Filing a mesothelioma claim with the help of a qualified attorney can help you secure compensation from negligent asbestos companies for pain and suffering, lost wages, funeral expenses, and medical bills. Learn more about the different types of mesothelioma claims and how to file.
Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
Being diagnosed with mesothelioma means that you have — at some point in the past — been exposed to asbestos. Most people are exposed to asbestos in the workplace.
Employees who are the most likely to have been exposed to asbestos include:
- Construction workers
- Shipyard workers
U.S. veterans with mesothelioma may have been exposed to asbestos while they were in the military or outside of their service. Other people have been exposed to asbestos secondhand because lived with someone who was exposed to asbestos.
Regardless of when and how you were exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to file a legal claim against the entity that was responsible for your medical condition. Asbestos was found to be toxic in the 1930s. Many companies continued using the substance in their products despite its dangers.
Legal Claims vs. VA Claims for Mesothelioma
- Legal claims: This legal option requires an attorney. There are different types of legal claims, depending on your circumstances. Hire an attorney as soon as you receive your mesothelioma diagnosis. There are statutes of limitations that determine how long you have to file a legal claim, ranging from 1-2 years after your diagnosis.
- VA claims: Veterans with mesothelioma can get benefits from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). You may be eligible for several VA benefits, from disability compensation to VA pensions. A VA claims agent can help file for these benefits.
According to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, “Approximately 730,000 people in the United States filed compensation claims for asbestos-related injuries from the early 1970s through the end of 2002.”
Why You Need an Attorney for Your Mesothelioma Claim
All legal claims made by mesothelioma patients are about negligence. This means someone failed in their obligation to protect you from harm.
In most mesothelioma cases, the entity responsible is a past employer, typically a large manufacturer of asbestos-containing products. While there are different types of claims, each requires an experienced mesothelioma attorney.
Mesothelioma attorneys have access to resources and courts that you don’t have. This also speeds up the legal process so you can get compensation sooner. For an experienced attorney, filing a mesothelioma claim is routine practice.
An experienced attorney with a mesothelioma law firm can:
- Collect evidence of negligent behavior from asbestos companies
- Document your asbestos exposure history, service history, and work history in detail
- Prepare and file all your mesothelioma claims documents with the correct courts
Most importantly, allowing an attorney to handle your mesothelioma claim means you can focus on getting medical treatment.
Mesothelioma attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means it costs you nothing to file a mesothelioma claim, and your attorney will only receive a portion of your total compensation if they win your case.
In the unlikely event that you do not receive compensation, you won't owe your attorney a penny. However, 95% of mesothelioma personal injury claims end in a settlement for the victim.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims
There are two different claims your legal team might file for you or your family, depending on your circumstances.
Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury lawsuits are filed because you were exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. While each state has its own mesothelioma claim time limit, it does not start from the time of exposure.
It usually starts as soon as you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. It can take up to 50 years from the original time of exposure to asbestos and the development of an asbestos-related illness. Because it takes so long to develop the illness, the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims is based on when you are diagnosed.
Wrongful Death Claims
Sometimes, a person can be exposed to asbestos and die from an asbestos-related disease before a claim is filed.
The claim may start as a personal injury case, but because it takes time for a settlement or jury verdict, the patient with mesothelioma could die from the illness before the case is completed. In such instances, the case becomes a wrongful death lawsuit.
This is when loved ones file the claim to receive money from damages they had as a result of the death of their family member. When the person dies from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness, the family loses out because the person who died can no longer provide for the family.
Video Summary: Military veteran Walter talks about his time in the U.S. Navy, being diagnosed with mesothelioma, and filing a mesothelioma claim. View Transcript
The word mesothelioma I didn’t know anything about. When I turned 70 I started getting pneumonia, but then as time went on they kept getting closer and closer and closer together [the occurrences] and I asked the doctor, I said, I wanna know why.
And they sent me downstairs to get a chest X-ray and the X-ray made it back before I got back up there.
He says, we're gonna go inside and take a look. He come up right to my bedside after the operation and showed me the pictures they took on the inside of the lung and he pointed out the cancer.
I really can’t explain it. I got a knot in my stomach, you know. But he told me then that there was no cure for it.
