Mesothelioma Asbestos Compensation Claims for Family and Victims
Victims of asbestos exposure, who received a diagnosis mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, have options for seeking compensation to cover medical care. The high costs of treatment for asbestos illnesses go beyond monetary expenses, medical bills, and lost wages. The costs are also measured in lives and in time lost with loved ones.
You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one suffered from negligent asbestos exposure. Years working somewhere with asbestos may have put you in a position to become seriously ill. One or more companies may be responsible. You have multiple options for seeking the funding you deserve, and an expert in asbestos law can help you decide what step to take next.
Location of Asbestos Exposure
The first step in seeking compensation is to figure out how and where you were exposed. For most people, exposure happened at a past or current workplace. You may have worked for years or even decades in a location that contained asbestos. Even if you didn’t handle the asbestos, you may have incidentally inhaled or ingested its fibers.
Construction, mining, automotive, shipbuilding and ship repair, and the military, especially the U.S. Navy, are some of the industries and types of jobs that put workers at the biggest risk of asbestos exposure. Ships are among the structures that contained the most asbestos, especially between the 1930s and 1970s, so anyone who worked in or around them is highly likely to have been exposed.
To decide how to seek compensation it helps to know who or what company exposed you to asbestos. Your employer may have know about asbestos and failed to protect you.
But your employer may also have been a victim. It may have been a company that provided your employer with asbestos materials that failed to warn anyone of the risks. But even if you aren’t sure, an experienced legal team can help you find the information.
Asbestos Settlement and Lawsuits Claims
To get compensation as a victim or a family member of someone who passed away because of asbestos, consider choosing to file a lawsuit. In most cases, both sides of a lawsuit are able to agree to settle out of court, awarding the victim a fair amount of compensation. Most lawsuits end this way. A settlement benefits the victim, as lawsuits that go to trial tend to take longer and delay payments.
The first thing to do in order to file a lawsuit is to find an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. Some law firms specialize in helping asbestos victims. Choose these lawyers over general personal injury firms. They have real experience on mesothelioma cases and a proven track record of helping victims.
Asbestos Trust Funds
If you worked for a company that went bankrupt, a lawsuit may not be an option. This may also be the case if you used asbestos materials made by a company now bankrupt or closed. You have another option, though. You can still seek compensation from closed and bankrupt companies if they set up an asbestos trust fund.
You can file a claim and get compensation from one of these asbestos trust funds if you qualify. A lawyer specializing in asbestos cases can help you figure out if a trust fund claim is the right way to seek compensation, and if so how to file for one.
The companies liable for worker exposure to asbestos faced a lot of high-cost lawsuits over the years. Many went out of business as a result and some had to file for bankruptcy protection. Those sought bankruptcy were first required to set up asbestos trust funds to compensate victims.
Asbestos trust funds are also supposed to provide funds for future claimants. It can take a long time, often decades, for mesothelioma and other asbestos illnesses to develop and be diagnosed. The establishment of trust funds included estimates for adequate compensation for all potential future claimants.
Veterans of the U.S. military can seek compensation through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Many members of the military, especially those that worked on ships and in Naval yards, experienced asbestos exposure on the job and during their service. Many received a mesothelioma diagnosis later and became eligible to seek compensation through the VA, including special compensation, monthly compensation, and free health care.
The amount of compensation you can expect for your asbestos exposure and illness depends on several individual factors. No lawyer can guarantee that you will receive a specific amount. A good lawyer will be able to provide a reasonable estimate, though. Factors affecting compensation include:
- The duration and extent of your asbestos exposure,
- How much of the risk was intentionally hidden from you,
- The amount left in a trust fund,
- And the stage and severity of your illness.
Your lawyer will evaluate all the relevant facts when deciding how much to compensation to seek on your behalf. You may claim for medical expenses, lost wages, future medical costs, the cost of traveling to get treatment, palliative and hospice care. You can also claim for intangible costs such as pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of companionship for someone filing behalf of a deceased family member.
It is helpful for coming up with compensation amounts to track all expenses associated with your illness. This includes direct costs like medical bills and indirect expenses like airfare for visiting a treatment facility. This will help your lawyer make a more accurate claim for compensation and ensure you get what you need for the future.
In addition to getting special compensation through lawsuits, the VA, or asbestos trust funds, you may want to try other sources. If you have private health insurance, it may help cover some of your medical costs, for instance. If you qualify, Medicaid or Medicare may also help provide coverage. Long-term disability insurance and social security disability may also provide additional funding.
Companies negligent in the asbestos illnesses of their workers must be held accountable. They should provide compensation to the victims. Having the money you need to get treatment will take a big burden off your shoulders, even if money can’t cure your illness. Compensation is also about justice. It allows you to hold the responsible company accountable for what they did. Let an experienced lawyer help you get the money you deserve.
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Page edited by Dave Foster
- Dixon, L. & McGovern, G. (2011). Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts and Tort Compensation.
Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2011/RAND_MG1104.pdf
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Veterans Asbestos Exposure.
Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/asbestos/
- American Cancer Society. (2015, September 15). Asbestos and Cancer Risk.
Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/asbestos.html
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