I recently had the opportunity to appear as a guest on The Balancing Act® airing on Lifetime Television®. I was there to be interviewed by the show’s host, Olga Villaverde, on the topic of mesothelioma and legal rights for victims and their families. With 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year, it is an important topic, and one that Sokolove Law strives to increase awareness about – placing particular focus on the dangers of asbestos exposure.
If you missed the original broadcast of The Balancing Act airing on Lifetime Television, I invite you to watch the interview now by clicking the image below to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and legal options for mesothelioma patients and their families.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, I encourage you to call us today for a free legal consultation. To learn more about mesothelioma, check the Sokolove Law blog regularly for news and information on this topic and other asbestos related-diseases.
Olga Villaverde: It’s called mesothelioma, a condition brought on by exposure to asbestos and classified as an awful disease and while affecting only a small percentage of the population both the CDC and National Cancer Institute report that more than 3000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year. Here to discuss this rare but deadly form of cancer and what’s being done to bring justice to victims and victim’s family is Ricky LeBlanc, managing attorney of Sokolove Law, a nationwide law firm that’s helped bring justice and compensation to more than 2000 victims and their families of asbestos related diseases and cancers. Good morning Ricky.
Ricky LeBlanc: Good morning.
Olga Villaverde: Thank you so much for being here.
Ricky LeBlanc: Thank you, glad to be here Olga.
Olga Villaverde: Before we talk about this disease and what your firm is doing, I know this passion that you have of helping people has come from something that happened in your childhood. Would you mind sharing that with us?
Ricky LeBlanc: Sure, I mean like many people, many viewers, I was the son of a pipe fitter and my mother was a factory worker and so I came from a small blue collar town and I realized that these people don’t get access to justice and I wanted to do something about that so I became a lawyer, and fortunately I landed in an asbestos firm as a young man and realized that these are my neighbors, these people are my father’s friends, it could be my father.
Olga Villaverde: Let’s be honest, these are people that really have done absolutely nothing wrong.
Ricky LeBlanc: Nothing, these are hard working men and women that did their jobs and as a result come down with this disease.
Olga Villaverde: And let’s talk about the disease mesothelioma, tell me exactly what it is?
Ricky LeBlanc: Well, let’s keep it simple, mesothelioma is, it’s like having plastic wrap around each of your organs that are lined with grease, that stops the organs from running against each other, that’s called the mesothelium and this is the disease that’s mesothelioma, is a cancer, very aggressive fast moving cancer.
Olga Villaverde: And when that happens how long does it take for someone to notice uh, that they’ve been exposed to this, are there symptoms?
Ricky LeBlanc: Yeah, the real issue is you’re exposed to it and then it’s 30 to 50 years often before you actually develop the disease-
Olga Villaverde: Oh my-
Ricky LeBlanc: It takes that long to manifest within the body.
Olga Villaverde: Without you even knowing?
Ricky LeBlanc: You wouldn’t know at all.
Olga Villaverde: And then what starts happening after those years?
Ricky LeBlanc: After certain amount of time your body stops being able to react to the infiltration of asbestos and then you start developing this disease, mesothelioma. At first it may just feel like a low back pain or it may feel like a little cough or other symptoms that could be pneumonia-like and so you think that’s what you have but if you’re exposed to asbestos it’s important to let your doctor know that you were because they may start looking at something other than pneumonia or back sprain.
Olga Villaverde: And Ricky, who falls victim to this?
Ricky LeBlanc: That majority of the people that develop this disease were in occupations that are part of the trades, whether you are a pipe fitter, a plumber, a carpenter, electrician or another significant audience is anybody who’s worked on ships, whether you being the Navy or Coast Guard, Merchant Marine et cetera.
Olga Villaverde: And I can only imagine when someone hears the news, not only is their shock for that individual but for the entire family, it’s got to be so painful.
Ricky LeBlanc: Yeah, it’s a devastating disease. When you hear that, your primary focus for those families is immediately how do we take care of our loved one with the disease, how do we seek the treatment, let’s do what’s best for them.
Olga Villaverde: And let’s talk about Sokolove Law, what are you doing in terms of helping these people and the advantages that one would have to go see you?
Ricky LeBlanc: Yeah, at Sokolove Law we understand that these people have been giving this devastating news and they have to do something about that, but they have to do something about it medically. When they call us we take care of the legal aspects of the case or a claim that they may have. So we go to their homes, we do interviews there, we make it as easy as possible. They should concentrate on fighting this disease, we’ll concentrate on giving them justice.
Olga Villaverde: So really it does involve the whole family because you need to not only talk to the victim but also the family members in terms of finding out what happened here?
Ricky LeBlanc: Yeah, I mean often family members and sometimes it’s more like a brother or a sister that knew them when they were young knew exactly where they were exposed and what happened, and so everybody get’s involved. And let’s face it, the nuclear family, the husband and wife, any which one is injured, they’re concentrating on helping their spouse and so it’s often at times we talk to other family members to help assist in building a case.
Olga Villaverde: There is no cure for this disease, obviously.
Ricky LeBlanc: There isn’t, not that right now, there’s a lot of research going on and we’re hopeful.
Olga Villaverde: So when you hear these victims, they obviously know what’s going to happen?
Ricky LeBlanc: Generally speaking they do, yes.
Olga Villaverde: Is it somewhat, and I say this very carefully, rewarding for you to know that you’ve helped somebody that knows that they will eventually die from this?
Ricky LeBlanc: That’s why I do this. I mean, we started this interview off talking about blue collar families which is where I come from and I want to seek justice for them. This is an avoidable disease. If people don’t use asbestos, manufacturers didn’t use asbestos in their product people wouldn’t have this disease. And so it gives a great deal of satisfaction to get justice for these people.
And you have people that thank you all the time because they want to leave knowing that their family is taken care of.
Olga Villaverde: You’ve had so many cases at Sokolove Law, is there one that stands out in your mind that you just … you’ll never forget?
Ricky LeBlanc: I remember an elderly gentleman who was battling the disease, his health was failing rapidly and he just looked at me when he got his first check and said, “Thank you so much, my roof is leaking, my wife doesn’t have to live with this leaking roof anymore, I know it’s going to be fixed, I know you guys will take care of her.”
Olga Villaverde: Really great information today Ricky. For anybody out there that may know someone who’s been diagnosed with mesothelioma, anywhere they can go to find out more about your law firm?
Ricky LeBlanc: Yes, they should go to the web, to sokolovelaw.com and they’ll find all the information they need there.
Olga Villaverde: Thank you so much for what you do.
Ricky LeBlanc: Thank you for having me Olga.
Olga Villaverde: I appreciate your time. And if you’d like to find out more about today’s topic you can visit us at the thebalancingact.com, that’s thebalancingact.com or log on to facebook/thebalancingactfans.