Asbestos exposure claimed over 39,000 deaths in the United States in 2018. Several diseases are caused by these naturally occurring minerals, which are divided into malignant and nonmalignant. The nonlethal ones include COPD, asbestosis, and atelectasis (this one still kills 600+ Americans annually). On the other hand, nonmalignant complications include lung/ovarian/laryngeal cancer and mesothelioma. It may take even decades sometimes for someone’s mesothelioma to show symptoms, and – with 3,000+ deaths in 2016 – this one’s the second-deadliest asbestos-caused complication after lung cancer. Patients often seek compensation after a company’s negligence leads them to get diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The correct procedure for filing a mesothelioma claim
Why do people file a mesothelioma claim? It’s become evident that manufacturers create products that contain asbestos while knowing about the ramifications of asbestos exposure. So, this behavior involves criminal negligence shown by these manufacturers. Patients and their relatives want such companies to receive punishment for their greed – therefore – and it also helps them receive money to pay for healthcare expenditures. Learn that the life expectancy of mesothelioma lies within 18-31 months after diagnosis.
Now, who can file this claim? Learn that the patient or their family members can always file a claim. And – besides medical costs – this reimbursement may also help for counseling, therapies, medications, wages the patient has lost, and (eventually) funeral ceremonies. But they’ll all require some legal assistance from qualified experts. So, don’t forget to contact mesothelioma lawyers to guide you to file your claim correctly. Here’s how your lawyer may be able to advise you:
- Understand lawsuit types
Why is it essential for you to understand different categories of lawsuits, and which ones are better? Several manufacturers declared bankruptcy when faced with an abundance of asbestos-related lawsuits, so they can’t be sued anymore. In such cases, the plaintiff can receive compensation by filing a trust fund review claim. These expedited/individual claims have their separate criteria. We’re concerned here only with companies you can claim with a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
- Understand statute of limitations:-
Every state has laws called “statutes of limitations” that prevent legal actions against someone after a particular time has passed. So, it would help if you considered your state’s statute of limitations for mesothelioma lawsuits. For instance, California doesn’t prevent such claims from being filed one year after diagnosis (for personal injury claims) or death (wrongful death claims). Maine and North Dakota are generous about personal injury claims as you can file a lawsuit for six years after diagnosis. For the state of Massachusetts, it is three years for both personal injury and wrongful death claims. Thus, it’s essential to file the claim before your state’s statute of limitations expires after death/diagnosis.
- Gather required documents:-
Now, it’s time to gather all the evidence you can for strengthening your lawsuit. You must present some proof of suffering from an asbestos-related disease. Don’t forget to collect these documents:
- Documents showing your work history for that company
- Medical documents attesting to your mesothelioma diagnosis
- Other documents showing your financial hardships because of cancer
Also, you should bring testimonies affirming the details of your exposure, medical expenditures, and further information to incriminate the company. People often hire lawyers to help collect this stuff.
- Hire a mesothelioma lawyer:-
The next step involves employing a well-experienced attorney’s services to understand better the intricacies of filing an asbestos lawsuit. This lawyer helps the plaintiff take the best legal course of action and gather the necessary evidence to present in court. Don’t forget that cancer-related (especially mesothelioma) litigations are complex, and your chances to win increase manifold with some professional assistance.
- File the lawsuit:-
Now, your lawyer will file the claim on your behalf with the evidence you’ve gathered. So, on which basis are mesothelioma lawsuits filed today? People sometimes decide not to file a claim based on their current area of residence because of the state’s statute of residence. So, you may file a claim:
- In the state where you previously lived
- In the state where the company is/was located
- In the state where you were sent to work and exposed to asbestos
It isn’t unheard of for claimants to file their claims in different states. It helps strengthen your case and also puts the guilty party under pressure. So, if the plaintiff’s residence is remote from the place where the exposure happened, a skilled lawyer can always advise you on which case to pursue first.
- Undergo review afterward:-
After your claim’s been submitted, it undergoes consideration. The nature of this review depends on which sort of lawsuit has been filed. It is also the stage where your attorney shows their legal acumen and makes sure that the plaintiff gets the highest compensation possible. Typically – mesothelioma lawsuits are the most profitable ones, followed by trust fund reviews. Though the amount you shall receive heavily relies on your unique circumstances and the lawyer’s expertise.
- Wait for the money:-
When do you receive the money awarded to you in mesothelioma lawsuits? It depends again on the nature of your claim. If you have filed a trust fund review, receiving the promised reimbursement may take a year. But – when we’re dealing with trial verdicts – it can take them several years for the money to finally arrive. In the case of settlements, some claimants receive payments within 90 days as well! It depends on how accurately you’ve prepared your case and your lawyer’s shrewdness.
In January 2021, the Japanese Supreme Court ordered that the construction materials companies must pay 300 million yen ($2.9 million) in compensation to 27 former employees. These construction workers inhaled asbestos, thereby acquiring diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. So, how much does an American plaintiff expect to receive as compensation for a similar lawsuit? According to Joe Lahav, it’s possible to receive $1 million to $2.4 million in terms of financial compensation for mesothelioma. It can sometimes take less than a year to collect this payment if you follow the procedure correctly. You must contact experienced attorneys to gather all the necessary information for strengthening your lawsuit.