around the world, many in Canada, produced over 250 million tons of asbestos for use in the United States between 1890 and 1970. Asbestos was added to a variety of products including insulation, automotive brakes, fireproofing, pipe covering, cements, refractory materials, gaskets, floor tiles and joint compounds.

The dangers of asbestos were known to the companies that made these products as early as the 1920s. However, asbestos was sold and used widely without warnings up until the 1980s. Asbestos products are still not banned in the United States and other countries but are no longer used as widely. Alternative materials were available that could have been used in place of asbestos.

During the installation, repair, maintenance, renovation and removal of asbestos materials, the products were cut, scraped, sanded and otherwise altered. Some materials, such as cements, were mixed at job sites using raw asbestos fibers. These processes created dust, which was breathed in by the laborers working with and around these materials. Dust from these products also traveled throughout buildings and factories and ships, and remained airborne for weeks. When swept, these materials were re-suspended in the air — where they were breathed in again by workers in the vicinity.

A wide array of workers were exposed to asbestos including shipyard workers, factory workers, pipefitters, sheet metal workers, plumbers, laborers, machinists, mechanics, powerhouse workers, and electricians. One cloud of dust from asbestos products can contain millions or billions of fibers, and even a small amount of asbestos can cause lung damage. Injuries also occur to people who washed their family member’s clothing after they returned home from work and to individuals who used asbestos products, such as floor tiles, in their homes.

Often, individuals won’t immediately recall how they were exposed to asbestos, and may believe that they were not exposed to asbestos at all. A careful examination and review of a person’s work and life history often reveals exposures to asbestos products that may not be readily apparent.

If I Don’t Remember How I was Exposed To Asbestos, What Can I Do?

It’s quite common for people with an asbestos-related disease not to recall the exact time, place, or nature of their asbestos exposure. This is largely due to the fact that these diseases can take decades to appear following exposure. Also, asbestos was used in so many everyday products, from talcum powder to cement to automotive brakes, that some people were exposed without realizing it. And many people knowingly handled asbestos but didn’t know that it was dangerous until much later because companies hid this information from the public.

At Belluck & Fox, LLP, we devote a substantial amount of time to reviewing your work and life history to identify possible exposures to asbestos. In many instances, a person may not be aware that certain products, such as floor tiles, brake linings, cements and even hair dryers contained asbestos. In addition, we are familiar with the use and presence of asbestos at many work sites and factories, including powerhouses, shipyards, schools and large buildings. We can find the witnesses and documents that will help establish your exposure to asbestos.

Belluck & Fox, LLP spends hours researching and investigating each asbestos case. We also use our substantial experience to help us investigate how you were exposed to asbestos and the companies responsible for your exposure. Our inventory of cases is limited to clients with serious injuries and we devote significant time and resources to each case.

What Types of Products Contained Asbestos?

  • Pipe Covering
  • Cements
  • Acoustical Plaster
  • Brake Linings
  • Sprayed-on Fireproofing
  • Gaskets
  • Floor Tiles
  • Insulating Blankets
  • Cloth/textiles
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Cigarette Filters
  • Hair Dryers
  • Rope
  • Gloves
  • Packing materials
  • Insulating Tape
  • Mastics
  • Millboard
  • Joint Compounds
  • Refractory products
  • Siding
  • Block Insulation
  • Asphalt products
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Boilers
  • Pumps
  • Valves
  • Pipe
  • Electrical Products
  • Turbines
  • Lab Equipment

This is just a partial list of asbestos-containing products. Asbestos was often used as an ingredient or component in these products between 1942 and the 1980s, and there were some products such as gaskets that contained asbestos well after the 1980s.

Why Was Asbestos Used in Building And Insulation Products?

The primary reason that asbestos was used in building products was as a binder or filler material. It was cheap and easily available. It is stringy and resilient, and thus made a good binder. Its resilience also reduced the breakage of the products between the factory and the worksite. In pipe covering and other materials, asbestos created air pockets which provided heat resistance.

Asbestos was marketed for its “fire resistant” qualities. In reality, at approximately 1200 degrees, asbestos transforms into an inert mineral. Other materials were available, even in the 1930′s and thereafter, that could have been used (and, in fact, were used) as substitutes for asbestos without any sacrifice in product integrity or heat resistance. The asbestos industry peddled asbestos as a “magic mineral,” creating a demand for the material, without advising of the dangers of asbestos. As a result, thousands of American workers were injured and killed. It was unnecessary and could have been avoided.

Crime Victims (6)

I Was Attacked in a Parking Deck and the Assailant Was Never Caught. What Legal Rights do I Have?

Even if you cannot sue the perpetrator, you may be able to bring an action against the owner or manager of the property where the crime occurred for their failure to provide adequate security or lighting. This is known as premises liability; most state courts impose liability on landowners or those who are responsible for maintaining the property for activities or conditions occurring on the land.

What is Date rape?

Date rape, or acquaintance rape, is when the rapist is someone the victim knows: a date, friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, classmate, or anyone else who is not a stranger. The vast majority of rape or sexual assault victims are assaulted by someone they know. The law does not make any distinction between stranger rape and date rape.

I’m Not Sure if I was Date Raped or Not and I’m Scared. What Should I Do?

Rape is scary. If you participated in nonconsensual sex, meaning you had sex with someone you know, but you did not want to and you told them no, then you were most likely date raped. The first thing you should do is to seek police and medical attention. If you do not remember the events or they are fuzzy, it is possible you were date raped using a drug – such as Rohypnol or GHB. After seeking medical attention and contacting the police, you should contact a Belluck & Fox, LLP lawyer to discuss your situation and possible claim.

What are my Rights in a Police Brutality Claim?

Under both state and federal law, police officers may not use excessive force on citizens in the performance of their duties. Because police brutality cases can be very complex, you need experienced and aggressive attorneys to successfully handle them. If you have been victimized by police brutality, you may be entitled to an award of damages, not only from the officers themselves, but also from the municipality or county that employed the officers. Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP attorneys today.

What Does it Mean to “walk” a Criminal Conviction?

In many states, a victim can “walk” a criminal conviction obtained by prosecutors into civil court. This means that a victim would not have to prove a crime was committed, only that physical and emotional damage was experienced by the crime victim. Many states, including New York, will extend the time frame to bring a case for crime victims.

Should I Contact a Lawyer to Help me with my Criminal Victim Case?

Yes. Crime victims turn to the criminal justice system to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of a crime. In addition, victims are entitled to seek civil justice to address the full impact of the crimes on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Belluck & Fox, LLP attorneys evaluate your potential claim against the perpetrators of a crime and those who enabled, through their negligence, the crime to occur. Contact us today.

Mesothelioma (5)

If I Was Exposed To Asbestos Many Years Ago, Why Was I Just Diagnosed With Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer or Asbestosis?

Asbestos illnesses and cancers are diseases of latency. This means that injuries from exposure to asbestos fibers do not become apparent until at least ten years after exposure. In many cases, diseases occur over 60 years after exposure to asbestos fibers. Therefore, individuals exposed to asbestos in the 1940′s, 50′s, 60′s, 7’0s, and 80’s may be diagnosed with an asbestos disease now.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelial cells. Those cells line the body’s cavities and internal organs. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, the fibers can become lodged in the pleura, the thin, delicate membrane that lines and encases the lung. They can also lodge in the stomach or other organs.

The asbestos fibers irritate and create changes in the cells of the pleura, causing tumors to develop. This is known as pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma in the stomach lining is peritoneal mesothelioma. The cancer can develop in other parts of the body, too. It can attack the tissue sac that contains the heart or the tissues that surround the testes.

As the disease progresses, the cancerous cells can metastasize, or spread. As time passes, breathing, sleeping and eating become more difficult. Even the normal activities of daily living can become a challenge.

Types of Mesothelioma

The type of mesothelioma that a person develops depends on the primary organ that is affected.

There are four types of mesothelioma:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma. This form of asbestos cancer is found in the outer lining of the lungs called the mesothelium. This is the most common type of mesothelioma and has been studied to a far greater degree than any of the other forms of the disease.
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen. Fewer than 20 percent of mesothelioma cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year are peritoneal.
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma attacks the pericardium or the tissue sac that contains the heart and the primary blood vessels. Pericardial mesothelioma accounts for just one percent of all mesothelioma cases.
  • Tunica Vaginalis Mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma is found in the tissues surrounding the testes. It is the rarest form of the disease, affecting less than one percent of all mesothelioma patients.

What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma?

The symptoms patients experience vary depending on the type of mesothelioma they have as well as the stage of the disease. Symptoms can also vary from patient to patient. Below are the primary symptoms experienced by mesothelioma patients.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms are similar to a number of other respiratory diseases. However, anyone with a history of asbestos exposure should be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if exhibiting any of the symptoms.

Symptoms commonly associated with pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent cough
  • Loss of appetite

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients most often experience the following symptoms:

  • Ascites (buildup of abdominal fluid)
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms

  • Extreme chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constant and acute coughing

Tunica Vaginalis Mesothelioma Symptoms

With so few documented cases of this cancer, little is known about the symptoms. However, medical articles detailing specific cases point to a testicular mass as the predominant symptom.

How is Mesothelioma diagnosed?

Diagnosing mesothelioma can be difficult for physicians, especially if your family doctor or pulmonologist is not familiar with asbestos-related diseases. Many patients suffer from debilitating symptoms for months before they are properly diagnosed and treatments begin.

When you go to the doctor with the presence of symptoms, your medical team will use several tests and procedures to determine the cause of your discomfort. The doctor will begin by asking questions about your symptoms and when you started experiencing them.

It is important that you let your physician know that you were exposed to asbestos if you suspect you have mesothelioma. Your doctor should have a thorough understanding of your background and history to help ensure an appropriate diagnosis.

Diagnostic Imaging Technologies

Many technologies are available to allow doctors to view organs and tissues and detect the presence of fluid or tumors. Imaging technologies help your doctor not only make a mesothelioma diagnosis but also determine a treatment plan and track your response to the treatments.

  • X-Ray Imaging
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • PET-CT (Integrated Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography)

What are the treatment options for those diagnosed with Mesothelioma?

While there is currently no known cure for malignant mesothelioma, treatments are available with the most common being surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Your doctor will recommend one treatment or a combination of therapies that are best for your situation. The course of treatment will depend on a number of factors including the location of the disease, the stage of the disease, your age, overall health and your preferences.

The information provided throughout this website is for your information only, and should NOT take the place of a full medical diagnosis.

Traditional Treatment Options

There are three traditional kinds of treatment for patients with malignant mesothelioma:

  • Surgery (physical removal of the cancer)
  • Chemotherapy (using drugs to fight the cancer)
  • Radiation Therapy (using high-dose x-rays to kill cancer cells)

Doctors will often use two or more of these treatment courses jointly to provide the maximum likelihood of success. This “multi-modal” approach holds the most promise for survival of malignant mesothelioma patients. Trimodality therapy, in which all three of these modalities are used, is considered the most effective, and aggressive, approach.

Surgery

There are several types of surgeries used to treat mesothelioma and the disease type and stage will determine the type of surgery. Mesothelioma tumors are usually large and difficult to completely remove, so surgery is usually combined with other cancer treatments to ensure the best results in destroying the tumor.

There are generally two types of surgical methods for the treatment of mesothelioma:

  • Palliative Procedures are those which treat the symptoms of mesothelioma, providing relief for the patient, without aggressively treating the disease itself.
  • Chest Tube Drainage and Pleurodesis – The goal of chemical pleurodesis is to cause an irritation between the two layers covering the lung. This irritation causes an obliteration of the space between the layers where the fluid accumulated, and prevents further fluid to be able to accumulate there. There are a variety of agents, which can be used including talc and bleomycin. As the pleural space is closed, fluid drains out of the chest cavity using a chest tube.
  • Pleuroperitoneal Shunting has been used in patients who have failed chemical pleurodesis, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Pleuroperitoneal shunting can provide effective palliation in patients with a trapped lung or others who have failed treatment.
  • Potentially Curative Options are medical procedures that attempt to remove all gross disease with ‘curative intent’. Residual microscopic disease cells are then removed through Adjuvant therapy.
  • Pleurectomy/Decortication is a surgical procedure where the pleura, the membrane lining the lungs and chest cavity, is removed, without removing the entire lung. This treatment option is usually performed on patients in the early staging of mesothelioma.
  • Extra-Pleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) is the removal of the pleura, diaphragm, pericardium, and the whole lung involved with the tumor. EPP is considered a radical therapy and is not frequently performed by most surgeons, patients are referred to centers specializing in these treatments.Both the above ‘potentially curative’ procedures are typically used in combination with other treatment options (multi-modal therapy).

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and may be used as the primary treatment to mesothelioma, or it may be used as part of a multi-modal approach. Chemotherapy is referred to as systemic treatment because the drug is introduced into the patient’s bloodstream and travels throughout the body killing cancer cells. The drugs may be in pill form, or injected into the body through a needle.

In addition to killing cancer cells, chemotherapy drugs work to restrict the uncontrolled spread of abnormal cancer cells – preventing them from dividing and multiplying.

Chemotherapy is not considered a ‘curative’ approach for the treatment of mesothelioma and instead focuses on shrinking existing tumors (usually prior to surgery – neoadjuvant therapy), controlling the spread of the cancerous cells, and removing residual cancer cells following surgery (adjuvant therapy).

To effectively treat mesothelioma, more than one drug may be used in chemotherapy. Depending on the drugs, the amount taken and the treatment period, there may be side effects. Historically, doxorubicin has been the most widely used single chemotherapy drug. Other newer drugs, including gemcitabine, cisplatin, carboplatin, epirubicin, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, vinorelbine, paclitaxel, and methotrexate, now are often preferred and are usually given in different combinations.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays help to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. The radiation may come from outside the body from a machine (external radiation) or from radioactive materials placed directly in or around cancer cells through thin plastic tubes (internal or implant radiation).

In pleural mesothelioma, it is difficult to irradiate tumor tissue successfully without injuring nearby organs like the lungs, heart, and liver. However, radiation therapy can be very effective in relieving pain in certain situations. Factors which can impact the use of radiation treatment include the volume of the tumor and how near it is to vital organs.

Non-Traditional Treatments

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy destroys cancer cells by using the energy from light and may also be effective when combined with surgery. Although this treatment is in the experimental stage for mesothelioma, it has shown promising results in treating other cancers. In the procedure, the patient receives a photosensitizer (a drug which makes cells sensitive to specific wavelengths of light) which collects in cancerous cells but not in healthy cells. Once the cells have been sensitized, fiber optic cables are placed in the body (usually through open-chest surgery) so that the correct frequency of light can be focused on the tumor. This causes the photosensitizer drug to produce a toxic oxygen molecule which kills the cancer cell.

Gene Therapy

This is a new treatment, currently in clinical trails. This approach allows treatment to target tumors, rather than destroying healthy cells which is the negative of traditional chemotherapy. In gene therapy, cancer is treated by altering genetic defects that allow a tumor to develop. A “suicide gene” is inserted directly into the tumor, making the cells sensitive to a normally ineffectual drug. The drug is then administered to the newly sensitive cancer cells and it destroys those cells while leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy (or biological therapy) treats cancer by using the body’s own immune system fight cancer cells. Another name often applies to this therapy, biological response modifiers (BRMs). Though not yet obtainable, promising clinical studies are underway for immunotherapy.

Preguntas Frecuentes del Mesotelioma (9)

¿Qué es el mesotelioma y cómo se adquiere?

El mesotelioma es un cáncer de las células mesoteliales. Dichas células recubren las cavidades del cuerpo y los órganos internos. Cuando se inhalan o ingieren fibras de asbesto, las fibras se pueden alojar en la pleura, una membrana delgada y delicada que recubre y encapsula los pulmones. También se pueden alojar en el estómago y en otros órganos.

Las fibras de asbesto causan irritación y crean cambios en las células de la pleura, lo que produce el desarrollo de tumores. Esto se conoce como mesotelioma pleural, el tipo más común de mesotelioma. El mesotelioma del recubrimiento del estómago se conoce como mesotelioma peritoneal. El cáncer también se puede desarrollar en otras partes del cuerpo. También puede atacar al tejido de la pleura del corazón o a los tejidos que rodean los testículos.

A medida que progresa la enfermedad, las células cancerosas pueden hacer metástasis, o esparcirse. A medida que pasa el tiempo, dormir y comer se hace más difícil. Inclusos las actividades normales del vivir cotidiano pueden convertirse en un reto.

Tipos de mesotelioma

El tipo de mesotelioma desarrollado por una persona depende del órgano primario afectado.

Existen cuatro tipos de mesotelioma

  • Mesotelioma pleural. Esta forma de cáncer causado por el asbesto se encuentra en el recubrimiento exterior de los pulmones, que se conoce como el mesotelio. Éste es el tipo más común de mesotelioma y se ha estudiado mucho más que cualquier otra forma de enfermedad.
  • Mesotelioma peritoneal. El mesotelioma peritoneal afecta el recubrimiento del abdomen. Menos del 20 por ciento de los casos de mesotelioma diagnosticados en los Estados Unidos cada año son peritoneales.
  • Mesotelioma pericárdico. El mesotelioma pericárdico ataca el pericardio o el tejido del saco que contiene al corazón y a las venas primarias. El mesotelioma pericárdico equivale solamente al uno por ciento de los casos de mesotelioma.
  • Mesotelioma de la túnica vaginal. Este tipo de mesotelioma se encuentra en los tejidos que rodean los testículos. Es la forma más rara de esta enfermedad, y afecta a menos del uno por ciento de todos los pacientes de mesotelioma.

¿Cuáles son los síntomas del mesotelioma?

Los síntomas que presentan los pacientes varían dependiendo del tipo de mesotelioma que tienen, así como también de la etapa de la enfermedad. Los síntomas también pueden variar de paciente a paciente. A continuación de presentan los síntomas primarios que presentan los pacientes de mesotelioma.

Síntomas del mesotelioma

Pleural

Los síntomas del mesotelioma pleural son similares a una cantidad de otras enfermedades respiratorias. Sin embargo, cualquiera con historial de exposición al asbesto debería estar consciente de los síntomas y buscar atención médica inmediatamente si presenta cualquiera de los síntomas.

Los síntomas asociados comúnmente con el mesotelioma pleural incluyen:

  • Falta de respiración
  • Dolor en el pecho
  • Efusión pleural
  • Pérdida de peso
  • Tos persistente
  • Pérdida de apetito

Peritoneal

Los pacientes de mesotelioma peritoneal presentan con frecuencia los siguientes síntomas:

  • Ascitis (acumulación de fluido abdominal)
  • Pérdida de peso
  • Dolor abdominal
  • Fiebre
  • Sudoración nocturna

Pericárdico

  • Dolor severo en el pecho
  • Palpitaciones fuertes del corazón
  • Falta de respiración
  • Tos constante y aguda

Túnica vaginal

Con tan pocos casos documentados de este tipo de cáncer, se conoce muy poco sobre los síntomas. Sin embargo, los artículos médicos que detallan casos específicos señalan una masa testicular como el síntoma predominante.

¿Cómo se diagnóstica el mesotelioma?

Cuando se detecta temprano el mesotelioma, se tienen más opciones de tratamiento, lo que permite una mejor calidad de vida. Sin embargo, diagnosticar el mesotelioma es difícil, especialmente si su médico familiar o especialista pulmonar no está familiarizado con las enfermedades relacionadas con el asbesto. Muchos pacientes presentan síntomas de debilitamiento durante meses antes de que se les diagnostique de manera adecuada y de que comience el tratamiento.

Cuando visita al doctor porque presenta síntomas, su equipo médico utilizará diversas pruebas y procedimientos para determinar la causa de su malestar. El médico comenzará preguntándole sobre sus síntomas y cuándo comenzó a presentarlos.

Es importante que le diga a su médico que fue expuesto al asbesto si sospecha que tiene mesotelioma. Su doctor debería tener un amplio entendimiento de su historial para ayudarle a asegurar un diagnóstico apropiado.

Tecnologías de imágenes diagnósticas

Están disponibles muchas tecnologías para permitirles a los médicos visualizarlo los órganos y tejidos, además de detectar la presencia de fluidos o tumores. Las tecnologías de imágenes le ayudan a su médico no solamente a realizar el diagnóstico de un mesotelioma, sino también a determinar un plan de tratamiento y a hacerle seguimiento a su respuesta a los tratamientos.

  • Imágenes de rayos X – Debido a la prevalencia de las máquinas y a su relativo bajo costo, usualmente los rayos X son la primera prueba que se le realiza a muchos pacientes. Los rayos X no tienen la resolución suficiente como para identificar el cáncer, pero pueden indicar la presencia de una efusión pleural o indicar la existencia de un tumor maligno en los pulmones o en la pleura.
  • Tomografía computarizada (TC) – Un escáner de tomografía computarizada utiliza rayos X y computadores para producir imágenes del interior del cuerpo más sofisticadas y detalladas que los rayos X convencionales. La TC se considera el mejor estándar de las pruebas mediante imágenes para un diagnóstico.
  • Imágenes de resonancia magnética (IRM) – Las imágenes de resonancia magnética utilizan un campo magnético fuerte y ondas de radio para escanear el cuerpo. La IRM proporciona imágenes de contraste de los tejidos blandos mucho mejores que la TC y frecuentemente se utiliza para planificación de las etapas de tratamiento y de la cirugía.
  • Tomografía de emisión de positrones (TEP) – La tomografía de emisión de positrones mide la actividad funcional y metabólica en el cuerpo. Los escaneos por TEP se utilizan más comúnmente para identificar la presencia de metástasis distantes.
  • TEP-TC (Tomografía de emisión de positrones, Tomografía computarizada integradas) – TED-CT es una técnica de imágenes de última tecnología que combina los escaneos TEP y CT en una sola máquina. Esto le permite a los médicos registrar de manera precisa las imágenes funcionales de la TEP con las imágenes anatómicas de la CT para proporcionar un entendimiento más completo del estado individual de la enfermedad del paciente.

Procedimientos de biopsias

  • Toracentesis – Se drena fluido del área pleural y de los pulmones y se somete a prueba para la presencia de células cancerosas. Este procedimiento se realiza cuando un paciente presenta una efusión pleural, o fluido en los pulmones.
  • Torascopía – Durante una torascopía se puede obtener una muestra de tejido de un tumor pleural o pericárdico. Un toracoscopio es un instrumento similar a un telescopio que se conecta a una cámara de video. Se inserta a través de una pequeñas incisión en el pecho, junto con herramientas quirúrgicas pequeñas. El médico puede observar el tumor a través de toracoscopio y puede utilizar herramientas especiales para tomar una biopsia del tejido.
  • Laparoscopia – Una laparoscopia le permite al médico observar y obtener una biopsia de un tumor peritoneal. En este procedimiento, se anexa un tubo flexible a una cámara de video que se inserta en la cavidad abdominal a través de incisiones pequeñas.
  • Broncoscopia – En una broncoscopia, el médico introduce un tubo flexible e iluminado por la tráquea hacia los bronquios para verificar la presencia de masas en las vías aéreas. Al mismo tiempo, el médico puede retirar muestra pequeñas de tejido anormal para pruebas posteriores.
  • Mediastinoscopia – Durante una mediastinoscopia, el médico inserta un tubo iluminado por debajo del esternón del paciente, al nivel del cuello y lo mueve hacia abajo dentro del pecho. El médico puede observar los nódulos linfáticos y tomar muestras de tejido para verificar la presencia de cáncer.

Tratamiento

El mesotelioma es una enfermedad agresiva que frecuentemente requiere de una estrategia de tratamiento igualmente agresiva. Sin embargo, el mesotelioma es resistente a muchos tratamientos estándares del cáncer, lo que lo hace una enfermedad difícil de manejar.

Con mucha frecuencia el plan de tratamiento consiste de quimioterapia. Para pacientes que son candidatos, la cirugía y la radiación también se utilizan en un enfoque multimodal. Los pacientes deberían trabajar cercanamente con su equipo médico para desarrollar un plan de tratamiento que se ajuste a sus necesidades y objetivos de tratamiento.

Aunque no existe una cura para el mesotelioma, se hace referencia a las estrategias de tratamiento como curativas o paliativas en su intención. Los tratamientos curativos intentan curar o controlar la enfermedad, mientras que el cuidado paliativo se orienta hacia aliviar los síntomas y mantener al paciente cómodo y rodeado por los seres queridos sin tratar el cáncer mismo.

Las opciones de tratamiento del mesotelioma incluyen:

  • Cirugía. No todos los pacientes son buenos candidatos para una cirugía. Además de la salud general del paciente, la etapa y el tipo de enfermedad ayudan a determinar la decisión de operar del oncólogo. Las dos cirugías curativas principales para pacientes con mesotelioma son la pleurectomía o decorticación y la neumonectomía extrapleural (EPP).
    • Pleurectomía o decorticación (P/D). Esta cirugía se conoce a veces como la cirugía de “salvación del pulmón”. La cirugía consiste en retirar de la membrana enferma que recubre los pulmones y los tumores de mesotelioma visibles para salvar el pulmón.
    • Neumonectomía extrapleural (EPP). La EPP es la alternativa a la P/D para pacientes con mesotelioma pleural. Esta cirugía se considera un procedimiento más radical que implica la eliminación de un pulmón, el revestimiento enfermo de la cavidad torácica y el corazón, y una porción del diafragma.

Los procedimientos quirúrgicos paliativos se centran en aliviar los síntomas que están afectando la calidad de vida del paciente, pero no se centran en curar el cáncer. La pleurectomía de citorreducción y la pleurodesis son dos procedimientos que se utilizan a menudo en combinación para mejorar la respiración de un paciente. La pleurectomía alivia la presión sobre los pulmones mediante la extracción de las células cancerosas de la pleura. A continuación, se realiza una pleurodesis para fusionar la pleura y limitar la acumulación de líquido.

  • Quimioterapia. La quimioterapia es una de las modalidades de tratamiento primario para el mesotelioma. En la quimioterapia, consiste en un medicamento fuerte utilizado para matar las células cancerosas, se administra a través de una infusión en ciclos durante un período de varios meses. Desafortunadamente, los medicamentos de la quimioterapia no distinguen entre las células cancerosas y las normales, y también matan a las células sanas. Como resultado, los pacientes que se someten a quimioterapia comúnmente experimentan efectos secundarios, incluyendo la anemia, náuseas o cualquier otra alteración digestiva, y pérdida del cabello. El tratamiento de quimioterapia más común para el mesotelioma es la combinación de Alimta (pemetrexed), que fue aprobado por la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos de los EE.UU. en 2004, y cisplatino, un elemento básico de larga data de muchos tratamientos de quimioterapia.
  • Radiación. La radioterapia utiliza la radiación ionizante de alta energía para eliminar las células cancerosas. La radiación ionizante cambia la estructura del ADN en las células, inhibiendo así el crecimiento y la división. La radiación se utiliza en la mayoría de los casos de mesotelioma. Sin embargo, la localización de las células malignas es difícil, lo que resulta en daño a las células sanas. Los efectos secundarios de la radiación son similares a los de la quimioterapia e incluyen pérdida del cabello, problemas digestivos, y anemia. Los avances recientes en el uso de la terapia de protones, que utiliza un haz de protones para irradiar los tumores, en lugar de haces de rayos X utilizados en la terapia de radiación convencional, le permiten a los médicos apuntarle con mayor precisión a los tumores profundamente asentados, limitando el daño al tejido circundante.
  • Ensayos clínicas. De acuerdo con el Instituto Nacional de Salud, los ensayos clínicas son la parte fundamental de todos los avances médicos. Los ensayos clínicos sirven para descubrir mejores formas de tratar, prevenir, diagnosticar y comprender las enfermedades humanas. Le proporcionan a los investigadores del mesotelioma información crítica necesaria para permitir que trasladen sus resultados desde el laboratorio a los pacientes. Para algunos pacientes con mesotelioma, los ensayos clínicos ofrecen la oportunidad de probar un tratamiento que de otra manera no estaría disponible. Existen beneficios y riesgos por la participación en ensayos clínicos. En los EE.UU., los ensayos clínicas se monitorean estrechamente y se ejecutan de acuerdo con pautas estrictas. El Instituto Nacional de Salud explica que la investigación clínica financiada por el gobierno federal cuenta con medidas de seguridad para proteger a los participantes. La decisión de participar en un ensayo clínico es elección personal del paciente, y los beneficios y riesgos se deben considerar cuidadosamente. A los pacientes con mesotelioma se les anima a trabajar en estrecha colaboración con sus médicos para determinar el mejor plan de tratamiento para sus necesidades. El plan de tratamiento que usted y su médico desarrollen dependerá de varios factores, incluido el tipo y la etapa de la enfermedad, y su salud en general.
  • Terapias Novedosas. Las nuevas terapias, como la terapia génica, la terapia fotodinámica, y las vacunas están mostrando ciertas promesas en el tratamiento del mesotelioma.

¿Cuál es el estadiaje médico del mesotelioma?

Estadiaje del mesotelioma

El estadiaje es un método para evaluar el progreso del cáncer en un paciente. Se observa el mesotelioma y la extensión a la cual se ha desarrollado, además de si es posible que se esparza a otras partes del cuerpo. Puesto que el mesotelioma pleural ocurre con más frecuencia y es el más estudiado, es el único mesotelioma para el cual existe una clasificación de estadiaje.

Se utilizan varios enfoques médicos para determinar el estadiaje del mesotelioma, incluidos los rayos X, los escaneos TC e IRM. El avance, la extensión y la propagación del cáncer la etapa del mesotelioma, y además determina el tratamiento y el enfoque que se le debe dar al paciente.

Hay tres sistemas de estadiaje clínico reconocidos para evaluar la extensión y el alcance del mesotelioma pleural: El Sistema de Butchart, el estadiaje TNM, y el Sistema de Brigham. El Sistema de Butchart ha sido el método estándar de estadiaje para la mayoría de tipos de cáncer, incluido el mesotelioma. El sistema de estadiaje TNM está empezando a ser utilizado por los principales centros de cáncer como un método más preciso para evaluar específicamente el mesotelioma. El Sistema de Brigham es uno de los métodos más modernos para el estadiaje del mesotelioma.

El sistema utilizado en el pasado para el estadiaje del mesotelioma es el Sistema de Butchart. Este sistema se basa principalmente en la extensión de la masa del tumor primario, y divide mesoteliomas en etapas de I a IV. Muchos médicos aún utilizan este sistema.