I was impressed by the Navy – seeing my uncle in that Navy uniform, you know – take pictures of him. So I just decided when I come outta school that I was gonna join the Navy.
I was very proud of that uniform. I was a boiler tender when I went aboard my first ship and started doing my first job. They told me — I asked them what the material was made out of and they told me it was asbestos.
It didn’t kill anybody on the spot that’s for sure, but it took years later when it started catching up with us. But, my understanding [is] that the powers-that-be knew.
I didn’t wanna sue my government and I damn sure didn’t wanna sue the Navy cause they're still feeding me. I wasn’t suing the government, I wasn’t suing the U.S. Navy, I was suing the manufacturer.
It was only 2 or 3 days and he was here [the lawyer]. He came and seen me, talked to me personally. He knew what kind of a man I was and how involved I was with my job in the Navy. Felt very comfortable with them. I was watching the way they handled it, they did good.
[It was] positive thinking, there was nothing negative about it, it was positive. They were prepared, they could go back to day 1, and I appreciated that. There was no guessing about it, they had the paperwork to back them up.
It was a hands-on approach I guess, and that’s what drew me. Cause that’s the way I do things – a hands-on approach. They damn well earned it.
Options for Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
Claims for asbestos are unique to the person and the situation. Sometimes the money is delivered immediately through a bankruptcy trust fund, and sometimes it comes after winning a jury trial. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you choose your best options for filing a claim.
These options include:
1. Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims
There have been thousands of asbestos-related claims filed against hundreds of companies that have since become bankrupt. Bankruptcies happened because these companies had to pay out so much money to survivors that their businesses were no longer viable. These trusts are called asbestos trust funds.
As part of the bankruptcy, the company sets up a trust fund to pay for any additional patients/past workers who file a claim after the bankruptcy has been declared.
A bankruptcy trust fund could be created by the company directly, or a judge might order that the company set up a trust fund for their exposed workers. Your lawyer will be able to determine whether your company has filed for bankruptcy and help you receive money from this type of fund.
2. Claims from Lawsuits
Sometimes, you have to hire an attorney who will file a mesothelioma lawsuit on your behalf. Because asbestos exposure is the only way a person can develop asbestosis or mesothelioma, there is usually a responsible party that is held liable for your illness.
You can file for damages as a result of your illness, which may include any pain or suffering you incurred, lost wages while you were ill, lost future wages, funeral costs, medical expenses, and loss of consortium, which involves a diminishment of your relationship with your spouse or loved one because of the illness.
When you file a lawsuit, you must carefully save all of your financial and medical records so that these can be compensated for as part of your claim. Your lawyer will file a claim with the court in the state where you were exposed to asbestos, and a lawsuit will come out of that.
3. Veterans Benefits Claims
Anyone who developed mesothelioma from military service can file VA benefits claims.
People who work in the military are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illness. Asbestos was used in army barracks, ships, submarines, and other military work areas.
Men and women who served in the U.S. Navy have an especially high risk of developing mesothelioma. This is especially true if they worked in shipyards.
You do not have to file a VA claim by yourself. There are VA-accredited lawyers and claims agents who specialize in navigating the VA system. They know how to cut through red tape and process your claim faster.
We can connect you to VA-accredited attorneys who can help you start your VA claim now.
Get Help Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
Nearly all mesothelioma patients are eligible for financial compensation.
Asbestos-based product manufacturers are at fault for your disease. Hold them responsible.
Financial compensation from a mesothelioma claim can help pay for:
- Home health care
- Medical bills
- Mesothelioma treatment
- Transportation costs
- And more
The average compensation for mesothelioma claims is $1 million to $1.4 million if settled out of court. There are no limits to what you can do with your compensation, and there are mesothelioma attorneys who can handle your claim from start to finish.
FAQs About Mesothelioma Claims
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
It depends on the type of claim. In some cases, victims may start to receive compensation from mesothelioma claims within 90 days.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can give a better estimate of how long your claim may take. Request a free legal consultation to get started.
Who can file a mesothelioma claim?
Anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma may be able to file a claim, as long as they can prove that their condition was caused by asbestos exposure.
Additionally, family members and estate representatives may have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit after their loved one has passed away from mesothelioma.
It is essential to contact a lawyer and file a mesothelioma claim within the proper statute of limitations so you don't miss your chance to take legal action.