Mesothelioma Asbestos Compensation Claims for Family and Victims
Victims of asbestos exposure may eventually be diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis. These victims 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 precious time lost with loved ones.
You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one suffered from negligent asbestos exposure. Years working with or around asbestos may have caused a serious, life-threatening illness. One or more companies may be responsible for putting you at risk without any warnings or protections. 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 for asbestos exposure is to determined where it happened. 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.
The industries and types of jobs that put workers at the greatest risk for asbestos exposure included construction, mining, automotive, shipbuilding and ship repair, and the military, especially the U.S. Navy. 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 which path to take for seeking 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.
Your employer may be a victim too. In many cases a secondary company, usually one that manufactured asbestos-containing products, supplied employers with materials and never warned them of the risks. If you aren’t sure who is responsible for your exposure, a good lawyer can investigate and come up with answers.
Asbestos Settlement and Lawsuits Claims
To get compensated as a victim or a family member of someone who passed away because of asbestos, consider the option of filing a lawsuit. In most cases, both sides of a lawsuit can 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 step in filing an asbestos lawsuit is hiring the right lawyer. You need a firm or individual lawyer who specializes specifically in asbestos cases. A general personal injury law firm won’t have the expertise and experience you need. Specialists in asbestos laws have experience and a proven track record of helping victims of exposure.
Asbestos Trust Funds
If the company responsible for your exposure went through bankruptcy, a lawsuit may not be an option. This may also be the case if you used asbestos materials made by a company that no longer exists. You have another option, though. You can still seek compensation from closed and bankrupt companies if they set up an asbestos trust fund.
If you qualify, you can file a claim and get compensation from one of these asbestos trust funds. A lawyer specializing in asbestos cases can help you figure out if a trust fund claim is your best option and if so, how to file for one.
Companies responsible for exposing workers to asbestos have faced many expensive lawsuits. Many sought bankruptcy protection as a result but were first required to set up trust funds for compensating victims.
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.
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.
To come up with the best compensation amount, share all your expenses with your legal team. Keep track of medical bills, lost wages, costs of travel to get treatment, and anything expense you would not have incurred if it weren’t for being sick.
In addition to getting special compensation through lawsuits, the VA, or asbestos trust funds, you may want to try other sources of funding. Private health insurance may help cover some of your medical costs. 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 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
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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