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Filing Asbestos Claims After Death

Many deaths result from the negligence of companies that used or manufactured asbestos products. If a person dies from pleural mesothelioma, a family member may have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A qualified asbestos attorney can help you understand the process.

Many companies knew of the dangers of asbestos for decades but failed to properly warn their employees, putting profits over human lives.

The goal of a mesothelioma wrongful death claim is to prove companies that used or manufactured asbestos products were negligent and responsible for the untimely death of your loved one.

These cases also show the person filing the claim was significantly impacted by the death, either financially, emotionally or both.

Filing a mesothelioma claim after the death of the loved one is a complicated and time-sensitive process.

Speaking with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer gives you the best chance to successfully file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. Awards from wrongful death lawsuits can help offset financial burden from medical expenses, funeral costs and loss of income.

Who Can File a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Not just any relative can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who died of pleural mesothelioma.

In order to be eligible to file this type of claim, the law requires a person to show “standing,” or the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court they have sufficient connection to the action challenged.

This prevents an acquaintance or a distant cousin from coming forward and filing a claim on behalf of someone they barely knew.

Types of relationships that may be eligible for a wrongful death suit include:

The rules and eligibility requirements for who can file a mesothelioma wrongful death claim vary by state. A qualified mesothelioma attorney can answer questions you may have about eligibility and limitations with a potential claim.

Wrongful Death Versus Personal Injury

Aspects of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit change significantly after someone dies from the asbestos-related disease. It also becomes much more difficult to build and prove the case compared to personal injury asbestos claims.

A wrongful death claim is harder to prove because of a few simple reasons:

Awards from wrongful death claims — settlements and jury verdicts — are significantly less than personal injury lawsuit awards, in most cases.

A person diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma is perceived to have ongoing medical bills and other expenses related to their illness. Potential awards from that part of the claim are eliminated after the person dies.

Time Is of the Essence: Understanding Statutes of Limitations

All mesothelioma lawsuits — personal injury and wrongful death — fall under what is known as statutes of limitations. These laws limit the amount of time a claimant and their family members have to file lawsuits.

Statutes of limitations vary by the type of claim and the state where the claim is filed.

Typically, statutes of limitations for wrongful death claims range from one to three years after a person dies from mesothelioma.

It is important to contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney right away if your loved one dies from an asbestos-related cancer. A qualified lawyer can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.

What Happens to a Claim After the Original Plaintiff Dies?

In some cases, a person diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma may file a personal injury lawsuit but die before the legal process concludes.

If this happens, the claim for the deceased loved one becomes part of their estate. Legal decisions then fall to the estate representative, typically a spouse or adult child.

The estate representative is either named by the decedent or appointed by the court. This person will decide how to proceed with the claim, speaking on behalf of the estate.

Your attorney can walk you through the complex process of continuing a legal claim when the injured party is no longer alive.

Danielle DiPietro

Danielle DiPietro

As a Patient Advocate, Danielle DiPietro’s mission is to guide patients through the process of pleural mesothelioma treatment, ensuring they receive the best medical, financial and emotional support available. Danielle is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs as an official Claims Agent, allowing her to provide professional guidance to veterans and family members who need to file a claim for specialized VA benefits.

Last Modified February 4, 2019

4 Cited Article Sources

  1. RAND Corporation. (n.d.). Asbestos Litigation. Retrieved from
  2. RAND Corporation. (2015). Bankruptcy Trusts Complicate the Outcomes of Asbestos Lawsuits. Retrieved from
  3. NOLO. (2017, October 5). Chart: Statutes of Limitations in All 50 States. Retrieved from:
  4. NOLO. (n.d.). Statutes of Limitations: Is It Too Late to Sue? Retrieved from:

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