  • Etapa I: El mesotelioma está presente dentro de la pleura derecha o de la pleura izquierda, y puede implicar también el pulmón, el pericardio, o el diafragma (el músculo que separa el pecho del abdomen) en el mismo lado.
  • Etapa II: Mesotelioma invade la pared torácica o implica el esófago (pasaje de alimentos que conecta la garganta con el estómago), el corazón, o la pleura en ambos lados. Los ganglios linfáticos en el pecho también pueden estar implicados.
  • Etapa III: El mesotelioma ha penetrado a través del diafragma hacia el peritoneo (revestimiento de la cavidad abdominal). Los ganglios linfáticos más allá de los que se encuentran en el pecho también pueden estar implicados.
  • Etapa IV: Hay evidencia de metástasis a distancia (se propagan a través del torrente sanguíneo a otros órganos).

Sistema de estadiaje TNM

Otro sistema de estadiaje ha sido recientemente desarrollado por el Grupo Internacional de Interés en el Mesotelioma y ha sido aprobado por el Comité Estadounidense Conjunto sobre el Cáncer (AJCC). Este es un sistema TNM, similar a los sistemas de estadiaje usados para la mayoría de otros tipos de cáncer. T significa tumor (su tamaño y qué tanto se ha propagado a los órganos cercanos), significa la propagación a los nódulos linfáticos y M significa metástasis (propagación a los órganos distantes). En el estadiaje TNM, la información sobre el tumor, los ganglios linfáticos y la metástasis se combina en un proceso llamado agrupamiento por etapas para asignar una etapa descrita mediante números romanos del I al IV. Los principales centros para el tratamiento del cáncer están empezando a utilizar este sistema en lugar del estadiaje de Butchart, ya que representa con mayor exactitud la extensión del tumor.

  • Etapa I: El mesotelioma implica la pleura derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax. Sólo se ha extendido al revestimiento exterior del pulmón en, a lo sumo, un par de pequeñas manchas. Todavía no se ha propagado a los ganglios linfáticos.
  • Etapa II: El mesotelioma implica la pleura derecha o la pleura izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha diseminado desde el revestimiento del pecho hasta 1) el revestimiento externo de los pulmones, 2) al diafragma o 3) hacia el propio pulmón.
  • Etapa III: El mesotelioma implica pleura la derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha extendido a 1) la primera capa de la pared torácica, 2) la parte grasa del mediastino, 3) a un solo lugar en la pared torácica, 4) a la capa exterior que recubre el corazón o 5) a los ganglios linfáticos en cualquier lugar en el mismo lado del pecho.
  • Etapa IV: El mesotelioma implica pleura la derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha diseminado 1) a la pared del pecho, ya sea al músculo o a las costillas, 2) a través del diafragma, 3) a cualquier órgano contenido en el mediastino (esófago, la tráquea, el timo, los vasos sanguíneos), 4) en la columna vertebral, 5) a través de la pleura en el otro lado del pecho, 6) a través del revestimiento del corazón o en el propio corazón, 7) en el plexo braquial (nervios que conducen al brazo), 8) en los ganglios linfáticos fuera de ese lado del pecho, o 9) se ha propagado a otros órganos a través del torrente sanguíneo.

El Sistema Brigham

El Sistema de Brigham es el último sistema y determina las etapas del mesotelioma de acuerdo con la resecabilidad (la capacidad de eliminarlo quirúrgicamente) y afectación de los ganglios linfáticos.

  • Etapa I: Tumor quirúrgicamente extraíble y sin propagación ganglionar
  • Etapa II: Tumor quirúrgicamente extraíble y con afectación de los nódulos linfáticos
  • Etapa III: tumor no extraíble quirúrgicamente debido a que se extiende dentro de la pared del pecho, al corazón, a través del diafragma o en el peritoneo (el revestimiento abdominal). Los ganglios linfáticos fuera del tórax pueden o no tener la enfermedad en ellos.
  • Etapa IV: La enfermedad se ha propagado a otras partes del cuerpo

Sus médicos pueden utilizar uno o más de los sistemas de clasificación anteriores para evaluar la extensión del mesotelioma e identificar las opciones de tratamiento apropiadas.

¿Cuáles son las opciones de tratamiento para las personas diagnosticadas con mesotelioma?

Si bien actualmente no existe una cura conocida para el mesotelioma maligno, están disponibles tratamientos como la cirugía, la quimioterapia y la radiación que son los más comunes.

Su médico le recomendará un tratamiento o una combinación de terapias que sean las mejores para su situación. El curso del tratamiento dependerá de un número de factores, incluida la localización de la enfermedad, la etapa de la enfermedad, su edad, su estado de salud en general y sus preferencias.

La información proporcionada a través de este sitio web es sólo para su información, y no debe remplazar a un diagnóstico médico completo.

Opciones tradicionales de tratamiento

Hay tres tipos tradicionales de tratamiento para los pacientes con mesotelioma maligno:

  • Cirugía (extracción física del cáncer)
  • Quimioterapia (uso de medicamentos para combatir el cáncer)
  • Radioterapia (uso de rayos X en dosis elevadas para eliminar las células cancerosas)

Los médicos suelen usar dos o más de estos cursos de tratamiento de forma conjunta para proporcionar la máxima probabilidad de éxito. Este enfoque “multimodal” presenta la mayor promesa para la supervivencia de los pacientes con mesotelioma maligno. La terapia trimodal, en la que se utilizan las tres modalidades, se considera el enfoque más eficaz y agresivo.

Cirugía

Hay varios tipos de cirugías utilizadas para tratar el mesotelioma y el tipo y la etapa de la enfermedad determinarán el tipo de cirugía. Los tumores de mesotelioma son generalmente grandes y difíciles de eliminar por completo, por lo que la cirugía por lo general se combina con otros tratamientos contra el cáncer para garantizar los mejores resultados en la destrucción del tumor.

En general, existen dos tipos de métodos quirúrgicos para el tratamiento del mesotelioma:

  • Procedimientos paliativos: son los que tratan los síntomas del mesotelioma, proporcionando un alivio para el paciente, sin tratar agresivamente la enfermedad en sí.
    • Tubo de Drenaje del Pecho y Pleurodesis
      El objetivo de la pleurodesis química es causar una irritación entre las dos capas que cubren el pulmón. Esta irritación provoca una obliteración del espacio entre las capas donde se acumula el fluido, y evita además que el fluido sea capaz de acumularse allí. Existe una variedad de agentes que se pueden utilizar incluido el talco y la bleomicina. Puesto que el espacio pleural está cerrado, los líquidos se drenan fuera de la cavidad del pecho mediante el uso de un tubo en el pecho.
    • Derivación pleuroperitoneal
      La derivación pleuroperitoneal se ha utilizado en pacientes en los que ha fracasado la pleurodesis química, la quimioterapia o la radioterapia. La derivación pleuroperitoneal puede proporcionar un tratamiento paliativo eficaz en pacientes con un pulmón atrapado o en los que el tratamiento ha fracasado.
  • Opciones potencialmente curativas: son procedimientos médicos que intentan eliminar toda la enfermedad macroscópica con “intención curativa”. Las células de la enfermedad microscópica residual se retiran luego a través de la terapia adyuvante.
    • Pleurectomía o decorticación
      Una Pleurectomía o decorticación es un procedimiento quirúrgico donde la pleura, la membrana que recubre los pulmones y la cavidad torácica, se retira, sin la eliminación de todo el pulmón. Esta opción de tratamiento se realiza generalmente en pacientes con etapas tempranas del mesotelioma.
    • Neumonectomía extra-pleural (PPE)
      La PPE es la eliminación de la pleura, el diafragma, el pericardio, y todo el pulmón que están afectados por el tumor. La EPP se considera una terapia radical y la mayoría de los cirujanos no la realizan con frecuencia, los pacientes son remitidos a centros especializados en estos tratamientos. Ambos procedimientos anteriores “potencialmente curativos” se utilizan normalmente en combinación con otras opciones de tratamiento (terapia multimodal).

Quimioterapia

La quimioterapia usa medicamentos para matar las células cancerosas y se puede utilizar como tratamiento primario para el mesotelioma, o se puede utilizar como parte de un enfoque multi-modal. La quimioterapia se conoce como un tratamiento sistémico porque el medicamento se introduce en el torrente sanguíneo del paciente y viaja a través del cuerpo matando las células cancerosas. Los medicamentos pueden administrarse en forma de píldoras, o inyectarse en el cuerpo a través de una aguja.

Además de matar las células cancerosas, los medicamentos de quimioterapia funcionan para restringir la proliferación incontrolada de las células cancerosas anormales, impidiendo que se dividan y multipliquen.

La quimioterapia no se considera como un enfoque “curativo” para el tratamiento del mesotelioma y en vez de ello se centra en reducir los tumores existentes (por lo general antes de la cirugía, terapia neoadyuvante), control de la propagación de las células cancerosas, y la eliminación de las células cancerosas residuales después de la cirugía (terapia adyuvante).

Para tratar eficazmente el mesotelioma, Se puede utilizar más de un medicamento en la quimioterapia. Dependiendo de los medicamentos, la cantidad tomada y el periodo de tratamiento, puede haber efectos secundarios. Históricamente, la doxorrubicina ha sido el fármaco más ampliamente utilizado de quimioterapia de un solo medicamento. Otros fármacos más nuevos, incluida la gemcitabina, el cisplatino, el carboplatino, la epirrubicina, la ciclofosfamida, la ifosfamida, la vinorelbina, el paclitaxel, y el metotrexato, ahora se prefieren a menudo y por lo general se administran en diferentes combinaciones.

Radioterapia

La radioterapia utiliza rayos X de alta energía para ayudar a destruir las células cancerosas y reducir los tumores. La radiación puede provenir de fuera del cuerpo a partir de una máquina (radiación externa) o de materiales radiactivos colocados directamente dentro o alrededor de las células cancerosas a través de tubos plásticos delgados (radiación interna o por implante).

En el mesotelioma pleural, es difícil irradiar el tejido del tumor con éxito sin dañar los órganos cercanos, como los pulmones, el corazón y el hígado. Sin embargo, la radioterapia puede ser muy eficaz en el alivio del dolor en ciertas situaciones. Los factores que pueden afectar el uso de la radioterapia incluyen el volumen del tumor y lo cerca que se encuentre a los órganos vitales.

Tratamientos no tradicionales

Terapia fotodinámica

La terapia fotodinámica destruye las células cancerosas mediante el uso de la energía de la luz y también puede ser eficaz cuando se combina con la cirugía. Aunque este tratamiento se encuentra en la etapa experimental para el mesotelioma, ha mostrado resultados prometedores en el tratamiento de otros tipos de cáncer. En el procedimiento, el paciente recibe un fotosensibilizador (un fármaco que hace que las células sean sensibles a longitudes de onda específicas de la luz), que se acumula en las células cancerosas pero no en las células sanas. Una vez que las células se han sensibilizado, se colocan cables de fibra óptica en el cuerpo (por lo general a través de cirugía abierta de tórax) de modo que se pueda enfocar la frecuencia correcta de luz sobre el tumor. Esto hace que el fármaco fotosensibilizador produzca una molécula de oxígeno tóxico que mata a la célula cancerosa.

Terapia génica

Se trata de un nuevo tratamiento, actualmente en ensayos clínicos. Este enfoque permite dirigir el tratamiento hacia los tumores, en lugar de destruir las células sanas, que es el aspecto negativo de la quimioterapia tradicional. En la terapia génica, el cáncer se trata mediante la alteración de defectos genéticos que permiten que un tumor se desarrolle. Un “gen suicida” se inserta directamente en el tumor, lo que hace las células sensibles a un fármaco normalmente ineficaz. El fármaco se administra a continuación a las células cancerosas recién sensibilizadas y destruye las células mientras que deja ilesas las células sanas.

Inmunoterapia

La inmunoterapia (o terapia biológica) trata al cáncer mediante el uso del propio sistema inmunológico para combatir las células cancerosas. Otro nombre que a menudo se aplica a esta terapia es modificadores de la respuesta biológica (MRB). Aunque aún no se puede obtener, están en marcha estudios clínicos prometedores para la inmunoterapia.

¿Qué tipos de lesiones puede causar el asbesto?

Cuando una persona respira asbesto, las fibras pueden alojarse en los pulmones. Una vez allí, pueden causar cicatrices. Las fibras de asbesto también pueden causar mesotelioma y cáncer pulmonar.

Los tipos específicos de enfermedades asociadas con la exposición al asbesto incluyen:

  • Asbestosis

El asbesto puede causar cicatrices en los pulmones y en la mucosa de los pulmones. Estas cicatrices se conocen como asbestosis o fibrosis intersticial. Si ocurre la suficiente cicatrización, puede afectar la elasticidad de los pulmones y obstaculizar su capacidad para intercambiar gases. Como resultado, se produce una toma de oxígeno inadecuada en la sangre. Esta deficiencia conduce a la falta de aire. Con el tiempo, la capacidad respiratoria disminuye y en algunos casos llega a ser fatal.

La asbestosis, como otras enfermedades causadas por el asbesto, es una enfermedad latente, se requieren de 10 a 50 años después de la exposición al asbesto para que una persona se enferme.

No existe cura conocida para la asbestosis.

  • Mesotelioma

El asbesto también se puede alojar en el recubrimiento de los pulmones, comúnmente se conoce como la pleura y en el abdomen se conoce como peritoneo. Estas fibras pueden causar un tipo de cáncer conocido como mesotelioma. La única causa conocida del mesotelioma es el asbesto.

El mesotelioma aparece al menos 10 años después de la exposición al asbesto. En algunos casos, una persona expuesta al asbesto hace 60 años se le puede diagnosticar con mesotelioma.

  • Cáncer pulmonar

El asbesto también puede causar cáncer pulmonar. Una persona no fumadora puede presentar cáncer debido a la exposición al asbesto. Si fumó en el pasado o fuma en la actualidad, y le han diagnosticado cáncer pulmonar, el asbesto puede ser una causa de su cáncer. Para los fumadores, el asbesto y el tabaco actúan juntos, lo que incrementa mucho el riesgo de contraer cáncer pulmonar. La combinación de ser fumador y el asbesto puede incrementar el riesgo de desarrollar cáncer pulmonar.

El cáncer pulmonar se puede tratar, dependiendo de su severidad y del historial médico del individuo.

Para información sobre los centros de tratamiento del cáncer pulmonar, haga clic aquí.

  • Otros tipos de cáncer

El asbesto también se ha asociado a muchos otros tipos de cáncer, incluido el cáncer de garganta y el cáncer en el área estomacal.

  • Placas pleurales

El asbesto puede causar placas y calcificación que se forman en la parte exterior de la pleura de los pulmones.

¿Qué profesiones y ocupaciones estan en contacto con asbesto?

Existe una amplia variedad de profesiones y trabajos que estuvieron expuestos al polvo de asbesto. No solo son los trabajadores que trabajaron directamente con el asbesto y los productos de asbesto quienes están padeciendo de enfermedades causadas por el asbesto como la asbestosis, cáncer pulmonar y mesotelioma. Las víctimas incluyen trabajadores que trabajaron cerca o vivieron con gente que estuvieron expuestos al asbesto. Puesto que el polvo de asbesto se suspende en el aire y puede ser invisible, las fibras viajan a lo largo del lugar de trabajo y exponen a todos los trabajadores de la ubicación. En una sola barrida, millones y millones de fibras de asbesto se pueden liberar a la zona de respiración de cualquiera en las cercanías. Durante el transcurso de su carrera, un trabajador puede respirar varios millones de fibras, algunas de las cuales se pueden alojar en los pulmones y causar lesiones.

Algunas de las ocupaciones que están asociadas típicamente con la aparición del mesotelioma y otras enfermedades causadas por el asbesto incluyen:

  • Recubridor de tuberías
  • Obreros
  • Mecánicos de frenos
  • Mecánicos de automóviles
  • Constructores de molinos
  • Pintores
  • Yeseros
  • Marineros de marinas mercantes
  • Fontaneros
  • Acabadores de cemento
  • Trabajadores de fundiciones
  • Carpinteros
  • Plomeros
  • Colocadores de techos
  • Marinos
  • Trabajadores de patios de marina
  • Trabajadores de la industria del papel
  • Electricistas
  • Albañiles
  • Caldereros
  • Mecánicos automotrices
  • Maquinistas
  • Colocador de tablones de manera para celosías
  • Aisladores
  • Soldadores
  • Trabajadores de láminas de metal
  • Operadores de grúas
  • Mecánicos de aeronaves
  • Ingenieros
  • Acopladores de tuberías de vapor
  • Trabajadores en albañilería
  • Estibadores
  • Trabajadores de las plantas
  • Trabajadores de centrales eléctricas
  • Trabajadores de ferrovías
  • Inspectores
  • Trabajadores de mantenimiento
  • Trabajadores de fábricas de papel
  • Afiladores

Estas son solo algunas de las ocupaciones involucradas. Si se le ha diagnosticado una enfermedad producida por el asbesto (cáncer pulmonar, mesotelioma o asbestosis), póngase en contacto con Belluck & Fox, LLP para evaluar su demanda.

Si estuve expuesto al asbesto hace muchos años, ¿Por qué hasta ahora fui diagnosticado con mesotelioma, cáncer pulmonar o asbestosis?

Las enfermedades y cánceres causados por el asbesto son enfermedades que presentan latencia. Esto significa que las lesiones por la exposición a las fibras de asbesto no son aparentes hasta al menos diez años después de la exposición. En muchos casos, las enfermedades ocurren hasta 60 años después de la exposición a las fibras de asbesto. Por lo tanto, es posible que a las personas expuestas al asbesto en las décadas de 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970 y 1980 se les venga a diagnosticar hasta ahora.

¿Qué es el asbesto?

El asbesto es un mineral utilizado en algunos materiales de construcción y de aislamiento. Las minas de asbesto en todo el mundo, muchas de ellas en Canadá, produjeron más de 250 millones de toneladas de asbesto para su uso en los Estados Unidos entre 1890 y 1970. El asbesto se añadió a una variedad de productos, incluyendo productos para aislamiento, frenos de automóviles, productos a prueba de fuego, revestimiento de tuberías, cementos, materiales refractarios, juntas, baldosas y compuestos para juntas.

Desde 1920 las empresas que fabricaban estos productos conocían los peligros del asbesto. Sin embargo, el asbesto fue vendido y utilizado ampliamente sin advertencias hasta la década de 1980. Los productos de asbesto aún no están prohibidos en los Estados Unidos y en otros países, pero ya no se usan tan ampliamente. Había materiales alternativos que podrían haberse utilizado en lugar del asbesto.

Durante la instalación, reparación, mantenimiento, renovación y retirada de materiales de asbesto, los productos se cortaron, rasparon, lijaron y alteraron de otro modo. Algunos materiales, como los cementos, se mezclaron en los sitios de trabajo utilizando fibras crudas de asbesto. Estos procesos produjeron polvo, que fue inhalado por los trabajadores que trabajaban con y en torno de este material. El polvo de estos productos también viajó a través de edificios, fábricas y barcos, y permaneció suspendido en el aire por semanas. Cuando se barrían, estos materiales se volvían a suspender en el aire, donde eran respirados de nuevo por los trabajadores en las cercanías.

Una gran cantidad de trabajadores fueron expuestos al asbesto, incluidos trabajadores de astilleros, trabajadores de fábricas, plomeros, chapistas, fontaneros, obreros, maquinistas, mecánicos, trabajadores de centrales eléctricas, y electricistas. Una nube de polvo generada a partir de productos de asbesto puede contener millones o miles de millones de fibras, e incluso una pequeña cantidad de asbesto puede causar daño pulmonar. También se le pueden generar lesiones a las personas que lavan la ropa de los miembros de su familia después de regresar a casa del trabajo y a las personas que utilizan productos de asbesto en sus hogares, como baldosas.

Con frecuencia, las personas no recuerdan inmediatamente cómo fueron expuestos al asbesto, y es posible que crean que nunca presentaron exposición al asbesto. Con frecuencia, una revisión cuidadosa de la historia de vida y de la historia laboral de una persona revela exposiciones a productos de asbesto que no eran aparentes anteriormente.

Entra en contacto con nosotros si has estado expuesto y tienes síntomas de mesotelioma.

Motorcycle Accidents (9)

I got pictures and information from witnesses of the motorcycle accident. What should I do now?

Send our attorneys the pictures and information you have collected, as they will likely be critical to your case. Keep all your other paperwork, too, from receipts for related expenses to unpaid medical bills, and log all time missed from work because of the accident and injuries.

When you put your trust in the experienced New York motorcycle accident attorneys at Belluck & Fox, we will conduct a thorough investigation of what led to your crash and the resulting injuries. We will also enlist the help of medical and financial experts, accident reconstruction professionals, and other specialists to assess your case and craft a solid legal strategy.

Should I give the insurance company a statement or talk to the insurance adjuster?

You may need to notify your insurer and speak with the police, but you aren’t required to share anything more than basic details. Don’t give a recorded statement and don’t admit fault. Insurance adjusters are skilled at getting accident victims to say things they shouldn’t, so your best bet is to let your attorneys handle the insurance company.

The other driver’s insurance company has made me a motorcycle accident settlement offer. What should I do?

Most insurers will do whatever they can to minimize costs, and that includes low-balling accident victims who are desperate for financial assistance. You should have the skilled negotiators at Belluck & Fox assess your case and the offer. We do not charge anything for initial consultations because we don’t want you to be pressured into accepting less than what you need and deserve. Contact us today.

What if I am partially at fault for my motorcycle accident? Can I still file a claim?

Yes. New York is what’s called a “pure comparative fault” state. That means the courts will calculate fault in percentages and apportion blame accordingly. Compensation is based on that math.

It’s important to have New York-savvy motorcycle accident attorneys who know how to keep the other party from shifting an unfair share of the blame to you, reducing your compensation. You can count on Belluck & Fox to fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve.

I got hurt in a motorcycle accident, but I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Can I still pursue compensation?

Yes, but the amount of compensation might be affected, or even blocked, if the other driver’s lawyers can prove your injuries were worse because you weren’t wearing a helmet. The law in New York state is clear: All motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet and eye protection.

If you were seriously injured in an accident and were not wearing a helmet, you should speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys right away to discuss your legal options.

What if the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance? Can I get my insurance company to compensate me for medical expenses and lost wages?

Motorcycles don’t qualify as motor vehicles under New York’s “no-fault” law, but motorcyclists can pursue compensation from their own insurers if they carry underinsured, uninsured, or supplemental underinsurance motorist coverage (UM, UIM, SUM coverage).

How much is my motorcycle accident claim worth?

Compensation is tied to the facts of the accident and the severity of injuries and property damage involved. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox will seek maximum compensation for:

  • Medical bills, both past and future
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle
  • Lost income, both past and potential, for time missed on the job
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and mental
  • Punitive damages, in cases where extreme misconduct or even criminal actions led to harm

How long do I have to file a lawsuit for injuries or property damage from a motorcycle accident?

The clock begins ticking as soon as the accident happens. In general, motorcyclists have three years to file a personal injury claim, but it may be as short as 90 days. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

However, it is important that you contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident, because building a strong claim takes time and evidence needs to be preserved.

How much will it cost to hire a lawyer for my motorcycle accident case?

Belluck & Fox does not charge anything upfront to take on motorcycle accident cases. Instead, our skilled legal team works on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay attorneys’ fees unless and until we secure compensation for you. The contingency fee will be a percentage of your compensation, typically one-third.

Personal Injury (9)

What exactly is a personal injury case?

When a person is harmed and someone or something else is to blame, the injured person has a right to pursue justice through the legal system. Simply put, the plaintiff (the injured person) accuses the defendant (an individual, manufacturer of a defective product, provider of a faulty service, or a combination of these) of causing physical, emotional, or financial harm and asks the legal system to put a dollar value on the suffering to help the victim.

What are some examples of personal injury cases?

At Belluck & Fox, our skilled New York personal injury attorneys have decades of experience representing people in a wide range of claims. Cases we handle include (but are not limited to):

  • Car crashes
  • Motorcycle wrecks
  • Truck accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Children injured at school
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Defective products
  • Dangerous pharmaceuticals
  • Asbestos claims

How do you prove fault in a personal injury case?

In order to secure compensation in a New York personal injury claim, you must prove:

  • There was negligence. (This could be on the part of a person or a company.)
  • The negligence led to your injury.
  • You were physical, emotionally, or financially damaged.

Proving fault and documenting damages in a personal injury case is a complex process. At Belluck & Fox, our personal injury attorneys have built a team of experts – medical specialists, economists, accident reconstruction pros, and investigators – to consult on your case.

Armed with evidence, our attorneys will devise a smart legal strategy to pursue the compensation needed to get your life back on track after a serious injury.

What types of compensation are available in personal injury cases?

Depending on the circumstances in your case, our New York personal injury attorneys may demand compensation for:

  • Existing and expected medical expenses
  • Lost income, including diminished earning capacity
  • Property damage, such as to your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering resulting from injuries
  • Punitive damages, which are meant to punish the at-fault party in cases involving extreme misconduct

To learn more about how much your personal injury claim could be worth, schedule a free consultation with us today.

Should I accept a personal injury settlement offer from the insurance company?

Do not accept a personal injury settlement offer without speaking to Belluck & Fox. Insurance companies always want to pay out as little as possible. In fact, they have teams of claims handlers and attorneys working for them to protect their profits.

The insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible. Accepting a personal injury settlement offer without consulting an attorney is not a good idea. Especially right after an accident, you may not fully know the extent of the damages you will suffer or all the facts involved in your case.

Take advantage of our free initial consultation to learn what your personal injury case is really worth and how our skilled attorneys will fight for maximum compensation.

Will I have to go to court for my personal injury lawsuit?

Most personal injury claims are resolved with a settlement, rather than a verdict. However, that settlement might come at the last possible minute, including in the middle of a trial.

At Belluck & Fox, our experienced personal injury attorneys are both skilled negotiators and fierce litigators. And we always pursue maximum compensation for our clients, whether that comes in the form of a settlement or jury award.

How long does a personal injury case take?

There’s no simple answer to that question because every case is different. When you sit down for a free, no-obligation case consultation with our attorneys, we will review the details of your claim and map out a legal strategy tailored to your needs.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a personal injury claim?

At Belluck & Fox, we will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay anything upfront for us to start working on your claim, and we only collect legal fees if we recover compensation for you. A contingency fee is a percentage of your compensation and is typically one-third of your recovery.

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in New York state?

It’s important to take legal action as soon as you are injured because New York puts a statute of limitations, or time limit, on filing personal injury claims. You may only have 90 days to file your claim. Standard time limits are:

  • Three years to file a slip-and-fall claim
  • Three years to file a car accident injury claim
  • Three years to file a product liability claim
  • Three years to file a claim for personal injury resulting from other negligence
  • Two years to file a claim for wrongful death
  • One year to file a claim for assault/battery

Based on the statute of limitations, it may seem like you have plenty of time to file your claim, but remember: It takes time to build a strong case, and evidence disappears as time goes by. So the longer you wait to contact an attorney, the more difficult your case becomes.

And in some cases, you may have as little as 90 days to file your claim. There are also many shorter deadlines that need to be met when filing claims through insurance companies, and failing to meet those deadlines can hurt your case.

Slip and Fall (10)

What should I do if I am seriously hurt in a slip-and-fall, and I know a problem there caused the accident?

There are several steps you should take as soon as possible after a slip-and-fall accident to protect your rights to compensation:

  • First get professional medical help.
  • Notify the property owner and get a written record of your accident, but limit communication with potential defendants.
  • Take photos and notes at the scene, and ask any witnesses for their names and contact information.
  • Save any evidence, including the shoes and clothes you were wearing.
  • Then contact us to discuss your legal options for pursuing the compensation you need.

What are my options if I slipped and fell at work?

In many cases, New York state workplace injury rules limit employees to workers’ compensation when it comes to relief for medical expenses and lost wages. However, there are many circumstances under which you may have other legal options. For example:

  • If your fall was caused by negligence on the part of a company other than your employer, you may be able to pursue compensation from that party. For example, if you fell on the stairs at your office building because the building manager ignored a spill.
  • If defective or dangerous equipment led to your injury, the manufacturer or other companies in the chain of distribution may be held liable.
  • Construction workers in particular are protected by the Scaffold Law, which allows them to pursue full and fair compensation for fall-related injuries.

Schedule a free and confidential case consultation to discuss the details of your case and learn what your legal options are. Contact us now.

Do I have a case against the owner of a store where I fell and was seriously injured?

Negligence on the part of the property owner, manager, or affiliated at-fault party is the foundation of a successful case. In order to prove negligence, we will need to show:

  • You were on the property lawfully, or, if not, you were trespassing but the owner knew it.
  • The property owner, manager, or affiliated at-fault party knew or should have known about the unsafe condition, yet nothing was done to correct it.
  • That negligence resulted in your injury.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a slip-and-fall injury?

New York state gives you three years from the time of the injury to file a claim, unless your claim is against the state, a county, or city. If you’re going after the government or one of its agencies, you must file a formal claim within 90 days. Then you have one year and 90 days from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit.

It is extremely important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible after your accident. We will need to begin collecting evidence and building a case right away.

How much is my slip-and-fall claim worth?

There’s no way of saying upfront. It depends on your injuries and how they affect you. Our firm will enlist the help of various professionals to calculate medical expenses and lost income (past, present, and expected), tabulate all expenses related to the injury (from transportation costs to any expenditure for modifying housing and transportation to accommodate your condition), and estimate a dollar amount to account for your pain and suffering. The goal is to thoroughly assess how this injury has affected you so we can demand maximum compensation.

What kind of compensation is available in a slip-and-fall case?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may demand compensation for:

  • Existing and expected medical expenses
  • Lost wages and reduced earning potential in the future
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages, which are levied as punishment in cases where the defendant is guilty of conscious or reckless disregard for the victim’s safety

How long will it take to get money from my slip-and-fall claim?

That depends on whether you have a solid case that a reasonable defendant wants to settle quickly or if you must deal with a combative defendant who chooses to go to court. There’s no set time, and deep-pocketed defendants and insurance companies may try to drag it out. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of skilled attorneys from a law firm with plenty of resources.

What should I do if an insurance company offers me a slip-and-fall settlement?

Do not agree to anything without talking to our experienced attorneys. Hard-nosed insurers will come at you with low-ball offers when you are at your most vulnerable right after the accident. You need a knowledgeable attorney to evaluate your case and determine what a full and fair settlement would be.

How much does it cost to hire an attorney in a slip-and-fall case?

Belluck & Fox will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay us unless and until we secure compensation for you. Our initial consultation is free, so contact us now to get started.

What if I was partially at fault for my fall injury?

New York is a pure comparative fault state. That means your compensation can be reduced if you were partially to blame. The court determines fault in percentages, so for example, if you were 30 percent at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 30 percent.

Never admit fault after a slip-and-fall accident. Let the evidence speak for itself.

Construction Accidents (9)

Is workers’ compensation my only option after a construction site accident?

