Types of Mesothelioma Compensation
Victims collect compensation for mesothelioma from a variety of sources, including trust funds, legal settlements, lawsuits and veteran’s claims. All of the available funding can be used to pay for health care expenses, household bills and any living expenses.
The amount of mesothelioma trust fund compensation depends on factors that include the severity of the disease, the level of exposure, the amount of funding in the trust and the time elapsed between the diagnosis and filing a claim. Whether or not you have to go to court for your claim depends on your case and individual situation. In some cases compensation comes in the form of a settlement, typically ranging anywhere from 1 to 1.4 million dollars. Other times, however, these cases go to trial. Cases in which the verdict is in favor of the victim can pay even higher than settlements, averaging roughly 2.4 millions dollars.
Speaking with your mesothelioma attorney will help you decide how to proceed.The following information contains the best ways to file for Mesothelioma compensation:
- Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos trusts were developed to ensure asbestos victims and their families receive financial restitution. Companies that used asbestos and filed for bankruptcy protection are required to set aside funds for current and future claims. Victims can file claims with multiple trust funds.
Rather than face the publicity of a trial, asbestos companies negotiate settlements with asbestos exposure victims. These out-of-court settlements provide compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and living expenses.
- Lawsuit Verdicts
When the injured party and the company cannot agree on a settlement amount, a trial might be the best option. If the judge or jury determines the company is liable, the injured party can receive financial compensation. Sometimes lawsuits are filed jointly with other victims.
- Government Assistance
There are a number of government programs available to victims of asbestos exposure. Medicare and Medicaid are government programs that offer affordable health care options for seniors, people with disabilities, and people with low or limited incomes. Additionally, Social Security offers Disability Benefits for those who qualify and are unable to work due to the effects of their illness.
- Veteran Claims
Veterans who have been exposed to asbestos at work can file claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans have access to disability claims that provide health care and financial compensation. On top of this, veterans can file an independent legal claim at the same time they file a VA claim. Additionally, the resulting compensation from either claim will not influence the other in any way.
How are compensation amounts determined?
Although each mesothelioma asbestos trust is governed by specific guidelines and boards of trustees, each has similar standards that establish how compensation is determined. The rules are applied on a case-by-case basis. The following information is used when determining asbestos compensation claims amounts:
- Severity of disease
- Amount of asbestos exposure
- Cost of medical expenses
- Victim’s age and gender
- Occupational history
- Lost wages and earnings
- Duration of asbestos exposure
- Family situation (dependent children)
- Damages to family
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Military service
- Overall corporate negligence
- Amount of funding in trust
What information is needed for Mesothelioma patients to obtain financial compensation?
Mesothelioma compensation helps patients with past and current medical expenses and safeguards family members from any future debt. Compensation can provide the peace of mind patients and their families need during the most stressful time in their lives.
- Proof of disease – Medical records must establish mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer as the primary form of cancer. The disease must be confirmed by a board-certified physician and documented by a pathology report that details information about the cancerous tissue and cells. Other necessary documentation includes reports from X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and blood work. All of the evidence must substantiate an asbestos-cancer diagnosis.
- Proof of exposure – A connection must be established between the victim and the at-fault company through employment records, tax returns, public records and witness statements. Each trust also has a list of approved work sites. Attorneys use investigative techniques to tie the victim to the company.
- Statute of limitations – Every state has established a period of between one and three years to bring legal action against asbestos companies for mesothelioma claims. The timeframe typically begins immediately after diagnosis. If the victim dies, the statute of limitations for the claim begins immediately.
Following a diagnosis, patients should act quickly to file a claim. A mesothelioma attorney helps patients and their families gather information to meet eligibility criteria and file documentation for compensation before the statute of limitation expires.
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What Mesothelioma Compensation Can Cover?
When a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the diagnosis impacts the whole family. Often, the person diagnosed is the primary income-earner or the head of the household. A disruption or loss of income, coupled with mounting bills from medical treatments and prescriptions, can be financially devastating.
Mesothelioma compensation was designed to make restitution to patients and their families. Most companies knew about the inherent dangers of asbestos but continued to use asbestos-laden products. Individuals who seek financial assistance from trusts are not seeking handouts; instead, they are seeking compensation for corporate recklessness.
What expenses are covered by financial assistance?
Financial compensation for mesothelioma victims can help cover everyday vital living expenses. These expenses can include:
- Medical procedure – Including costs associated with chemotherapy, radiation treatment, surgery, alternative and complementary treatments and procedures, prescription medications, prescription treatments and health insurance co-pays.
