Anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any asbestos-related disease should consider filing a lawsuit for financial compensation. The funds not only provide economic stability, they send an important message to asbestos corporations about their negligence and unethical practices.
In pursuing legal action, it is important for mesothelioma victims and their families to understand the process and have experienced legal representation throughout the case.
Your attorney should explain each step to you and how you will be impacted. Contact us now to be connected to the leading mesothelioma attorneys in the nation.
Why File a Mesothelioma Claim?
For decades companies understood the health risks posed by asbestos but knowingly exposed their employees and customers to it anyway. This has left thousands of people suffering from deadly diseases, unable to work, and swamped by healthcare costs. Filing a mesothelioma claim can provide victims with the justice and peace of mind they deserve, financial assistance for medical expenses, and basic compensation for the suffering they were needlessly forced to endure.
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Types of Claims
When deciding how they want to file their claim, mesothelioma victims can receive compensation through trust funds and lawsuits. Filers typically have three options to receive compensation:
- Personal Injury Lawsuits: Victims of Mesothelioma can file Personal Injury claims in court for the suffering they’ve been forced to endure.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the families of mesothelioma victims who unfortunately succumb to their illness.
- Trust Fund Claims: Many companies established Asbestos Trust Funds in order to partially shield themselves from liability and protect their bottom line. Victims who were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and can determine the source of their exposure can apply for compensation through relevant trusts.
It is important to remember that all of these claims are subject to a statute of limitations that varies from state to state. If you are thinking of filing a claim, it is important you understand the statute of limitations in the state you work or live in.
What You’ll Need to File a Claim
In order for mesothelioma victims (or their families) to file legal claims, they must first be able to prove their case. Mesothelioma lawyers can help you collect and organize all the documentation you will need to move forward with your case.
For victims planning on filing a legal claim, be prepared to present:
- Medical Records: Victims must be able to prove they have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
- Work History Records: For victims of occupational asbestos exposure.
- Documentation Showing Financial Hardship
- Testimony Describing Exposure and Diagnosis
The Step by Step Process
While each case is different, general steps apply to all cases. The steps for filing an asbestos lawsuit include:
- Consultation – Before filing a lawsuit, mesothelioma patients and their attorney should meet to discuss goals and objectives. Attorneys often ask questions about the patient’s medical history and asbestos exposure. These consultations are typically free.
- Gathering Evidence – Attorneys will gather evidence about the victim’s exposure and their subsequent disease. This evidence typically includes the victim’s work history and any other pertinent details that may help attorneys uncover details about the at-fault companies.
- Filing a Written Complaint – A lawsuit starts as a written complaint, called a pleading, which is drafted by your attorney and filed in court. The pleading factually states the legal basis for the lawsuit, including specific details about the asbestos exposure and the extent of the disease. From here, mesothelioma victims are considered as “plaintiffs” by the court.
- Responses – Once the lawsuit has been filed and documented with the court clerk, each of the mesothelioma companies, now considered the “defendants”, receives a copy of the lawsuit. Most defendants deny the claims, argue the complaint is not valid or that the disease was caused by another company’s negligence.
- Discovery – As part of the discovery phase, attorneys for the plaintiff and defendants call depositions, which are question and answer sessions conducted under oath for the purposes of learning more information related to the lawsuit. In these cases, attorneys typically depose plaintiffs, their family members, friends, co-workers, and the plaintiff’s physicians. Executives and high-ranking officials involved in the defendant company will also be subject to depositions. It is important to note plaintiffs are never left alone during this crucial step in filing an asbestos lawsuit. Your attorney will be involved in each step to ensure the process follows the letter of the law.
- Settlement – Before the case ever goes to trial, the defendant usually offers financial compensation in an effort to stop the legal proceedings. Defendants prefer settlements because they avoid costly public trials. In reviewing a settlement offer, the plaintiff’s attorney can advise if the offer is reasonable or if the offer should be further negotiated. If an amicable settlement agreement is not reached, the trial goes forward.
- Trial – The process of the trial largely depends on the jurisdiction. In some cases, it includes a jury that will make a final decision. In other cases, the judge makes the end determination. During the trial, evidence and testimony will be presented. Often, the plaintiff does not have to appear in court but can remain in the loop through their attorneys. If the decision is ruled in favor of the plaintiff and there are no appeals, payments will begin within weeks of the trial.
- Appeal – Defendants have between 30 days and 90 days to file an appeal of the trial outcome. The appeal delays financial compensation, but defendants must post a bond that equals the trial award amount to guarantee compensation will be available immediately if the appeal is denied.
Insurance Claims & Other Benefits
While filing legal claims often provides mesothelioma victims with both the justice they deserve and substantial compensation for their suffering, there can be roadblocks. For example, if a mesothelioma victim fails to file a claim within the statute of limitations, they will not be permitted to move forward with their case and receive the compensation they are owed. While this is an unfortunate truth, there are other avenues of opportunity for victims of Mesothelioma to receive compensation.
- Veterans Claims: Those exposed to asbestos during their time of service and diagnosed with an asbestos-related health condition may seek additional financial benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- Insurance Claims: Mesothelioma victims may also receive compensation in the form of insurance assistance. Health insurance, Life insurance, Disability insurance, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) each provide Mesothelioma victims with additional benefits.
- Workers’ Compensation: Workers’ compensation claims can cover the cost of medical expenses and even lost income to workers and retirees who are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.
Mesothelioma victims have been needlessly forced to suffer and they deserve justice. To ensure a Mesothelioma victim receives all of the compensation they are owed, it is urgent to get in touch with a Mesothelioma lawyer who can help them understand all of the options.
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- White, Michelle J. “Asbestos Litigation: The Problem of Forum Shopping and Procedural Innovations, and Potential Solutions.” Retrieved from http://econweb.ucsd.edu/~miwhite/Manh-Inst-talk.pdf
- Mealey’s Litigation Report. Asbestos – show me the money. Retrieved from http://www.bateswhite.com/media/publication/59_media.285.pdf