No. Your options for compensation will depend on the type of accident you were involved in and who was at fault. For example:

  • In New York, the “Scaffold Law” protects workers who suffer injuries from falls and other elevation-related injuries, allowing workers to seek compensation from contractors, owners, and their agents.
  • If your accident was caused by dangerous equipment or a defective part, you may pursue compensation from the product’s manufacturer or any other companies in the chain of distribution.
  • If you were hurt in a car accident on a construction site, you may be able to pursue compensation through the driver’s auto insurance.
  • If your accident was caused by someone who works for another subcontractor on the job, you may pursue compensation from that person’s employer.

I was injured as a bystander at a construction site. How can I seek compensation for my injuries?

Negligence on the part of construction workers, contractors, vendors, property owners, project managers, and others responsible for construction site safety can lead to serious injuries for bystanders. People who are visiting or passing by construction sites have the right to pursue compensation if they are injured, and they should talk to an experienced New York construction accident attorney as soon as possible.

What types of compensation can I recover in a construction accident lawsuit?

At Belluck & Fox, our dedicated construction accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate your claim to determine who is responsible and document the extent of the damages you have suffered. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may demand:

  • Payment for medical expenses, both current and expected
  • Compensation for lost wages, existing and expected
  • Awards for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injury
  • Punitive damages to punish at-fault parties for extreme misconduct

Can undocumented workers file claims for compensation if they are hurt on the job?

Yes. Undocumented immigrant laborers are given the same legal protections and paths to compensation as all their co-workers – as long as the worker did not provide false papers to the employer to get the job.

What is the “Scaffold Law” and how could it apply to my case?

New York provides special protections for construction workers under Labor Law Section 240, also known as the Scaffold Law. This law allows construction workers who suffer falls from scaffolding and other elevation-related injuries to demand compensation from the parties that are supposed to be responsible for their safety.

Because these types of fall-related injuries can be so severe, claims made under the Scaffold Law allow for compensation beyond what workers’ compensation provides.

Can I file a wrongful death claim if I lost a loved one in a construction accident?

If your loved one was killed in a construction accident, you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. These claims can only be filed by a personal representative of the victim’s estate, which may be a spouse or other loved one named in a will. When damages are recovered through a wrongful death claim, they are distributed to survivors in compliance with New York state law or based on instructions in the will.

I was exposed to asbestos on a construction site years ago, and I have now been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Is it too late to pursue compensation?

Mesothelioma is a devastating cancer whose only known cause is asbestos. It can develop up to 60 years after a person was exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos materials were commonly used on construction sites throughout New York ─ and asbestos exposure is still a risk today as workers demolish and work on old buildings that contain asbestos materials.

If you have just been diagnosed with mesothelioma, even if you were exposed to asbestos decades ago, you have a right to pursue compensation from those companies that failed to warn you of the danger. Belluck & Fox has secured more than $1 billion for people who were harmed by asbestos. Contact us for a free consultation, or download a free mesothelioma information package.

How much is my construction accident claim worth?

The amount of compensation we will demand in your case will be tied to a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury, the cost of medical care, the amount of injury-related expenses from rehabilitation, the loss of wages to date and expected loss of income, awards for pain and suffering if merited, and punitive damages if there was gross negligence or criminal wrongdoing.

At Belluck & Fox, we will conduct an extensive investigation into your accident and thoroughly document the severity of your injury and how it has affected your life. Our seasoned New York construction accident attorneys are committed to pursuing maximum compensation in your case.

How long will my construction accident claim take?

Most cases resolve within 9 to 12 months. Many claims will end with a settlement offer before a jury is seated. However, some settlements come in the courtroom. Then there are the cases that must be fought all the way to a final jury verdict or judgment. Belluck & Fox will stand by you throughout the process to demand the full and fair compensation you and your family deserve.

Car Accidents (13)

Do I have to tell my insurance company about the accident?

You are obligated to tell your insurer within a certain amount of time (which should be outlined in your policy) if you plan to seek compensation for your accident. However, you aren’t required to give more than basic information such as where and when it happened and who was involved.

Insurance adjusters are notoriously skilled at leading accident victims to say things that could come back to haunt them. Protect yourself and your case by sticking to the basics. Do not give a recorded statement and do not admit fault.

Any other questions they have can be directed to your attorney.

What should I say if the other driver’s insurance company contacts me?

You don’t have to explain anything to the other driver’s insurance company. The best thing to do is refer them to your attorney.

My medical bills are piling up after an accident that wasn’t my fault. Do I have to pay them?

Our attorneys can serve as a buffer between you and the health care providers to ensure you are not overwhelmed by bills while we are pursuing compensation for your injuries. Calls and letters seeking payment can be referred to your attorney. Medical expenses, existing and those to come, are part of the reason it’s important to have a lawyer on your side to fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries. 

Should I accept a settlement offer?

Automobile insurance is a business, and businesses operate for profit. Most will do whatever they can to minimize their expenses, including playing hardball with accident victims and making low offers for compensation.

Do not sign anything or accept any settlement offer without speaking to one of our knowledgeable attorneys. The insurance companies have lawyers working to protect their interests. You deserve to have the same.

Should I see a doctor even if I feel OK?

Yes. Don’t take chances with your health. Injuries such as whiplash aren’t always immediately evident, and those scratches and bruises might be outward signs of internal problems. It’s also important to have an official medical record documenting your injuries as part of your claim for compensation.

Do I really need an attorney?

You can go it alone, but keep in mind that you will be a minnow in a shark tank once you begin negotiating. Insurance companies, automakers, auto parts manufacturers, and distributors don’t have one lawyer, they have teams of lawyers. And if you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to their negligence, they can be particularly aggressive in trying to minimize their financial losses. At the end of the day, you need an experienced advocate who can go toe-to-toe with the other side.

What happens if I caused a collision?

Never assume that you are the one at fault. Only an in-depth investigation can show what really happened. For example, your car may have been affected by a defective auto part. Or the other driver may have been intoxicated and you were too rattled to notice.

New York state’s “comparative fault” law allows for both parties to be partially responsible. It’s important that you discuss exactly what happened with an experienced attorney to learn what your rights are.

What should I do if my brakes failed and caused an accident?

Defective parts can cause wrecks. That’s why it’s a good idea not to jump to conclusions about who is at fault. Let the experts investigate and determine what caused the crash. If your vehicle’s brakes failed and the manufacturer is at fault, our skilled attorneys can help you pursue compensation from the manufacturer or any responsible party in the distribution chain.

What types of compensation can I get after a crash?

Compensation depends on the circumstances of the collision and the severity of injuries and property damage. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox seek maximum compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
  • Lost income from time missed on the job
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and mental
  • Punitive damages, in cases where extreme misconduct or criminal actions led to harm

How much does it cost to hire an attorney?

At Belluck & Fox, we take vehicle collision cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay upfront for us to start working on your claim. We collect legal fees if and when we recover compensation for you. The contingency fee would be a percentage of your compensation.

Will my case go to trial?

That answer depends on the circumstances in your case. Most cases settle before a verdict is delivered, but the settlement might come at the last possible minute. The dedicated attorneys at Belluck & Fox are always prepared to take a case all the way through to a jury verdict, and we will make sure you are prepared for whatever path your case may take.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit for injuries or property damage?

New York has a three-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation for injuries or property damage. However, that doesn’t mean you have time to waste. There are many shorter deadlines that have to be met in the meantime, and our attorneys will want to launch an investigation into your crash as soon as possible to start collecting evidence.

I Was a Victim in a Distracted Driving Crash. Can Charges be Brought?

A study showed that the risk of a traffic accident while using a cellular phone is the same as that while driving drunk, with the cell phone user 400% more likely to get into an accident. If the driver claims they were not using their cellular phone at the time, records from the telephone company can be obtained to prove use at the time of the accident. In addition, the records can also reveal additional witnesses, i.e. the party on the other end of the cell phone call. Even if no criminal charges are filed against the driver, a victim may be able to bring an action for damages.

Wrongful Death (10)

What types of compensation can be recovered?

Our New York wrongful death attorneys may pursue compensation for financial losses such as:

  • Expenses related to your loved one’s funeral and burial
  • Health care expenses for treating your loved one until death
  • Value of income and benefits lost before your loved one died from the injury
  • Value of the lost support and services your loved one used to provide
  • Inheritance lost by children
  • Value of the nurturing, guidance, and care your loved one would have provided to the children

Unfortunately, surviving family members cannot typically recover compensation for their personal pain and suffering. However, your loved one’s estate can demand compensation for the pain and suffering he or she experienced between the time of the accident and the time of death.

Are punitive damages possible in a wrongful death case?

In rare cases where willful misconduct or criminal actions lead to a wrongful death, punitive damages can be awarded as a means to punish the defendants.

Is there a wrongful death statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing a claim in New York?

In New York, you have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Exceptions to the rule are extremely rare, even for children or those not physically or mentally capable of filing a claim.

The insurance company has made a wrongful death settlement offer. Should I take it?

Insurance companies are shameless in approaching grieving families when they are at their most vulnerable. The company may offer a very low settlement in exchange for you signing away your rights.

Never agree to a wrongful death settlement without discussing your rights with an experienced New York attorney. You deserve full and fair compensation, and you will likely need a skilled attorney to fight for it.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer in a wrongful death case?

Belluck & Fox’s wrongful death attorneys will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay any attorneys’ fees unless and until we secure compensation for you. We also offer a free case consultation to discuss your claim and outline all of your legal options.

Contact us today to get started.

How long will my wrongful death case take?

Most cases do not make it all the way through to a jury verdict or judgment. Instead, settlements are the most common outcome. However, that might not happen until the very last minute.

Overall, you should know that a lawsuit is a complex process that can take years from the time a claim is made until a settlement or verdict is reached and compensation is awarded. Our attorneys will work diligently to keep your case moving forward as efficiently as possible.

What should I look for in a New York wrongful death lawyer?

When trying to choose a wrongful death lawyer who is right for your family, consider:

  • Experience. The knowledgeable legal team at Belluck & Fox has more than 20 years of experience successfully handling these types of cases.
  • Success. Our skilled attorneys have secured more than $1 billion for deserving clients and their families, and we are nationally recognized for our success.
  • Compassion. Our dedication to clients fuels our every move. We know you and your family are hurting, and our attorneys will always treat you with the respect and sensitivity that you deserve.

If you are ready to discuss your case and learn about your legal options for filing a wrongful death claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we will help you fight for justice for your loved one.

Am I eligible to file a wrongful death claim in New York state?

In New York, only a personal representative of the wrongful death victim’s estate, someone who is appointed by New York Surrogate’s Court, may file a wrongful death claim. That representative typically is the executor of the will or the administrator of the victim’s estate, according to the New York City Bar.

However, once damages are recovered in a wrongful death case, they are distributed to survivors based on instructions in the will or in compliance with state law.

What do you have to prove in a wrongful death case?

To establish a wrongful death claim, you must prove:

  • The at-fault party acted negligently.
  • That negligence caused your loved one’s death.
  • There are surviving family members who are eligible to collect damages.
  • Survivors have suffered financial damage due to your loved one’s death.

Who can recover compensation in a wrongful death case?

A surviving spouse, children, or direct relatives such as parents and siblings of a wrongful death victim may be eligible to receive compensation. The claim must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. However, the damages recovered are typically distributed to survivors according to the will or state law.

Drunk Driving (2)

Who is the Responsible Party in a Drunken Driving Injury Accident?

Anyone driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance, which causes an accident, is considered negligent, and may be liable to pay for all damages. In addition, those who provided the alcohol may also be considered negligent and liable for damages. Many states have laws which impose liability on bars, clubs, restaurants, or hotels which supply liquor improperly. Contact a Belluck & Fox, LLP attorney today for information on the laws that apply in your state.

What is Dram Shop Liability?

Under dram shop liability laws, a party injured by an intoxicated person can sue the establishments or persons who contributed to that person’s intoxication, for example a bar or homeowner where a party was held. This type of claim is often used in auto accident cases involving a DUI. For example, if you were injured by a drunk driver to whom a liquor store sold alcohol when he/she was obviously intoxicated, your dram shop claim would be against that liquor store.

Asbestos Companies (7)

What Did the Asbestos Companies Know And When Did They Know It?

The companies that manufactured, sold and installed asbestos products had extensive knowledge of the deadly hazards of asbestos as early as 1920. Yet, these corporations waited decades to provide warnings to workers and to the general public. In some cases, warnings were never provided.

In addition to this actual knowledge on the part of asbestos corporations, the evidence available in medical books and journals revealed the dangers of asbestos exposure long before millions of American workers were exposed.

What Trades And Occupations Worked With Asbestos?

There were a wide variety of trades and jobs that were exposed to asbestos dust from building products or raw asbestos. It is not just the workers who worked directly with asbestos and asbestos products that are getting sick from asbestos diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The victims include workers who worked around or lived with people who used these materials. Because asbestos dust becomes airborne and can be invisible, the fibers travel throughout a worksite and expose all of the workers at that location. In a single sweeping, millions and millions of asbestos fibers can be released into the breathing zone of anybody in that vicinity. Over the course of a career, a worker could have breathed several billion fibers, some of which lodge in the lung, and cause injury.

Some of the occupations that are typically associated with the onset of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases include:

  • Pipe Coverers
  • Laborers
  • Brake Mechanics
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Millwrights
  • Painters
  • Plasterers
  • Merchant Marine Seaman
  • Pipefitters
  • Cement Finishers
  • Foundry Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Sailors
  • Navy Yard Workers / Yard birds
  • Paper workers
  • Electricians
  • Bricklayers
  • Boilermakers
  • Automotive mechanics
  • Machinists
  • Lathers
  • Insulators
  • Welders
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Crane Operators
  • Aircraft Mechanics
  • Engineers
  • Steamfitters
  • Masonry Workers
  • Longshoreman
  • Plant workers
  • Powerhouse Workers
  • Railroad Workers
  • Inspectors
  • Maintenance Workers
  • Paper Mill Workers
  • Tapers

These are just some of the occupations involved. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease (lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis), contact Belluck & Fox, LLP to have your claim evaluated.

If I Smoked Cigarettes, Can I Still File A Claim Against The Asbestos Companies?

Smoking does not cause mesothelioma or asbestosis. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis, it was caused by your asbestos exposure, and has no relationship to your smoking.

Asbestos alone can also cause lung cancer. If you smoked in the past or are presently smoking, and have been diagnosed with lung cancer, asbestos may also be a cause of your cancer. For smokers, asbestos and tobacco act together, greatly increasing the risk of lung cancer. The combination of smoking and asbestos can increase the risk factor of lung cancer.

Which Companies Are Sued In Asbestos Cases?

The typical entities that are sued in asbestos cases are:

  • Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products;
  • Contractors that installed and repaired asbestos-containing products and equipment;
  • Suppliers who provided the materials to the work site; and,
  • Owners of property who allowed asbestos materials to be used on their property.

We typically do not sue your employer due to workers’ compensation laws. Instead, we work with you and your family to identify the manufacturers, sellers, distributors, suppliers and contractors that were responsible for your exposure to asbestos.

I Have Read About Many Asbestos Companies Filing For Bankruptcy, How Do These Bankruptcies Affect My Case?

Over the past two years, some of the corporations responsible for asbestos products have sought protection from lawsuits by filing for bankruptcy. Instead of filing a lawsuit against these companies, a fund is established by the bankruptcy courts to compensate asbestos victims.

The impact of these bankruptcies is significant. It is the duty of any attorney handling an asbestos case to identify all responsible parties that caused your exposure to asbestos.

Belluck & Fox, LLP is familiar with and has experience with recovering compensation from the bankruptcy funds. As part of our representation of you and your family, we will file claims with all of the appropriate bankruptcy funds to secure all available compensation for you and your family.

For a list of bankrupt defendants, click here.

Which Asbestos Companies Are Bankrupt Or Out Of Business?

Among the corporations that have filed for bankruptcy or are defunct are:

  • GAF Corporation
  • Johns-Manville Corporation
  • Raybestos
  • Eagle-Picher
  • Celotex
  • UNARCO
  • HK Porter
  • Keene Corporation/ Baldwin-Ehret Hill
  • Nicolet/ Keasbey & Mattison
  • Asbestospray
  • US Minerals Corporation
  • US Gypsum Corporation
  • W.R. Grace
  • AP Green
  • Harbison-Walker
  • North American Refractories Corporation (NARCO)
  • National Gypsum
  • Babcock & Wilcox
  • Owens Corning Fiberglas
  • Armstrong World Industries
  • Phillip Carey Corporation
  • Pittsburgh Corning Corporation
  • Fibreboard Corporation
  • 48 Insulations
  • Kaiser Aluminum
  • Federal Mogul
  • EJ Bartells
  • Morrison Knudsen
  • Rutland
  • AC&S

How Do You Prove Which Asbestos Companies Are Responsible For My Injury?

As part of our representation, we fully investigate and prosecute each individual case. We will fully interview you and other witnesses, such as your coworkers. We also have a vast library of documents and testimony about the companies that made asbestos products and the products used at your job sites — documents and testimony that we have gathered in other asbestos cases. This information can be used in your case. We will also gather additional evidence in your case, including new documents from the asbestos companies and additional testimony about the products that were used at your worksites.

Belluck & Fox, LLP prides itself on our commitment to investigating each case. We handle each case individually. From the initial meeting, we will start our research and investigation of your claims, and we will continue to represent you throughout every phase of your case.

Asbestos Attorneys (4)

What Legal Options Are Available To Individuals Injured By Asbestos?

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the companies responsible for your asbestos exposure. This can include the companies that made, sold and installed the asbestos. A lawsuit can provide financial compensation to help you and your family pay for medical bills, lost wages and other losses caused by asbestos disease.

It’s OK if you don’t remember the names of the products that exposed you to asbestos or even if you don’t recall how you were exposed. After discussing your employment history with you, our experienced personal injury attorneys will perform an exhaustive investigation of all the ways you may have been exposed to asbestos. We have extensive knowledge and blueprints of New York work sites and asbestos products that help us to pinpoint where and how a client was exposed. We will get to the bottom of your asbestos exposure and make sure that all liable parties pay their fair share to you and your family.

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you have limited time to file a claim and should contact an attorney about your case. The spouse and family of an injured victim may also be eligible to bring legal claims.

Will You File My Case As A Class Action Or As An Individual Lawsuit?

Each claim that we file is an individual lawsuit. We do not file class actions for asbestos cases. An individual lawsuit maximizes your opportunity to receive compensation. It also provides us an opportunity to present the unique and compelling aspects of each case. We take great pride in our relationships with our clients, and will represent you as an individual.

How Can I Find Out If I Should File An Asbestos Lawsuit?

We carefully select our cases in order to devote personal attention to each and every client. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP, and we will respond within 24 hours to promptly evaluate your case. There is no charge for this evaluation. We will only represent you and your family if we believe there is a reasonable likelihood of a successful outcome in your case.

How Long Will It Take For My Lawsuit To Be Completed?

As experienced attorneys specializing in asbestos litigation, we make every effort to advance your case as quickly as possible. If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma, we will petition the courts to resolve your case within one year. Most of our cases are resolved within one year.

Mesothelioma Lawyers (7)

What Are The Stages Of The Lawsuit And What Is My Involvement?

Many of our clients have never been involved in a lawsuit. Although each case is different, there are some common elements to every case:

#1 FIRST CONTACT

Our first contact with you is a personal telephone call from Mr. Belluck or Mr. Fox. During that telephone call, if we determine that you should pursue a legal claim, we will schedule an appointment to meet with you as soon as possible, often within 24 hours. During that initial meeting, which can be at your home or in our office, we:

  • Explain the process of filing and prosecuting a lawsuit;
  • Explore your work, life and medical history; and,
  • Obtain signed authorizations to get copies of medical and employment records.

During the meeting, if we conclude that there is a reasonable chance of a successful outcome, we will present you with a retainer agreement. A retainer is a legal fee agreement between Belluck & Fox, LLP and our clients that explains the legal fees and other terms related to our representation. The attorney who meets with you will explain the details of this agreement.

Below is the list of next steps:

#2 FILING THE COMPLAINT

#3 PROSECUTING THE CASE

#4 SETTLEMENTS

#5 TRIAL

What If My Loved One Had Died Or Is Too Sick To Speak To An Attorney?

By the time a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, they are often too ill to participate in their own case. In some cases, your loved one may have passed away before a lawsuit was brought and before they were able to testify on their own behalf.

If an individual is unable to testify, we work closely with family, friends and co-workers to establish the facts we need to successfully prosecute the case. We also have access to a vast array of resources to secure information about the products to which your loved one was exposed.

If the individual has died, we can file a claim through the administrator or the executor of the estate, and also on behalf of the victim’s relatives.

If your family member (parent, spouse) has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer, or died from these illnesses, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP for an evaluation of your case.

Do I Have To Pay For The Costs Of My Lawsuit?

If you decide to retain our services, we will work for you and your family on a contingency basis. This means that we do not receive a fee unless we our successful in obtaining settlements or recovering compensation for you and your family. Otherwise, you will not be billed for our services.

While the case is pending, we advance the costs of working on your case. Once the case is completed, the expenses and legal fees in your case are deducted from the money we recover on your behalf, and you and your family receive the remaining money from your settlements.

If you are considering hiring Belluck & Fox, LLP to prosecute your claim, one of our attorneys will sit down with you and answer any questions you may have about the contingency agreement. It is important to us that you are fully aware of the details of the contract before we begin to work on your claim. We will give you a copy of the retainer contract so that you may review it and discuss it with us at any time.

Are There Time Limits For Filing A Legal Claim?

You do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a personal injury claim. Each state has laws that limit the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit. Failure to comply with these laws may result in you being barred from taking legal action against asbestos companies.

Once you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, the clock begins to tick.

For that reason, you are advised to consult with an attorney immediately after your asbestos disease diagnosis. Protect your legal rights. Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP.

Is There Going To Be A Trial In My Lawsuit?

As with any lawsuit, we make every effort to resolve your case without a trial. In many instances, we are able to fully resolve your case without a trial. However, in some cases, a responsible party will refuse to pay fair compensation for your injuries, and a trial is necessary to assure that justice is achieved for you and your family. As experienced trial lawyers, Belluck & Fox, LLP is fully prepared to prosecute your case from start to finish, including a trial.

From the time we first meet with you, we consider and act upon your wishes and priorities. There are clients who want to have trial to have their case heard by a jury of their peers. There are also clients who, for a variety of reasons, do not prefer a trial, and we work closely with these clients to advise them about their options for resolving their claims without a trial proceeding. At all stages of the case, including the decision regarding whether to proceed to trial, our first priority is you and your family.

Can I Contact a Lawyer On Behalf Of My Father, Husband Or Relative?

Yes. If your father, mother, husband, wife, or other relative has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact Belluck & Fox, LLP. We will work with you to help your family protect your legal rights and receive full and fair compensation for these injuries. We have significant experience working with the families of asbestos victims.

How Do I Choose a Law Firm to Handle My New York Mesothelioma Case?

Experience matters when it comes to choosing a law firm to handle your New York mesothelioma case. Proven results matter too. Joseph Belluck and Jordan Fox are recognized as two of the top mesothelioma lawyers in the country. With decades of experience representing asbestos victims across the United States, the law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP has secured more than $600 million for the hundreds of mesothelioma clients and families they have represented. They recently won verdicts in the amounts of $32 million and $19.5 million for their clients and were listed as one of America’s best law firms by US News and World Report and Best Lawyers magazine. Why settle for a firm with less experience?

The attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP have a comprehensive database of the asbestos products and companies that may have caused your disease. The firm has built an extensive document library and retained a team of experts to assist victims and their families with their claims. They also have a thorough understanding of the medical issues mesothelioma victims face.

Mesothelioma cases are complex. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP realize that the circumstances surrounding each case are unique. We also know that dealing with mesothelioma creates a great amount of stress for patients and their families. With Belluck & Fox, LLP, you’ll never feel like you are in this battle alone. We treat every client with respect and compassion and provide personalized, thoughtful representation. We maintain frequent contact with our clients and make ourselves available to clients at all times. Let Belluck & Fox, LLP will deal with the legal issues so you can focus on your health.

Simply put, Belluck & Fox, LLP has the experience, resources, compassion and know-how to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.

Our Firm (1)

How Do I Know That Belluck & Fox, LLP Will Treat My Family With Dignity And Give Individual Attention To My Case?

A cornerstone of Belluck & Fox, LLP is personalized legal representation. Clients and their family work directly with one of our personal injury lawyers throughout the legal process, from the initial investigation until resolution. We let you know at every step where the case stands and what your legal rights and options are. If you have any questions at any time you can reach out to us, even at home and on weekends. At the same time, we respect your family’s desire for privacy and will not ask you to be more involved than is necessary in the case. The key is finding the right balance, as every case and every family is different. This is what we mean by personalized representation. We will respect your needs while protecting your rights.

Asbestos Exposure (1)

Could I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos In My Home?

Asbestos is asbestos, whether encountered in the workplace or at home. Even small amounts of asbestos and infrequent exposure can cause injuries. There are many reports of spouses and children who washed their husbands’ and fathers’ clothing contracting mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related cancer. Simply being in the same room or in the vicinity of someone else using asbestos can result in asbestos disease.

Exposure in the home could have also occurred when renovation or repair work was performed. Products such as joint compounds, wallboards, cements, floor tiles, wires, mastic, ceiling tiles and boiler insulation often contained asbestos. If these products were mixed, grinded, cut, sawed, sprayed, removed or otherwise manipulated, banged or damaged, they could have released significant asbestos fibers into your home. The fibers remain airborne for weeks. You can’t smell or see asbestos fibers.

In home exposure cases, we investigate every possible exposure to establish the manufacturers and sellers of the materials that were used. We use a wide variety of resources and our experience to prosecute your case. If you believe you have been injured by asbestos used in your home, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP by clicking here.

Asbestos Lawsuits

Asbestos Attorneys

What Legal Options Are Available To Individuals Injured By Asbestos?

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the companies responsible for your asbestos exposure. This can include the companies that made, sold and installed the asbestos. A lawsuit can provide financial compensation to help you and your family pay for medical bills, lost wages and other losses caused by asbestos disease.

It’s OK if you don’t remember the names of the products that exposed you to asbestos or even if you don’t recall how you were exposed. After discussing your employment history with you, our experienced personal injury attorneys will perform an exhaustive investigation of all the ways you may have been exposed to asbestos. We have extensive knowledge and blueprints of New York work sites and asbestos products that help us to pinpoint where and how a client was exposed. We will get to the bottom of your asbestos exposure and make sure that all liable parties pay their fair share to you and your family.

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you have limited time to file a claim and should contact an attorney about your case. The spouse and family of an injured victim may also be eligible to bring legal claims.

Will You File My Case As A Class Action Or As An Individual Lawsuit?

Each claim that we file is an individual lawsuit. We do not file class actions for asbestos cases. An individual lawsuit maximizes your opportunity to receive compensation. It also provides us an opportunity to present the unique and compelling aspects of each case. We take great pride in our relationships with our clients, and will represent you as an individual.

How Can I Find Out If I Should File An Asbestos Lawsuit?

We carefully select our cases in order to devote personal attention to each and every client. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP, and we will respond within 24 hours to promptly evaluate your case. There is no charge for this evaluation. We will only represent you and your family if we believe there is a reasonable likelihood of a successful outcome in your case.

How Long Will It Take For My Lawsuit To Be Completed?

As experienced attorneys specializing in asbestos litigation, we make every effort to advance your case as quickly as possible. If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma, we will petition the courts to resolve your case within one year. Most of our cases are resolved within one year.

Asbestos Companies

What Did the Asbestos Companies Know And When Did They Know It?

The companies that manufactured, sold and installed asbestos products had extensive knowledge of the deadly hazards of asbestos as early as 1920. Yet, these corporations waited decades to provide warnings to workers and to the general public. In some cases, warnings were never provided.

In addition to this actual knowledge on the part of asbestos corporations, the evidence available in medical books and journals revealed the dangers of asbestos exposure long before millions of American workers were exposed.

What Trades And Occupations Worked With Asbestos?

There were a wide variety of trades and jobs that were exposed to asbestos dust from building products or raw asbestos. It is not just the workers who worked directly with asbestos and asbestos products that are getting sick from asbestos diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The victims include workers who worked around or lived with people who used these materials. Because asbestos dust becomes airborne and can be invisible, the fibers travel throughout a worksite and expose all of the workers at that location. In a single sweeping, millions and millions of asbestos fibers can be released into the breathing zone of anybody in that vicinity. Over the course of a career, a worker could have breathed several billion fibers, some of which lodge in the lung, and cause injury.

Some of the occupations that are typically associated with the onset of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases include:

  • Pipe Coverers
  • Laborers
  • Brake Mechanics
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Millwrights
  • Painters
  • Plasterers
  • Merchant Marine Seaman
  • Pipefitters
  • Cement Finishers
  • Foundry Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Sailors
  • Navy Yard Workers / Yard birds
  • Paper workers
  • Electricians
  • Bricklayers
  • Boilermakers
  • Automotive mechanics
  • Machinists
  • Lathers
  • Insulators
  • Welders
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Crane Operators
  • Aircraft Mechanics
  • Engineers
  • Steamfitters
  • Masonry Workers
  • Longshoreman
  • Plant workers
  • Powerhouse Workers
  • Railroad Workers
  • Inspectors
  • Maintenance Workers
  • Paper Mill Workers
  • Tapers

These are just some of the occupations involved. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease (lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis), contact Belluck & Fox, LLP to have your claim evaluated.

If I Smoked Cigarettes, Can I Still File A Claim Against The Asbestos Companies?

Smoking does not cause mesothelioma or asbestosis. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis, it was caused by your asbestos exposure, and has no relationship to your smoking.

Asbestos alone can also cause lung cancer. If you smoked in the past or are presently smoking, and have been diagnosed with lung cancer, asbestos may also be a cause of your cancer. For smokers, asbestos and tobacco act together, greatly increasing the risk of lung cancer. The combination of smoking and asbestos can increase the risk factor of lung cancer.

Which Companies Are Sued In Asbestos Cases?

The typical entities that are sued in asbestos cases are:

  • Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products;
  • Contractors that installed and repaired asbestos-containing products and equipment;
  • Suppliers who provided the materials to the work site; and,
  • Owners of property who allowed asbestos materials to be used on their property.

We typically do not sue your employer due to workers’ compensation laws. Instead, we work with you and your family to identify the manufacturers, sellers, distributors, suppliers and contractors that were responsible for your exposure to asbestos.

I Have Read About Many Asbestos Companies Filing For Bankruptcy, How Do These Bankruptcies Affect My Case?

