Many mesothelioma patients are entitled to compensation as a result of developing the disease. You can be compensated through legal settlements, VA claims, bankruptcy trust funds and jury verdicts.
Mesothelioma Compensation Explained
The amount of compensation you receive can be based on several factors, including the amount of wages you can no longer obtain, the degree of emotional distress you have and the cost of your eventual funeral.
Compensation can be received from companies who allowed exposure to asbestos by the workers, social security, or the Veteran’s Administration (if you were exposed when you were in the military). Compensation can be a big financial help for the victim and family so they don’t have to pay out of pocket for medical care and receive funds to make up for lost wages.
You may receive different amounts of compensation depending on your situation. You can receive anything from just a little bit of money to millions of dollars from the company or the government that was ultimately responsible for your sickness. Each case is unique and it cannot be predicted how much money you will receive, or if you are entitled to any money at all. For the best chance of compensation, seek the advice of an attorney who understands the complexity of mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, and has worked with mesothelioma compensation in the past.
Most of the time, it can be determined exactly where and when you were exposed to asbestos so the company or other organization can be contacted regarding compensation. If the organization exposed you to asbestos knowing the risks of doing so, they could be liable for your illness and must pay for your lost wages, medical bills, and other aspects of having mesothelioma.
Types of Compensation
There are several types of compensation you can receive, including:
- Settlement funds. You may have worked for a company that doesn’t want to fight you in court. Rather than having a lawsuit that goes to trial, the organization may work with your attorney to come up with a fair amount of compensation that includes medical care, legal fees, funeral benefits and lost wages.
- Bankruptcy trust funds. You may have worked for a company that is no longer in existence or that has declared bankruptcy because other victims have filed lawsuits against them. Many of these companies have bankruptcy trust funds out of which they compensate their former employees who have had asbestos exposure and subsequently developed mesothelioma. Usually you can get money from these trust funds fairly fast.
- Trial verdicts. You can hire an attorney and go to trial, especially if the company refuses to pay for your illness or if the settlement they suggested is too small. The trial will determine if the company was liable for your mesothelioma and will decide on the amount of money owed to you. You can file a lawsuit as an individual or as part of a joint lawsuit filed by other victims that worked for the same company.
- Veteran’s Administration Claims. Many victims of mesothelioma were military people who worked as ship builders prior to the 1970s when the link between asbestos and mesothelioma was established. Veterans are allowed to file a claim against the VA in order to receive money from the government who exposed the military personnel to asbestos during their time in the service.
You will usually get your money after you win in a liability trial or after the company settles with you. Unfortunately, this can take many years unless you are receiving your compensation from the Veterans Affairs Department, or from a bankruptcy trust fund. These funds are usually available sooner than you would receive compensation from a settlement or jury trial.
Determining The Value of Your Claim
An evaluation of how much money you are entitled to is complicated. This is why you should hire an attorney who specializes in asbestos claims. The attorney will add up the various costs associated with having the disease and attempt to get you compensated as soon as possible. They will look at your medical record, your asbestos exposure history, the costs of care, loss of wages and emotional distress and attempt to find a monetary figure that makes up for your losses.
The attorney will ask you about your work history and the potential for future lost wages. The stage of your cancer and the prognosis of your disease are also important in deciding how much to ask the government or company for as part of your claim. The attorney will also help you find out which company exposed you to asbestos if you don’t already know.
Some companies are aware of the fact that they exposed their employees to asbestos and have already set up a trust fund to help former employees get compensated in a legal settlement. There is usually a baseline amount set aside for all victims of mesothelioma; however, if your situation is unique, you can ask your attorney to settle for a higher amount than the baseline complication.
Factors that affect the amount of compensation you receive include:
- The type of asbestos you were exposed to
- Where the exposure took place
- How much physical and emotional distress you are experiencing
- How long you were in the service and were exposed to asbestos
- Where you live, how old you are and your gender
- Your work history and potential for future wages
- Your medical expenses not covered by your health insurance
- The costs of travel to see a mesothelioma specialist
- Funeral expenses
- Whether or not you have dependents you support
- The cost of medical care you expect to have in the future
All of these things need to be factored in by your attorney so that an accurate estimate of the amount of money you will need is determined before attempting to settle the case or before a jury trial.
As your mesothelioma claim can take years, you might want to make use of general assistance that is usually available sooner than your mesothelioma claim benefits. General assistance is provided for any person with a serious medical illness that prevents them from working.
You can get general assistance from a variety of sources, including the following:
- Private insurance — they should be able to pay for medical care regardless of your diagnosis
- Medicaid and Medicare — the also pay for medical care regardless of your diagnosis
- Social security disability — you can file for this if you can’t work, regardless of your diagnosis
- Long-term disability insurance — this may be provided to you by your employer
- Community assistance — this can be a volunteer organization that helps with incidental expenses
General assistance usually does not have much of a delay and you can use these sources while you pursue a mesothelioma compensation claim. Find out how to get access to the $30 Billion Dollars that has been set aside for victims of mesothelioma.