Mesothelioma Asbestos Compensation Claims for Family and Victims
Victims of asbestos exposure, who were later diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, have several different options for seeking compensation. 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 time lost to be with loved ones.
If you or a loved one is a victim of asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible for the exposure. Years on a job that exposed you to asbestos may have put you in a position to have to deal with a serious illness, and this was likely to have been the result of negligence. There are multiple options for seeking that funding, and an expert in asbestos law can help you decide what step to take next.
Location of Asbestos Exposure
The first step in getting compensation is to figure out how and where you were exposed. For most people, it occurred at a past or current workplace. You may have worked for years or even decades in a location that was full of asbestos and may have incidentally inhaled or ingested its fibers.
Some of the industries and types of jobs that put the most workers at risk of asbestos exposure are construction, mining, automotive, shipbuilding and repair, and the military, especially the U.S. Navy. Ships are among the structures that contained the most asbestos, especially betweent he 1930s and 1970s, so anyone who worked in or around them are highly likely to have been exposed.
In weighing options for compensation it is important to determine the person or company liable for your asbestos exposure. If your employer knew that you were exposed to asbestos and knew some of the risks and failed to protect you from them, that company may be able to provide you with compensation.
In some cases an employer is as ignorant as its employees. It may be the manufacturer of asbestos materials you used on the job that failed to warn of the consequences of asbestos exposure. For veterans it is typically these manufacturers who supplied materials that are now held liable.
Asbestos Settlement and Lawsuits Claims
To get compensation for victims of asbestos exposure and their families you may want to consider the option to file a lawsuit. Most asbestos lawsuits end in settlements rather than trials. Both sides are usually able to agree to settle the suit out of court, awarding the victim a fair monetary settlement. This is typically preferred for victims, as lawsuits that go to trial can delay compensation payments.
The first step in filing a lawsuit is to find a lawyer experienced in these kinds of cases. There are plenty of legal teams that specialize in asbestos and mesothelioma. Look for those firms and individuals that have the actual experienced and proven track record in helping asbestos victims recover damages.
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, a lawsuit may not be an option. But, you may be able to file a claim and get compensation from an asbestos trust fund. A lawyer specializing in asbestos cases can help figure out if a trust fund claim is the right way to seek compensation, and if so how to file for one.
Companies that exposed workers to asbestos faced high-cost lawsuits, and many of them went out of business. Those that filed for bankruptcy were required to set up asbestos trust funds as part of the process. They put these in place to provide compensation for victims at that time and in the future.
Asbestos trust funds are also set up to provide funds for future claimants. Because mesothelioma and other asbestos illnesses take decades to develop and be diagnosed, these trust funds were funded with all potential future claimants in mind.
Veterans of the U.S. military can seek compensation through the U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration (VA). Many members of the military, especially those that worked on ships, were exposed to asbestos 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, and free health care and specialist care.
The amount of compensation you can expect for your asbestos exposure and illness depends on several individual factors. No lawyer, no matter how experienced in these cases, can guarantee that you will receive any specific amount but should be able to provide a reasonable estimate. Factors that affect compensation include:
- The duration and extent of your asbestos 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 how severe your illness is.
Your lawyer will evaluate all relevant factors when deciding how much to compensation to seek on your behalf. You may 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 such as pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of companionship for someone filing behalf of a deceased loved one.
It’s helpful to track all expenses associated with your illness, both direct costs like medical bills and indirect expenses like airfare for visiting a treatment facility. This will help your legal team make a more accurate claim for compensation.
In addition to getting special compensation through things like lawsuits, the VA, or asbestos 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, for instance. If you qualify, Medicaid or Medicare may also help provide coverage. Long-term disability insurance and social security disability can be good sources of compensation as well.
Companies negligent in causing asbestos illness in workers are duty-bound to provide compensation for the resulting costs. 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 holds 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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