Mesothelioma Patients and Legal Rights
Asbestos was used in commercial, residential, and industrial settings during the 20th century. This led to unnecessary asbestos exposure that resulted in the diagnosis of mesothelioma and associated litigation.
Asbestos is a silicate mineral that can cause a number of fatal illnesses when its fibers are ingested or inhaled. Mesothelioma comes almost exclusively from exposure to asbestos.
Because of the link between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, it often means exposure to the carcinogen occurred at work, home, or through the use of a product containing asbestos.
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not manifest for decades after initial exposure. When those symptoms arise, you deserve to know what you’re legally and financially entitled to.
Mesothelioma Hope equips you with the information you need to deal with a mesothelioma diagnosis. We provide resources for your health and well-being and help you get the justice you deserve.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or someone in your family has, you should be aware of your legal rights.
A mesothelioma lawsuit can be very helpful to families, and the best way to file a lawsuit is with the help of a mesothelioma lawyer. A mesothelioma lawyer will assess your situation and help determine what kind of case you have.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
There are two primary types of mesothelioma lawsuits: wrongful death and personal injury.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
A personal injury claim is usually filed by the individual with mesothelioma. In some cases, a personal injury claim can be filed by family members on behalf of someone who is too ill to do so themselves.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit happens when an individual decides to file a lawsuit for the death of a deceased relative. If a family member passes away from mesothelioma, relatives can choose to file a claim on their behalf.
Although it can sometimes be difficult or time-consuming for family members to collect all the information needed to file a claim of this kind, it is still possible.
Family members may be able to receive compensation for expenses such as medical bills, funeral costs, or loss of income in caring for a family member diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits were commonly used in mesothelioma lawsuits decades ago, but are no longer used today.
In class action lawsuits, groups of people chose to file a claim together against one defendant. This group should have comparable injuries arising from similar circumstances. However, since asbestos claims vary with each person, class action lawsuits fell out of use.
Today, mesothelioma patients and their families usually opt to work with a mesothelioma lawyer who can concentrate on their individual case and its unique circumstances.
Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Lawsuits
As soon as you know about your mesothelioma diagnosis, it is important to talk to a lawyer about filing a claim. There are laws in place that limit the time you have to file a claim. Lawyers refer to these laws as statutes of limitations.
The time frame of these laws depends on what state you live in. There are usually between one to five years for plaintiffs to file a lawsuit. However, only an experienced lawyer can determine if you are able to file a claim and how long you have to do so.
Statue Of Limitations Update
Statute of limitations laws can also differ if it’s a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims sometimes have shorter statutes, giving relatives less time to file a claim after a family member has died from mesothelioma.
The chart below details the statutes of limitations for each state. Regardless of your time frame, talk to your lawyer about what options are available to you.
Legal Process for Asbestos Claims
Filing a lawsuit can be a long and highly involved process. Every case is unique, and it’s impossible to know the timeline for any lawsuit. However, there are steps that are almost always part of the procedure.
These steps include:
Initially, you will speak with a mesothelioma case manager, who will determine whether you are eligible for a potential claim.
You may be asked such questions as:
- Who was diagnosed, when and with what asbestos-related disease?
- What is the victim’s work history? Was he or she ever in the military?
- Has anyone else in your family ever worked around asbestos?
Your case manager will then assess the information to determine the appropriate next steps for your potential claim.
If you qualify during the initial phone call, we will come to you—and can often be there the next day—to answer any questions you might have. We will help guide you through the documents to be signed, including medical, Social Security and military authorization forms. We will meet with you at no cost to you—at your home or another location of your choosing and at your convenience. We will also explain the fee agreement. It is important for you to know that your mesothelioma lawyer is compensated only if you receive money from your claim.
Following the in-person visit and after the initial paperwork is completed, your claim will be assigned to a legal team tailored to your specific case. The team of mesothelioma lawyers, paralegals, investigators, and other staff will typically schedule an introduction with you within 3 to 10 days of receiving your claim.
Once you have been introduced, the team will begin investigating the details of your mesothelioma claim. They will evaluate your medical records, collect witnesses and, if appropriate, retain experts to provide further review of medical documents. They will also look into the asbestos-containing products that may have caused the disease.
Filing Your Claim
Your claim will be filed when your legal team has confirmed your mesothelioma diagnosis and believes they have identified the asbestos-containing products that
may have caused the disease. They will file a claim on your behalf while continuing to collect supporting evidence. In some cases, you may be asked to give a testimony. Should this be necessary, your legal team will meet you at a time and location convenient for you to take your testimony. Very rarely does this testimony take place in court.
Results and Outcome
It is extremely rare for mesothelioma cases to go to trial. With an estimated $30 Billion available in court-ordered trust money, a settlement will likely be offered if your claim qualifies for compensation. Your team will advise you of the money offered and sign off only once you have agreed to the terms of the settlement.
Important Information About Choosing a Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the patient advocates at Mesothelioma Hope can connect you with a legal team that will come to you, often the next day, to discuss the details of your case. No need to leave your home.
What to Expect in a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Any lawsuit can be a stressful process. It can be even more stressful when you’re fighting mesothelioma or dealing with the death of a loved one from mesothelioma.
Even though your attorney will be doing the legwork, the defendant will try to destabilize your claim and make your suffering seem illegitimate. The widespread knowledge of asbestos’ harm does not stop defendants from looking for ways to stop your complaint. The lack of willingness to accept responsibility can make you angry, scared or depressed.
It’s important to understand that your mesothelioma attorney is very well-equipped to deal with this process. Your best chance at finding justice for you and your family is with a qualified mesothelioma attorney.
Selecting the Right Mesothelioma Lawyer
Selecting the right mesothelioma lawyer is the most important step in seeking justice.
It is essential to find need a lawyer with expertise in asbestos-related diseases and asbestos litigation. The right lawyer will provide you with the information you need to proceed with confidence.
It is also important to choose a law firm with a strong record of success and a long history of helping mesothelioma patients and their families find justice and secure the compensation they’re entitled to.
Mesothelioma Hope recommends working with an established and reputable firm. The right firm will help you through every step of the legal process with professionalism and proficiency.
If you have any questions about legal options for mesothelioma patients and relatives, our Patient Advocates here to help.
Contact Mesothelioma Hope at (866) 608-8933 for further information on our mesothelioma resources.