Mesothelioma and Asbestos Compensation Claims
Victims of asbestos exposure, those people suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, have several different options to seek compensation. The high costs of living with one or more of these illnesses go beyond monetary expenses, medical bills, and lost wages. The costs are also measured in lives and time lost to be with loved ones and to enjoy life in good health.
The victims of unknown asbestos exposure deserve compensation. They deserve to be compensated for being put in harm’s way without any choice in the matter. If you are struggling with mesothelioma or another asbestos illness because of the years you put in on a job that exposed you to asbestos, you may be owed money. You have several options for seeking the money that will go a short way toward making up for the wrong done to you.
Where the Asbestos Exposure Occurred
An important step in determining how and from where you will receive compensation is to determine how you were exposed. For most people, this means looking to your workplace. Many people who developed mesothelioma worked for years or even decades in a location that was full of asbestos that became airborne and polluted the air.
Some of the jobs that put people at the greatest risk for asbestos exposure and illness include those in construction, mining, automotive work, shipbuilding, ship repair, and in the U.S. Navy. Ships are workplaces that in the past have contained more asbestos than any other. It was heavily used in ship building from the 1930s through the 1970s, which means that anyone in the maritime industry, but especially sailors were highly likely to have been exposed.
The party responsible for your asbestos exposure is something else that needs to be considered when considering compensation for victims. If your employer knew that you were exposed to asbestos and knew some of the risks, that company may be able to provide you with compensation. Your employer may have been as ignorant as its employees, though, and it may be the manufacturer of materials you used that failed to warn of the consequences of asbestos exposure. For veterans, the U.S. military may be to blame.
Asbestos Settlement and Lawsuits
One way to get compensation for victims of asbestos exposure is to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit may go to trial, in which case money may be awarded by the jury. If a lawsuit doesn’t make it that far, it may be because both sides agreed to settle the suit out of court. In that case the victim is likely to have been awarded a monetary settlement.
If you have no other sources of compensation for your asbestos illness, a lawsuit is a valid option. To file a lawsuit you need to first find a lawyer experienced in these kinds of cases. There are plenty of legal teams that specialize in asbestos and mesothelioma and you should be able to find someone to represent you that have the experience and success rate that will give you a good chance to win compensation.
Asbestos Trust Funds
If you worked for a company that went bankrupt, or if you used materials at work that were manufactured by a company now bankrupt or closed, you can check and see if that company set up an asbestos trust fund. A lawyer specializing in asbestos cases can help you do this and can determine if you can rely on one of these trust funds for compensation or if you need to start a lawsuit.
Many companies that are no longer in existence, but that exposed workers to asbestos, had to set up these trust funds as part of the bankruptcy process. The purpose was to provide ongoing compensation for victims. Because mesothelioma and other asbestos illnesses take decades to develop, these trust funds were designed to compensate future victims for years after the company went bankrupt.
Veterans of the U.S. military can seek compensation through the U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration, or VA. Many members of the military, especially those that worked on ships, were exposed to asbestos daily on the job and during their service. Many were then diagnosed later with mesothelioma and were eligible to seek compensation through the VA. Options include special compensation, monthly compensation, health care, and others.
The Value of Compensation for Victims
The value of the compensation you will get, by whichever means, depends on individual factors. Things like the duration of your exposure, how much of the risk was intentionally hidden from you and other workers, the severity of your illness, the amount left in a trust fund, and other factors contribute to the overall value of your claim.
Your lawyer will evaluate these factors when deciding how much to seek in a settlement or lawsuit. You can claim for things like medical expenses, lost wages, future medical costs, the cost of traveling to get treatment, palliative and hospice care, and also intangible costs like pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of companionship for someone filing behalf of a deceased loved one.
As you struggle with your illness it is a good idea to track your expenses so that you can make a more accurate claim for compensation. It may not be the first thing on your mind, but a loved one can help you keep track of details. You need to keep a record of what you spend on medical care, treatment, medications, assistance you need in the home, anything you spend on alternative treatments, and travel expenses incurred getting to and from treatments.
In addition to getting special compensation through things like lawsuits, the VA, or trust funds, you may also want to seek assistance in other ways. If you have private health insurance, that may help cover some of your medical costs. If you qualify, Medicaid or Medicare may also help provide coverage. Long-term disability insurance can be a good source of compensation on a monthly basis. Social security disability may also be a claim you can successfully make.
Compensation for victims is the least companies that put people at risk can do to try to make up for it. Now that you are suffering from an incurable illness, you deserve the compensation that will at least take the stress of money off your shoulders. Compensation is about justice, but also about practicalities. Victims of asbestos exposure need money to pay for a variety of expenses from medical bills to travel costs. If you are in this position, find out the best way to get the compensation that will make your life a little bit easier.
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