Filing an Asbestos Claim After Death
Losing a loved one due to negligence can be a frustrating and unfair experience. Although challenging, it’s important to take legal action against those responsible. Asbestos claims after death, called wrongful death claims, arise when an individual passes away due to an asbestos-related illness, and their surviving family or estate seeks legal action against parties responsible for the victim’s asbestos exposure.
A wrongful death claim holds responsible parties accountable for their negligence while allowing loved ones to recover from the damages associated with their loss. These lawsuits occur in a civil trial or are settled out of court with a mutual restitution agreement.
Comparable to a personal injury claim, filing after death requires careful gathering and analysis of medical records, employment history, and other evidence that can determine if and when the exposure occurred. Although difficult, having a conversation with an asbestos victim prior to their death about important information can help you gather this evidence.
The assistance of an experienced mesothelioma attorney can significantly impact outcomes and make filing a mesothelioma claim easier for everyone during a difficult time.
Eligibility and Criteria For Filing a Claim
After a loved one passes away from an illness caused by asbestos exposure, a family member can file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. The criteria for filing a claim vary by state. In general, you must
be closely related to the deceased to file an asbestos claim after death. Spouses, children, parents, grandparents, or anyone financially dependent on the deceased are typically eligible.
To be eligible for a wrongful death claim, the deceased must have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis. There must also be a clear link between asbestos exposure and the development of the disease, established through medical records and other documents.
Other criteria that improve eligibility include thorough documentation of employment history, firsthand encounters, and second-opinion records from medical professionals.
Managing Claims When the Claimant Dies
In the event of a claimant’s death, estate representatives, the executor of the deceased person’s estate, can continue handling the asbestos claim once appointed through a will or court hearing. Loved ones going through this process can speak with a mesothelioma patient advocate to find additional resources for finding legal help.
VA Claims for Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides support for veterans affected by asbestos-related diseases. Veterans with a history of asbestos exposure during military service can receive additional healthcare benefits through the VA and can initiate a claim. Loved ones of veterans who passed away may qualify for other veteran benefits to cover expenses, including Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).
Asbestos Compensation After Death
Wrongful death lawsuits disperse compensation to the claimant’s family or beneficiaries following a successful settlement or judgment. Similar to workers’ compensation laws, responsible parties or their insurance companies become legally obligated to fulfill the awarded compensation. The amount of compensation varies by claim but often reaches between $1 million and $2 million.
The attorney will deduct a predetermined percentage of the settlement to cover the legal fees and expenses. The remaining compensation is paid out to the deceased’s beneficiaries to cover medical expenses and funeral costs.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for Mesothelioma
Filing a wrongful death claim for mesothelioma can be challenging both emotionally and logistically. The process involves several steps and specific requirements. Once you seek legal counsel from an attorney, they will provide detailed guidance and support.
- Prove Negligence: Claimants must prove that due to a lack of safety concerns and measures, the liable party or parties’ negligence caused the death, which resulted in damages. Eligible damages may include costs associated with funeral burial, loss of future income, loss of financial support, and loss of consortium.
- Identify Responsible Parties: Gather documentation of employment history, employer asbestos use, and other related information that help prove liability.
- Collect Medical Records: Document essential medical records and death certificates that connect the cause of death to asbestos exposure.
Filing an Asbestos Claim Before a Loved One’s Death
Initiating the asbestos lawsuit claims process before the death of a loved one has several advantages. Mesothelioma is a serious disease associated with poor survival. Starting the legal proceedings before the individual’s passing allows loved ones to preserve critical evidence, such as testimonies and medical records from mesothelioma treatment centers.
Beginning the legal process in advance enables the affected individual to participate by providing firsthand accounts of asbestos exposure and adding personal dimensions to the case. Waiting until their death may result in losing this essential evidence, potentially weakening the legal claim.
Documenting Asbestos Exposure
Documenting and proving negligent asbestos exposure begins with gathering evidence, including detailed work and military service exposure history, and identifying specific asbestos-containing products or environments the individual encountered. Witness testimonies, co-worker statements, and expert opinions further support the case.
Understanding Statutes of Limitations for Mesothelioma Claims
Filing mesothelioma claims is subject to legal time limits, called statutes of limitations, which vary depending on the state. The statutes establish a timeframe for legal action following a diagnosis or death, depending on the claim.
The time limit for wrongful death claims varies by state but generally falls within 1 to 3 years after an asbestos-related illness is determined to cause death. The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits typically begins at diagnosis.
Seeking Legal Guidance for Asbestos Claims After Death
Filing an asbestos claim after a loved one’s death can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. An experienced attorney who specializes in asbestos-related cases can help loved ones navigate the legal process and ensure the best outcome. These attorneys often possess access to an extensive network of resources that help victims and their loved ones.
If you are thinking about seeking legal action on behalf of a loved one, there are options to seek justice and recover financially. Understand your legal rights, obligations, and potential compensation avenues now with a free legal case evaluation from experienced mesothelioma attorneys.