Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
Mesothelioma claims provide financial help for patients and families who are facing the high costs of medical bills and caregiving expenses, as well as other life-changing losses due to the devastating asbestos cancer.
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a cancer that develops in the tissue lining the lungs and other organs. Most mesothelioma patients were exposed to asbestos on the job or during their time in the military. Some family members may have faced secondhand exposure through asbestos fibers carried home on uniforms, skin or hair.
The companies that produced asbestos products understood the health risks but failed to warn workers and consumers. Years later, people are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other life-threatening asbestos diseases, which can have a latency period of 15 to 60 years.
In order to pursue a mesothelioma claim, you must be able to show which company(s) is responsible for your asbestos exposure. To do this, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will track down blueprints of the factory or shipyard where you worked, for example, to show where and what type of asbestos materials were used. The attorney will also research records showing which companies supplied asbestos materials to the jobsite. In addition, your legal team may talk to former co-workers about what they remember regarding the asbestos materials that were used.
All of this evidence will help prove which company or companies should be held liable for the harm you and your family are now suffering.
Options for Filing a Claim
For mesothelioma patients and their families, there are several options for filing claims for compensation or benefits to cover all of the expenses associated with this devastating disease. A top-rated asbestos attorney can explain your options and help you explore:
Personal injury claims
Mesothelioma patients can pursue personal injury claims against the company(s) responsible for their exposure. These claims seek payment for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Oftentimes, these personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court because the companies responsible want to avoid the risk and expense of going to trial. However, you should choose an attorney who has extensive trial experience in case your best option is to see your claim through to a verdict.
Wrongful death claims
If you have lost a loved one to mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. These claims can help families recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, the patient’s medical expenses, the value of lost support and services, the value of lost wages and benefits, etc. Although no amount of money can help ease the pain of losing a loved one, a wrongful death claim can help ease the financial burdens families face.
Asbestos bankruptcy fund claims
Because some asbestos companies have gone out of business or filed for bankruptcy, money has been set aside in special trust funds to compensate patients and their families. Pursuing money in a trust fund claim is different from filing a lawsuit, but you still need an experienced mesothelioma attorney to help you navigate the process.
Veterans’ benefits claims
Asbestos products were commonly used in the Navy and other branches of the service. Veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma are eligible for monthly VA benefits.
Social Security Disability claims
Patients who are diagnosed with mesothelioma before retirement age may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Workers’ compensation claims
For people who were exposed to asbestos on the job and had to leave work due to their mesothelioma diagnosis, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to help cover the costs related to the occupational illnesses.
If you want to learn more about mesothelioma claims and the compensation you may be entitled to receive, contact us now to discuss your situation with a qualified mesothelioma lawyer.
Mesothelioma Insurance Claims
When a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, health insurance is typically the first option to help cover the costs of treatment. However, there may be other types of insurance coverage you can tap into to manage expenses while your legal claims are pending.
Medical insurance claims
Medical insurance coverage can vary widely depending on the carrier and the type of policy. Most patients will have a co-pay and a potentially high deductible to meet when relying on health insurance to cover the costs of mesothelioma treatment. In addition, the insurance plan may only cover visits to certain doctors. When you choose a lawyer to handle your mesothelioma claim, ask about how he or she can help manage the burden of dealing with the health insurance company, too.
Disability insurance claims
Patients may be able to file a disability insurance claim through their employer, or they may be able to tap into Social Security Disability Insurance.
Supplemental insurance claims
Some patients may have supplemental insurance in addition to their primary health insurance. An attorney can help you review your insurance policies to determine all possible options for covering your health care expenses while your legal claim is pending.
Life insurance claims
Many people have life insurance policies to provide for family members in the event of their death. Money from a life insurance claim can help family members afford lingering medical bills and other financial burdens after a tragic loss.
Deadlines for Mesothelioma Claims
Each state has a deadline, or statute of limitations, for filing a mesothelioma claim. These time limits, which vary from state to state, are based on either the date of the patient’s diagnosis or the date of death.
Location Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Claims
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you likely have many questions about the asbestos claims process. Here are some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions:
Why do I need a mesothelioma lawyer to file a claim?
Asbestos litigation is a complex area of law. The best mesothelioma lawyers have extensive experience and the resources needed to handle these types of claims. Your lawyer will need to thoroughly research and document your history of asbestos exposure to determine what product(s) led to your mesothelioma and what company(s) should be held liable. Your mesothelioma attorney will also need to gather comprehensive evidence of the damages you have suffered as a result of your illness, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other intangible losses.
Armed with the evidence needed for a strong case, your attorney will aggressively negotiate for a full settlement offer ─ and be prepared to take your claim to trial if the defendant(s) refuse to offer a fair payout.
Can family members file claims on behalf of mesothelioma patients?
Many caregivers are concerned about whether their loved ones have the strength to go through the legal process of filing a mesothelioma claim. They want to do everything they can to take the burden off the patient, and that’s totally understandable. An experienced mesothelioma claims lawyer will handle all the legwork in the claim without putting added pressure on the patient or the family. This includes travelling to meet with the patient and family in person.
If a patient dies before their mesothelioma claim is resolved, a family member may be eligible to carry on with the claim on their behalf. If a mesothelioma patient dies before a personal injury claim can be filed, family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Who actually pays the compensation if I win?
If you secure compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a company (or companies), the compensation will come from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. If you are pursuing an asbestos bankruptcy fund claim, the payment would come out of the money set aside in the trust for asbestos victims and their families.
How can a lawyer prove asbestos exposure when it happened so long ago?
Lawyers who devote their practice to asbestos claims have spent significant time documenting where
these dangerous materials were used. Your legal team will work to track down blueprints of your old workplace and descriptions of the asbestos materials used, as well as conduct interviews with former co-workers or service members. An experienced asbestos lawyer will know what evidence is needed to craft an airtight case.
How much money can I expect to win?
The amount of compensation you are owed will depend on the economic losses suffered (such as medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic losses (such as pain and suffering, etc.) Your asbestos lawyer will meticulously document all the damages in your claim to ensure you are demanding the maximum compensation you deserve.
I was exposed to asbestos, but I have not been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. What options do I have?
If you have not been diagnosed with an asbestos disease, then you cannot pursue a claim for compensation because you have not suffered any damages due to your asbestos exposure. However, you should talk to your doctor about your history of exposure and monitor your health carefully.
It may also be helpful to write down anything you remember about your history of exposure, such as when and where it happened and what asbestos products you worked with.
How long does an asbestos lawsuit take?
The legal process of recovering compensation through a mesothelioma lawsuit can be time consuming. However, some states have laws that require cases involving patients with life-threatening diseases to be expedited. In most claims, a skilled mesothelioma attorney will argue to resolve an asbestos claim within one year.
Can I file for punitive damages in a wrongful death claim?
Punitive damages may be awarded as a means of punishing the at-fault party for egregious behavior and deterring others from doing the same. Punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases, and your attorney can advise you on what to expect based on the specific circumstances of your claim.
Can I file a wrongful death claim even if my spouse didn’t start a personal injury claim before he/she died?
Yes, you can file a wrongful death claim as long as the statute of limitations has not passed.