Mesothelioma claims provide financial compensation to mesothelioma patients and their families for covering expenses, lost wages and medical bills from an asbestos-related cancer. The most common claims are personal injury claims, wrongful death claims and trust fund claims.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims
Filing legal mesothelioma claims can hold companies accountable for causing asbestos exposure and provide the greatest amount of compensation to patients and their families.
An experienced attorney can help you evaluate all your options for filing mesothelioma claims:
- Personal injury lawsuits
- Wrongful death lawsuits
- Asbestos trust fund claims
- VA benefits
- Social Security benefits
- Workers’ compensation
Pleural mesothelioma treatment often includes a variety of costly drugs and procedures — as well as travel and caregiving costs not covered by health insurance — so your family should investigate every financial resource available to you.
Working with a specialized asbestos lawyer gives families the best chance of filing the right mesothelioma claim to receive the compensation that meets their needs.
How to File a Claim
If you are considering filing a claim, you should hire an experienced mesothelioma attorney to evaluate your case and help you with the paperwork.
Follow these three steps to get the most compensation possible:
- Hire the Right Lawyer: Find a law firm with national reach and a strong track record of success in mesothelioma claims and asbestos litigation. This area of the law requires rare expertise, and you will not necessarily be filing your claim in the state where you live.
- Prepare Your Evidence: Work with your attorney to gather medical records confirming your pleural mesothelioma diagnosis and documentation about your history of asbestos exposure. You should also provide details about all your financial hardships related to the cancer.
- Wait Patiently: It will take time to process your claim, and your lawyer will handle most of the legal communication for you. They will prepare you in advance if you need to provide additional documentation or answer questions in a deposition.
Your attorney will inform you of all the important developments in your claim for pleural mesothelioma and help you with settlement negotiations if needed. They will also oversee the final financial transaction to make sure you get all the compensation you are owed.
Filing a Legal Mesothelioma Claim
To file a legal claim for pleural mesothelioma, you must work with an attorney to identify and document the companies responsible for the asbestos exposure that caused the cancer. Mesothelioma compensation may come in the form of a trial award, an out-of-court settlement or a trust fund payout.
Companies are liable to be sued if they exposed people to asbestos without warning them about the dangers involved. This liability extends to asbestos suppliers, asbestos product manufacturers, and employers who used asbestos products.
What makes mesothelioma claims complicated is the fact that asbestos-related diseases take decades to develop after asbestos exposure.
Getting compensation depends on carefully documenting a mesothelioma patient’s diagnosis, treatment and work history. You also have to know where to file your claim and the procedural filing requirements of each jurisdiction.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
An individual diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma can file a personal injury lawsuit against the companies that negligently exposed them to asbestos. When family members file a mesothelioma claim after the death of a loved one, it’s called a wrongful death lawsuit.
According to a 2016 Mealey’s Litigation Report, the average mesothelioma trial award is $2.4 million. However, most mesothelioma lawsuits are settled out of court before going to trial. The average mesothelioma settlement ranges from $1 million to $1.4 million.
Whether a lawsuit ends through a trial or a mesothelioma settlement, working with a qualified mesothelioma attorney is vital at every stage of the process.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Many liable asbestos companies have filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of mesothelioma lawsuits. To avoid bankruptcy, these companies set up asbestos trust funds to provide compensation to present and future claimants.
Filing claims to asbestos personal injury trusts is simpler than filing a lawsuit, but it still requires documentation of the medical diagnosis and a detailed work history.
Asbestos trust fund payouts are standardized based on the severity of the claimant’s illness. Trust fund claims can be resolved faster than lawsuits, but many asbestos trust funds have cut their compensation amounts to avoid running out of money.
Time Limits for Filing Mesothelioma Claims
State laws called statutes of limitations set time limits for filing mesothelioma claims — usually one or two years from the time of diagnosis, for personal injury claims. For wrongful death claims, the clock typically begins at the time of death.
Statutes of limitations vary from state to state, and this is just one factor in determining which jurisdiction makes the most sense for your claim filing. You may even need to file claims in multiple states with different regulations for litigation.
After a mesothelioma diagnosis or death, you should contact a national law firm that specializes in asbestos cases as soon as possible. This is the best way to ensure you and your family get all the compensation you deserve.
Filing Claims for Mesothelioma Benefits
Families affected by mesothelioma may be entitled to benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration or a state workers’ compensation system.
These benefits are not based on proving a company’s liability, but they can still be complicated to obtain without specialized assistance.
The Department of Veterans Affairs can provide health care services and monthly assistance to military families affected by mesothelioma.
- Disability Compensation
Filing a VA claim for service-connected mesothelioma can allow a veteran to receive the maximum monthly disability benefit.
- VA Health Care
Veterans with service-connected cancer are entitled to free treatment in the VA health care system. The VA also offers low-cost cancer treatment to veterans with low income, regardless of whether the cancer is service-connected.
- Special Monthly Compensation
This benefit provides monthly financial assistance to veterans who are bedridden or housebound. It is also available to spouses and parents of veterans.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
This is a monthly survivor benefit for spouses of veterans who died of a service-related condition.
Social Security Benefits
Mesothelioma patients with low income may be able to file for supplemental security income from the Social Security Administration. Disability insurance benefits are also available to workers who have to leave their jobs because of cancer.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim over mesothelioma is often problematic.
Workers’ compensation systems were not designed to compensate people for work-related illnesses like mesothelioma, which takes decades to develop after exposure and requires very expensive medical treatment.
In many cases, the filing requirements and compensation limits set by workers’ compensation laws make it impossible for people with mesothelioma to get the compensation they need.