Over the past two years, some of the corporations responsible for asbestos products have sought protection from lawsuits by filing for bankruptcy. Instead of filing a lawsuit against these companies, a fund is established by the bankruptcy courts to compensate asbestos victims.

The impact of these bankruptcies is significant. It is the duty of any attorney handling an asbestos case to identify all responsible parties that caused your exposure to asbestos.

Belluck & Fox, LLP is familiar with and has experience with recovering compensation from the bankruptcy funds. As part of our representation of you and your family, we will file claims with all of the appropriate bankruptcy funds to secure all available compensation for you and your family.

For a list of bankrupt defendants, click here.

Which Asbestos Companies Are Bankrupt Or Out Of Business?

Among the corporations that have filed for bankruptcy or are defunct are:

  • GAF Corporation
  • Johns-Manville Corporation
  • Raybestos
  • Eagle-Picher
  • Celotex
  • UNARCO
  • HK Porter
  • Keene Corporation/ Baldwin-Ehret Hill
  • Nicolet/ Keasbey & Mattison
  • Asbestospray
  • US Minerals Corporation
  • US Gypsum Corporation
  • W.R. Grace
  • AP Green
  • Harbison-Walker
  • North American Refractories Corporation (NARCO)
  • National Gypsum
  • Babcock & Wilcox
  • Owens Corning Fiberglas
  • Armstrong World Industries
  • Phillip Carey Corporation
  • Pittsburgh Corning Corporation
  • Fibreboard Corporation
  • 48 Insulations
  • Kaiser Aluminum
  • Federal Mogul
  • EJ Bartells
  • Morrison Knudsen
  • Rutland
  • AC&S

How Do You Prove Which Asbestos Companies Are Responsible For My Injury?

As part of our representation, we fully investigate and prosecute each individual case. We will fully interview you and other witnesses, such as your coworkers. We also have a vast library of documents and testimony about the companies that made asbestos products and the products used at your job sites — documents and testimony that we have gathered in other asbestos cases. This information can be used in your case. We will also gather additional evidence in your case, including new documents from the asbestos companies and additional testimony about the products that were used at your worksites.

Belluck & Fox, LLP prides itself on our commitment to investigating each case. We handle each case individually. From the initial meeting, we will start our research and investigation of your claims, and we will continue to represent you throughout every phase of your case.

Asbestos Exposure

Could I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos In My Home?

Asbestos is asbestos, whether encountered in the workplace or at home. Even small amounts of asbestos and infrequent exposure can cause injuries. There are many reports of spouses and children who washed their husbands’ and fathers’ clothing contracting mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related cancer. Simply being in the same room or in the vicinity of someone else using asbestos can result in asbestos disease.

Exposure in the home could have also occurred when renovation or repair work was performed. Products such as joint compounds, wallboards, cements, floor tiles, wires, mastic, ceiling tiles and boiler insulation often contained asbestos. If these products were mixed, grinded, cut, sawed, sprayed, removed or otherwise manipulated, banged or damaged, they could have released significant asbestos fibers into your home. The fibers remain airborne for weeks. You can’t smell or see asbestos fibers.

In home exposure cases, we investigate every possible exposure to establish the manufacturers and sellers of the materials that were used. We use a wide variety of resources and our experience to prosecute your case. If you believe you have been injured by asbestos used in your home, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP by clicking here.

Mesothelioma

Asbestos (5)

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that is crushed and milled into a fine particulate, and shipped to corporations for building and insulation materials. Asbestos mines around the world, many in Canada, produced over 250 million tons of asbestos for use in the United States between 1890 and 1970. Asbestos was added to a variety of products including insulation, automotive brakes, fireproofing, pipe covering, cements, refractory materials, gaskets, floor tiles and joint compounds.

The dangers of asbestos were known to the companies that made these products as early as the 1920s. However, asbestos was sold and used widely without warnings up until the 1980s. Asbestos products are still not banned in the United States and other countries but are no longer used as widely. Alternative materials were available that could have been used in place of asbestos.

During the installation, repair, maintenance, renovation and removal of asbestos materials, the products were cut, scraped, sanded and otherwise altered. Some materials, such as cements, were mixed at job sites using raw asbestos fibers. These processes created dust, which was breathed in by the laborers working with and around these materials. Dust from these products also traveled throughout buildings and factories and ships, and remained airborne for weeks. When swept, these materials were re-suspended in the air — where they were breathed in again by workers in the vicinity.

A wide array of workers were exposed to asbestos including shipyard workers, factory workers, pipefitters, sheet metal workers, plumbers, laborers, machinists, mechanics, powerhouse workers, and electricians. One cloud of dust from asbestos products can contain millions or billions of fibers, and even a small amount of asbestos can cause lung damage. Injuries also occur to people who washed their family member’s clothing after they returned home from work and to individuals who used asbestos products, such as floor tiles, in their homes.

Often, individuals won’t immediately recall how they were exposed to asbestos, and may believe that they were not exposed to asbestos at all. A careful examination and review of a person’s work and life history often reveals exposures to asbestos products that may not be readily apparent.

If I Don’t Remember How I was Exposed To Asbestos, What Can I Do?

It’s quite common for people with an asbestos-related disease not to recall the exact time, place, or nature of their asbestos exposure. This is largely due to the fact that these diseases can take decades to appear following exposure. Also, asbestos was used in so many everyday products, from talcum powder to cement to automotive brakes, that some people were exposed without realizing it. And many people knowingly handled asbestos but didn’t know that it was dangerous until much later because companies hid this information from the public.

At Belluck & Fox, LLP, we devote a substantial amount of time to reviewing your work and life history to identify possible exposures to asbestos. In many instances, a person may not be aware that certain products, such as floor tiles, brake linings, cements and even hair dryers contained asbestos. In addition, we are familiar with the use and presence of asbestos at many work sites and factories, including powerhouses, shipyards, schools and large buildings. We can find the witnesses and documents that will help establish your exposure to asbestos.

Belluck & Fox, LLP spends hours researching and investigating each asbestos case. We also use our substantial experience to help us investigate how you were exposed to asbestos and the companies responsible for your exposure. Our inventory of cases is limited to clients with serious injuries and we devote significant time and resources to each case.

What Types of Products Contained Asbestos?

  • Pipe Covering
  • Cements
  • Acoustical Plaster
  • Brake Linings
  • Sprayed-on Fireproofing
  • Gaskets
  • Floor Tiles
  • Insulating Blankets
  • Cloth/textiles
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Cigarette Filters
  • Hair Dryers
  • Rope
  • Gloves
  • Packing materials
  • Insulating Tape
  • Mastics
  • Millboard
  • Joint Compounds
  • Refractory products
  • Siding
  • Block Insulation
  • Asphalt products
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Boilers
  • Pumps
  • Valves
  • Pipe
  • Electrical Products
  • Turbines
  • Lab Equipment

This is just a partial list of asbestos-containing products. Asbestos was often used as an ingredient or component in these products between 1942 and the 1980s, and there were some products such as gaskets that contained asbestos well after the 1980s.

Why Was Asbestos Used in Building And Insulation Products?

The primary reason that asbestos was used in building products was as a binder or filler material. It was cheap and easily available. It is stringy and resilient, and thus made a good binder. Its resilience also reduced the breakage of the products between the factory and the worksite. In pipe covering and other materials, asbestos created air pockets which provided heat resistance.

Asbestos was marketed for its “fire resistant” qualities. In reality, at approximately 1200 degrees, asbestos transforms into an inert mineral. Other materials were available, even in the 1930′s and thereafter, that could have been used (and, in fact, were used) as substitutes for asbestos without any sacrifice in product integrity or heat resistance. The asbestos industry peddled asbestos as a “magic mineral,” creating a demand for the material, without advising of the dangers of asbestos. As a result, thousands of American workers were injured and killed. It was unnecessary and could have been avoided.

Crime Victims (6)

I Was Attacked in a Parking Deck and the Assailant Was Never Caught. What Legal Rights do I Have?

Even if you cannot sue the perpetrator, you may be able to bring an action against the owner or manager of the property where the crime occurred for their failure to provide adequate security or lighting. This is known as premises liability; most state courts impose liability on landowners or those who are responsible for maintaining the property for activities or conditions occurring on the land.

What is Date rape?

Date rape, or acquaintance rape, is when the rapist is someone the victim knows: a date, friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, classmate, or anyone else who is not a stranger. The vast majority of rape or sexual assault victims are assaulted by someone they know. The law does not make any distinction between stranger rape and date rape.

I’m Not Sure if I was Date Raped or Not and I’m Scared. What Should I Do?

Rape is scary. If you participated in nonconsensual sex, meaning you had sex with someone you know, but you did not want to and you told them no, then you were most likely date raped. The first thing you should do is to seek police and medical attention. If you do not remember the events or they are fuzzy, it is possible you were date raped using a drug – such as Rohypnol or GHB. After seeking medical attention and contacting the police, you should contact a Belluck & Fox, LLP lawyer to discuss your situation and possible claim.

What are my Rights in a Police Brutality Claim?

Under both state and federal law, police officers may not use excessive force on citizens in the performance of their duties. Because police brutality cases can be very complex, you need experienced and aggressive attorneys to successfully handle them. If you have been victimized by police brutality, you may be entitled to an award of damages, not only from the officers themselves, but also from the municipality or county that employed the officers. Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP attorneys today.

What Does it Mean to “walk” a Criminal Conviction?

In many states, a victim can “walk” a criminal conviction obtained by prosecutors into civil court. This means that a victim would not have to prove a crime was committed, only that physical and emotional damage was experienced by the crime victim. Many states, including New York, will extend the time frame to bring a case for crime victims.

Should I Contact a Lawyer to Help me with my Criminal Victim Case?

Yes. Crime victims turn to the criminal justice system to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of a crime. In addition, victims are entitled to seek civil justice to address the full impact of the crimes on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Belluck & Fox, LLP attorneys evaluate your potential claim against the perpetrators of a crime and those who enabled, through their negligence, the crime to occur. Contact us today.

Mesothelioma (5)

If I Was Exposed To Asbestos Many Years Ago, Why Was I Just Diagnosed With Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer or Asbestosis?

Asbestos illnesses and cancers are diseases of latency. This means that injuries from exposure to asbestos fibers do not become apparent until at least ten years after exposure. In many cases, diseases occur over 60 years after exposure to asbestos fibers. Therefore, individuals exposed to asbestos in the 1940′s, 50′s, 60′s, 7’0s, and 80’s may be diagnosed with an asbestos disease now.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelial cells. Those cells line the body’s cavities and internal organs. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, the fibers can become lodged in the pleura, the thin, delicate membrane that lines and encases the lung. They can also lodge in the stomach or other organs.

The asbestos fibers irritate and create changes in the cells of the pleura, causing tumors to develop. This is known as pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma in the stomach lining is peritoneal mesothelioma. The cancer can develop in other parts of the body, too. It can attack the tissue sac that contains the heart or the tissues that surround the testes.

As the disease progresses, the cancerous cells can metastasize, or spread. As time passes, breathing, sleeping and eating become more difficult. Even the normal activities of daily living can become a challenge.

Types of Mesothelioma

The type of mesothelioma that a person develops depends on the primary organ that is affected.

There are four types of mesothelioma:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma. This form of asbestos cancer is found in the outer lining of the lungs called the mesothelium. This is the most common type of mesothelioma and has been studied to a far greater degree than any of the other forms of the disease.
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen. Fewer than 20 percent of mesothelioma cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year are peritoneal.
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma attacks the pericardium or the tissue sac that contains the heart and the primary blood vessels. Pericardial mesothelioma accounts for just one percent of all mesothelioma cases.
  • Tunica Vaginalis Mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma is found in the tissues surrounding the testes. It is the rarest form of the disease, affecting less than one percent of all mesothelioma patients.

What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma?

The symptoms patients experience vary depending on the type of mesothelioma they have as well as the stage of the disease. Symptoms can also vary from patient to patient. Below are the primary symptoms experienced by mesothelioma patients.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms are similar to a number of other respiratory diseases. However, anyone with a history of asbestos exposure should be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if exhibiting any of the symptoms.

Symptoms commonly associated with pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent cough
  • Loss of appetite

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients most often experience the following symptoms:

  • Ascites (buildup of abdominal fluid)
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms

  • Extreme chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constant and acute coughing

Tunica Vaginalis Mesothelioma Symptoms

With so few documented cases of this cancer, little is known about the symptoms. However, medical articles detailing specific cases point to a testicular mass as the predominant symptom.

How is Mesothelioma diagnosed?

Diagnosing mesothelioma can be difficult for physicians, especially if your family doctor or pulmonologist is not familiar with asbestos-related diseases. Many patients suffer from debilitating symptoms for months before they are properly diagnosed and treatments begin.

When you go to the doctor with the presence of symptoms, your medical team will use several tests and procedures to determine the cause of your discomfort. The doctor will begin by asking questions about your symptoms and when you started experiencing them.

It is important that you let your physician know that you were exposed to asbestos if you suspect you have mesothelioma. Your doctor should have a thorough understanding of your background and history to help ensure an appropriate diagnosis.

Diagnostic Imaging Technologies

Many technologies are available to allow doctors to view organs and tissues and detect the presence of fluid or tumors. Imaging technologies help your doctor not only make a mesothelioma diagnosis but also determine a treatment plan and track your response to the treatments.

  • X-Ray Imaging
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • PET-CT (Integrated Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography)

What are the treatment options for those diagnosed with Mesothelioma?

While there is currently no known cure for malignant mesothelioma, treatments are available with the most common being surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Your doctor will recommend one treatment or a combination of therapies that are best for your situation. The course of treatment will depend on a number of factors including the location of the disease, the stage of the disease, your age, overall health and your preferences.

The information provided throughout this website is for your information only, and should NOT take the place of a full medical diagnosis.

Traditional Treatment Options

There are three traditional kinds of treatment for patients with malignant mesothelioma:

  • Surgery (physical removal of the cancer)
  • Chemotherapy (using drugs to fight the cancer)
  • Radiation Therapy (using high-dose x-rays to kill cancer cells)

Doctors will often use two or more of these treatment courses jointly to provide the maximum likelihood of success. This “multi-modal” approach holds the most promise for survival of malignant mesothelioma patients. Trimodality therapy, in which all three of these modalities are used, is considered the most effective, and aggressive, approach.

Surgery

There are several types of surgeries used to treat mesothelioma and the disease type and stage will determine the type of surgery. Mesothelioma tumors are usually large and difficult to completely remove, so surgery is usually combined with other cancer treatments to ensure the best results in destroying the tumor.

There are generally two types of surgical methods for the treatment of mesothelioma:

  • Palliative Procedures are those which treat the symptoms of mesothelioma, providing relief for the patient, without aggressively treating the disease itself.
  • Chest Tube Drainage and Pleurodesis – The goal of chemical pleurodesis is to cause an irritation between the two layers covering the lung. This irritation causes an obliteration of the space between the layers where the fluid accumulated, and prevents further fluid to be able to accumulate there. There are a variety of agents, which can be used including talc and bleomycin. As the pleural space is closed, fluid drains out of the chest cavity using a chest tube.
  • Pleuroperitoneal Shunting has been used in patients who have failed chemical pleurodesis, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Pleuroperitoneal shunting can provide effective palliation in patients with a trapped lung or others who have failed treatment.
  • Potentially Curative Options are medical procedures that attempt to remove all gross disease with ‘curative intent’. Residual microscopic disease cells are then removed through Adjuvant therapy.
  • Pleurectomy/Decortication is a surgical procedure where the pleura, the membrane lining the lungs and chest cavity, is removed, without removing the entire lung. This treatment option is usually performed on patients in the early staging of mesothelioma.
  • Extra-Pleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) is the removal of the pleura, diaphragm, pericardium, and the whole lung involved with the tumor. EPP is considered a radical therapy and is not frequently performed by most surgeons, patients are referred to centers specializing in these treatments.Both the above ‘potentially curative’ procedures are typically used in combination with other treatment options (multi-modal therapy).

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and may be used as the primary treatment to mesothelioma, or it may be used as part of a multi-modal approach. Chemotherapy is referred to as systemic treatment because the drug is introduced into the patient’s bloodstream and travels throughout the body killing cancer cells. The drugs may be in pill form, or injected into the body through a needle.

In addition to killing cancer cells, chemotherapy drugs work to restrict the uncontrolled spread of abnormal cancer cells – preventing them from dividing and multiplying.

Chemotherapy is not considered a ‘curative’ approach for the treatment of mesothelioma and instead focuses on shrinking existing tumors (usually prior to surgery – neoadjuvant therapy), controlling the spread of the cancerous cells, and removing residual cancer cells following surgery (adjuvant therapy).

To effectively treat mesothelioma, more than one drug may be used in chemotherapy. Depending on the drugs, the amount taken and the treatment period, there may be side effects. Historically, doxorubicin has been the most widely used single chemotherapy drug. Other newer drugs, including gemcitabine, cisplatin, carboplatin, epirubicin, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, vinorelbine, paclitaxel, and methotrexate, now are often preferred and are usually given in different combinations.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays help to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. The radiation may come from outside the body from a machine (external radiation) or from radioactive materials placed directly in or around cancer cells through thin plastic tubes (internal or implant radiation).

In pleural mesothelioma, it is difficult to irradiate tumor tissue successfully without injuring nearby organs like the lungs, heart, and liver. However, radiation therapy can be very effective in relieving pain in certain situations. Factors which can impact the use of radiation treatment include the volume of the tumor and how near it is to vital organs.

Non-Traditional Treatments

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy destroys cancer cells by using the energy from light and may also be effective when combined with surgery. Although this treatment is in the experimental stage for mesothelioma, it has shown promising results in treating other cancers. In the procedure, the patient receives a photosensitizer (a drug which makes cells sensitive to specific wavelengths of light) which collects in cancerous cells but not in healthy cells. Once the cells have been sensitized, fiber optic cables are placed in the body (usually through open-chest surgery) so that the correct frequency of light can be focused on the tumor. This causes the photosensitizer drug to produce a toxic oxygen molecule which kills the cancer cell.

Gene Therapy

This is a new treatment, currently in clinical trails. This approach allows treatment to target tumors, rather than destroying healthy cells which is the negative of traditional chemotherapy. In gene therapy, cancer is treated by altering genetic defects that allow a tumor to develop. A “suicide gene” is inserted directly into the tumor, making the cells sensitive to a normally ineffectual drug. The drug is then administered to the newly sensitive cancer cells and it destroys those cells while leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy (or biological therapy) treats cancer by using the body’s own immune system fight cancer cells. Another name often applies to this therapy, biological response modifiers (BRMs). Though not yet obtainable, promising clinical studies are underway for immunotherapy.

Preguntas Frecuentes del Mesotelioma (9)

¿Qué es el mesotelioma y cómo se adquiere?

El mesotelioma es un cáncer de las células mesoteliales. Dichas células recubren las cavidades del cuerpo y los órganos internos. Cuando se inhalan o ingieren fibras de asbesto, las fibras se pueden alojar en la pleura, una membrana delgada y delicada que recubre y encapsula los pulmones. También se pueden alojar en el estómago y en otros órganos.

Las fibras de asbesto causan irritación y crean cambios en las células de la pleura, lo que produce el desarrollo de tumores. Esto se conoce como mesotelioma pleural, el tipo más común de mesotelioma. El mesotelioma del recubrimiento del estómago se conoce como mesotelioma peritoneal. El cáncer también se puede desarrollar en otras partes del cuerpo. También puede atacar al tejido de la pleura del corazón o a los tejidos que rodean los testículos.

A medida que progresa la enfermedad, las células cancerosas pueden hacer metástasis, o esparcirse. A medida que pasa el tiempo, dormir y comer se hace más difícil. Inclusos las actividades normales del vivir cotidiano pueden convertirse en un reto.

Tipos de mesotelioma

El tipo de mesotelioma desarrollado por una persona depende del órgano primario afectado.

Existen cuatro tipos de mesotelioma

  • Mesotelioma pleural. Esta forma de cáncer causado por el asbesto se encuentra en el recubrimiento exterior de los pulmones, que se conoce como el mesotelio. Éste es el tipo más común de mesotelioma y se ha estudiado mucho más que cualquier otra forma de enfermedad.
  • Mesotelioma peritoneal. El mesotelioma peritoneal afecta el recubrimiento del abdomen. Menos del 20 por ciento de los casos de mesotelioma diagnosticados en los Estados Unidos cada año son peritoneales.
  • Mesotelioma pericárdico. El mesotelioma pericárdico ataca el pericardio o el tejido del saco que contiene al corazón y a las venas primarias. El mesotelioma pericárdico equivale solamente al uno por ciento de los casos de mesotelioma.
  • Mesotelioma de la túnica vaginal. Este tipo de mesotelioma se encuentra en los tejidos que rodean los testículos. Es la forma más rara de esta enfermedad, y afecta a menos del uno por ciento de todos los pacientes de mesotelioma.

¿Cuáles son los síntomas del mesotelioma?

Los síntomas que presentan los pacientes varían dependiendo del tipo de mesotelioma que tienen, así como también de la etapa de la enfermedad. Los síntomas también pueden variar de paciente a paciente. A continuación de presentan los síntomas primarios que presentan los pacientes de mesotelioma.

Síntomas del mesotelioma

Pleural

Los síntomas del mesotelioma pleural son similares a una cantidad de otras enfermedades respiratorias. Sin embargo, cualquiera con historial de exposición al asbesto debería estar consciente de los síntomas y buscar atención médica inmediatamente si presenta cualquiera de los síntomas.

Los síntomas asociados comúnmente con el mesotelioma pleural incluyen:

  • Falta de respiración
  • Dolor en el pecho
  • Efusión pleural
  • Pérdida de peso
  • Tos persistente
  • Pérdida de apetito

Peritoneal

Los pacientes de mesotelioma peritoneal presentan con frecuencia los siguientes síntomas:

  • Ascitis (acumulación de fluido abdominal)
  • Pérdida de peso
  • Dolor abdominal
  • Fiebre
  • Sudoración nocturna

Pericárdico

  • Dolor severo en el pecho
  • Palpitaciones fuertes del corazón
  • Falta de respiración
  • Tos constante y aguda

Túnica vaginal

Con tan pocos casos documentados de este tipo de cáncer, se conoce muy poco sobre los síntomas. Sin embargo, los artículos médicos que detallan casos específicos señalan una masa testicular como el síntoma predominante.

¿Cómo se diagnóstica el mesotelioma?

Cuando se detecta temprano el mesotelioma, se tienen más opciones de tratamiento, lo que permite una mejor calidad de vida. Sin embargo, diagnosticar el mesotelioma es difícil, especialmente si su médico familiar o especialista pulmonar no está familiarizado con las enfermedades relacionadas con el asbesto. Muchos pacientes presentan síntomas de debilitamiento durante meses antes de que se les diagnostique de manera adecuada y de que comience el tratamiento.

Cuando visita al doctor porque presenta síntomas, su equipo médico utilizará diversas pruebas y procedimientos para determinar la causa de su malestar. El médico comenzará preguntándole sobre sus síntomas y cuándo comenzó a presentarlos.

Es importante que le diga a su médico que fue expuesto al asbesto si sospecha que tiene mesotelioma. Su doctor debería tener un amplio entendimiento de su historial para ayudarle a asegurar un diagnóstico apropiado.

Tecnologías de imágenes diagnósticas

Están disponibles muchas tecnologías para permitirles a los médicos visualizarlo los órganos y tejidos, además de detectar la presencia de fluidos o tumores. Las tecnologías de imágenes le ayudan a su médico no solamente a realizar el diagnóstico de un mesotelioma, sino también a determinar un plan de tratamiento y a hacerle seguimiento a su respuesta a los tratamientos.

  • Imágenes de rayos X – Debido a la prevalencia de las máquinas y a su relativo bajo costo, usualmente los rayos X son la primera prueba que se le realiza a muchos pacientes. Los rayos X no tienen la resolución suficiente como para identificar el cáncer, pero pueden indicar la presencia de una efusión pleural o indicar la existencia de un tumor maligno en los pulmones o en la pleura.
  • Tomografía computarizada (TC) – Un escáner de tomografía computarizada utiliza rayos X y computadores para producir imágenes del interior del cuerpo más sofisticadas y detalladas que los rayos X convencionales. La TC se considera el mejor estándar de las pruebas mediante imágenes para un diagnóstico.
  • Imágenes de resonancia magnética (IRM) – Las imágenes de resonancia magnética utilizan un campo magnético fuerte y ondas de radio para escanear el cuerpo. La IRM proporciona imágenes de contraste de los tejidos blandos mucho mejores que la TC y frecuentemente se utiliza para planificación de las etapas de tratamiento y de la cirugía.
  • Tomografía de emisión de positrones (TEP) – La tomografía de emisión de positrones mide la actividad funcional y metabólica en el cuerpo. Los escaneos por TEP se utilizan más comúnmente para identificar la presencia de metástasis distantes.
  • TEP-TC (Tomografía de emisión de positrones, Tomografía computarizada integradas) – TED-CT es una técnica de imágenes de última tecnología que combina los escaneos TEP y CT en una sola máquina. Esto le permite a los médicos registrar de manera precisa las imágenes funcionales de la TEP con las imágenes anatómicas de la CT para proporcionar un entendimiento más completo del estado individual de la enfermedad del paciente.

Procedimientos de biopsias

  • Toracentesis – Se drena fluido del área pleural y de los pulmones y se somete a prueba para la presencia de células cancerosas. Este procedimiento se realiza cuando un paciente presenta una efusión pleural, o fluido en los pulmones.
  • Torascopía – Durante una torascopía se puede obtener una muestra de tejido de un tumor pleural o pericárdico. Un toracoscopio es un instrumento similar a un telescopio que se conecta a una cámara de video. Se inserta a través de una pequeñas incisión en el pecho, junto con herramientas quirúrgicas pequeñas. El médico puede observar el tumor a través de toracoscopio y puede utilizar herramientas especiales para tomar una biopsia del tejido.
  • Laparoscopia – Una laparoscopia le permite al médico observar y obtener una biopsia de un tumor peritoneal. En este procedimiento, se anexa un tubo flexible a una cámara de video que se inserta en la cavidad abdominal a través de incisiones pequeñas.
  • Broncoscopia – En una broncoscopia, el médico introduce un tubo flexible e iluminado por la tráquea hacia los bronquios para verificar la presencia de masas en las vías aéreas. Al mismo tiempo, el médico puede retirar muestra pequeñas de tejido anormal para pruebas posteriores.
  • Mediastinoscopia – Durante una mediastinoscopia, el médico inserta un tubo iluminado por debajo del esternón del paciente, al nivel del cuello y lo mueve hacia abajo dentro del pecho. El médico puede observar los nódulos linfáticos y tomar muestras de tejido para verificar la presencia de cáncer.

Tratamiento

El mesotelioma es una enfermedad agresiva que frecuentemente requiere de una estrategia de tratamiento igualmente agresiva. Sin embargo, el mesotelioma es resistente a muchos tratamientos estándares del cáncer, lo que lo hace una enfermedad difícil de manejar.

Con mucha frecuencia el plan de tratamiento consiste de quimioterapia. Para pacientes que son candidatos, la cirugía y la radiación también se utilizan en un enfoque multimodal. Los pacientes deberían trabajar cercanamente con su equipo médico para desarrollar un plan de tratamiento que se ajuste a sus necesidades y objetivos de tratamiento.

Aunque no existe una cura para el mesotelioma, se hace referencia a las estrategias de tratamiento como curativas o paliativas en su intención. Los tratamientos curativos intentan curar o controlar la enfermedad, mientras que el cuidado paliativo se orienta hacia aliviar los síntomas y mantener al paciente cómodo y rodeado por los seres queridos sin tratar el cáncer mismo.

Las opciones de tratamiento del mesotelioma incluyen:

  • Cirugía. No todos los pacientes son buenos candidatos para una cirugía. Además de la salud general del paciente, la etapa y el tipo de enfermedad ayudan a determinar la decisión de operar del oncólogo. Las dos cirugías curativas principales para pacientes con mesotelioma son la pleurectomía o decorticación y la neumonectomía extrapleural (EPP).
    • Pleurectomía o decorticación (P/D). Esta cirugía se conoce a veces como la cirugía de “salvación del pulmón”. La cirugía consiste en retirar de la membrana enferma que recubre los pulmones y los tumores de mesotelioma visibles para salvar el pulmón.
    • Neumonectomía extrapleural (EPP). La EPP es la alternativa a la P/D para pacientes con mesotelioma pleural. Esta cirugía se considera un procedimiento más radical que implica la eliminación de un pulmón, el revestimiento enfermo de la cavidad torácica y el corazón, y una porción del diafragma.

Los procedimientos quirúrgicos paliativos se centran en aliviar los síntomas que están afectando la calidad de vida del paciente, pero no se centran en curar el cáncer. La pleurectomía de citorreducción y la pleurodesis son dos procedimientos que se utilizan a menudo en combinación para mejorar la respiración de un paciente. La pleurectomía alivia la presión sobre los pulmones mediante la extracción de las células cancerosas de la pleura. A continuación, se realiza una pleurodesis para fusionar la pleura y limitar la acumulación de líquido.

  • Quimioterapia. La quimioterapia es una de las modalidades de tratamiento primario para el mesotelioma. En la quimioterapia, consiste en un medicamento fuerte utilizado para matar las células cancerosas, se administra a través de una infusión en ciclos durante un período de varios meses. Desafortunadamente, los medicamentos de la quimioterapia no distinguen entre las células cancerosas y las normales, y también matan a las células sanas. Como resultado, los pacientes que se someten a quimioterapia comúnmente experimentan efectos secundarios, incluyendo la anemia, náuseas o cualquier otra alteración digestiva, y pérdida del cabello. El tratamiento de quimioterapia más común para el mesotelioma es la combinación de Alimta (pemetrexed), que fue aprobado por la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos de los EE.UU. en 2004, y cisplatino, un elemento básico de larga data de muchos tratamientos de quimioterapia.
  • Radiación. La radioterapia utiliza la radiación ionizante de alta energía para eliminar las células cancerosas. La radiación ionizante cambia la estructura del ADN en las células, inhibiendo así el crecimiento y la división. La radiación se utiliza en la mayoría de los casos de mesotelioma. Sin embargo, la localización de las células malignas es difícil, lo que resulta en daño a las células sanas. Los efectos secundarios de la radiación son similares a los de la quimioterapia e incluyen pérdida del cabello, problemas digestivos, y anemia. Los avances recientes en el uso de la terapia de protones, que utiliza un haz de protones para irradiar los tumores, en lugar de haces de rayos X utilizados en la terapia de radiación convencional, le permiten a los médicos apuntarle con mayor precisión a los tumores profundamente asentados, limitando el daño al tejido circundante.
  • Ensayos clínicas. De acuerdo con el Instituto Nacional de Salud, los ensayos clínicas son la parte fundamental de todos los avances médicos. Los ensayos clínicos sirven para descubrir mejores formas de tratar, prevenir, diagnosticar y comprender las enfermedades humanas. Le proporcionan a los investigadores del mesotelioma información crítica necesaria para permitir que trasladen sus resultados desde el laboratorio a los pacientes. Para algunos pacientes con mesotelioma, los ensayos clínicos ofrecen la oportunidad de probar un tratamiento que de otra manera no estaría disponible. Existen beneficios y riesgos por la participación en ensayos clínicos. En los EE.UU., los ensayos clínicas se monitorean estrechamente y se ejecutan de acuerdo con pautas estrictas. El Instituto Nacional de Salud explica que la investigación clínica financiada por el gobierno federal cuenta con medidas de seguridad para proteger a los participantes. La decisión de participar en un ensayo clínico es elección personal del paciente, y los beneficios y riesgos se deben considerar cuidadosamente. A los pacientes con mesotelioma se les anima a trabajar en estrecha colaboración con sus médicos para determinar el mejor plan de tratamiento para sus necesidades. El plan de tratamiento que usted y su médico desarrollen dependerá de varios factores, incluido el tipo y la etapa de la enfermedad, y su salud en general.
  • Terapias Novedosas. Las nuevas terapias, como la terapia génica, la terapia fotodinámica, y las vacunas están mostrando ciertas promesas en el tratamiento del mesotelioma.

