Each year on September 26th, we celebrate Mesothelioma Awareness Day to honor those who have lost the battle against mesothelioma, to acknowledge those who are still living with the disease, and to fight against asbestos exposure. To understand the importance of this day, we sat down with Dallas mesothelioma attorney, Patrick Wigle, and asked him what it means to work with victims of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. Patrick is a member of the Dallas Bar Association, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Texas Bar Foundation. He also serves as a board member for the Texas Youth Scholarship Organization and has been recognized by Texas Super Lawyers on their 2019 Rising Stars list.
We asked Patrick about working with victims of asbestos exposure and the importance of mesothelioma lawyers.
WKP: How did you begin working with asbestos/mesothelioma cases? Did you always want to work at a plaintiffs’ firm?
Mr. Wigle: I’ve always been a plaintiff’s lawyer. I started my career at a firm that had a broader personal injury practice, and most of my cases involved people who were hurt as a result of medical errors. While I had some prior experience representing people injured by dangerous products, the first time I got involved with asbestos or mesothelioma cases was when I joined Waters & Kraus in 2015.
WKP: How are asbestos/mesothelioma clients different from other personal injury clients?
Mr. Wigle: People who develop mesothelioma are unique as clients because the events that caused their illness happened so long ago. Mesothelioma has a very long latency period, so it’s not unusual for our clients’ asbestos exposure to have occurred forty or fifty years before we ever hear from them. In other types of personal injury cases, the injury-causing events are typically fairly recent.
WKP: How do you see asbestos litigation changing in the next three years?
Mr. Wigle: In recent years, we’ve learned a lot about the extent to which products containing talc – both cosmetic and industrial – were contaminated with asbestos. I think this is an area where we’ll continue to see new evidence as the litigation continues.
WKP: Many people think asbestos is a thing of the past and all of the cases have been resolved, how do you respond to those people?
Mr. Wigle: Asbestos was used in a lot of different products over a long period of time. It was first used in industry during the late 19th century, but its use expanded throughout the industrial revolution and continued throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Some brands of automotive brakes included asbestos through the early 2000s. Even today the use of asbestos is not completely banned in the US. There are lots of people who don’t know that they were ever exposed to asbestos until they get sick decades later.
WKP: What is the first thing you do when you meet a prospective or new client?
Mr. Wigle: I want to get to know the people who I represent. It’s important for me to understand who my clients are so that I can best represent their interests. I also like to explain the litigation process, and give them an idea about what to expect if they decide to move forward with a lawsuit. It’s best for everyone to be on the same page.
WKP: What are three things that set this law firm apart from other asbestos/mesothelioma firms?
Mr. Wigle: We follow a team-based approach for case management, meaning that there are multiple attorneys involved with the workup and trial of each case. This collaborative framework brings together lawyers with varied talents and backgrounds to solve problems and achieve great results. We’re also selective about the cases we accept, so we can be committed to preparing each case for trial. Finally, Waters & Kraus has a large and dedicated staff that manages significant medical and litigation resources.
WKP: What do you look forward to most when you come to the firm each day?
Mr. Wigle: I love coming to work every day knowing that I’m on the right side. It’s extremely fulfilling to fight for corporate accountability on behalf of very deserving people who were harmed through no fault of their own.
Raising Awareness and Education
Mesothelioma Awareness Day was created by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation with the goal of raising awareness to the disease and generating funds to continue researching a cure. This nonprofit educates the public, conducts research, and advocates for victims of mesothelioma.
About 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Tons of asbestos materials are still imported annually, as the U.S. struggles to establish an outright ban on asbestos. No amount of asbestos exposure is safe, so educating the public on the dangers of asbestos is essential. Wear blue, the official color of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, on September 26th to help raise awareness and show support for victims of mesothelioma.
How We Help Victims of Asbestos Exposure
Seek justice with the help of our experienced asbestos attorneys. Our asbestos law firm has represented individuals like you affected by asbestos exposure for over 20 years, aggressively fighting the corporate giants responsible for their dangerous products. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos or suffer from a disease caused by asbestos like mesothelioma, we can help.
Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel is the West Coast practice of Waters & Kraus, LLP, a national plaintiffs’ law firm.