What Is a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit is a type of legal action that can be taken if another person — or company — is responsible for someone’s death.
Mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits are usually filed against the manufacturers of asbestos products. These companies knew their products were harmful but did not warn the public.
These mesothelioma cases claim that the asbestos victim would still be alive if they had not been exposed to asbestos, the only known cause of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits help families secure financial compensation from asbestos companies. This money can keep a family financially secure and punish the manufacturers for exposing their loved one to asbestos.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by anyone who is in charge of a victim’s estate. The person does not have to be related to the mesothelioma victim, but they must have the legal authority to file the lawsuit.
Anyone looking to file a wrongful death lawsuit for mesothelioma should work with an experienced mesothelioma law firm for best results. Mesothelioma lawyers know how to properly navigate these complex lawsuits and can make the legal process easier for grief-stricken families.
- More than 26,000 people worldwide died of mesothelioma in 2020.
- Less than 10% of mesothelioma patients live 5 years or more after diagnosis.
- Each state and U.S. territory has its own laws that affect how and when wrongful death lawsuits are filed.
- In some states, families only have 1 year after their loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Looking for an attorney to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit? Use our Free Checklist of 14 Questions to ask during the interview process to find the right lawyer.
Why File a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Claim?
All mesothelioma deaths are tragic and could have been prevented. While a lawsuit can never make up for the loss of a cherished loved one, it can provide family members with financial security and help them honor the victim.
Compensation from a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit can pay for:
- Costs of travel
- Family living expenses
- Funeral services
- Unpaid medical bills
Mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits also hold manufacturers of asbestos products accountable. These companies knew that asbestos exposure could cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases.
However, instead of doing the right thing, they hid the health risks for decades so they could keep making money. They ended up exposing millions of Americans in the process.
Since these manufacturers may be directly responsible for an asbestos victim’s death, they should be the ones to cover the related expenses — not the victim’s family.
Who Can File a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by anyone who represents the victim’s estate — not just family members or spouses. Estate representatives are typically appointed by a court.
Most states allow these parties to file wrongful death suits:
- Executor of the will
- Birth and/or legally adopted children
- Next of kin as noted by state law
- Spouse or legally recognized life partner
- Other dependents
To see who can file a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit, victims should contact a lawyer who has handled similar cases. These mesothelioma lawyers can help determine who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit and when it should be filed for best results.
Asbestos lawyers can also help families access compensation from other sources, including asbestos trust funds. See if you qualify to file a trust fund claim right now.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit after a loved one’s death is slightly different from filing a personal injury mesothelioma lawsuit.
First, mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits can be filed in a few different ways. Personal injury claims are generally filed by patients after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Wrongful death lawsuits can:
- Be filed after a victim dies: If a person dies due to mesothelioma but never filed a lawsuit while they were alive, it may be possible to then file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Evolve from a personal injury lawsuit: If a person filed a mesothelioma lawsuit but died before the case was resolved, the lawsuit can be continued as a wrongful death action.
Second, the burden of proof falls to the victim’s family, as the victim can no longer provide evidence.
Lawyers representing the deceased must explain how:
- The victim was exposed to asbestos: This is the how, when, and where a victim was exposed to asbestos. Work history, job description, and testimonies by former coworkers can all be used to prove asbestos exposure. This proof should also include medical records with a statement from a doctor linking the exposure to the victim’s mesothelioma.
- The manufacturers are negligent: It needs to be shown that the manufacturers named in the lawsuit knew they were putting people in harm’s way, failed to properly protect or warn workers, or manufactured a dangerous and defective product.
- The victim’s death harmed their family: When someone dies from mesothelioma, their family members lose a source of financial support and emotional care. Both of these factors can impact how much financial compensation the lawsuit will award.
Families and loved ones should get a free consultation with an experienced asbestos lawyer to learn more about the mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit process.
Challenges of Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit can be more complicated than a standard mesothelioma claim.
Unlike a standard lawsuit, the victim is unable to provide any firsthand information about their asbestos exposure. However, if the lawsuit was filed before the victim died, they may have already provided some information.
A skilled mesothelioma lawyer will be able to gather the information needed to file a claim even after a victim’s death.
Keep in mind that not every wrongful death case follows the same rules. Wrongful death statutes, which determine the process for filing these lawsuits, vary by state and even by U.S. territory.
State laws can affect:
- How long someone has to file an asbestos wrongful death lawsuit
- Who receives compensation
- How much compensation will be awarded
- How much (if any) of the compensation earned is taxable
- Whether punitive damages (damages meant to punish the defendant) can be awarded
Fortunately, mesothelioma lawyers can help a victim’s estate representative learn when and how to file a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit.
Statutes of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death lawsuits are governed by statutes of limitations that prevent people from filing lawsuits after a certain period of time.
A wrongful death lawsuit for mesothelioma must be filed within the statute of limitations or the victim’s family may not be able to receive mesothelioma compensation.
Wrongful death statutes of limitations vary by state, and they are often shorter than personal injury statutes of limitations. In most cases, the statute of limitations starts to run on the day of the mesothelioma victim’s death.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit can be as little as 1 year.
Families looking to file a wrongful death lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out should work with an experienced lawyer, as it can be difficult to accurately interpret the statutes without a lawyer’s help.
Even if you think you might have missed the filing deadline, check with an asbestos attorney. You may be able to file your wrongful death action in a different state or access compensation from another source. Our featured law firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy, can help you explore all of your legal options.
Get Help Filing a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Nobody deserves to lose their life for simply doing their job or working with products that they thought were safe. Sadly, that is exactly what has happened to countless asbestos victims across the country.
If someone you love passed away from mesothelioma, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive compensation. This compensation can help you get justice for your loved one’s death and honor their legacy.
To learn more about filing a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit, contact our Patient Advocates today.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit FAQs
What are some average wrongful death settlements for mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma lawsuit settlements award between $1 million and $1.4 million on average. However, some settlements may award more than this.
Three notable mesothelioma wrongful death settlements include:
- $10 million to the family of a Missouri insulator
- $6.3 million for the family of an Iowa asbestos worker
- $5.7 million to the family of a Florida maintenance worker
- $3.75 million for the family of a Pennsylvania laborer
How do I get a mesothelioma settlement after the death of a loved one?
Mesothelioma wrongful death claims allow family members to pursue compensation from a settlement after the death of a loved one.
Your best bet is to partner with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who can help you file a lawsuit if you qualify.
Wrongful death suits have strict deadlines, so it’s a good idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
Who receives money from wrongful death claims?
This depends on the wrongful death statutes in each state. In some states, 100% of the award goes to the next of kin. Other states may divide the money between different parties.
Is there mesothelioma compensation for family members?
Possibly. Family members who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma may be able to obtain compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit or an asbestos trust fund claim.
An experienced asbestos attorney can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation.
When can I expect to receive compensation?
While the amount of time varies with each case, many mesothelioma lawsuits start to award compensation within 12 months if a settlement is reached out of court.
A mesothelioma lawyer can update you on your lawsuit’s settlement payout timeline as the case moves forward.