¿Cuál es el estadiaje médico del mesotelioma?

Estadiaje del mesotelioma

El estadiaje es un método para evaluar el progreso del cáncer en un paciente. Se observa el mesotelioma y la extensión a la cual se ha desarrollado, además de si es posible que se esparza a otras partes del cuerpo. Puesto que el mesotelioma pleural ocurre con más frecuencia y es el más estudiado, es el único mesotelioma para el cual existe una clasificación de estadiaje.

Se utilizan varios enfoques médicos para determinar el estadiaje del mesotelioma, incluidos los rayos X, los escaneos TC e IRM. El avance, la extensión y la propagación del cáncer la etapa del mesotelioma, y además determina el tratamiento y el enfoque que se le debe dar al paciente.

Hay tres sistemas de estadiaje clínico reconocidos para evaluar la extensión y el alcance del mesotelioma pleural: El Sistema de Butchart, el estadiaje TNM, y el Sistema de Brigham. El Sistema de Butchart ha sido el método estándar de estadiaje para la mayoría de tipos de cáncer, incluido el mesotelioma. El sistema de estadiaje TNM está empezando a ser utilizado por los principales centros de cáncer como un método más preciso para evaluar específicamente el mesotelioma. El Sistema de Brigham es uno de los métodos más modernos para el estadiaje del mesotelioma.

El sistema utilizado en el pasado para el estadiaje del mesotelioma es el Sistema de Butchart. Este sistema se basa principalmente en la extensión de la masa del tumor primario, y divide mesoteliomas en etapas de I a IV. Muchos médicos aún utilizan este sistema.

  • Etapa I: El mesotelioma está presente dentro de la pleura derecha o de la pleura izquierda, y puede implicar también el pulmón, el pericardio, o el diafragma (el músculo que separa el pecho del abdomen) en el mismo lado.
  • Etapa II: Mesotelioma invade la pared torácica o implica el esófago (pasaje de alimentos que conecta la garganta con el estómago), el corazón, o la pleura en ambos lados. Los ganglios linfáticos en el pecho también pueden estar implicados.
  • Etapa III: El mesotelioma ha penetrado a través del diafragma hacia el peritoneo (revestimiento de la cavidad abdominal). Los ganglios linfáticos más allá de los que se encuentran en el pecho también pueden estar implicados.
  • Etapa IV: Hay evidencia de metástasis a distancia (se propagan a través del torrente sanguíneo a otros órganos).

Sistema de estadiaje TNM

Otro sistema de estadiaje ha sido recientemente desarrollado por el Grupo Internacional de Interés en el Mesotelioma y ha sido aprobado por el Comité Estadounidense Conjunto sobre el Cáncer (AJCC). Este es un sistema TNM, similar a los sistemas de estadiaje usados para la mayoría de otros tipos de cáncer. T significa tumor (su tamaño y qué tanto se ha propagado a los órganos cercanos), significa la propagación a los nódulos linfáticos y M significa metástasis (propagación a los órganos distantes). En el estadiaje TNM, la información sobre el tumor, los ganglios linfáticos y la metástasis se combina en un proceso llamado agrupamiento por etapas para asignar una etapa descrita mediante números romanos del I al IV. Los principales centros para el tratamiento del cáncer están empezando a utilizar este sistema en lugar del estadiaje de Butchart, ya que representa con mayor exactitud la extensión del tumor.

  • Etapa I: El mesotelioma implica la pleura derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax. Sólo se ha extendido al revestimiento exterior del pulmón en, a lo sumo, un par de pequeñas manchas. Todavía no se ha propagado a los ganglios linfáticos.
  • Etapa II: El mesotelioma implica la pleura derecha o la pleura izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha diseminado desde el revestimiento del pecho hasta 1) el revestimiento externo de los pulmones, 2) al diafragma o 3) hacia el propio pulmón.
  • Etapa III: El mesotelioma implica pleura la derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha extendido a 1) la primera capa de la pared torácica, 2) la parte grasa del mediastino, 3) a un solo lugar en la pared torácica, 4) a la capa exterior que recubre el corazón o 5) a los ganglios linfáticos en cualquier lugar en el mismo lado del pecho.
  • Etapa IV: El mesotelioma implica pleura la derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha diseminado 1) a la pared del pecho, ya sea al músculo o a las costillas, 2) a través del diafragma, 3) a cualquier órgano contenido en el mediastino (esófago, la tráquea, el timo, los vasos sanguíneos), 4) en la columna vertebral, 5) a través de la pleura en el otro lado del pecho, 6) a través del revestimiento del corazón o en el propio corazón, 7) en el plexo braquial (nervios que conducen al brazo), 8) en los ganglios linfáticos fuera de ese lado del pecho, o 9) se ha propagado a otros órganos a través del torrente sanguíneo.

El Sistema Brigham

El Sistema de Brigham es el último sistema y determina las etapas del mesotelioma de acuerdo con la resecabilidad (la capacidad de eliminarlo quirúrgicamente) y afectación de los ganglios linfáticos.

  • Etapa I: Tumor quirúrgicamente extraíble y sin propagación ganglionar
  • Etapa II: Tumor quirúrgicamente extraíble y con afectación de los nódulos linfáticos
  • Etapa III: tumor no extraíble quirúrgicamente debido a que se extiende dentro de la pared del pecho, al corazón, a través del diafragma o en el peritoneo (el revestimiento abdominal). Los ganglios linfáticos fuera del tórax pueden o no tener la enfermedad en ellos.
  • Etapa IV: La enfermedad se ha propagado a otras partes del cuerpo

Sus médicos pueden utilizar uno o más de los sistemas de clasificación anteriores para evaluar la extensión del mesotelioma e identificar las opciones de tratamiento apropiadas.

¿Cuáles son las opciones de tratamiento para las personas diagnosticadas con mesotelioma?

Si bien actualmente no existe una cura conocida para el mesotelioma maligno, están disponibles tratamientos como la cirugía, la quimioterapia y la radiación que son los más comunes.

Su médico le recomendará un tratamiento o una combinación de terapias que sean las mejores para su situación. El curso del tratamiento dependerá de un número de factores, incluida la localización de la enfermedad, la etapa de la enfermedad, su edad, su estado de salud en general y sus preferencias.

La información proporcionada a través de este sitio web es sólo para su información, y no debe remplazar a un diagnóstico médico completo.

Opciones tradicionales de tratamiento

Hay tres tipos tradicionales de tratamiento para los pacientes con mesotelioma maligno:

  • Cirugía (extracción física del cáncer)
  • Quimioterapia (uso de medicamentos para combatir el cáncer)
  • Radioterapia (uso de rayos X en dosis elevadas para eliminar las células cancerosas)

Los médicos suelen usar dos o más de estos cursos de tratamiento de forma conjunta para proporcionar la máxima probabilidad de éxito. Este enfoque “multimodal” presenta la mayor promesa para la supervivencia de los pacientes con mesotelioma maligno. La terapia trimodal, en la que se utilizan las tres modalidades, se considera el enfoque más eficaz y agresivo.

Cirugía

Hay varios tipos de cirugías utilizadas para tratar el mesotelioma y el tipo y la etapa de la enfermedad determinarán el tipo de cirugía. Los tumores de mesotelioma son generalmente grandes y difíciles de eliminar por completo, por lo que la cirugía por lo general se combina con otros tratamientos contra el cáncer para garantizar los mejores resultados en la destrucción del tumor.

En general, existen dos tipos de métodos quirúrgicos para el tratamiento del mesotelioma:

  • Procedimientos paliativos: son los que tratan los síntomas del mesotelioma, proporcionando un alivio para el paciente, sin tratar agresivamente la enfermedad en sí.
    • Tubo de Drenaje del Pecho y Pleurodesis
      El objetivo de la pleurodesis química es causar una irritación entre las dos capas que cubren el pulmón. Esta irritación provoca una obliteración del espacio entre las capas donde se acumula el fluido, y evita además que el fluido sea capaz de acumularse allí. Existe una variedad de agentes que se pueden utilizar incluido el talco y la bleomicina. Puesto que el espacio pleural está cerrado, los líquidos se drenan fuera de la cavidad del pecho mediante el uso de un tubo en el pecho.
    • Derivación pleuroperitoneal
      La derivación pleuroperitoneal se ha utilizado en pacientes en los que ha fracasado la pleurodesis química, la quimioterapia o la radioterapia. La derivación pleuroperitoneal puede proporcionar un tratamiento paliativo eficaz en pacientes con un pulmón atrapado o en los que el tratamiento ha fracasado.
  • Opciones potencialmente curativas: son procedimientos médicos que intentan eliminar toda la enfermedad macroscópica con “intención curativa”. Las células de la enfermedad microscópica residual se retiran luego a través de la terapia adyuvante.
    • Pleurectomía o decorticación
      Una Pleurectomía o decorticación es un procedimiento quirúrgico donde la pleura, la membrana que recubre los pulmones y la cavidad torácica, se retira, sin la eliminación de todo el pulmón. Esta opción de tratamiento se realiza generalmente en pacientes con etapas tempranas del mesotelioma.
    • Neumonectomía extra-pleural (PPE)
      La PPE es la eliminación de la pleura, el diafragma, el pericardio, y todo el pulmón que están afectados por el tumor. La EPP se considera una terapia radical y la mayoría de los cirujanos no la realizan con frecuencia, los pacientes son remitidos a centros especializados en estos tratamientos. Ambos procedimientos anteriores “potencialmente curativos” se utilizan normalmente en combinación con otras opciones de tratamiento (terapia multimodal).

Quimioterapia

La quimioterapia usa medicamentos para matar las células cancerosas y se puede utilizar como tratamiento primario para el mesotelioma, o se puede utilizar como parte de un enfoque multi-modal. La quimioterapia se conoce como un tratamiento sistémico porque el medicamento se introduce en el torrente sanguíneo del paciente y viaja a través del cuerpo matando las células cancerosas. Los medicamentos pueden administrarse en forma de píldoras, o inyectarse en el cuerpo a través de una aguja.

Además de matar las células cancerosas, los medicamentos de quimioterapia funcionan para restringir la proliferación incontrolada de las células cancerosas anormales, impidiendo que se dividan y multipliquen.

La quimioterapia no se considera como un enfoque “curativo” para el tratamiento del mesotelioma y en vez de ello se centra en reducir los tumores existentes (por lo general antes de la cirugía, terapia neoadyuvante), control de la propagación de las células cancerosas, y la eliminación de las células cancerosas residuales después de la cirugía (terapia adyuvante).

Para tratar eficazmente el mesotelioma, Se puede utilizar más de un medicamento en la quimioterapia. Dependiendo de los medicamentos, la cantidad tomada y el periodo de tratamiento, puede haber efectos secundarios. Históricamente, la doxorrubicina ha sido el fármaco más ampliamente utilizado de quimioterapia de un solo medicamento. Otros fármacos más nuevos, incluida la gemcitabina, el cisplatino, el carboplatino, la epirrubicina, la ciclofosfamida, la ifosfamida, la vinorelbina, el paclitaxel, y el metotrexato, ahora se prefieren a menudo y por lo general se administran en diferentes combinaciones.

Radioterapia

La radioterapia utiliza rayos X de alta energía para ayudar a destruir las células cancerosas y reducir los tumores. La radiación puede provenir de fuera del cuerpo a partir de una máquina (radiación externa) o de materiales radiactivos colocados directamente dentro o alrededor de las células cancerosas a través de tubos plásticos delgados (radiación interna o por implante).

En el mesotelioma pleural, es difícil irradiar el tejido del tumor con éxito sin dañar los órganos cercanos, como los pulmones, el corazón y el hígado. Sin embargo, la radioterapia puede ser muy eficaz en el alivio del dolor en ciertas situaciones. Los factores que pueden afectar el uso de la radioterapia incluyen el volumen del tumor y lo cerca que se encuentre a los órganos vitales.

Tratamientos no tradicionales

Terapia fotodinámica

La terapia fotodinámica destruye las células cancerosas mediante el uso de la energía de la luz y también puede ser eficaz cuando se combina con la cirugía. Aunque este tratamiento se encuentra en la etapa experimental para el mesotelioma, ha mostrado resultados prometedores en el tratamiento de otros tipos de cáncer. En el procedimiento, el paciente recibe un fotosensibilizador (un fármaco que hace que las células sean sensibles a longitudes de onda específicas de la luz), que se acumula en las células cancerosas pero no en las células sanas. Una vez que las células se han sensibilizado, se colocan cables de fibra óptica en el cuerpo (por lo general a través de cirugía abierta de tórax) de modo que se pueda enfocar la frecuencia correcta de luz sobre el tumor. Esto hace que el fármaco fotosensibilizador produzca una molécula de oxígeno tóxico que mata a la célula cancerosa.

Terapia génica

Se trata de un nuevo tratamiento, actualmente en ensayos clínicos. Este enfoque permite dirigir el tratamiento hacia los tumores, en lugar de destruir las células sanas, que es el aspecto negativo de la quimioterapia tradicional. En la terapia génica, el cáncer se trata mediante la alteración de defectos genéticos que permiten que un tumor se desarrolle. Un “gen suicida” se inserta directamente en el tumor, lo que hace las células sensibles a un fármaco normalmente ineficaz. El fármaco se administra a continuación a las células cancerosas recién sensibilizadas y destruye las células mientras que deja ilesas las células sanas.

Inmunoterapia

La inmunoterapia (o terapia biológica) trata al cáncer mediante el uso del propio sistema inmunológico para combatir las células cancerosas. Otro nombre que a menudo se aplica a esta terapia es modificadores de la respuesta biológica (MRB). Aunque aún no se puede obtener, están en marcha estudios clínicos prometedores para la inmunoterapia.

¿Qué tipos de lesiones puede causar el asbesto?

Cuando una persona respira asbesto, las fibras pueden alojarse en los pulmones. Una vez allí, pueden causar cicatrices. Las fibras de asbesto también pueden causar mesotelioma y cáncer pulmonar.

Los tipos específicos de enfermedades asociadas con la exposición al asbesto incluyen:

  • Asbestosis

El asbesto puede causar cicatrices en los pulmones y en la mucosa de los pulmones. Estas cicatrices se conocen como asbestosis o fibrosis intersticial. Si ocurre la suficiente cicatrización, puede afectar la elasticidad de los pulmones y obstaculizar su capacidad para intercambiar gases. Como resultado, se produce una toma de oxígeno inadecuada en la sangre. Esta deficiencia conduce a la falta de aire. Con el tiempo, la capacidad respiratoria disminuye y en algunos casos llega a ser fatal.

La asbestosis, como otras enfermedades causadas por el asbesto, es una enfermedad latente, se requieren de 10 a 50 años después de la exposición al asbesto para que una persona se enferme.

No existe cura conocida para la asbestosis.

  • Mesotelioma

El asbesto también se puede alojar en el recubrimiento de los pulmones, comúnmente se conoce como la pleura y en el abdomen se conoce como peritoneo. Estas fibras pueden causar un tipo de cáncer conocido como mesotelioma. La única causa conocida del mesotelioma es el asbesto.

El mesotelioma aparece al menos 10 años después de la exposición al asbesto. En algunos casos, una persona expuesta al asbesto hace 60 años se le puede diagnosticar con mesotelioma.

  • Cáncer pulmonar

El asbesto también puede causar cáncer pulmonar. Una persona no fumadora puede presentar cáncer debido a la exposición al asbesto. Si fumó en el pasado o fuma en la actualidad, y le han diagnosticado cáncer pulmonar, el asbesto puede ser una causa de su cáncer. Para los fumadores, el asbesto y el tabaco actúan juntos, lo que incrementa mucho el riesgo de contraer cáncer pulmonar. La combinación de ser fumador y el asbesto puede incrementar el riesgo de desarrollar cáncer pulmonar.

El cáncer pulmonar se puede tratar, dependiendo de su severidad y del historial médico del individuo.

Para información sobre los centros de tratamiento del cáncer pulmonar, haga clic aquí.

  • Otros tipos de cáncer

El asbesto también se ha asociado a muchos otros tipos de cáncer, incluido el cáncer de garganta y el cáncer en el área estomacal.

  • Placas pleurales

El asbesto puede causar placas y calcificación que se forman en la parte exterior de la pleura de los pulmones.

¿Qué profesiones y ocupaciones estan en contacto con asbesto?

Existe una amplia variedad de profesiones y trabajos que estuvieron expuestos al polvo de asbesto. No solo son los trabajadores que trabajaron directamente con el asbesto y los productos de asbesto quienes están padeciendo de enfermedades causadas por el asbesto como la asbestosis, cáncer pulmonar y mesotelioma. Las víctimas incluyen trabajadores que trabajaron cerca o vivieron con gente que estuvieron expuestos al asbesto. Puesto que el polvo de asbesto se suspende en el aire y puede ser invisible, las fibras viajan a lo largo del lugar de trabajo y exponen a todos los trabajadores de la ubicación. En una sola barrida, millones y millones de fibras de asbesto se pueden liberar a la zona de respiración de cualquiera en las cercanías. Durante el transcurso de su carrera, un trabajador puede respirar varios millones de fibras, algunas de las cuales se pueden alojar en los pulmones y causar lesiones.

Algunas de las ocupaciones que están asociadas típicamente con la aparición del mesotelioma y otras enfermedades causadas por el asbesto incluyen:

  • Recubridor de tuberías
  • Obreros
  • Mecánicos de frenos
  • Mecánicos de automóviles
  • Constructores de molinos
  • Pintores
  • Yeseros
  • Marineros de marinas mercantes
  • Fontaneros
  • Acabadores de cemento
  • Trabajadores de fundiciones
  • Carpinteros
  • Plomeros
  • Colocadores de techos
  • Marinos
  • Trabajadores de patios de marina
  • Trabajadores de la industria del papel
  • Electricistas
  • Albañiles
  • Caldereros
  • Mecánicos automotrices
  • Maquinistas
  • Colocador de tablones de manera para celosías
  • Aisladores
  • Soldadores
  • Trabajadores de láminas de metal
  • Operadores de grúas
  • Mecánicos de aeronaves
  • Ingenieros
  • Acopladores de tuberías de vapor
  • Trabajadores en albañilería
  • Estibadores
  • Trabajadores de las plantas
  • Trabajadores de centrales eléctricas
  • Trabajadores de ferrovías
  • Inspectores
  • Trabajadores de mantenimiento
  • Trabajadores de fábricas de papel
  • Afiladores

Estas son solo algunas de las ocupaciones involucradas. Si se le ha diagnosticado una enfermedad producida por el asbesto (cáncer pulmonar, mesotelioma o asbestosis), póngase en contacto con Belluck & Fox, LLP para evaluar su demanda.

Si estuve expuesto al asbesto hace muchos años, ¿Por qué hasta ahora fui diagnosticado con mesotelioma, cáncer pulmonar o asbestosis?

Las enfermedades y cánceres causados por el asbesto son enfermedades que presentan latencia. Esto significa que las lesiones por la exposición a las fibras de asbesto no son aparentes hasta al menos diez años después de la exposición. En muchos casos, las enfermedades ocurren hasta 60 años después de la exposición a las fibras de asbesto. Por lo tanto, es posible que a las personas expuestas al asbesto en las décadas de 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970 y 1980 se les venga a diagnosticar hasta ahora.

¿Qué es el asbesto?

El asbesto es un mineral utilizado en algunos materiales de construcción y de aislamiento. Las minas de asbesto en todo el mundo, muchas de ellas en Canadá, produjeron más de 250 millones de toneladas de asbesto para su uso en los Estados Unidos entre 1890 y 1970. El asbesto se añadió a una variedad de productos, incluyendo productos para aislamiento, frenos de automóviles, productos a prueba de fuego, revestimiento de tuberías, cementos, materiales refractarios, juntas, baldosas y compuestos para juntas.

Desde 1920 las empresas que fabricaban estos productos conocían los peligros del asbesto. Sin embargo, el asbesto fue vendido y utilizado ampliamente sin advertencias hasta la década de 1980. Los productos de asbesto aún no están prohibidos en los Estados Unidos y en otros países, pero ya no se usan tan ampliamente. Había materiales alternativos que podrían haberse utilizado en lugar del asbesto.

Durante la instalación, reparación, mantenimiento, renovación y retirada de materiales de asbesto, los productos se cortaron, rasparon, lijaron y alteraron de otro modo. Algunos materiales, como los cementos, se mezclaron en los sitios de trabajo utilizando fibras crudas de asbesto. Estos procesos produjeron polvo, que fue inhalado por los trabajadores que trabajaban con y en torno de este material. El polvo de estos productos también viajó a través de edificios, fábricas y barcos, y permaneció suspendido en el aire por semanas. Cuando se barrían, estos materiales se volvían a suspender en el aire, donde eran respirados de nuevo por los trabajadores en las cercanías.

Una gran cantidad de trabajadores fueron expuestos al asbesto, incluidos trabajadores de astilleros, trabajadores de fábricas, plomeros, chapistas, fontaneros, obreros, maquinistas, mecánicos, trabajadores de centrales eléctricas, y electricistas. Una nube de polvo generada a partir de productos de asbesto puede contener millones o miles de millones de fibras, e incluso una pequeña cantidad de asbesto puede causar daño pulmonar. También se le pueden generar lesiones a las personas que lavan la ropa de los miembros de su familia después de regresar a casa del trabajo y a las personas que utilizan productos de asbesto en sus hogares, como baldosas.

Con frecuencia, las personas no recuerdan inmediatamente cómo fueron expuestos al asbesto, y es posible que crean que nunca presentaron exposición al asbesto. Con frecuencia, una revisión cuidadosa de la historia de vida y de la historia laboral de una persona revela exposiciones a productos de asbesto que no eran aparentes anteriormente.

Entra en contacto con nosotros si has estado expuesto y tienes síntomas de mesotelioma.

Motorcycle Accidents (9)

I got pictures and information from witnesses of the motorcycle accident. What should I do now?

Send our attorneys the pictures and information you have collected, as they will likely be critical to your case. Keep all your other paperwork, too, from receipts for related expenses to unpaid medical bills, and log all time missed from work because of the accident and injuries.

When you put your trust in the experienced New York motorcycle accident attorneys at Belluck & Fox, we will conduct a thorough investigation of what led to your crash and the resulting injuries. We will also enlist the help of medical and financial experts, accident reconstruction professionals, and other specialists to assess your case and craft a solid legal strategy.

Should I give the insurance company a statement or talk to the insurance adjuster?

You may need to notify your insurer and speak with the police, but you aren’t required to share anything more than basic details. Don’t give a recorded statement and don’t admit fault. Insurance adjusters are skilled at getting accident victims to say things they shouldn’t, so your best bet is to let your attorneys handle the insurance company.

The other driver’s insurance company has made me a motorcycle accident settlement offer. What should I do?

Most insurers will do whatever they can to minimize costs, and that includes low-balling accident victims who are desperate for financial assistance. You should have the skilled negotiators at Belluck & Fox assess your case and the offer. We do not charge anything for initial consultations because we don’t want you to be pressured into accepting less than what you need and deserve. Contact us today.

What if I am partially at fault for my motorcycle accident? Can I still file a claim?

Yes. New York is what’s called a “pure comparative fault” state. That means the courts will calculate fault in percentages and apportion blame accordingly. Compensation is based on that math.

It’s important to have New York-savvy motorcycle accident attorneys who know how to keep the other party from shifting an unfair share of the blame to you, reducing your compensation. You can count on Belluck & Fox to fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve.

I got hurt in a motorcycle accident, but I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Can I still pursue compensation?

Yes, but the amount of compensation might be affected, or even blocked, if the other driver’s lawyers can prove your injuries were worse because you weren’t wearing a helmet. The law in New York state is clear: All motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet and eye protection.

If you were seriously injured in an accident and were not wearing a helmet, you should speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys right away to discuss your legal options.

What if the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance? Can I get my insurance company to compensate me for medical expenses and lost wages?

Motorcycles don’t qualify as motor vehicles under New York’s “no-fault” law, but motorcyclists can pursue compensation from their own insurers if they carry underinsured, uninsured, or supplemental underinsurance motorist coverage (UM, UIM, SUM coverage).

How much is my motorcycle accident claim worth?

Compensation is tied to the facts of the accident and the severity of injuries and property damage involved. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox will seek maximum compensation for:

  • Medical bills, both past and future
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle
  • Lost income, both past and potential, for time missed on the job
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and mental
  • Punitive damages, in cases where extreme misconduct or even criminal actions led to harm

How long do I have to file a lawsuit for injuries or property damage from a motorcycle accident?

The clock begins ticking as soon as the accident happens. In general, motorcyclists have three years to file a personal injury claim, but it may be as short as 90 days. If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

However, it is important that you contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident, because building a strong claim takes time and evidence needs to be preserved.

How much will it cost to hire a lawyer for my motorcycle accident case?

Belluck & Fox does not charge anything upfront to take on motorcycle accident cases. Instead, our skilled legal team works on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay attorneys’ fees unless and until we secure compensation for you. The contingency fee will be a percentage of your compensation, typically one-third.

Personal Injury (9)

What exactly is a personal injury case?

When a person is harmed and someone or something else is to blame, the injured person has a right to pursue justice through the legal system. Simply put, the plaintiff (the injured person) accuses the defendant (an individual, manufacturer of a defective product, provider of a faulty service, or a combination of these) of causing physical, emotional, or financial harm and asks the legal system to put a dollar value on the suffering to help the victim.

What are some examples of personal injury cases?

At Belluck & Fox, our skilled New York personal injury attorneys have decades of experience representing people in a wide range of claims. Cases we handle include (but are not limited to):

  • Car crashes
  • Motorcycle wrecks
  • Truck accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Children injured at school
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Defective products
  • Dangerous pharmaceuticals
  • Asbestos claims

How do you prove fault in a personal injury case?

In order to secure compensation in a New York personal injury claim, you must prove:

  • There was negligence. (This could be on the part of a person or a company.)
  • The negligence led to your injury.
  • You were physical, emotionally, or financially damaged.

Proving fault and documenting damages in a personal injury case is a complex process. At Belluck & Fox, our personal injury attorneys have built a team of experts – medical specialists, economists, accident reconstruction pros, and investigators – to consult on your case.

Armed with evidence, our attorneys will devise a smart legal strategy to pursue the compensation needed to get your life back on track after a serious injury.

What types of compensation are available in personal injury cases?

Depending on the circumstances in your case, our New York personal injury attorneys may demand compensation for:

  • Existing and expected medical expenses
  • Lost income, including diminished earning capacity
  • Property damage, such as to your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering resulting from injuries
  • Punitive damages, which are meant to punish the at-fault party in cases involving extreme misconduct

To learn more about how much your personal injury claim could be worth, schedule a free consultation with us today.

Should I accept a personal injury settlement offer from the insurance company?

Do not accept a personal injury settlement offer without speaking to Belluck & Fox. Insurance companies always want to pay out as little as possible. In fact, they have teams of claims handlers and attorneys working for them to protect their profits.

The insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible. Accepting a personal injury settlement offer without consulting an attorney is not a good idea. Especially right after an accident, you may not fully know the extent of the damages you will suffer or all the facts involved in your case.

Take advantage of our free initial consultation to learn what your personal injury case is really worth and how our skilled attorneys will fight for maximum compensation.

Will I have to go to court for my personal injury lawsuit?

Most personal injury claims are resolved with a settlement, rather than a verdict. However, that settlement might come at the last possible minute, including in the middle of a trial.

At Belluck & Fox, our experienced personal injury attorneys are both skilled negotiators and fierce litigators. And we always pursue maximum compensation for our clients, whether that comes in the form of a settlement or jury award.

How long does a personal injury case take?

There’s no simple answer to that question because every case is different. When you sit down for a free, no-obligation case consultation with our attorneys, we will review the details of your claim and map out a legal strategy tailored to your needs.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a personal injury claim?

At Belluck & Fox, we will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay anything upfront for us to start working on your claim, and we only collect legal fees if we recover compensation for you. A contingency fee is a percentage of your compensation and is typically one-third of your recovery.

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in New York state?

It’s important to take legal action as soon as you are injured because New York puts a statute of limitations, or time limit, on filing personal injury claims. You may only have 90 days to file your claim. Standard time limits are:

  • Three years to file a slip-and-fall claim
  • Three years to file a car accident injury claim
  • Three years to file a product liability claim
  • Three years to file a claim for personal injury resulting from other negligence
  • Two years to file a claim for wrongful death
  • One year to file a claim for assault/battery

Based on the statute of limitations, it may seem like you have plenty of time to file your claim, but remember: It takes time to build a strong case, and evidence disappears as time goes by. So the longer you wait to contact an attorney, the more difficult your case becomes.

And in some cases, you may have as little as 90 days to file your claim. There are also many shorter deadlines that need to be met when filing claims through insurance companies, and failing to meet those deadlines can hurt your case.

Slip and Fall (10)

What should I do if I am seriously hurt in a slip-and-fall, and I know a problem there caused the accident?

There are several steps you should take as soon as possible after a slip-and-fall accident to protect your rights to compensation:

  • First get professional medical help.
  • Notify the property owner and get a written record of your accident, but limit communication with potential defendants.
  • Take photos and notes at the scene, and ask any witnesses for their names and contact information.
  • Save any evidence, including the shoes and clothes you were wearing.
  • Then contact us to discuss your legal options for pursuing the compensation you need.

