What Kinds of Asbestos or Mesothelioma Claims are Available?
As a victim of asbestos exposure you have several options for making a claim for compensation. An experienced lawyer who has worked with clients like you can give you more information and help you make a decision about how and where to claim.
Asbestos Settlement and Lawsuits Claims
Filing a lawsuit is one way to seek compensation. If you are the victim you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company or companies responsible for your exposure and illness. If you lost a loved one to asbestos illnesses, you may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Either lawsuit may end in compensation for you in one of two ways:
- A settlement agreement. This is the most common outcome of these types of lawsuits. Your lawyer will negotiate an amount of compensation for you to be paid by the defendants.
- A trial verdict. Only if an agreement cannot be reached will your lawsuit actually go to trial. In this case your lawyer will argue your case in front of a jury. The jury will then decide if you are entitled to compensation and the amount.
Asbestos Trust Funds
If the company responsible for your exposure went through bankruptcy or no longer exists, a lawsuit may not be an option. In these cases you may be able to seek compensation by making a claim with the appropriate asbestos trust fund.
Companies that went bankrupt over asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits were required to first set up trust funds to compensate victims. If you qualify, you can file a claim and get compensation from one of these asbestos trust funds.
Asbestos trust funds are designed to provide compensation for both current and 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 during their time on active duty. Many received a mesothelioma diagnosis later and became eligible to seek compensation through the VA, including special compensation, monthly compensation, and free health care.
You may be eligible for one or more types of insurance benefits. For instance, if you have health insurance from your employer, you may need help from a lawyer to ensure you get full benefits. You may also have access to workers’ compensation benefits, disability benefits, or life insurance benefits if you lost a loved one to an asbestos disease.
How to File a Claim
Filing a claim of any type for mesothelioma and asbestos compensation can be complicated and confusing. A small mistake may mean missing out on benefits and compensation. Follow these steps for the best chance of getting what you deserve:
1. Find an experienced legal team. You need a lawyer or legal team expert in personal injury and asbestos laws and cases. The right lawyer will help you decide which kinds of claims to make and will then guide you through the process, so you have the best chance of success.
2. Determine how you were exposed. This can be difficult and will probably require the expertise of your lawyer. For most people, exposure happened at a past or current workplace. Even if you didn’t handle the asbestos, you may have incidentally inhaled or ingested its fibers. Your lawyer should have access to databases about companies that used asbestos and exposed workers to aid your investigation.
3. Gather medical documentation. In addition to exposure information, you will need your medical records to make a claim. Provide your lawyer with all the relevant documents that prove you have an asbestos-related illness.
4. Let your lawyer file the claim. Whichever type of claim, or claims, you choose to file, your lawyer can do the leg work. Make sure they keep you updated on progress and answer any questions you have.
How Much Compensation Can I Get from a Claim?
Several individual factors help determine the amount of compensation you can expect for your asbestos exposure. 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 cancer or other illness.
When deciding how much to compensation to seek on your behalf, your lawyer will evaluate all the relevant facts and evidence. 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.
Companies negligent in asbestos exposure and illnesses in their workers must be held accountable. They need to 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
Rod De Llano was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics, and earned a law degree from the University of Texas. After working for an international law firm for several years, Rod formed a law firm dedicated to representing persons injured by exposure to asbestos products. For over 20 years, Rod has fought for persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. His clients have recovered over $1 billion over the years.