When you file a claim, you are attempting to receive money from the workplace or responsible party for any pain and suffering, lost wages, funeral expenses and medical expenses you incurred as a result of having mesothelioma. There are a few types of mesothelioma claims.
Filing A Mesothelioma Claim
When you have mesothelioma, it is usually because you have, at some point in the past, been exposed to asbestos. Most people are exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Workers who are plumbers, electricians, shipbuilders and construction workers are the most likely to have been exposed to asbestos. Other people have been exposed to asbestos because they were a family member of someone who was exposed to asbestos, or were exposed while they were in the military.
Regardless of when you were exposed to asbestos, you are entitled to file a legal claim against the entity that was responsible for your condition. Asbestos was found to be toxic in the 1930s; however, many companies including the military continued to use the substance in the workplace and are therefore liable for any asbestos-related illness, including mesothelioma, that you got as a result of being exposed to asbestos.
You will need to hire an attorney as soon as find out you have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, as there is a time limit from when you discover you have the disease and the time you file a claim.
Types of Claims
There are a couple of different claims your attorney might file for you or your family, depending on your circumstances. These include:
- A Personal Injury Claim — This is a claim you file because you yourself was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. While there is a statute of limitations as to when you can file the claim, it doesn’t start from the time of exposure. It usually starts as soon as you have the diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease. It can take up to 50 years from the 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 depends only on when you find out you are ill.
- Wrongful Death Claim — Sometimes, a person can be exposed to asbestos and die from an asbestos-related disease before a claim can be filed. The claim may start out 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 cases, the case becomes a wrongful death claim, in which the loved ones are filing 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.
Options For Filing A Claim
Claims for asbestos are unique to the person and the situation. Sometimes the money comes right away through something like a bankruptcy trust fund, and sometimes it comes after going all the way to a jury trial. Your lawyer will help you decide on what your options are regarding filing a claim.
Your typical options include:
1. Bankruptcy Trust Claims
There have been thousands of asbestos-related claims filed against hundreds of companies that have since gone bankrupt because they had to pay out so much money to survivors who developed an asbestos-related illness while they were working for the company.
As part of the bankruptcy, the company sets up a trust fund in order to pay for any more patients/past workers who later file a claim after the bankruptcy has been filed. 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 if your company has filed for bankruptcy and help you get money from this type of fund.
2. Claims From lawsuits
Sometimes, you have to hire an attorney who will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Because asbestos exposure is practically the only way a person can develop asbestosis or mesothelioma, there is usually a responsible party out there that is to be 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 expenses, 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 need to be careful to 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 in which you were exposed to asbestos and a lawsuit will come out of that.
3. Worker’s Compensation Claims
Sometimes, you can file a claim against the company you work for that falls under the category of a worker’s compensation claim. Each state has its own worker’s compensation laws, so you’ll need to hire an attorney that knows the laws of each state and can act on your behalf to get money for your damages.
When you file a worker’s compensation claim, the claim is sometimes against the company you are working for (or were working for in the past), but usually the claim is filed against whatever company made the product that had asbestos in it. In such cases, the company that made the product is held liable for your illness.
4. Veteran’s Benefit Claims
Anyone who worked in any capacity in the U.S. Armed Forces and who was exposed to asbestos as part of their duties can file a claim against the Veterans Administration. People who work in the military are at a greater risk of coming down with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness because asbestos was used in army barracks, ships, submarines and in many parts used in military work.
Men and women who worked in the United States Navy have an especially high risk of developing mesothelioma if they worked in the shipbuilding industry in World War II. Because there was no company involved, the claim is filed against the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. If your situation involved exposure during your work in the military, you need to hire an attorney who specializes in military-related asbestos exposure.
When you file a claim, you do not have to do this by yourself. By hiring an attorney on a contingency basis, they will be able to file the claim on you behalf and help you get money for your damages.