What are my options if I slipped and fell at work?

In many cases, New York state workplace injury rules limit employees to workers’ compensation when it comes to relief for medical expenses and lost wages. However, there are many circumstances under which you may have other legal options. For example:

  • If your fall was caused by negligence on the part of a company other than your employer, you may be able to pursue compensation from that party. For example, if you fell on the stairs at your office building because the building manager ignored a spill.
  • If defective or dangerous equipment led to your injury, the manufacturer or other companies in the chain of distribution may be held liable.
  • Construction workers in particular are protected by the Scaffold Law, which allows them to pursue full and fair compensation for fall-related injuries.

Schedule a free and confidential case consultation to discuss the details of your case and learn what your legal options are. Contact us now.

Do I have a case against the owner of a store where I fell and was seriously injured?

Negligence on the part of the property owner, manager, or affiliated at-fault party is the foundation of a successful case. In order to prove negligence, we will need to show:

  • You were on the property lawfully, or, if not, you were trespassing but the owner knew it.
  • The property owner, manager, or affiliated at-fault party knew or should have known about the unsafe condition, yet nothing was done to correct it.
  • That negligence resulted in your injury.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a slip-and-fall injury?

New York state gives you three years from the time of the injury to file a claim, unless your claim is against the state, a county, or city. If you’re going after the government or one of its agencies, you must file a formal claim within 90 days. Then you have one year and 90 days from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit.

It is extremely important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible after your accident. We will need to begin collecting evidence and building a case right away.

How much is my slip-and-fall claim worth?

There’s no way of saying upfront. It depends on your injuries and how they affect you. Our firm will enlist the help of various professionals to calculate medical expenses and lost income (past, present, and expected), tabulate all expenses related to the injury (from transportation costs to any expenditure for modifying housing and transportation to accommodate your condition), and estimate a dollar amount to account for your pain and suffering. The goal is to thoroughly assess how this injury has affected you so we can demand maximum compensation.

What kind of compensation is available in a slip-and-fall case?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may demand compensation for:

  • Existing and expected medical expenses
  • Lost wages and reduced earning potential in the future
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages, which are levied as punishment in cases where the defendant is guilty of conscious or reckless disregard for the victim’s safety

How long will it take to get money from my slip-and-fall claim?

That depends on whether you have a solid case that a reasonable defendant wants to settle quickly or if you must deal with a combative defendant who chooses to go to court. There’s no set time, and deep-pocketed defendants and insurance companies may try to drag it out. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of skilled attorneys from a law firm with plenty of resources.

What should I do if an insurance company offers me a slip-and-fall settlement?

Do not agree to anything without talking to our experienced attorneys. Hard-nosed insurers will come at you with low-ball offers when you are at your most vulnerable right after the accident. You need a knowledgeable attorney to evaluate your case and determine what a full and fair settlement would be.

How much does it cost to hire an attorney in a slip-and-fall case?

Belluck & Fox will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay us unless and until we secure compensation for you. Our initial consultation is free, so contact us now to get started.

What if I was partially at fault for my fall injury?

New York is a pure comparative fault state. That means your compensation can be reduced if you were partially to blame. The court determines fault in percentages, so for example, if you were 30 percent at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 30 percent.

Never admit fault after a slip-and-fall accident. Let the evidence speak for itself.

Construction Accidents (9)

Is workers’ compensation my only option after a construction site accident?

No. Your options for compensation will depend on the type of accident you were involved in and who was at fault. For example:

  • In New York, the “Scaffold Law” protects workers who suffer injuries from falls and other elevation-related injuries, allowing workers to seek compensation from contractors, owners, and their agents.
  • If your accident was caused by dangerous equipment or a defective part, you may pursue compensation from the product’s manufacturer or any other companies in the chain of distribution.
  • If you were hurt in a car accident on a construction site, you may be able to pursue compensation through the driver’s auto insurance.
  • If your accident was caused by someone who works for another subcontractor on the job, you may pursue compensation from that person’s employer.

I was injured as a bystander at a construction site. How can I seek compensation for my injuries?

Negligence on the part of construction workers, contractors, vendors, property owners, project managers, and others responsible for construction site safety can lead to serious injuries for bystanders. People who are visiting or passing by construction sites have the right to pursue compensation if they are injured, and they should talk to an experienced New York construction accident attorney as soon as possible.

What types of compensation can I recover in a construction accident lawsuit?

At Belluck & Fox, our dedicated construction accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate your claim to determine who is responsible and document the extent of the damages you have suffered. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may demand:

  • Payment for medical expenses, both current and expected
  • Compensation for lost wages, existing and expected
  • Awards for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injury
  • Punitive damages to punish at-fault parties for extreme misconduct

Can undocumented workers file claims for compensation if they are hurt on the job?

Yes. Undocumented immigrant laborers are given the same legal protections and paths to compensation as all their co-workers – as long as the worker did not provide false papers to the employer to get the job.

What is the “Scaffold Law” and how could it apply to my case?

New York provides special protections for construction workers under Labor Law Section 240, also known as the Scaffold Law. This law allows construction workers who suffer falls from scaffolding and other elevation-related injuries to demand compensation from the parties that are supposed to be responsible for their safety.

Because these types of fall-related injuries can be so severe, claims made under the Scaffold Law allow for compensation beyond what workers’ compensation provides.

Can I file a wrongful death claim if I lost a loved one in a construction accident?

If your loved one was killed in a construction accident, you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. These claims can only be filed by a personal representative of the victim’s estate, which may be a spouse or other loved one named in a will. When damages are recovered through a wrongful death claim, they are distributed to survivors in compliance with New York state law or based on instructions in the will.

I was exposed to asbestos on a construction site years ago, and I have now been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Is it too late to pursue compensation?

Mesothelioma is a devastating cancer whose only known cause is asbestos. It can develop up to 60 years after a person was exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos materials were commonly used on construction sites throughout New York ─ and asbestos exposure is still a risk today as workers demolish and work on old buildings that contain asbestos materials.

If you have just been diagnosed with mesothelioma, even if you were exposed to asbestos decades ago, you have a right to pursue compensation from those companies that failed to warn you of the danger. Belluck & Fox has secured more than $1 billion for people who were harmed by asbestos. Contact us for a free consultation, or download a free mesothelioma information package.

How much is my construction accident claim worth?

The amount of compensation we will demand in your case will be tied to a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury, the cost of medical care, the amount of injury-related expenses from rehabilitation, the loss of wages to date and expected loss of income, awards for pain and suffering if merited, and punitive damages if there was gross negligence or criminal wrongdoing.

At Belluck & Fox, we will conduct an extensive investigation into your accident and thoroughly document the severity of your injury and how it has affected your life. Our seasoned New York construction accident attorneys are committed to pursuing maximum compensation in your case.

How long will my construction accident claim take?

Most cases resolve within 9 to 12 months. Many claims will end with a settlement offer before a jury is seated. However, some settlements come in the courtroom. Then there are the cases that must be fought all the way to a final jury verdict or judgment. Belluck & Fox will stand by you throughout the process to demand the full and fair compensation you and your family deserve.

Car Accidents (13)

Do I have to tell my insurance company about the accident?

You are obligated to tell your insurer within a certain amount of time (which should be outlined in your policy) if you plan to seek compensation for your accident. However, you aren’t required to give more than basic information such as where and when it happened and who was involved.

Insurance adjusters are notoriously skilled at leading accident victims to say things that could come back to haunt them. Protect yourself and your case by sticking to the basics. Do not give a recorded statement and do not admit fault.

Any other questions they have can be directed to your attorney.

What should I say if the other driver’s insurance company contacts me?

You don’t have to explain anything to the other driver’s insurance company. The best thing to do is refer them to your attorney.

My medical bills are piling up after an accident that wasn’t my fault. Do I have to pay them?

Our attorneys can serve as a buffer between you and the health care providers to ensure you are not overwhelmed by bills while we are pursuing compensation for your injuries. Calls and letters seeking payment can be referred to your attorney. Medical expenses, existing and those to come, are part of the reason it’s important to have a lawyer on your side to fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries. 

Should I accept a settlement offer?

Automobile insurance is a business, and businesses operate for profit. Most will do whatever they can to minimize their expenses, including playing hardball with accident victims and making low offers for compensation.

Do not sign anything or accept any settlement offer without speaking to one of our knowledgeable attorneys. The insurance companies have lawyers working to protect their interests. You deserve to have the same.

Should I see a doctor even if I feel OK?

Yes. Don’t take chances with your health. Injuries such as whiplash aren’t always immediately evident, and those scratches and bruises might be outward signs of internal problems. It’s also important to have an official medical record documenting your injuries as part of your claim for compensation.

Do I really need an attorney?

You can go it alone, but keep in mind that you will be a minnow in a shark tank once you begin negotiating. Insurance companies, automakers, auto parts manufacturers, and distributors don’t have one lawyer, they have teams of lawyers. And if you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to their negligence, they can be particularly aggressive in trying to minimize their financial losses. At the end of the day, you need an experienced advocate who can go toe-to-toe with the other side.

What happens if I caused a collision?

Never assume that you are the one at fault. Only an in-depth investigation can show what really happened. For example, your car may have been affected by a defective auto part. Or the other driver may have been intoxicated and you were too rattled to notice.

New York state’s “comparative fault” law allows for both parties to be partially responsible. It’s important that you discuss exactly what happened with an experienced attorney to learn what your rights are.

What should I do if my brakes failed and caused an accident?

Defective parts can cause wrecks. That’s why it’s a good idea not to jump to conclusions about who is at fault. Let the experts investigate and determine what caused the crash. If your vehicle’s brakes failed and the manufacturer is at fault, our skilled attorneys can help you pursue compensation from the manufacturer or any responsible party in the distribution chain.

What types of compensation can I get after a crash?

Compensation depends on the circumstances of the collision and the severity of injuries and property damage. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox seek maximum compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
  • Lost income from time missed on the job
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and mental
  • Punitive damages, in cases where extreme misconduct or criminal actions led to harm

How much does it cost to hire an attorney?

At Belluck & Fox, we take vehicle collision cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay upfront for us to start working on your claim. We collect legal fees if and when we recover compensation for you. The contingency fee would be a percentage of your compensation.

Will my case go to trial?

That answer depends on the circumstances in your case. Most cases settle before a verdict is delivered, but the settlement might come at the last possible minute. The dedicated attorneys at Belluck & Fox are always prepared to take a case all the way through to a jury verdict, and we will make sure you are prepared for whatever path your case may take.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit for injuries or property damage?

New York has a three-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation for injuries or property damage. However, that doesn’t mean you have time to waste. There are many shorter deadlines that have to be met in the meantime, and our attorneys will want to launch an investigation into your crash as soon as possible to start collecting evidence.

I Was a Victim in a Distracted Driving Crash. Can Charges be Brought?

A study showed that the risk of a traffic accident while using a cellular phone is the same as that while driving drunk, with the cell phone user 400% more likely to get into an accident. If the driver claims they were not using their cellular phone at the time, records from the telephone company can be obtained to prove use at the time of the accident. In addition, the records can also reveal additional witnesses, i.e. the party on the other end of the cell phone call. Even if no criminal charges are filed against the driver, a victim may be able to bring an action for damages.

Wrongful Death (10)

What types of compensation can be recovered?

Our New York wrongful death attorneys may pursue compensation for financial losses such as:

  • Expenses related to your loved one’s funeral and burial
  • Health care expenses for treating your loved one until death
  • Value of income and benefits lost before your loved one died from the injury
  • Value of the lost support and services your loved one used to provide
  • Inheritance lost by children
  • Value of the nurturing, guidance, and care your loved one would have provided to the children

Unfortunately, surviving family members cannot typically recover compensation for their personal pain and suffering. However, your loved one’s estate can demand compensation for the pain and suffering he or she experienced between the time of the accident and the time of death.

Are punitive damages possible in a wrongful death case?

In rare cases where willful misconduct or criminal actions lead to a wrongful death, punitive damages can be awarded as a means to punish the defendants.

Is there a wrongful death statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing a claim in New York?

In New York, you have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Exceptions to the rule are extremely rare, even for children or those not physically or mentally capable of filing a claim.

The insurance company has made a wrongful death settlement offer. Should I take it?

Insurance companies are shameless in approaching grieving families when they are at their most vulnerable. The company may offer a very low settlement in exchange for you signing away your rights.

Never agree to a wrongful death settlement without discussing your rights with an experienced New York attorney. You deserve full and fair compensation, and you will likely need a skilled attorney to fight for it.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer in a wrongful death case?

Belluck & Fox’s wrongful death attorneys will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay any attorneys’ fees unless and until we secure compensation for you. We also offer a free case consultation to discuss your claim and outline all of your legal options.

Contact us today to get started.

How long will my wrongful death case take?

Most cases do not make it all the way through to a jury verdict or judgment. Instead, settlements are the most common outcome. However, that might not happen until the very last minute.

Overall, you should know that a lawsuit is a complex process that can take years from the time a claim is made until a settlement or verdict is reached and compensation is awarded. Our attorneys will work diligently to keep your case moving forward as efficiently as possible.

What should I look for in a New York wrongful death lawyer?

When trying to choose a wrongful death lawyer who is right for your family, consider:

  • Experience. The knowledgeable legal team at Belluck & Fox has more than 20 years of experience successfully handling these types of cases.
  • Success. Our skilled attorneys have secured more than $1 billion for deserving clients and their families, and we are nationally recognized for our success.
  • Compassion. Our dedication to clients fuels our every move. We know you and your family are hurting, and our attorneys will always treat you with the respect and sensitivity that you deserve.

If you are ready to discuss your case and learn about your legal options for filing a wrongful death claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we will help you fight for justice for your loved one.

Am I eligible to file a wrongful death claim in New York state?

In New York, only a personal representative of the wrongful death victim’s estate, someone who is appointed by New York Surrogate’s Court, may file a wrongful death claim. That representative typically is the executor of the will or the administrator of the victim’s estate, according to the New York City Bar.

However, once damages are recovered in a wrongful death case, they are distributed to survivors based on instructions in the will or in compliance with state law.

What do you have to prove in a wrongful death case?

To establish a wrongful death claim, you must prove:

  • The at-fault party acted negligently.
  • That negligence caused your loved one’s death.
  • There are surviving family members who are eligible to collect damages.
  • Survivors have suffered financial damage due to your loved one’s death.

Who can recover compensation in a wrongful death case?

A surviving spouse, children, or direct relatives such as parents and siblings of a wrongful death victim may be eligible to receive compensation. The claim must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. However, the damages recovered are typically distributed to survivors according to the will or state law.

Drunk Driving (2)

Who is the Responsible Party in a Drunken Driving Injury Accident?

Anyone driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance, which causes an accident, is considered negligent, and may be liable to pay for all damages. In addition, those who provided the alcohol may also be considered negligent and liable for damages. Many states have laws which impose liability on bars, clubs, restaurants, or hotels which supply liquor improperly. Contact a Belluck & Fox, LLP attorney today for information on the laws that apply in your state.

What is Dram Shop Liability?

Under dram shop liability laws, a party injured by an intoxicated person can sue the establishments or persons who contributed to that person’s intoxication, for example a bar or homeowner where a party was held. This type of claim is often used in auto accident cases involving a DUI. For example, if you were injured by a drunk driver to whom a liquor store sold alcohol when he/she was obviously intoxicated, your dram shop claim would be against that liquor store.

Asbestos Companies (7)

What Did the Asbestos Companies Know And When Did They Know It?

The companies that manufactured, sold and installed asbestos products had extensive knowledge of the deadly hazards of asbestos as early as 1920. Yet, these corporations waited decades to provide warnings to workers and to the general public. In some cases, warnings were never provided.

In addition to this actual knowledge on the part of asbestos corporations, the evidence available in medical books and journals revealed the dangers of asbestos exposure long before millions of American workers were exposed.

What Trades And Occupations Worked With Asbestos?

There were a wide variety of trades and jobs that were exposed to asbestos dust from building products or raw asbestos. It is not just the workers who worked directly with asbestos and asbestos products that are getting sick from asbestos diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The victims include workers who worked around or lived with people who used these materials. Because asbestos dust becomes airborne and can be invisible, the fibers travel throughout a worksite and expose all of the workers at that location. In a single sweeping, millions and millions of asbestos fibers can be released into the breathing zone of anybody in that vicinity. Over the course of a career, a worker could have breathed several billion fibers, some of which lodge in the lung, and cause injury.

Some of the occupations that are typically associated with the onset of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases include:

  • Pipe Coverers
  • Laborers
  • Brake Mechanics
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Millwrights
  • Painters
  • Plasterers
  • Merchant Marine Seaman
  • Pipefitters
  • Cement Finishers
  • Foundry Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Sailors
  • Navy Yard Workers / Yard birds
  • Paper workers
  • Electricians
  • Bricklayers
  • Boilermakers
  • Automotive mechanics
  • Machinists
  • Lathers
  • Insulators
  • Welders
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Crane Operators
  • Aircraft Mechanics
  • Engineers
  • Steamfitters
  • Masonry Workers
  • Longshoreman
  • Plant workers
  • Powerhouse Workers
  • Railroad Workers
  • Inspectors
  • Maintenance Workers
  • Paper Mill Workers
  • Tapers

These are just some of the occupations involved. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease (lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis), contact Belluck & Fox, LLP to have your claim evaluated.

If I Smoked Cigarettes, Can I Still File A Claim Against The Asbestos Companies?

Smoking does not cause mesothelioma or asbestosis. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis, it was caused by your asbestos exposure, and has no relationship to your smoking.

Asbestos alone can also cause lung cancer. If you smoked in the past or are presently smoking, and have been diagnosed with lung cancer, asbestos may also be a cause of your cancer. For smokers, asbestos and tobacco act together, greatly increasing the risk of lung cancer. The combination of smoking and asbestos can increase the risk factor of lung cancer.

Which Companies Are Sued In Asbestos Cases?

The typical entities that are sued in asbestos cases are:

  • Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products;
  • Contractors that installed and repaired asbestos-containing products and equipment;
  • Suppliers who provided the materials to the work site; and,
  • Owners of property who allowed asbestos materials to be used on their property.

We typically do not sue your employer due to workers’ compensation laws. Instead, we work with you and your family to identify the manufacturers, sellers, distributors, suppliers and contractors that were responsible for your exposure to asbestos.

I Have Read About Many Asbestos Companies Filing For Bankruptcy, How Do These Bankruptcies Affect My Case?

Over the past two years, some of the corporations responsible for asbestos products have sought protection from lawsuits by filing for bankruptcy. Instead of filing a lawsuit against these companies, a fund is established by the bankruptcy courts to compensate asbestos victims.

The impact of these bankruptcies is significant. It is the duty of any attorney handling an asbestos case to identify all responsible parties that caused your exposure to asbestos.

Belluck & Fox, LLP is familiar with and has experience with recovering compensation from the bankruptcy funds. As part of our representation of you and your family, we will file claims with all of the appropriate bankruptcy funds to secure all available compensation for you and your family.

For a list of bankrupt defendants, click here.

Which Asbestos Companies Are Bankrupt Or Out Of Business?

Among the corporations that have filed for bankruptcy or are defunct are:

  • GAF Corporation
  • Johns-Manville Corporation
  • Raybestos
  • Eagle-Picher
  • Celotex
  • UNARCO
  • HK Porter
  • Keene Corporation/ Baldwin-Ehret Hill
  • Nicolet/ Keasbey & Mattison
  • Asbestospray
  • US Minerals Corporation
  • US Gypsum Corporation
  • W.R. Grace
  • AP Green
  • Harbison-Walker
  • North American Refractories Corporation (NARCO)
  • National Gypsum
  • Babcock & Wilcox
  • Owens Corning Fiberglas
  • Armstrong World Industries
  • Phillip Carey Corporation
  • Pittsburgh Corning Corporation
  • Fibreboard Corporation
  • 48 Insulations
  • Kaiser Aluminum
  • Federal Mogul
  • EJ Bartells
  • Morrison Knudsen
  • Rutland
  • AC&S

How Do You Prove Which Asbestos Companies Are Responsible For My Injury?

As part of our representation, we fully investigate and prosecute each individual case. We will fully interview you and other witnesses, such as your coworkers. We also have a vast library of documents and testimony about the companies that made asbestos products and the products used at your job sites — documents and testimony that we have gathered in other asbestos cases. This information can be used in your case. We will also gather additional evidence in your case, including new documents from the asbestos companies and additional testimony about the products that were used at your worksites.

Belluck & Fox, LLP prides itself on our commitment to investigating each case. We handle each case individually. From the initial meeting, we will start our research and investigation of your claims, and we will continue to represent you throughout every phase of your case.

Asbestos Attorneys (4)

What Legal Options Are Available To Individuals Injured By Asbestos?

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the companies responsible for your asbestos exposure. This can include the companies that made, sold and installed the asbestos. A lawsuit can provide financial compensation to help you and your family pay for medical bills, lost wages and other losses caused by asbestos disease.

It’s OK if you don’t remember the names of the products that exposed you to asbestos or even if you don’t recall how you were exposed. After discussing your employment history with you, our experienced personal injury attorneys will perform an exhaustive investigation of all the ways you may have been exposed to asbestos. We have extensive knowledge and blueprints of New York work sites and asbestos products that help us to pinpoint where and how a client was exposed. We will get to the bottom of your asbestos exposure and make sure that all liable parties pay their fair share to you and your family.

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you have limited time to file a claim and should contact an attorney about your case. The spouse and family of an injured victim may also be eligible to bring legal claims.

Will You File My Case As A Class Action Or As An Individual Lawsuit?

Each claim that we file is an individual lawsuit. We do not file class actions for asbestos cases. An individual lawsuit maximizes your opportunity to receive compensation. It also provides us an opportunity to present the unique and compelling aspects of each case. We take great pride in our relationships with our clients, and will represent you as an individual.

How Can I Find Out If I Should File An Asbestos Lawsuit?

We carefully select our cases in order to devote personal attention to each and every client. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP, and we will respond within 24 hours to promptly evaluate your case. There is no charge for this evaluation. We will only represent you and your family if we believe there is a reasonable likelihood of a successful outcome in your case.

How Long Will It Take For My Lawsuit To Be Completed?

As experienced attorneys specializing in asbestos litigation, we make every effort to advance your case as quickly as possible. If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma, we will petition the courts to resolve your case within one year. Most of our cases are resolved within one year.

Mesothelioma Lawyers (7)

What Are The Stages Of The Lawsuit And What Is My Involvement?

Many of our clients have never been involved in a lawsuit. Although each case is different, there are some common elements to every case:

#1 FIRST CONTACT

Our first contact with you is a personal telephone call from Mr. Belluck or Mr. Fox. During that telephone call, if we determine that you should pursue a legal claim, we will schedule an appointment to meet with you as soon as possible, often within 24 hours. During that initial meeting, which can be at your home or in our office, we:

  • Explain the process of filing and prosecuting a lawsuit;
  • Explore your work, life and medical history; and,
  • Obtain signed authorizations to get copies of medical and employment records.

During the meeting, if we conclude that there is a reasonable chance of a successful outcome, we will present you with a retainer agreement. A retainer is a legal fee agreement between Belluck & Fox, LLP and our clients that explains the legal fees and other terms related to our representation. The attorney who meets with you will explain the details of this agreement.

Below is the list of next steps:

#2 FILING THE COMPLAINT

#3 PROSECUTING THE CASE

#4 SETTLEMENTS

#5 TRIAL

What If My Loved One Had Died Or Is Too Sick To Speak To An Attorney?

By the time a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, they are often too ill to participate in their own case. In some cases, your loved one may have passed away before a lawsuit was brought and before they were able to testify on their own behalf.

If an individual is unable to testify, we work closely with family, friends and co-workers to establish the facts we need to successfully prosecute the case. We also have access to a vast array of resources to secure information about the products to which your loved one was exposed.

If the individual has died, we can file a claim through the administrator or the executor of the estate, and also on behalf of the victim’s relatives.

If your family member (parent, spouse) has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer, or died from these illnesses, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP for an evaluation of your case.

Do I Have To Pay For The Costs Of My Lawsuit?

If you decide to retain our services, we will work for you and your family on a contingency basis. This means that we do not receive a fee unless we our successful in obtaining settlements or recovering compensation for you and your family. Otherwise, you will not be billed for our services.

While the case is pending, we advance the costs of working on your case. Once the case is completed, the expenses and legal fees in your case are deducted from the money we recover on your behalf, and you and your family receive the remaining money from your settlements.

If you are considering hiring Belluck & Fox, LLP to prosecute your claim, one of our attorneys will sit down with you and answer any questions you may have about the contingency agreement. It is important to us that you are fully aware of the details of the contract before we begin to work on your claim. We will give you a copy of the retainer contract so that you may review it and discuss it with us at any time.

Are There Time Limits For Filing A Legal Claim?

You do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a personal injury claim. Each state has laws that limit the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit. Failure to comply with these laws may result in you being barred from taking legal action against asbestos companies.

Once you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, the clock begins to tick.

For that reason, you are advised to consult with an attorney immediately after your asbestos disease diagnosis. Protect your legal rights. Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP.

Is There Going To Be A Trial In My Lawsuit?

As with any lawsuit, we make every effort to resolve your case without a trial. In many instances, we are able to fully resolve your case without a trial. However, in some cases, a responsible party will refuse to pay fair compensation for your injuries, and a trial is necessary to assure that justice is achieved for you and your family. As experienced trial lawyers, Belluck & Fox, LLP is fully prepared to prosecute your case from start to finish, including a trial.

From the time we first meet with you, we consider and act upon your wishes and priorities. There are clients who want to have trial to have their case heard by a jury of their peers. There are also clients who, for a variety of reasons, do not prefer a trial, and we work closely with these clients to advise them about their options for resolving their claims without a trial proceeding. At all stages of the case, including the decision regarding whether to proceed to trial, our first priority is you and your family.

Can I Contact a Lawyer On Behalf Of My Father, Husband Or Relative?

Yes. If your father, mother, husband, wife, or other relative has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact Belluck & Fox, LLP. We will work with you to help your family protect your legal rights and receive full and fair compensation for these injuries. We have significant experience working with the families of asbestos victims.

How Do I Choose a Law Firm to Handle My New York Mesothelioma Case?

Experience matters when it comes to choosing a law firm to handle your New York mesothelioma case. Proven results matter too. Joseph Belluck and Jordan Fox are recognized as two of the top mesothelioma lawyers in the country. With decades of experience representing asbestos victims across the United States, the law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP has secured more than $600 million for the hundreds of mesothelioma clients and families they have represented. They recently won verdicts in the amounts of $32 million and $19.5 million for their clients and were listed as one of America’s best law firms by US News and World Report and Best Lawyers magazine. Why settle for a firm with less experience?

The attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP have a comprehensive database of the asbestos products and companies that may have caused your disease. The firm has built an extensive document library and retained a team of experts to assist victims and their families with their claims. They also have a thorough understanding of the medical issues mesothelioma victims face.

Mesothelioma cases are complex. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP realize that the circumstances surrounding each case are unique. We also know that dealing with mesothelioma creates a great amount of stress for patients and their families. With Belluck & Fox, LLP, you’ll never feel like you are in this battle alone. We treat every client with respect and compassion and provide personalized, thoughtful representation. We maintain frequent contact with our clients and make ourselves available to clients at all times. Let Belluck & Fox, LLP will deal with the legal issues so you can focus on your health.

Simply put, Belluck & Fox, LLP has the experience, resources, compassion and know-how to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.

Our Firm (1)

How Do I Know That Belluck & Fox, LLP Will Treat My Family With Dignity And Give Individual Attention To My Case?

A cornerstone of Belluck & Fox, LLP is personalized legal representation. Clients and their family work directly with one of our personal injury lawyers throughout the legal process, from the initial investigation until resolution. We let you know at every step where the case stands and what your legal rights and options are. If you have any questions at any time you can reach out to us, even at home and on weekends. At the same time, we respect your family’s desire for privacy and will not ask you to be more involved than is necessary in the case. The key is finding the right balance, as every case and every family is different. This is what we mean by personalized representation. We will respect your needs while protecting your rights.

Asbestos Exposure (1)

Could I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos In My Home?

Asbestos is asbestos, whether encountered in the workplace or at home. Even small amounts of asbestos and infrequent exposure can cause injuries. There are many reports of spouses and children who washed their husbands’ and fathers’ clothing contracting mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related cancer. Simply being in the same room or in the vicinity of someone else using asbestos can result in asbestos disease.

Exposure in the home could have also occurred when renovation or repair work was performed. Products such as joint compounds, wallboards, cements, floor tiles, wires, mastic, ceiling tiles and boiler insulation often contained asbestos. If these products were mixed, grinded, cut, sawed, sprayed, removed or otherwise manipulated, banged or damaged, they could have released significant asbestos fibers into your home. The fibers remain airborne for weeks. You can’t smell or see asbestos fibers.

In home exposure cases, we investigate every possible exposure to establish the manufacturers and sellers of the materials that were used. We use a wide variety of resources and our experience to prosecute your case. If you believe you have been injured by asbestos used in your home, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP by clicking here.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Mesothelioma Lawyers

What Are The Stages Of The Lawsuit And What Is My Involvement?

Many of our clients have never been involved in a lawsuit. Although each case is different, there are some common elements to every case:

#1 FIRST CONTACT

Our first contact with you is a personal telephone call from Mr. Belluck or Mr. Fox. During that telephone call, if we determine that you should pursue a legal claim, we will schedule an appointment to meet with you as soon as possible, often within 24 hours. During that initial meeting, which can be at your home or in our office, we:

  • Explain the process of filing and prosecuting a lawsuit;
  • Explore your work, life and medical history; and,
  • Obtain signed authorizations to get copies of medical and employment records.

During the meeting, if we conclude that there is a reasonable chance of a successful outcome, we will present you with a retainer agreement. A retainer is a legal fee agreement between Belluck & Fox, LLP and our clients that explains the legal fees and other terms related to our representation. The attorney who meets with you will explain the details of this agreement.

Below is the list of next steps:

#2 FILING THE COMPLAINT

#3 PROSECUTING THE CASE

#4 SETTLEMENTS

#5 TRIAL

What If My Loved One Had Died Or Is Too Sick To Speak To An Attorney?

By the time a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, they are often too ill to participate in their own case. In some cases, your loved one may have passed away before a lawsuit was brought and before they were able to testify on their own behalf.

If an individual is unable to testify, we work closely with family, friends and co-workers to establish the facts we need to successfully prosecute the case. We also have access to a vast array of resources to secure information about the products to which your loved one was exposed.

If the individual has died, we can file a claim through the administrator or the executor of the estate, and also on behalf of the victim’s relatives.

