Mesothelioma Claims Filing a mesothelioma claim is the first step toward receiving remuneration for anyone who has been diagnosed with this deadly asbestos-related disease. If you or a loved one has received such a diagnosis, you could be entitled to receive compensationthat covers expenses and lost income due to mesothelioma. This page provides details about the types of claims that can be filed, including legal actions, veterans’ benefits, and workers’ compensation claims. Filing Asbestos-Related Claims Asbestos is a dangerous substance that has been linked to a number of often deadly diseases including, but not limited to, mesothelioma and asbestosis. As a result, mesothelioma claims generally rely on several key pieces of information: How you were exposed to asbestos How long the exposure occurred How the exposure has affected your health, quality of life, and ability to work Given the length of time that it takes for mesothelioma to develop, establishing all of the pertinent facts surrounding your exposure can be challenging. Perhaps you worked in multiple places where you handled or were exposed to asbestos. You may have been exposed to it second hand, such as through dust on a family member’s clothing or via asbestos-filled products and materials in your home.
Even if you don’t know exactly how you were exposed to asbestos, when diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to consult with experienced mesothelioma lawyers about your possibility of filing a claim. Knowledgeable attorneys will ask questions about your work history, previous residences, and other details that can help you identify potential claims. Claim Deadlines How long you have to file a mesothelioma claim can vary depending on where you live and the type of claim you are filing. Each state has its own laws, called statutes of limitations, that determine the time period within which a claim must be filed. Depending on the state, you may have as little as one year or as long as six years during which your asbestos claim can be filed. The claim filing timeframe can also depend on which type of claim you are making (see below for a description of the different claim types). In some states, you have less time to file a wrongful death claim (filed by family members after a mesothelioma victim dies) than to file a personal injury claim (filed by a mesothelioma victim after diagnosis).
Types of Mesothelioma Claims There are two types of claims that mesothelioma victims or their families can file. Which type of claim is filed depends on whether the person diagnosed with mesothelioma is still alive, or whether they have passed away. Personal Injury Claims A personal injury claim can be filed by someone who has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma. With personal injury claims, the person directly affected by the disease is claiming that he/she should be compensated for things such as: Medical expenses incurred during diagnosis and treatment, including future treatment Lost wages or other income, including expected future income Pain and suffering experienced because of an asbestos-related disease Individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma can usually file personal injury claims in any state where he/she resided, worked, or served in the military. Wrongful Death Claims A wrongful death claim is filed by the mesothelioma victim’s family after their loved one has passed away. In this case, the family members sue to receive compensation related to the loss of their beloved. This can include: Loss of expected income due to the untimely death Medical costs incurred during treatment administered before the deceased’s passing Funeral expenses The specific claims available to family members may vary from state to state. Discuss your claim options with a qualified attorney.
How Claims Are Paid If a claim is settled or successfully argued at trial, the amount of the settlement or jury award will be paid by the defendant. Money for mesothelioma claims may also come as part of a benefit or workers’ compensation. Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Funds Some companies have already admitted liability for the negligent use of asbestos in consumer products, building materials, and other objects. These companies have established asbestos trust funds, which are managed by trustees, to compensate people for asbestos-related claims. Currently, there are approximately 60 asbestos trusts in the United States. There is no limit on how many trusts an individual can make a claim against, provided they meet the exposure criteria for a given trust. Claims Against Corporations Other companies that have not established trusts may nonetheless be held liable, and it may be possible to submit a successful claim against them. A skillful attorney can help you determine which companies can be held responsible for asbestos exposure that leads to a mesothelioma diagnosis. When companies do not have established trusts or exposure criteria, it may be a more complex process to get them to pay. However, most companies are ultimately willing to settle rather than go to trial if you have a valid and verifiable claim. Veterans’ Benefits Naval shipyards were sites of some of the worst occupational cases of asbestos exposure, and as a result, many veterans of the U.S. Armed Services have developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Individuals who were exposed to asbestos during their military career are likely to qualify for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as long as they were not discharged under dishonorable conditions. Filing a claim for medical benefits through the VA is a different process than filing a legal claim against an asbestos trust or a company. Through the VA, veterans may receive disability payments if the majority of their exposure occurred during active duty, with special payments going to veterans who are housebound or bedridden due to their illness. Veterans who qualify can also receive treatment at VA hospitals. Spouses of veterans who die due to service-related disabilities, such as mesothelioma, may also receive a monthly benefit known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. Workers’ Compensation The Workers’ Compensation Act allows individuals to recover money for general exposure to asbestos during employment experiences – in some cases, even after the person has since retired from his/her job. This is good news, given that mesothelioma can take decades to develop after the initial exposure. As with filing claims against trusts or companies, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims varies from state to state and depends on whether the claim is filed by the person diagnosed with mesothelioma or, if that person has passed away, by their family.