When you file an asbestos claim, you are attempting to receive money from the workplace or responsible party for any pain and suffering, lost wages, funeral expenses, and medical bills 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 the most likely to have been exposed to asbestos include:
- Shipyard workers
- Construction workers
U.S. veterans with mesothelioma may have been exposed while they were in the military or outside of their service.
Other people have been exposed to asbestos because they were family members of someone who was exposed to asbestos.
Regardless of when you were exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to file a legal claim against the entity that was responsible for your condition. Asbestos was found to be toxic in the 1930s. Many companies continued using the substance despite the 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 get your mesothelioma diagnosis. There are statutes of limitations on when you can file a legal claim, ranging from 1-2 years after diagnosis.
- VA claims: Veterans with mesothelioma can get VA benefits. You may be eligible for several types of benefits from disability compensation to VA pension. A VA claims agent can help file these kinds of cases.
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 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 the process so you can get compensation faster. For an experienced attorney, filing a mesothelioma claim is routine.
An experienced mesothelioma law firm can:
- Document your asbestos exposure history and work history in detail
- Compel evidence of negligent behavior from asbestos companies
- Write up and file all documents with the correct courts
- Use their connections to come up with quicker mesothelioma settlements
Most importantly, getting an attorney means you can focus on treatment. Your first appointment can last up to two hours. At this appointment, you will answer some basic questions and tell your story to your mesothelioma lawyer. They will handle everything else.
Mesothelioma attorneys work on a contingency fee. The amount you pay them is contingent on how much money you get out of your claim. In other words, you don’t pay your attorney until you get paid.
In the unlikely event that you lose a trial verdict, you don’t owe your attorney a penny. By some estimates, fewer than 3% of mesothelioma lawsuits end in a verdict, and even fewer are lost.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims
There are 2 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 yourself were 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 Claims
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 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: Walter, a victim of mesothelioma, shares the story of his journey in the Navy, diagnosis with mesothelioma, and filing of an asbestos 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 comes right away through something like a bankruptcy trust fund, and sometimes it comes after going all the way to a jury trial. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you decide on what your options are regarding filing a claim.
Your typical options include:
1. Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims
There have been thousands of asbestos-related claims filed against hundreds of companies that have since gone bankrupt. Bankruptcies happened because companies had to pay out so much money to survivors. These trusts are also called asbestos trust funds.
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.
See if you can file an asbestos trust fund claim now.
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. Veterans Benefits Claims
Anyone who developed a dangerous asbestos-related disease from military service can file a claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
People who work in the military are at a greater risk of getting mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illness. Asbestos was used in army barracks, ships, submarines, and many other areas of military work.
Men and women who served in the U.S. Navy have an especially high risk of developing mesothelioma. This is truer if they worked in shipyards.
When filing a VA claim, you do not have to do this by yourself. There are VA-accredited lawyers and claims agents who specialize in navigating the VA’s system. They know how to cut through red tape and get your claim processed faster.
We can connect you to VA-accredited attorneys who can help you start your VA claim now.
Get Financial Compensation
Nearly all mesothelioma patients are eligible for financial compensation. If you’re a veteran, it’s almost certain that you can get benefits through the VA.
There’s no reason to turn this money down. Asbestos manufacturers are at fault for your disease. Hold them responsible. Mesothelioma compensation is there to help people like you.
Financial compensation can help in many ways, including:
- Hiring at-home assistance
- Paying for treatment
- Taking care of debt
There are no limits to what you can do with your compensation, and there are people who can handle your claims with little to no stress on your part. Get help starting a claim today.