If your family member (parent, spouse) has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer, or died from these illnesses, contact Belluck & Fox, LLP for an evaluation of your case.

Do I Have To Pay For The Costs Of My Lawsuit?

If you decide to retain our services, we will work for you and your family on a contingency basis. This means that we do not receive a fee unless we our successful in obtaining settlements or recovering compensation for you and your family. Otherwise, you will not be billed for our services.

While the case is pending, we advance the costs of working on your case. Once the case is completed, the expenses and legal fees in your case are deducted from the money we recover on your behalf, and you and your family receive the remaining money from your settlements.

If you are considering hiring Belluck & Fox, LLP to prosecute your claim, one of our attorneys will sit down with you and answer any questions you may have about the contingency agreement. It is important to us that you are fully aware of the details of the contract before we begin to work on your claim. We will give you a copy of the retainer contract so that you may review it and discuss it with us at any time.

Are There Time Limits For Filing A Legal Claim?

You do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a personal injury claim. Each state has laws that limit the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit. Failure to comply with these laws may result in you being barred from taking legal action against asbestos companies.

Once you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, the clock begins to tick.

For that reason, you are advised to consult with an attorney immediately after your asbestos disease diagnosis. Protect your legal rights. Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP.

Is There Going To Be A Trial In My Lawsuit?

As with any lawsuit, we make every effort to resolve your case without a trial. In many instances, we are able to fully resolve your case without a trial. However, in some cases, a responsible party will refuse to pay fair compensation for your injuries, and a trial is necessary to assure that justice is achieved for you and your family. As experienced trial lawyers, Belluck & Fox, LLP is fully prepared to prosecute your case from start to finish, including a trial.

From the time we first meet with you, we consider and act upon your wishes and priorities. There are clients who want to have trial to have their case heard by a jury of their peers. There are also clients who, for a variety of reasons, do not prefer a trial, and we work closely with these clients to advise them about their options for resolving their claims without a trial proceeding. At all stages of the case, including the decision regarding whether to proceed to trial, our first priority is you and your family.

Can I Contact a Lawyer On Behalf Of My Father, Husband Or Relative?

Yes. If your father, mother, husband, wife, or other relative has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact Belluck & Fox, LLP. We will work with you to help your family protect your legal rights and receive full and fair compensation for these injuries. We have significant experience working with the families of asbestos victims.

How Do I Choose a Law Firm to Handle My New York Mesothelioma Case?

Experience matters when it comes to choosing a law firm to handle your New York mesothelioma case. Proven results matter too. Joseph Belluck and Jordan Fox are recognized as two of the top mesothelioma lawyers in the country. With decades of experience representing asbestos victims across the United States, the law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP has secured more than $600 million for the hundreds of mesothelioma clients and families they have represented. They recently won verdicts in the amounts of $32 million and $19.5 million for their clients and were listed as one of America’s best law firms by US News and World Report and Best Lawyers magazine. Why settle for a firm with less experience?

The attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP have a comprehensive database of the asbestos products and companies that may have caused your disease. The firm has built an extensive document library and retained a team of experts to assist victims and their families with their claims. They also have a thorough understanding of the medical issues mesothelioma victims face.

Mesothelioma cases are complex. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP realize that the circumstances surrounding each case are unique. We also know that dealing with mesothelioma creates a great amount of stress for patients and their families. With Belluck & Fox, LLP, you’ll never feel like you are in this battle alone. We treat every client with respect and compassion and provide personalized, thoughtful representation. We maintain frequent contact with our clients and make ourselves available to clients at all times. Let Belluck & Fox, LLP will deal with the legal issues so you can focus on your health.

Simply put, Belluck & Fox, LLP has the experience, resources, compassion and know-how to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.

Preguntas Frecuentes del Mesotelioma

¿Qué es el mesotelioma y cómo se adquiere?

El mesotelioma es un cáncer de las células mesoteliales. Dichas células recubren las cavidades del cuerpo y los órganos internos. Cuando se inhalan o ingieren fibras de asbesto, las fibras se pueden alojar en la pleura, una membrana delgada y delicada que recubre y encapsula los pulmones. También se pueden alojar en el estómago y en otros órganos.

Las fibras de asbesto causan irritación y crean cambios en las células de la pleura, lo que produce el desarrollo de tumores. Esto se conoce como mesotelioma pleural, el tipo más común de mesotelioma. El mesotelioma del recubrimiento del estómago se conoce como mesotelioma peritoneal. El cáncer también se puede desarrollar en otras partes del cuerpo. También puede atacar al tejido de la pleura del corazón o a los tejidos que rodean los testículos.

A medida que progresa la enfermedad, las células cancerosas pueden hacer metástasis, o esparcirse. A medida que pasa el tiempo, dormir y comer se hace más difícil. Inclusos las actividades normales del vivir cotidiano pueden convertirse en un reto.

Tipos de mesotelioma

El tipo de mesotelioma desarrollado por una persona depende del órgano primario afectado.

Existen cuatro tipos de mesotelioma

  • Mesotelioma pleural. Esta forma de cáncer causado por el asbesto se encuentra en el recubrimiento exterior de los pulmones, que se conoce como el mesotelio. Éste es el tipo más común de mesotelioma y se ha estudiado mucho más que cualquier otra forma de enfermedad.
  • Mesotelioma peritoneal. El mesotelioma peritoneal afecta el recubrimiento del abdomen. Menos del 20 por ciento de los casos de mesotelioma diagnosticados en los Estados Unidos cada año son peritoneales.
  • Mesotelioma pericárdico. El mesotelioma pericárdico ataca el pericardio o el tejido del saco que contiene al corazón y a las venas primarias. El mesotelioma pericárdico equivale solamente al uno por ciento de los casos de mesotelioma.
  • Mesotelioma de la túnica vaginal. Este tipo de mesotelioma se encuentra en los tejidos que rodean los testículos. Es la forma más rara de esta enfermedad, y afecta a menos del uno por ciento de todos los pacientes de mesotelioma.

¿Cuáles son los síntomas del mesotelioma?

Los síntomas que presentan los pacientes varían dependiendo del tipo de mesotelioma que tienen, así como también de la etapa de la enfermedad. Los síntomas también pueden variar de paciente a paciente. A continuación de presentan los síntomas primarios que presentan los pacientes de mesotelioma.

Síntomas del mesotelioma

Pleural

Los síntomas del mesotelioma pleural son similares a una cantidad de otras enfermedades respiratorias. Sin embargo, cualquiera con historial de exposición al asbesto debería estar consciente de los síntomas y buscar atención médica inmediatamente si presenta cualquiera de los síntomas.

Los síntomas asociados comúnmente con el mesotelioma pleural incluyen:

  • Falta de respiración
  • Dolor en el pecho
  • Efusión pleural
  • Pérdida de peso
  • Tos persistente
  • Pérdida de apetito

Peritoneal

Los pacientes de mesotelioma peritoneal presentan con frecuencia los siguientes síntomas:

  • Ascitis (acumulación de fluido abdominal)
  • Pérdida de peso
  • Dolor abdominal
  • Fiebre
  • Sudoración nocturna

Pericárdico

  • Dolor severo en el pecho
  • Palpitaciones fuertes del corazón
  • Falta de respiración
  • Tos constante y aguda

Túnica vaginal

Con tan pocos casos documentados de este tipo de cáncer, se conoce muy poco sobre los síntomas. Sin embargo, los artículos médicos que detallan casos específicos señalan una masa testicular como el síntoma predominante.

¿Cómo se diagnóstica el mesotelioma?

Cuando se detecta temprano el mesotelioma, se tienen más opciones de tratamiento, lo que permite una mejor calidad de vida. Sin embargo, diagnosticar el mesotelioma es difícil, especialmente si su médico familiar o especialista pulmonar no está familiarizado con las enfermedades relacionadas con el asbesto. Muchos pacientes presentan síntomas de debilitamiento durante meses antes de que se les diagnostique de manera adecuada y de que comience el tratamiento.

Cuando visita al doctor porque presenta síntomas, su equipo médico utilizará diversas pruebas y procedimientos para determinar la causa de su malestar. El médico comenzará preguntándole sobre sus síntomas y cuándo comenzó a presentarlos.

Es importante que le diga a su médico que fue expuesto al asbesto si sospecha que tiene mesotelioma. Su doctor debería tener un amplio entendimiento de su historial para ayudarle a asegurar un diagnóstico apropiado.

Tecnologías de imágenes diagnósticas

Están disponibles muchas tecnologías para permitirles a los médicos visualizarlo los órganos y tejidos, además de detectar la presencia de fluidos o tumores. Las tecnologías de imágenes le ayudan a su médico no solamente a realizar el diagnóstico de un mesotelioma, sino también a determinar un plan de tratamiento y a hacerle seguimiento a su respuesta a los tratamientos.

  • Imágenes de rayos X – Debido a la prevalencia de las máquinas y a su relativo bajo costo, usualmente los rayos X son la primera prueba que se le realiza a muchos pacientes. Los rayos X no tienen la resolución suficiente como para identificar el cáncer, pero pueden indicar la presencia de una efusión pleural o indicar la existencia de un tumor maligno en los pulmones o en la pleura.
  • Tomografía computarizada (TC) – Un escáner de tomografía computarizada utiliza rayos X y computadores para producir imágenes del interior del cuerpo más sofisticadas y detalladas que los rayos X convencionales. La TC se considera el mejor estándar de las pruebas mediante imágenes para un diagnóstico.
  • Imágenes de resonancia magnética (IRM) – Las imágenes de resonancia magnética utilizan un campo magnético fuerte y ondas de radio para escanear el cuerpo. La IRM proporciona imágenes de contraste de los tejidos blandos mucho mejores que la TC y frecuentemente se utiliza para planificación de las etapas de tratamiento y de la cirugía.
  • Tomografía de emisión de positrones (TEP) – La tomografía de emisión de positrones mide la actividad funcional y metabólica en el cuerpo. Los escaneos por TEP se utilizan más comúnmente para identificar la presencia de metástasis distantes.
  • TEP-TC (Tomografía de emisión de positrones, Tomografía computarizada integradas) – TED-CT es una técnica de imágenes de última tecnología que combina los escaneos TEP y CT en una sola máquina. Esto le permite a los médicos registrar de manera precisa las imágenes funcionales de la TEP con las imágenes anatómicas de la CT para proporcionar un entendimiento más completo del estado individual de la enfermedad del paciente.

Procedimientos de biopsias

  • Toracentesis – Se drena fluido del área pleural y de los pulmones y se somete a prueba para la presencia de células cancerosas. Este procedimiento se realiza cuando un paciente presenta una efusión pleural, o fluido en los pulmones.
  • Torascopía – Durante una torascopía se puede obtener una muestra de tejido de un tumor pleural o pericárdico. Un toracoscopio es un instrumento similar a un telescopio que se conecta a una cámara de video. Se inserta a través de una pequeñas incisión en el pecho, junto con herramientas quirúrgicas pequeñas. El médico puede observar el tumor a través de toracoscopio y puede utilizar herramientas especiales para tomar una biopsia del tejido.
  • Laparoscopia – Una laparoscopia le permite al médico observar y obtener una biopsia de un tumor peritoneal. En este procedimiento, se anexa un tubo flexible a una cámara de video que se inserta en la cavidad abdominal a través de incisiones pequeñas.
  • Broncoscopia – En una broncoscopia, el médico introduce un tubo flexible e iluminado por la tráquea hacia los bronquios para verificar la presencia de masas en las vías aéreas. Al mismo tiempo, el médico puede retirar muestra pequeñas de tejido anormal para pruebas posteriores.
  • Mediastinoscopia – Durante una mediastinoscopia, el médico inserta un tubo iluminado por debajo del esternón del paciente, al nivel del cuello y lo mueve hacia abajo dentro del pecho. El médico puede observar los nódulos linfáticos y tomar muestras de tejido para verificar la presencia de cáncer.

Tratamiento

El mesotelioma es una enfermedad agresiva que frecuentemente requiere de una estrategia de tratamiento igualmente agresiva. Sin embargo, el mesotelioma es resistente a muchos tratamientos estándares del cáncer, lo que lo hace una enfermedad difícil de manejar.

Con mucha frecuencia el plan de tratamiento consiste de quimioterapia. Para pacientes que son candidatos, la cirugía y la radiación también se utilizan en un enfoque multimodal. Los pacientes deberían trabajar cercanamente con su equipo médico para desarrollar un plan de tratamiento que se ajuste a sus necesidades y objetivos de tratamiento.

Aunque no existe una cura para el mesotelioma, se hace referencia a las estrategias de tratamiento como curativas o paliativas en su intención. Los tratamientos curativos intentan curar o controlar la enfermedad, mientras que el cuidado paliativo se orienta hacia aliviar los síntomas y mantener al paciente cómodo y rodeado por los seres queridos sin tratar el cáncer mismo.

Las opciones de tratamiento del mesotelioma incluyen:

  • Cirugía. No todos los pacientes son buenos candidatos para una cirugía. Además de la salud general del paciente, la etapa y el tipo de enfermedad ayudan a determinar la decisión de operar del oncólogo. Las dos cirugías curativas principales para pacientes con mesotelioma son la pleurectomía o decorticación y la neumonectomía extrapleural (EPP).
    • Pleurectomía o decorticación (P/D). Esta cirugía se conoce a veces como la cirugía de “salvación del pulmón”. La cirugía consiste en retirar de la membrana enferma que recubre los pulmones y los tumores de mesotelioma visibles para salvar el pulmón.
    • Neumonectomía extrapleural (EPP). La EPP es la alternativa a la P/D para pacientes con mesotelioma pleural. Esta cirugía se considera un procedimiento más radical que implica la eliminación de un pulmón, el revestimiento enfermo de la cavidad torácica y el corazón, y una porción del diafragma.

Los procedimientos quirúrgicos paliativos se centran en aliviar los síntomas que están afectando la calidad de vida del paciente, pero no se centran en curar el cáncer. La pleurectomía de citorreducción y la pleurodesis son dos procedimientos que se utilizan a menudo en combinación para mejorar la respiración de un paciente. La pleurectomía alivia la presión sobre los pulmones mediante la extracción de las células cancerosas de la pleura. A continuación, se realiza una pleurodesis para fusionar la pleura y limitar la acumulación de líquido.

  • Quimioterapia. La quimioterapia es una de las modalidades de tratamiento primario para el mesotelioma. En la quimioterapia, consiste en un medicamento fuerte utilizado para matar las células cancerosas, se administra a través de una infusión en ciclos durante un período de varios meses. Desafortunadamente, los medicamentos de la quimioterapia no distinguen entre las células cancerosas y las normales, y también matan a las células sanas. Como resultado, los pacientes que se someten a quimioterapia comúnmente experimentan efectos secundarios, incluyendo la anemia, náuseas o cualquier otra alteración digestiva, y pérdida del cabello. El tratamiento de quimioterapia más común para el mesotelioma es la combinación de Alimta (pemetrexed), que fue aprobado por la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos de los EE.UU. en 2004, y cisplatino, un elemento básico de larga data de muchos tratamientos de quimioterapia.
  • Radiación. La radioterapia utiliza la radiación ionizante de alta energía para eliminar las células cancerosas. La radiación ionizante cambia la estructura del ADN en las células, inhibiendo así el crecimiento y la división. La radiación se utiliza en la mayoría de los casos de mesotelioma. Sin embargo, la localización de las células malignas es difícil, lo que resulta en daño a las células sanas. Los efectos secundarios de la radiación son similares a los de la quimioterapia e incluyen pérdida del cabello, problemas digestivos, y anemia. Los avances recientes en el uso de la terapia de protones, que utiliza un haz de protones para irradiar los tumores, en lugar de haces de rayos X utilizados en la terapia de radiación convencional, le permiten a los médicos apuntarle con mayor precisión a los tumores profundamente asentados, limitando el daño al tejido circundante.
  • Ensayos clínicas. De acuerdo con el Instituto Nacional de Salud, los ensayos clínicas son la parte fundamental de todos los avances médicos. Los ensayos clínicos sirven para descubrir mejores formas de tratar, prevenir, diagnosticar y comprender las enfermedades humanas. Le proporcionan a los investigadores del mesotelioma información crítica necesaria para permitir que trasladen sus resultados desde el laboratorio a los pacientes. Para algunos pacientes con mesotelioma, los ensayos clínicos ofrecen la oportunidad de probar un tratamiento que de otra manera no estaría disponible. Existen beneficios y riesgos por la participación en ensayos clínicos. En los EE.UU., los ensayos clínicas se monitorean estrechamente y se ejecutan de acuerdo con pautas estrictas. El Instituto Nacional de Salud explica que la investigación clínica financiada por el gobierno federal cuenta con medidas de seguridad para proteger a los participantes. La decisión de participar en un ensayo clínico es elección personal del paciente, y los beneficios y riesgos se deben considerar cuidadosamente. A los pacientes con mesotelioma se les anima a trabajar en estrecha colaboración con sus médicos para determinar el mejor plan de tratamiento para sus necesidades. El plan de tratamiento que usted y su médico desarrollen dependerá de varios factores, incluido el tipo y la etapa de la enfermedad, y su salud en general.
  • Terapias Novedosas. Las nuevas terapias, como la terapia génica, la terapia fotodinámica, y las vacunas están mostrando ciertas promesas en el tratamiento del mesotelioma.

¿Cuál es el estadiaje médico del mesotelioma?

Estadiaje del mesotelioma

El estadiaje es un método para evaluar el progreso del cáncer en un paciente. Se observa el mesotelioma y la extensión a la cual se ha desarrollado, además de si es posible que se esparza a otras partes del cuerpo. Puesto que el mesotelioma pleural ocurre con más frecuencia y es el más estudiado, es el único mesotelioma para el cual existe una clasificación de estadiaje.

Se utilizan varios enfoques médicos para determinar el estadiaje del mesotelioma, incluidos los rayos X, los escaneos TC e IRM. El avance, la extensión y la propagación del cáncer la etapa del mesotelioma, y además determina el tratamiento y el enfoque que se le debe dar al paciente.

Hay tres sistemas de estadiaje clínico reconocidos para evaluar la extensión y el alcance del mesotelioma pleural: El Sistema de Butchart, el estadiaje TNM, y el Sistema de Brigham. El Sistema de Butchart ha sido el método estándar de estadiaje para la mayoría de tipos de cáncer, incluido el mesotelioma. El sistema de estadiaje TNM está empezando a ser utilizado por los principales centros de cáncer como un método más preciso para evaluar específicamente el mesotelioma. El Sistema de Brigham es uno de los métodos más modernos para el estadiaje del mesotelioma.

El sistema utilizado en el pasado para el estadiaje del mesotelioma es el Sistema de Butchart. Este sistema se basa principalmente en la extensión de la masa del tumor primario, y divide mesoteliomas en etapas de I a IV. Muchos médicos aún utilizan este sistema.

  • Etapa I: El mesotelioma está presente dentro de la pleura derecha o de la pleura izquierda, y puede implicar también el pulmón, el pericardio, o el diafragma (el músculo que separa el pecho del abdomen) en el mismo lado.
  • Etapa II: Mesotelioma invade la pared torácica o implica el esófago (pasaje de alimentos que conecta la garganta con el estómago), el corazón, o la pleura en ambos lados. Los ganglios linfáticos en el pecho también pueden estar implicados.
  • Etapa III: El mesotelioma ha penetrado a través del diafragma hacia el peritoneo (revestimiento de la cavidad abdominal). Los ganglios linfáticos más allá de los que se encuentran en el pecho también pueden estar implicados.
  • Etapa IV: Hay evidencia de metástasis a distancia (se propagan a través del torrente sanguíneo a otros órganos).

Sistema de estadiaje TNM

Otro sistema de estadiaje ha sido recientemente desarrollado por el Grupo Internacional de Interés en el Mesotelioma y ha sido aprobado por el Comité Estadounidense Conjunto sobre el Cáncer (AJCC). Este es un sistema TNM, similar a los sistemas de estadiaje usados para la mayoría de otros tipos de cáncer. T significa tumor (su tamaño y qué tanto se ha propagado a los órganos cercanos), significa la propagación a los nódulos linfáticos y M significa metástasis (propagación a los órganos distantes). En el estadiaje TNM, la información sobre el tumor, los ganglios linfáticos y la metástasis se combina en un proceso llamado agrupamiento por etapas para asignar una etapa descrita mediante números romanos del I al IV. Los principales centros para el tratamiento del cáncer están empezando a utilizar este sistema en lugar del estadiaje de Butchart, ya que representa con mayor exactitud la extensión del tumor.

  • Etapa I: El mesotelioma implica la pleura derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax. Sólo se ha extendido al revestimiento exterior del pulmón en, a lo sumo, un par de pequeñas manchas. Todavía no se ha propagado a los ganglios linfáticos.
  • Etapa II: El mesotelioma implica la pleura derecha o la pleura izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha diseminado desde el revestimiento del pecho hasta 1) el revestimiento externo de los pulmones, 2) al diafragma o 3) hacia el propio pulmón.
  • Etapa III: El mesotelioma implica pleura la derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha extendido a 1) la primera capa de la pared torácica, 2) la parte grasa del mediastino, 3) a un solo lugar en la pared torácica, 4) a la capa exterior que recubre el corazón o 5) a los ganglios linfáticos en cualquier lugar en el mismo lado del pecho.
  • Etapa IV: El mesotelioma implica pleura la derecha o la izquierda que recubre el tórax y se ha diseminado 1) a la pared del pecho, ya sea al músculo o a las costillas, 2) a través del diafragma, 3) a cualquier órgano contenido en el mediastino (esófago, la tráquea, el timo, los vasos sanguíneos), 4) en la columna vertebral, 5) a través de la pleura en el otro lado del pecho, 6) a través del revestimiento del corazón o en el propio corazón, 7) en el plexo braquial (nervios que conducen al brazo), 8) en los ganglios linfáticos fuera de ese lado del pecho, o 9) se ha propagado a otros órganos a través del torrente sanguíneo.

El Sistema Brigham

El Sistema de Brigham es el último sistema y determina las etapas del mesotelioma de acuerdo con la resecabilidad (la capacidad de eliminarlo quirúrgicamente) y afectación de los ganglios linfáticos.

  • Etapa I: Tumor quirúrgicamente extraíble y sin propagación ganglionar
  • Etapa II: Tumor quirúrgicamente extraíble y con afectación de los nódulos linfáticos
  • Etapa III: tumor no extraíble quirúrgicamente debido a que se extiende dentro de la pared del pecho, al corazón, a través del diafragma o en el peritoneo (el revestimiento abdominal). Los ganglios linfáticos fuera del tórax pueden o no tener la enfermedad en ellos.
  • Etapa IV: La enfermedad se ha propagado a otras partes del cuerpo

Sus médicos pueden utilizar uno o más de los sistemas de clasificación anteriores para evaluar la extensión del mesotelioma e identificar las opciones de tratamiento apropiadas.

¿Cuáles son las opciones de tratamiento para las personas diagnosticadas con mesotelioma?

Si bien actualmente no existe una cura conocida para el mesotelioma maligno, están disponibles tratamientos como la cirugía, la quimioterapia y la radiación que son los más comunes.

Su médico le recomendará un tratamiento o una combinación de terapias que sean las mejores para su situación. El curso del tratamiento dependerá de un número de factores, incluida la localización de la enfermedad, la etapa de la enfermedad, su edad, su estado de salud en general y sus preferencias.

La información proporcionada a través de este sitio web es sólo para su información, y no debe remplazar a un diagnóstico médico completo.

Opciones tradicionales de tratamiento

Hay tres tipos tradicionales de tratamiento para los pacientes con mesotelioma maligno:

  • Cirugía (extracción física del cáncer)
  • Quimioterapia (uso de medicamentos para combatir el cáncer)
  • Radioterapia (uso de rayos X en dosis elevadas para eliminar las células cancerosas)

Los médicos suelen usar dos o más de estos cursos de tratamiento de forma conjunta para proporcionar la máxima probabilidad de éxito. Este enfoque “multimodal” presenta la mayor promesa para la supervivencia de los pacientes con mesotelioma maligno. La terapia trimodal, en la que se utilizan las tres modalidades, se considera el enfoque más eficaz y agresivo.

Cirugía

Hay varios tipos de cirugías utilizadas para tratar el mesotelioma y el tipo y la etapa de la enfermedad determinarán el tipo de cirugía. Los tumores de mesotelioma son generalmente grandes y difíciles de eliminar por completo, por lo que la cirugía por lo general se combina con otros tratamientos contra el cáncer para garantizar los mejores resultados en la destrucción del tumor.

En general, existen dos tipos de métodos quirúrgicos para el tratamiento del mesotelioma:

  • Procedimientos paliativos: son los que tratan los síntomas del mesotelioma, proporcionando un alivio para el paciente, sin tratar agresivamente la enfermedad en sí.
    • Tubo de Drenaje del Pecho y Pleurodesis
      El objetivo de la pleurodesis química es causar una irritación entre las dos capas que cubren el pulmón. Esta irritación provoca una obliteración del espacio entre las capas donde se acumula el fluido, y evita además que el fluido sea capaz de acumularse allí. Existe una variedad de agentes que se pueden utilizar incluido el talco y la bleomicina. Puesto que el espacio pleural está cerrado, los líquidos se drenan fuera de la cavidad del pecho mediante el uso de un tubo en el pecho.
    • Derivación pleuroperitoneal
      La derivación pleuroperitoneal se ha utilizado en pacientes en los que ha fracasado la pleurodesis química, la quimioterapia o la radioterapia. La derivación pleuroperitoneal puede proporcionar un tratamiento paliativo eficaz en pacientes con un pulmón atrapado o en los que el tratamiento ha fracasado.
  • Opciones potencialmente curativas: son procedimientos médicos que intentan eliminar toda la enfermedad macroscópica con “intención curativa”. Las células de la enfermedad microscópica residual se retiran luego a través de la terapia adyuvante.
    • Pleurectomía o decorticación
      Una Pleurectomía o decorticación es un procedimiento quirúrgico donde la pleura, la membrana que recubre los pulmones y la cavidad torácica, se retira, sin la eliminación de todo el pulmón. Esta opción de tratamiento se realiza generalmente en pacientes con etapas tempranas del mesotelioma.
    • Neumonectomía extra-pleural (PPE)
      La PPE es la eliminación de la pleura, el diafragma, el pericardio, y todo el pulmón que están afectados por el tumor. La EPP se considera una terapia radical y la mayoría de los cirujanos no la realizan con frecuencia, los pacientes son remitidos a centros especializados en estos tratamientos. Ambos procedimientos anteriores “potencialmente curativos” se utilizan normalmente en combinación con otras opciones de tratamiento (terapia multimodal).

Quimioterapia

La quimioterapia usa medicamentos para matar las células cancerosas y se puede utilizar como tratamiento primario para el mesotelioma, o se puede utilizar como parte de un enfoque multi-modal. La quimioterapia se conoce como un tratamiento sistémico porque el medicamento se introduce en el torrente sanguíneo del paciente y viaja a través del cuerpo matando las células cancerosas. Los medicamentos pueden administrarse en forma de píldoras, o inyectarse en el cuerpo a través de una aguja.

Además de matar las células cancerosas, los medicamentos de quimioterapia funcionan para restringir la proliferación incontrolada de las células cancerosas anormales, impidiendo que se dividan y multipliquen.

La quimioterapia no se considera como un enfoque “curativo” para el tratamiento del mesotelioma y en vez de ello se centra en reducir los tumores existentes (por lo general antes de la cirugía, terapia neoadyuvante), control de la propagación de las células cancerosas, y la eliminación de las células cancerosas residuales después de la cirugía (terapia adyuvante).

Para tratar eficazmente el mesotelioma, Se puede utilizar más de un medicamento en la quimioterapia. Dependiendo de los medicamentos, la cantidad tomada y el periodo de tratamiento, puede haber efectos secundarios. Históricamente, la doxorrubicina ha sido el fármaco más ampliamente utilizado de quimioterapia de un solo medicamento. Otros fármacos más nuevos, incluida la gemcitabina, el cisplatino, el carboplatino, la epirrubicina, la ciclofosfamida, la ifosfamida, la vinorelbina, el paclitaxel, y el metotrexato, ahora se prefieren a menudo y por lo general se administran en diferentes combinaciones.

Radioterapia

La radioterapia utiliza rayos X de alta energía para ayudar a destruir las células cancerosas y reducir los tumores. La radiación puede provenir de fuera del cuerpo a partir de una máquina (radiación externa) o de materiales radiactivos colocados directamente dentro o alrededor de las células cancerosas a través de tubos plásticos delgados (radiación interna o por implante).

En el mesotelioma pleural, es difícil irradiar el tejido del tumor con éxito sin dañar los órganos cercanos, como los pulmones, el corazón y el hígado. Sin embargo, la radioterapia puede ser muy eficaz en el alivio del dolor en ciertas situaciones. Los factores que pueden afectar el uso de la radioterapia incluyen el volumen del tumor y lo cerca que se encuentre a los órganos vitales.

Tratamientos no tradicionales

Terapia fotodinámica

La terapia fotodinámica destruye las células cancerosas mediante el uso de la energía de la luz y también puede ser eficaz cuando se combina con la cirugía. Aunque este tratamiento se encuentra en la etapa experimental para el mesotelioma, ha mostrado resultados prometedores en el tratamiento de otros tipos de cáncer. En el procedimiento, el paciente recibe un fotosensibilizador (un fármaco que hace que las células sean sensibles a longitudes de onda específicas de la luz), que se acumula en las células cancerosas pero no en las células sanas. Una vez que las células se han sensibilizado, se colocan cables de fibra óptica en el cuerpo (por lo general a través de cirugía abierta de tórax) de modo que se pueda enfocar la frecuencia correcta de luz sobre el tumor. Esto hace que el fármaco fotosensibilizador produzca una molécula de oxígeno tóxico que mata a la célula cancerosa.

Terapia génica

Se trata de un nuevo tratamiento, actualmente en ensayos clínicos. Este enfoque permite dirigir el tratamiento hacia los tumores, en lugar de destruir las células sanas, que es el aspecto negativo de la quimioterapia tradicional. En la terapia génica, el cáncer se trata mediante la alteración de defectos genéticos que permiten que un tumor se desarrolle. Un “gen suicida” se inserta directamente en el tumor, lo que hace las células sensibles a un fármaco normalmente ineficaz. El fármaco se administra a continuación a las células cancerosas recién sensibilizadas y destruye las células mientras que deja ilesas las células sanas.

Inmunoterapia

La inmunoterapia (o terapia biológica) trata al cáncer mediante el uso del propio sistema inmunológico para combatir las células cancerosas. Otro nombre que a menudo se aplica a esta terapia es modificadores de la respuesta biológica (MRB). Aunque aún no se puede obtener, están en marcha estudios clínicos prometedores para la inmunoterapia.

