People who are diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses were most likely exposed to the carcinogen without their knowledge. This is an example of employer negligence, and patients are usually eligible for financial compensation.
Each state has a set time frame, called a statute of limitations, during which claims must be filed. The average length of time is between two to three years from the time of a cancer diagnosis, so it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you do choose to move forward with a mesothelioma lawsuit, there are two types of claims mesothelioma lawyers file:
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Patients living with mesothelioma as a result of negligent asbestos exposure file this type of claim. It provides compensation for current and future medical treatment, lost wages, and any additional pain and suffering that occurs as a result of the disease.
Families file this type of claim after the death of a loved one. It covers past medical bills, loss of income, and even funeral expenses. In the event that a patient dies during the legal process, the case doesn’t end — it continues on in the name of the estate and remaining family members.
How Long Does it Take to File a Claim?
The short answer: it depends. If the statute of limitations is about to expire, a case can be filed immediately. However, it takes time — usually a minimum of six months — to gather all of the necessary information. Mesothelioma cases involve more than just a medical diagnosis. The legal team must determine the length of time and amount of asbestos a patient was exposed to, find and question witnesses, and include expert testimony where appropriate.
There are several variables that can affect the legal claims process, including:
- Patient age at diagnosis
- Exposure history
- Available legal venues
Legal venue — or the location where the case is heard — is an important factor when filing a mesothelioma claim. Cases can involve multiple companies and locations, meaning there may be multiple venue options. Some legal venues expedite mesothelioma cases if the injured party is still living, though many do not. In locations where venues do not expedite cases, it can take over a year for the case to be heard.
Mesothelioma Hub has relationships with law firms in ideal legal venues. This enables patients and families to receive positive, speedy trial outcomes and excellent settlements. Start the process as soon as possible with a free case evaluation.
What Is Required to Successfully File a Claim?
Once a patient or family member has decided to file a claim, they must have medical proof and proof of exposure. In most cases, the medical side of cases is easy to prove: a patient either has mesothelioma (or another asbestos-related illness) or they don’t. The results of a needle biopsy are usually needed to provide medical proof.
The bigger challenge is proof of exposure: proving that a specific asbestos company’s (or companies’) products caused the disease. This can be difficult if a patient can’t remember what products they handled or were exposed to on the job. A lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma will have access to an extensive database of asbestos-containing products, complete with logos, trademarks, and product packaging. These images can help those who may have trouble recalling what type of asbestos products they were exposed to while working for different companies. The database is so comprehensive that most of the products can be traced back to individual job sites. Patients don’t have to go through this process alone: there’s also a team of product experts available to help.
What Is the Process for Veterans Claims?
Patients who were exposed to asbestos while serving the military will file a specific claim through the Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as a VA claim. The viability of these claims depends on employment history and length of time in the armed forces. However, veterans may also be eligible to file individual lawsuits and seek compensation through an asbestos trust fund. Learn more about veterans and mesothelioma, including how to file a VA claim.
How Do Patients and Family Members Receive Compensation?
There are two main ways patients who have received a mesothelioma diagnosis can pursue compensation:
- File a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against a liable asbestos company that has not declared bankruptcy.
- File a claim for compensation through an asbestos trust fund. These trusts contain money from now-bankrupt asbestos companies and were set aside to compensate people facing asbestos-related illnesses.
The main difference: where the claim is filed. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits brought against active companies must involve the courts. If a company has declared bankruptcy, compensation comes from asbestos trust funds. If multiple asbestos companies are involved, it’s possible to seek compensation through both avenues, depending on the status of each company.
Things to Remember
Taking legal action may sound confusing or intimidating, but filing a mesothelioma claim isn’t as complicated as it sounds. There’s no courtroom and no drawn-out trial or class-action lawsuit. In a majority of cases, a mesothelioma attorney will travel to meet the person filing the claim to ask questions and take a statement. It may take several months to resolve a claim and receive compensation, but the client’s involvement is typically only one day.
Every case is different, and no two outcomes are the same.
The bottom line: if you were exposed to asbestos on the job and now have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, it’s time to take action. Request your free case evaluation today to connect with an attorney who specializes in asbestos litigation and claims filing. You have a right to compensation.