Types of Asbestos and Mesothelioma Claims
There are several types of mesothelioma and asbestos claims you may file, including lawsuits, asbestos trust fund claims and Social Security disability claims. Veterans exposed to asbestos during service may be eligible to file for disability and health care benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Experienced mesothelioma lawyers are familiar with asbestos manufacturers and can help you determine which ones are responsible for your illness. A qualified attorney will explain all your options for filing a claim for compensation.
Types of mesothelioma claims include:
- Legal Claims: You can seek compensation from liable companies through personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits and trust fund claims.
- Benefits Claims: Outside the legal process, compensation may be available through veterans benefits or workers’ compensation.
- Insurance Claims: Medical insurance, disability insurance and life insurance are other important financial resources for mesothelioma patients and their families.
Why You Should File a Mesothelioma Claim
Mesothelioma is an aggressive illness that often requires expensive cancer treatments as well as travel and caregiving costs not covered by health insurance. This cancer is also preventable — mesothelioma cases almost always trace back to asbestos exposure caused by corporate negligence.
In 2017, more than 4,200 lawsuits were filed by Americans who had gotten sick because of occupational asbestos exposure, according to a KCIC industry report.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, your family needs and deserves every financial resource available. Don’t assume you are not eligible to file a mesothelioma claim. Get a free consultation from a qualified mesothelioma attorney to make sure.
How to File a Mesothelioma Claim
1. Find a Law Firm with a Strong Track Record and National Reach
Asbestos litigation is complex, so working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer is vital. Law firms that specialize in asbestos cases have archival materials that can help build your case. These firms need to have national reach because you will not necessarily be filing your claim in the state where you live.
2. Gather Documentation of Your Diagnosis and Asbestos Exposure History
Your attorney will help you assemble all the medical records, work history records and testimony required to prove the cause of your asbestos exposure and the resulting cancer diagnosis. Your lawyer will also make a detailed list of all the financial hardships the illness has caused your family.
3. Wait Patiently and Keep in Touch with Your Lawyer
Your lawyer will manage the bureaucratic side of processing your claim, and they will prepare you if you need to provide additional testimony in a deposition. Your lawyer will also give you advice on when to accept a settlement offer or negotiate for more compensation.
Who Pays Mesothelioma Compensation Claims?
Mesothelioma compensation can come from several sources depending on the circumstances of the asbestos exposure, what type of claim you file and the status of the liable companies.
Mesothelioma claims may be paid by:
- Liable Companies: These can include asbestos mine operators, asbestos product manufacturers, and companies that distributed or used asbestos products.
- Asbestos Trust Funds: Many liable companies have set up special trust funds to pay out asbestos compensation in exchange for protection from bankruptcy.
- Insurance Companies: Many companies have liability insurance that covers lawsuit claims, and workers’ comp falls into this category as well.
- Department of Veterans Affairs: The VA recognizes mesothelioma as a service-connected illness if the patient’s asbestos exposure happened during military service.
Mesothelioma Legal Claims
Filing a lawsuit against the companies responsible for your asbestos exposure may result in compensation for many types of damages. There are two types of mesothelioma lawsuits: Personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.
In many cases, a lawsuit offers the best opportunity to obtain the largest award for your injuries. Most mesothelioma lawsuits are settled out of court before a trial takes place. When a liable company has filed for bankruptcy protection, you can often file a claim to an asbestos trust fund instead.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
When a mesothelioma lawsuit is filed by the patient, it takes the form of a personal injury claim. Juries can award monetary damages for medical expenses, lost income, loss of consortium and pain and suffering.
In some cases, juries can also award punitive damages, which are monetary damages awarded to discourage future corporate wrongdoing.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit the estate, including family members, can file after their loved one has died of mesothelioma. In these cases, juries may award compensation for funeral costs in addition to the other cancer-related expenses.
Trust Fund Claims
Many liable companies have set up asbestos trust funds. Companies do this to avoid bankruptcy from lawsuits while still providing compensation for people harmed by asbestos exposure.
A specialized mesothelioma lawyer can help you determine whether the company responsible for your injuries has a trust fund and help you file a claim.
Find Out If You Qualify For Financial Assistance
Asbestos Benefits Claims
Filing a claim for veterans benefits or workers’ comp may grant you compensation without going through the legal process. However, asbestos benefits claims are still complicated to get approved. You should work with an experienced claims agent or lawyer to make sure you get the most compensation possible.
Many veterans develop asbestos-related diseases because of exposure during active duty service. The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes mesothelioma as a potentially service-connected illness, which makes patients and family members eligible for disability compensation and survivor benefits.
It is possible to file for workers’ compensation over a mesothelioma diagnosis, but most workers’ comp systems are not designed to adequately compensate people for occupational cancer.
Filing for workers’ comp usually means giving up your right to file a lawsuit, so make sure you consult an asbestos attorney about which option will better serve your needs.
Mesothelioma Insurance Claims
Insurance claims are often the most immediate financial resource for families affected by mesothelioma. Make sure you understand all the details of your insurance coverage so you don’t miss out on any financial resources available to your family.
Health insurance coverage for mesothelioma usually covers the majority of cancer treatment costs but still leaves patients with significant out-of-pocket expenses. Don’t let these expenses surprise you — be proactive in your financial planning.
A disability insurance policy can compensate for loss of income during cancer treatment. Some people have disability insurance coverage through their employer.
Workers who have mesothelioma and are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits can file to receive these benefits early through Social Security Disability Insurance. Other people with mesothelioma may be able to file for Supplemental Security Income.
A life insurance policy purchased individually or through an employer can ease a family’s financial burden when their loved one dies from mesothelioma. To file a life insurance claim, you often need the original policy documentation and a copy of the death certificate.
Deadlines for Mesothelioma Claims
State laws called statutes of limitations limit how long you can wait to file a mesothelioma claim. This time limit ranges from one year to a few years, depending on the state. The clock starts ticking at the time of diagnosis for personal injury claims and the time of death for wrongful death claims.
You may be able to file a claim in multiple states, depending on the location of the companies identified as defendants and where the asbestos exposure occurred.
You should work with qualified mesothelioma attorney to decide where to file, make sure your claim paperwork is filled out properly, and ensure your claim is filed on time.