¿Qué tipos de lesiones puede causar el asbesto?

Cuando una persona respira asbesto, las fibras pueden alojarse en los pulmones. Una vez allí, pueden causar cicatrices. Las fibras de asbesto también pueden causar mesotelioma y cáncer pulmonar.

Los tipos específicos de enfermedades asociadas con la exposición al asbesto incluyen:

  • Asbestosis

El asbesto puede causar cicatrices en los pulmones y en la mucosa de los pulmones. Estas cicatrices se conocen como asbestosis o fibrosis intersticial. Si ocurre la suficiente cicatrización, puede afectar la elasticidad de los pulmones y obstaculizar su capacidad para intercambiar gases. Como resultado, se produce una toma de oxígeno inadecuada en la sangre. Esta deficiencia conduce a la falta de aire. Con el tiempo, la capacidad respiratoria disminuye y en algunos casos llega a ser fatal.

La asbestosis, como otras enfermedades causadas por el asbesto, es una enfermedad latente, se requieren de 10 a 50 años después de la exposición al asbesto para que una persona se enferme.

No existe cura conocida para la asbestosis.

  • Mesotelioma

El asbesto también se puede alojar en el recubrimiento de los pulmones, comúnmente se conoce como la pleura y en el abdomen se conoce como peritoneo. Estas fibras pueden causar un tipo de cáncer conocido como mesotelioma. La única causa conocida del mesotelioma es el asbesto.

El mesotelioma aparece al menos 10 años después de la exposición al asbesto. En algunos casos, una persona expuesta al asbesto hace 60 años se le puede diagnosticar con mesotelioma.

  • Cáncer pulmonar

El asbesto también puede causar cáncer pulmonar. Una persona no fumadora puede presentar cáncer debido a la exposición al asbesto. Si fumó en el pasado o fuma en la actualidad, y le han diagnosticado cáncer pulmonar, el asbesto puede ser una causa de su cáncer. Para los fumadores, el asbesto y el tabaco actúan juntos, lo que incrementa mucho el riesgo de contraer cáncer pulmonar. La combinación de ser fumador y el asbesto puede incrementar el riesgo de desarrollar cáncer pulmonar.

El cáncer pulmonar se puede tratar, dependiendo de su severidad y del historial médico del individuo.

Para información sobre los centros de tratamiento del cáncer pulmonar, haga clic aquí.

  • Otros tipos de cáncer

El asbesto también se ha asociado a muchos otros tipos de cáncer, incluido el cáncer de garganta y el cáncer en el área estomacal.

  • Placas pleurales

El asbesto puede causar placas y calcificación que se forman en la parte exterior de la pleura de los pulmones.

¿Qué profesiones y ocupaciones estan en contacto con asbesto?

Existe una amplia variedad de profesiones y trabajos que estuvieron expuestos al polvo de asbesto. No solo son los trabajadores que trabajaron directamente con el asbesto y los productos de asbesto quienes están padeciendo de enfermedades causadas por el asbesto como la asbestosis, cáncer pulmonar y mesotelioma. Las víctimas incluyen trabajadores que trabajaron cerca o vivieron con gente que estuvieron expuestos al asbesto. Puesto que el polvo de asbesto se suspende en el aire y puede ser invisible, las fibras viajan a lo largo del lugar de trabajo y exponen a todos los trabajadores de la ubicación. En una sola barrida, millones y millones de fibras de asbesto se pueden liberar a la zona de respiración de cualquiera en las cercanías. Durante el transcurso de su carrera, un trabajador puede respirar varios millones de fibras, algunas de las cuales se pueden alojar en los pulmones y causar lesiones.

Algunas de las ocupaciones que están asociadas típicamente con la aparición del mesotelioma y otras enfermedades causadas por el asbesto incluyen:

  • Recubridor de tuberías
  • Obreros
  • Mecánicos de frenos
  • Mecánicos de automóviles
  • Constructores de molinos
  • Pintores
  • Yeseros
  • Marineros de marinas mercantes
  • Fontaneros
  • Acabadores de cemento
  • Trabajadores de fundiciones
  • Carpinteros
  • Plomeros
  • Colocadores de techos
  • Marinos
  • Trabajadores de patios de marina
  • Trabajadores de la industria del papel
  • Electricistas
  • Albañiles
  • Caldereros
  • Mecánicos automotrices
  • Maquinistas
  • Colocador de tablones de manera para celosías
  • Aisladores
  • Soldadores
  • Trabajadores de láminas de metal
  • Operadores de grúas
  • Mecánicos de aeronaves
  • Ingenieros
  • Acopladores de tuberías de vapor
  • Trabajadores en albañilería
  • Estibadores
  • Trabajadores de las plantas
  • Trabajadores de centrales eléctricas
  • Trabajadores de ferrovías
  • Inspectores
  • Trabajadores de mantenimiento
  • Trabajadores de fábricas de papel
  • Afiladores

Estas son solo algunas de las ocupaciones involucradas. Si se le ha diagnosticado una enfermedad producida por el asbesto (cáncer pulmonar, mesotelioma o asbestosis), póngase en contacto con Belluck & Fox, LLP para evaluar su demanda.

Si estuve expuesto al asbesto hace muchos años, ¿Por qué hasta ahora fui diagnosticado con mesotelioma, cáncer pulmonar o asbestosis?

Las enfermedades y cánceres causados por el asbesto son enfermedades que presentan latencia. Esto significa que las lesiones por la exposición a las fibras de asbesto no son aparentes hasta al menos diez años después de la exposición. En muchos casos, las enfermedades ocurren hasta 60 años después de la exposición a las fibras de asbesto. Por lo tanto, es posible que a las personas expuestas al asbesto en las décadas de 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970 y 1980 se les venga a diagnosticar hasta ahora.

¿Qué es el asbesto?

El asbesto es un mineral utilizado en algunos materiales de construcción y de aislamiento. Las minas de asbesto en todo el mundo, muchas de ellas en Canadá, produjeron más de 250 millones de toneladas de asbesto para su uso en los Estados Unidos entre 1890 y 1970. El asbesto se añadió a una variedad de productos, incluyendo productos para aislamiento, frenos de automóviles, productos a prueba de fuego, revestimiento de tuberías, cementos, materiales refractarios, juntas, baldosas y compuestos para juntas.

Desde 1920 las empresas que fabricaban estos productos conocían los peligros del asbesto. Sin embargo, el asbesto fue vendido y utilizado ampliamente sin advertencias hasta la década de 1980. Los productos de asbesto aún no están prohibidos en los Estados Unidos y en otros países, pero ya no se usan tan ampliamente. Había materiales alternativos que podrían haberse utilizado en lugar del asbesto.

Durante la instalación, reparación, mantenimiento, renovación y retirada de materiales de asbesto, los productos se cortaron, rasparon, lijaron y alteraron de otro modo. Algunos materiales, como los cementos, se mezclaron en los sitios de trabajo utilizando fibras crudas de asbesto. Estos procesos produjeron polvo, que fue inhalado por los trabajadores que trabajaban con y en torno de este material. El polvo de estos productos también viajó a través de edificios, fábricas y barcos, y permaneció suspendido en el aire por semanas. Cuando se barrían, estos materiales se volvían a suspender en el aire, donde eran respirados de nuevo por los trabajadores en las cercanías.

Una gran cantidad de trabajadores fueron expuestos al asbesto, incluidos trabajadores de astilleros, trabajadores de fábricas, plomeros, chapistas, fontaneros, obreros, maquinistas, mecánicos, trabajadores de centrales eléctricas, y electricistas. Una nube de polvo generada a partir de productos de asbesto puede contener millones o miles de millones de fibras, e incluso una pequeña cantidad de asbesto puede causar daño pulmonar. También se le pueden generar lesiones a las personas que lavan la ropa de los miembros de su familia después de regresar a casa del trabajo y a las personas que utilizan productos de asbesto en sus hogares, como baldosas.

Con frecuencia, las personas no recuerdan inmediatamente cómo fueron expuestos al asbesto, y es posible que crean que nunca presentaron exposición al asbesto. Con frecuencia, una revisión cuidadosa de la historia de vida y de la historia laboral de una persona revela exposiciones a productos de asbesto que no eran aparentes anteriormente.

Entra en contacto con nosotros si has estado expuesto y tienes síntomas de mesotelioma.

Questions Accidents & Personal Injury Cases

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Our Firm

How Do I Know That Belluck & Fox, LLP Will Treat My Family With Dignity And Give Individual Attention To My Case?

A cornerstone of Belluck & Fox, LLP is personalized legal representation. Clients and their family work directly with one of our personal injury lawyers throughout the legal process, from the initial investigation until resolution. We let you know at every step where the case stands and what your legal rights and options are. If you have any questions at any time you can reach out to us, even at home and on weekends. At the same time, we respect your family’s desire for privacy and will not ask you to be more involved than is necessary in the case. The key is finding the right balance, as every case and every family is different. This is what we mean by personalized representation. We will respect your needs while protecting your rights.

Personal Injury

What exactly is a personal injury case?

When a person is harmed and someone or something else is to blame, the injured person has a right to pursue justice through the legal system. Simply put, the plaintiff (the injured person) accuses the defendant (an individual, manufacturer of a defective product, provider of a faulty service, or a combination of these) of causing physical, emotional, or financial harm and asks the legal system to put a dollar value on the suffering to help the victim.

What are some examples of personal injury cases?

At Belluck & Fox, our skilled New York personal injury attorneys have decades of experience representing people in a wide range of claims. Cases we handle include (but are not limited to):

  • Car crashes
  • Motorcycle wrecks
  • Truck accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Children injured at school
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Defective products
  • Dangerous pharmaceuticals
  • Asbestos claims

How do you prove fault in a personal injury case?

In order to secure compensation in a New York personal injury claim, you must prove:

  • There was negligence. (This could be on the part of a person or a company.)
  • The negligence led to your injury.
  • You were physical, emotionally, or financially damaged.

Proving fault and documenting damages in a personal injury case is a complex process. At Belluck & Fox, our personal injury attorneys have built a team of experts – medical specialists, economists, accident reconstruction pros, and investigators – to consult on your case.

Armed with evidence, our attorneys will devise a smart legal strategy to pursue the compensation needed to get your life back on track after a serious injury.

What types of compensation are available in personal injury cases?

Depending on the circumstances in your case, our New York personal injury attorneys may demand compensation for:

  • Existing and expected medical expenses
  • Lost income, including diminished earning capacity
  • Property damage, such as to your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering resulting from injuries
  • Punitive damages, which are meant to punish the at-fault party in cases involving extreme misconduct

To learn more about how much your personal injury claim could be worth, schedule a free consultation with us today.

Should I accept a personal injury settlement offer from the insurance company?

Do not accept a personal injury settlement offer without speaking to Belluck & Fox. Insurance companies always want to pay out as little as possible. In fact, they have teams of claims handlers and attorneys working for them to protect their profits.

The insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible. Accepting a personal injury settlement offer without consulting an attorney is not a good idea. Especially right after an accident, you may not fully know the extent of the damages you will suffer or all the facts involved in your case.

Take advantage of our free initial consultation to learn what your personal injury case is really worth and how our skilled attorneys will fight for maximum compensation.

Will I have to go to court for my personal injury lawsuit?

Most personal injury claims are resolved with a settlement, rather than a verdict. However, that settlement might come at the last possible minute, including in the middle of a trial.

At Belluck & Fox, our experienced personal injury attorneys are both skilled negotiators and fierce litigators. And we always pursue maximum compensation for our clients, whether that comes in the form of a settlement or jury award.

How long does a personal injury case take?

There’s no simple answer to that question because every case is different. When you sit down for a free, no-obligation case consultation with our attorneys, we will review the details of your claim and map out a legal strategy tailored to your needs.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a personal injury claim?

At Belluck & Fox, we will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay anything upfront for us to start working on your claim, and we only collect legal fees if we recover compensation for you. A contingency fee is a percentage of your compensation and is typically one-third of your recovery.

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in New York state?

It’s important to take legal action as soon as you are injured because New York puts a statute of limitations, or time limit, on filing personal injury claims. You may only have 90 days to file your claim. Standard time limits are:

  • Three years to file a slip-and-fall claim
  • Three years to file a car accident injury claim
  • Three years to file a product liability claim
  • Three years to file a claim for personal injury resulting from other negligence
  • Two years to file a claim for wrongful death
  • One year to file a claim for assault/battery

Based on the statute of limitations, it may seem like you have plenty of time to file your claim, but remember: It takes time to build a strong case, and evidence disappears as time goes by. So the longer you wait to contact an attorney, the more difficult your case becomes.

And in some cases, you may have as little as 90 days to file your claim. There are also many shorter deadlines that need to be met when filing claims through insurance companies, and failing to meet those deadlines can hurt your case.

Car Accident Cases

Car Accidents

Do I have to tell my insurance company about the accident?

You are obligated to tell your insurer within a certain amount of time (which should be outlined in your policy) if you plan to seek compensation for your accident. However, you aren’t required to give more than basic information such as where and when it happened and who was involved.

Insurance adjusters are notoriously skilled at leading accident victims to say things that could come back to haunt them. Protect yourself and your case by sticking to the basics. Do not give a recorded statement and do not admit fault.

Any other questions they have can be directed to your attorney.

What should I say if the other driver’s insurance company contacts me?

You don’t have to explain anything to the other driver’s insurance company. The best thing to do is refer them to your attorney.

My medical bills are piling up after an accident that wasn’t my fault. Do I have to pay them?

Our attorneys can serve as a buffer between you and the health care providers to ensure you are not overwhelmed by bills while we are pursuing compensation for your injuries. Calls and letters seeking payment can be referred to your attorney. Medical expenses, existing and those to come, are part of the reason it’s important to have a lawyer on your side to fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries. 

Should I accept a settlement offer?

Automobile insurance is a business, and businesses operate for profit. Most will do whatever they can to minimize their expenses, including playing hardball with accident victims and making low offers for compensation.

Do not sign anything or accept any settlement offer without speaking to one of our knowledgeable attorneys. The insurance companies have lawyers working to protect their interests. You deserve to have the same.

Should I see a doctor even if I feel OK?

Yes. Don’t take chances with your health. Injuries such as whiplash aren’t always immediately evident, and those scratches and bruises might be outward signs of internal problems. It’s also important to have an official medical record documenting your injuries as part of your claim for compensation.

Do I really need an attorney?

You can go it alone, but keep in mind that you will be a minnow in a shark tank once you begin negotiating. Insurance companies, automakers, auto parts manufacturers, and distributors don’t have one lawyer, they have teams of lawyers. And if you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to their negligence, they can be particularly aggressive in trying to minimize their financial losses. At the end of the day, you need an experienced advocate who can go toe-to-toe with the other side.

What happens if I caused a collision?

Never assume that you are the one at fault. Only an in-depth investigation can show what really happened. For example, your car may have been affected by a defective auto part. Or the other driver may have been intoxicated and you were too rattled to notice.

New York state’s “comparative fault” law allows for both parties to be partially responsible. It’s important that you discuss exactly what happened with an experienced attorney to learn what your rights are.

What should I do if my brakes failed and caused an accident?

Defective parts can cause wrecks. That’s why it’s a good idea not to jump to conclusions about who is at fault. Let the experts investigate and determine what caused the crash. If your vehicle’s brakes failed and the manufacturer is at fault, our skilled attorneys can help you pursue compensation from the manufacturer or any responsible party in the distribution chain.

What types of compensation can I get after a crash?

Compensation depends on the circumstances of the collision and the severity of injuries and property damage. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox seek maximum compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
  • Lost income from time missed on the job
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and mental
  • Punitive damages, in cases where extreme misconduct or criminal actions led to harm

How much does it cost to hire an attorney?

At Belluck & Fox, we take vehicle collision cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay upfront for us to start working on your claim. We collect legal fees if and when we recover compensation for you. The contingency fee would be a percentage of your compensation.

Will my case go to trial?

That answer depends on the circumstances in your case. Most cases settle before a verdict is delivered, but the settlement might come at the last possible minute. The dedicated attorneys at Belluck & Fox are always prepared to take a case all the way through to a jury verdict, and we will make sure you are prepared for whatever path your case may take.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit for injuries or property damage?

New York has a three-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation for injuries or property damage. However, that doesn’t mean you have time to waste. There are many shorter deadlines that have to be met in the meantime, and our attorneys will want to launch an investigation into your crash as soon as possible to start collecting evidence.

I Was a Victim in a Distracted Driving Crash. Can Charges be Brought?

A study showed that the risk of a traffic accident while using a cellular phone is the same as that while driving drunk, with the cell phone user 400% more likely to get into an accident. If the driver claims they were not using their cellular phone at the time, records from the telephone company can be obtained to prove use at the time of the accident. In addition, the records can also reveal additional witnesses, i.e. the party on the other end of the cell phone call. Even if no criminal charges are filed against the driver, a victim may be able to bring an action for damages.

Drunk Driving

Who is the Responsible Party in a Drunken Driving Injury Accident?

Anyone driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance, which causes an accident, is considered negligent, and may be liable to pay for all damages. In addition, those who provided the alcohol may also be considered negligent and liable for damages. Many states have laws which impose liability on bars, clubs, restaurants, or hotels which supply liquor improperly. Contact a Belluck & Fox, LLP attorney today for information on the laws that apply in your state.

What is Dram Shop Liability?

Under dram shop liability laws, a party injured by an intoxicated person can sue the establishments or persons who contributed to that person’s intoxication, for example a bar or homeowner where a party was held. This type of claim is often used in auto accident cases involving a DUI. For example, if you were injured by a drunk driver to whom a liquor store sold alcohol when he/she was obviously intoxicated, your dram shop claim would be against that liquor store.

Construction Accidents

Construction Accidents

Is workers’ compensation my only option after a construction site accident?

No. Your options for compensation will depend on the type of accident you were involved in and who was at fault. For example:

  • In New York, the “Scaffold Law” protects workers who suffer injuries from falls and other elevation-related injuries, allowing workers to seek compensation from contractors, owners, and their agents.
  • If your accident was caused by dangerous equipment or a defective part, you may pursue compensation from the product’s manufacturer or any other companies in the chain of distribution.
  • If you were hurt in a car accident on a construction site, you may be able to pursue compensation through the driver’s auto insurance.
  • If your accident was caused by someone who works for another subcontractor on the job, you may pursue compensation from that person’s employer.

I was injured as a bystander at a construction site. How can I seek compensation for my injuries?

Negligence on the part of construction workers, contractors, vendors, property owners, project managers, and others responsible for construction site safety can lead to serious injuries for bystanders. People who are visiting or passing by construction sites have the right to pursue compensation if they are injured, and they should talk to an experienced New York construction accident attorney as soon as possible.

What types of compensation can I recover in a construction accident lawsuit?

At Belluck & Fox, our dedicated construction accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate your claim to determine who is responsible and document the extent of the damages you have suffered. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may demand:

  • Payment for medical expenses, both current and expected
  • Compensation for lost wages, existing and expected
  • Awards for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injury
  • Punitive damages to punish at-fault parties for extreme misconduct

Can undocumented workers file claims for compensation if they are hurt on the job?

Yes. Undocumented immigrant laborers are given the same legal protections and paths to compensation as all their co-workers – as long as the worker did not provide false papers to the employer to get the job.

What is the “Scaffold Law” and how could it apply to my case?

New York provides special protections for construction workers under Labor Law Section 240, also known as the Scaffold Law. This law allows construction workers who suffer falls from scaffolding and other elevation-related injuries to demand compensation from the parties that are supposed to be responsible for their safety.

Because these types of fall-related injuries can be so severe, claims made under the Scaffold Law allow for compensation beyond what workers’ compensation provides.

Can I file a wrongful death claim if I lost a loved one in a construction accident?

If your loved one was killed in a construction accident, you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. These claims can only be filed by a personal representative of the victim’s estate, which may be a spouse or other loved one named in a will. When damages are recovered through a wrongful death claim, they are distributed to survivors in compliance with New York state law or based on instructions in the will.

I was exposed to asbestos on a construction site years ago, and I have now been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Is it too late to pursue compensation?

Mesothelioma is a devastating cancer whose only known cause is asbestos. It can develop up to 60 years after a person was exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos materials were commonly used on construction sites throughout New York ─ and asbestos exposure is still a risk today as workers demolish and work on old buildings that contain asbestos materials.

If you have just been diagnosed with mesothelioma, even if you were exposed to asbestos decades ago, you have a right to pursue compensation from those companies that failed to warn you of the danger. Belluck & Fox has secured more than $1 billion for people who were harmed by asbestos. Contact us for a free consultation, or download a free mesothelioma information package.

How much is my construction accident claim worth?

The amount of compensation we will demand in your case will be tied to a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury, the cost of medical care, the amount of injury-related expenses from rehabilitation, the loss of wages to date and expected loss of income, awards for pain and suffering if merited, and punitive damages if there was gross negligence or criminal wrongdoing.

At Belluck & Fox, we will conduct an extensive investigation into your accident and thoroughly document the severity of your injury and how it has affected your life. Our seasoned New York construction accident attorneys are committed to pursuing maximum compensation in your case.

How long will my construction accident claim take?

Most cases resolve within 9 to 12 months. Many claims will end with a settlement offer before a jury is seated. However, some settlements come in the courtroom. Then there are the cases that must be fought all the way to a final jury verdict or judgment. Belluck & Fox will stand by you throughout the process to demand the full and fair compensation you and your family deserve.

Crime Victims

Crime Victims

I Was Attacked in a Parking Deck and the Assailant Was Never Caught. What Legal Rights do I Have?

Even if you cannot sue the perpetrator, you may be able to bring an action against the owner or manager of the property where the crime occurred for their failure to provide adequate security or lighting. This is known as premises liability; most state courts impose liability on landowners or those who are responsible for maintaining the property for activities or conditions occurring on the land.

What is Date rape?

Date rape, or acquaintance rape, is when the rapist is someone the victim knows: a date, friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, classmate, or anyone else who is not a stranger. The vast majority of rape or sexual assault victims are assaulted by someone they know. The law does not make any distinction between stranger rape and date rape.

I’m Not Sure if I was Date Raped or Not and I’m Scared. What Should I Do?

Rape is scary. If you participated in nonconsensual sex, meaning you had sex with someone you know, but you did not want to and you told them no, then you were most likely date raped. The first thing you should do is to seek police and medical attention. If you do not remember the events or they are fuzzy, it is possible you were date raped using a drug – such as Rohypnol or GHB. After seeking medical attention and contacting the police, you should contact a Belluck & Fox, LLP lawyer to discuss your situation and possible claim.

What are my Rights in a Police Brutality Claim?

Under both state and federal law, police officers may not use excessive force on citizens in the performance of their duties. Because police brutality cases can be very complex, you need experienced and aggressive attorneys to successfully handle them. If you have been victimized by police brutality, you may be entitled to an award of damages, not only from the officers themselves, but also from the municipality or county that employed the officers. Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP attorneys today.

What Does it Mean to “walk” a Criminal Conviction?

In many states, a victim can “walk” a criminal conviction obtained by prosecutors into civil court. This means that a victim would not have to prove a crime was committed, only that physical and emotional damage was experienced by the crime victim. Many states, including New York, will extend the time frame to bring a case for crime victims.

Should I Contact a Lawyer to Help me with my Criminal Victim Case?

Yes. Crime victims turn to the criminal justice system to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of a crime. In addition, victims are entitled to seek civil justice to address the full impact of the crimes on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Belluck & Fox, LLP attorneys evaluate your potential claim against the perpetrators of a crime and those who enabled, through their negligence, the crime to occur. Contact us today.

Slip & Fall Accidents

Slip and Fall

What should I do if I am seriously hurt in a slip-and-fall, and I know a problem there caused the accident?

There are several steps you should take as soon as possible after a slip-and-fall accident to protect your rights to compensation:

  • First get professional medical help.
  • Notify the property owner and get a written record of your accident, but limit communication with potential defendants.
  • Take photos and notes at the scene, and ask any witnesses for their names and contact information.
  • Save any evidence, including the shoes and clothes you were wearing.
  • Then contact us to discuss your legal options for pursuing the compensation you need.

What are my options if I slipped and fell at work?

In many cases, New York state workplace injury rules limit employees to workers’ compensation when it comes to relief for medical expenses and lost wages. However, there are many circumstances under which you may have other legal options. For example:

  • If your fall was caused by negligence on the part of a company other than your employer, you may be able to pursue compensation from that party. For example, if you fell on the stairs at your office building because the building manager ignored a spill.
  • If defective or dangerous equipment led to your injury, the manufacturer or other companies in the chain of distribution may be held liable.
  • Construction workers in particular are protected by the Scaffold Law, which allows them to pursue full and fair compensation for fall-related injuries.

Schedule a free and confidential case consultation to discuss the details of your case and learn what your legal options are. Contact us now.

Do I have a case against the owner of a store where I fell and was seriously injured?

Negligence on the part of the property owner, manager, or affiliated at-fault party is the foundation of a successful case. In order to prove negligence, we will need to show:

  • You were on the property lawfully, or, if not, you were trespassing but the owner knew it.
  • The property owner, manager, or affiliated at-fault party knew or should have known about the unsafe condition, yet nothing was done to correct it.
  • That negligence resulted in your injury.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a slip-and-fall injury?

New York state gives you three years from the time of the injury to file a claim, unless your claim is against the state, a county, or city. If you’re going after the government or one of its agencies, you must file a formal claim within 90 days. Then you have one year and 90 days from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit.

It is extremely important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible after your accident. We will need to begin collecting evidence and building a case right away.

How much is my slip-and-fall claim worth?

There’s no way of saying upfront. It depends on your injuries and how they affect you. Our firm will enlist the help of various professionals to calculate medical expenses and lost income (past, present, and expected), tabulate all expenses related to the injury (from transportation costs to any expenditure for modifying housing and transportation to accommodate your condition), and estimate a dollar amount to account for your pain and suffering. The goal is to thoroughly assess how this injury has affected you so we can demand maximum compensation.

What kind of compensation is available in a slip-and-fall case?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may demand compensation for:

  • Existing and expected medical expenses
  • Lost wages and reduced earning potential in the future
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages, which are levied as punishment in cases where the defendant is guilty of conscious or reckless disregard for the victim’s safety

How long will it take to get money from my slip-and-fall claim?

That depends on whether you have a solid case that a reasonable defendant wants to settle quickly or if you must deal with a combative defendant who chooses to go to court. There’s no set time, and deep-pocketed defendants and insurance companies may try to drag it out. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of skilled attorneys from a law firm with plenty of resources.

What should I do if an insurance company offers me a slip-and-fall settlement?

Do not agree to anything without talking to our experienced attorneys. Hard-nosed insurers will come at you with low-ball offers when you are at your most vulnerable right after the accident. You need a knowledgeable attorney to evaluate your case and determine what a full and fair settlement would be.

How much does it cost to hire an attorney in a slip-and-fall case?

Belluck & Fox will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay us unless and until we secure compensation for you. Our initial consultation is free, so contact us now to get started.

What if I was partially at fault for my fall injury?

New York is a pure comparative fault state. That means your compensation can be reduced if you were partially to blame. The court determines fault in percentages, so for example, if you were 30 percent at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 30 percent.

Never admit fault after a slip-and-fall accident. Let the evidence speak for itself.

Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful Death

What types of compensation can be recovered?

Our New York wrongful death attorneys may pursue compensation for financial losses such as:

  • Expenses related to your loved one’s funeral and burial
  • Health care expenses for treating your loved one until death
  • Value of income and benefits lost before your loved one died from the injury
  • Value of the lost support and services your loved one used to provide
  • Inheritance lost by children
  • Value of the nurturing, guidance, and care your loved one would have provided to the children

Unfortunately, surviving family members cannot typically recover compensation for their personal pain and suffering. However, your loved one’s estate can demand compensation for the pain and suffering he or she experienced between the time of the accident and the time of death.

Are punitive damages possible in a wrongful death case?

In rare cases where willful misconduct or criminal actions lead to a wrongful death, punitive damages can be awarded as a means to punish the defendants.

Is there a wrongful death statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing a claim in New York?

In New York, you have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Exceptions to the rule are extremely rare, even for children or those not physically or mentally capable of filing a claim.

The insurance company has made a wrongful death settlement offer. Should I take it?

Insurance companies are shameless in approaching grieving families when they are at their most vulnerable. The company may offer a very low settlement in exchange for you signing away your rights.

Never agree to a wrongful death settlement without discussing your rights with an experienced New York attorney. You deserve full and fair compensation, and you will likely need a skilled attorney to fight for it.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer in a wrongful death case?

Belluck & Fox’s wrongful death attorneys will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay any attorneys’ fees unless and until we secure compensation for you. We also offer a free case consultation to discuss your claim and outline all of your legal options.

Contact us today to get started.

How long will my wrongful death case take?

Most cases do not make it all the way through to a jury verdict or judgment. Instead, settlements are the most common outcome. However, that might not happen until the very last minute.

Overall, you should know that a lawsuit is a complex process that can take years from the time a claim is made until a settlement or verdict is reached and compensation is awarded. Our attorneys will work diligently to keep your case moving forward as efficiently as possible.

What should I look for in a New York wrongful death lawyer?

When trying to choose a wrongful death lawyer who is right for your family, consider:

  • Experience. The knowledgeable legal team at Belluck & Fox has more than 20 years of experience successfully handling these types of cases.
  • Success. Our skilled attorneys have secured more than $1 billion for deserving clients and their families, and we are nationally recognized for our success.
  • Compassion. Our dedication to clients fuels our every move. We know you and your family are hurting, and our attorneys will always treat you with the respect and sensitivity that you deserve.

If you are ready to discuss your case and learn about your legal options for filing a wrongful death claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we will help you fight for justice for your loved one.

Am I eligible to file a wrongful death claim in New York state?

In New York, only a personal representative of the wrongful death victim’s estate, someone who is appointed by New York Surrogate’s Court, may file a wrongful death claim. That representative typically is the executor of the will or the administrator of the victim’s estate, according to the New York City Bar.

However, once damages are recovered in a wrongful death case, they are distributed to survivors based on instructions in the will or in compliance with state law.

What do you have to prove in a wrongful death case?

To establish a wrongful death claim, you must prove:

  • The at-fault party acted negligently.
  • That negligence caused your loved one’s death.
  • There are surviving family members who are eligible to collect damages.
  • Survivors have suffered financial damage due to your loved one’s death.

Who can recover compensation in a wrongful death case?

A surviving spouse, children, or direct relatives such as parents and siblings of a wrongful death victim may be eligible to receive compensation. The claim must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. However, the damages recovered are typically distributed to survivors according to the will or state law.