- Medical health treatments – Including mental health counseling and other associated expenses for individuals and families.
- Travel – Including airfares, gas, vehicle wear and tear, food, hotel, taxi, tolls and bus fares to see medical specialists or long-term lodging for treatment away from home.
- Lost wages and earnings – Including wages lost due to time off work during treatment or recovery or lost earnings due to the inability to earn income as a result of injuries.
- Caregiver costs – Including costs of hiring someone for medical transport, meal preparation, home health assistance, nursing care and stays in nursing homes.
- Living and family expenses – Including all costs related to household upkeep such as electricity, gas, water and grocery bills, home maintenance, meal preparation, general debt, house cleaning and child or elder care.
- Funeral Expenses – Including funeral and burial costs.
- Financial and legal assistance – Including estate planning, income tax preparation and attorney’s fees related to any aspect of individual circumstances.
Eligibility for Compensation
Victims of asbestos exposure will need to file a claim based on the specific asbestos trust fund in order to be deemed eligible. Additionally, victims must be able to gather any and all evidence related to their injuries and the relation to the at-fault company. Each individual state has a time limit for asbestos exposure claims, generally between 1 and 3 years from the initial diagnosis. Filing a claim on their own can be risky, so it is often recommended to work with a knowledgeable legal team who can help make the application, documentation, and claim processes for victims easier and can help them better understand the eligibility factors.
Can financial compensation be awarded for pain and suffering?
Compensation for victims also includes compensation for pain and suffering, which is the physical trauma and emotional anguish caused by the diagnosis. Some examples of pain and suffering include:
- Lower quality of life
Mesothelioma Compensation for Family Members
When a family member dies as a result of asbestos poisoning, spouses, children and other close relatives can collect compensation for their loss. Asbestos trusts compensate family members of asbestos-cancer victims for medical bills, funeral costs and other tangible expenses. Trust fund compensation also provides compensation for grief and long-term financial security. Additionally, it is important to consider that family members of mesothelioma victims may have been indirectly exposed to asbestos and may be entitled to compensation of their own if they develop mesothelioma.
What information do family members need to qualify for compensation?
- Evidence of disease and exposure – Family members must provide records that show a medical diagnosis of mesothelioma (from a certified physician). Family members must also provide documents to prove the victim’s work history and the connection to asbestos.
- Negligence – Many companies that manufactured or used asbestos knew about the dangers but kept them hidden to keep profits high. By concealing the dangers of asbestos, the companies put workers and their families at risk for deadly diseases, including mesothelioma.
- Impact – The economic and emotional loss that comes with the death of a loved one can have a substantial effect on the surviving family members. The impact can include the ability to live a secure and stable lifestyle.
Mesothelioma trust fund claims allow surviving family members to secure the funds needed to avoid financial hardship. Trust fund claims also provide compensation for pain and suffering.
The Process of Filing for Mesothelioma Compensation
The amount of time it takes to receive compensation after filing a claim can vary. Victims who receive compensation from asbestos trusts typically receive their money within a few months. When cases go to a jury trial it can take years for victims to receive compensation, however sometimes defendants offer to settle which could speed up the compensation timeline.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit, it is important to get in contact with a mesothelioma lawyer who can explain your options and possible timelines for compensation.
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Samuel Meirowitz is a member of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers.” Mr. Meirowitz was named a “Rising Star” in 2013 & 2014 by Super Lawyers and then a Super Lawyer every year since 2016. In 2013, Mr. Meirowitz obtained what is believed to be the first multi-million-dollar asbestos verdict seen in more than two decades in a New York federal court. In that highly contentious matter, Mr. Meirowitz was able to convince the jury to hold a boiler manufacturer responsible for 60 percent of the $3.8 million awarded, despite the defendant’s attempt to escape all blame by pointing fingers at the plaintiff’s employer and the U.S. Navy (in which the plaintiff admirably served from 1966-70 during the Vietnam conflict). This verdict was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.Learn More
- Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. “Asbestos Toxicity: Who Is at Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?” Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=29&po=7
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- Hersher, Rebecca. NPR. “Asbestos Deaths Remain A Public Health Concern, CDC Finds.” Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/04/11/523277735/asbestos-deaths-remain-a-public-health-concern-cdc-finds
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Veterans asbestos exposure.” Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/asbestos/
- Cancer.net. “Understanding the Costs Related to Cancer Care.” Retrieved from https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/financial-considerations/understanding-costs-related-cancer-care