Troy E. Walton
Personal Injury Attorney
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Important Facts About the Mesothelioma Claim Process
- Types of mesothelioma compensation claims include asbestos trust fund claims, Veterans Affairs (VA) claims, and lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers and job site owners. The types of claims filed depend on various factors of each individual’s circumstances.
- The process for mesothelioma claims depends on the type of claim you file. Asbestos trust fund claims and veterans claims can be finalized in a few months to a year. Lawsuits can be unpredictable and often take the longest amount of time.
- Victims of asbestos exposure should work with attorneys specializing in mesothelioma claims. This will ensure all paperwork is completed and filed properly to ensure maximum compensation.
About the Mesothelioma Claim Process
The process for a mesothelioma or asbestos claim depends on the type of claim filed. The different types of mesothelioma compensation claims include asbestos trust fund claims, Veterans Affairs (VA) claims, and lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers and job site owners. The type of claim filed depends on various factors of each individual’s circumstances.
Asbestos trust fund claims are the most common type of mesothelioma claim because many asbestos companies have filed for bankruptcy, and the courts required them to form trust funds in order to provide compensation to current and future asbestos victims.
VA claims for mesothelioma are not legal claims. They are specifically for U.S. military veterans with mesothelioma and are filed with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as part of compensation programs for veterans with disabilities.
Mesothelioma legal claims, including lawsuits, differ from typical legal claims. There are special circumstances for mesothelioma patients due to the long latency period of the cancer.
Attorneys with limited experience in mesothelioma and asbestos claims may not have the expertise needed to be successful.
Filing a claim for mesothelioma may be complex, so connect with our patient advocates to learn more about mesothelioma claims and the process.
Types of Asbestos Claims for Mesothelioma
There are different types of mesothelioma claims victims of asbestos exposure can file in order to receive compensation. Veterans with mesothelioma also have access to several compensation programs through the VA.
The types of claims victims of asbestos exposure can file include:
- Asbestos trust funds – A claim filed with bankrupt asbestos companies and their trust funds established to compensate victims of asbestos exposure
- VA claim – A disability claim filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by a veteran with mesothelioma or the surviving spouse of a veteran who has died from mesothelioma
- Lawsuits – A legal claim filed against the parties responsible for the victim’s exposure to asbestos and asbestos-related disease; can be a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim
Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Claims
Understanding the statute of limitations on asbestos claims is crucial for victims of asbestos exposure. There is a time limit on filing mesothelioma and asbestos claims, and the timeline varies depending on the state and type of claim. The statute of limitations begins at the time of a patient’s diagnosis for personal injury claims or at the time of death for wrongful death claims. It’s important to note that these deadlines vary from state to state.
In most cases, the statute of limitations for mesothelioma claims falls within a range of 2-4 years, but some states impose shorter one-year limits, while others extend the window to five or six years. Given the significance of these deadlines and the variation among states, it is vital to connect with a qualified mesothelioma attorney.
Compensation Timeline for Mesothelioma Claims
The purpose of filing mesothelioma claims is for a victim of asbestos exposure to receive rightfully deserved compensation, but some victims are hesitant due to misconceptions about filing a claim. Many believe the process will last years, and they may never see any money. However, this is false.
Certain types of mesothelioma claims can be settled and begin to payout within months. For instance, working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can expedite the timeline for receiving compensation for a mesothelioma claim.
Asbestos Trust Fund Compensation Timeline
Due to the extensive experience of mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers, they will often know which asbestos trust funds are available and which ones to file claims with based on your work history and asbestos exposure history.
In fact, many victims who file asbestos trust fund claims begin to receive compensation as soon as 90 days after filing.
Lawsuit Compensation Timeline
Mesothelioma lawsuits are complex and require the experience of attorneys who specialize in asbestos and mesothelioma litigation. Different rules are applied to mesothelioma and asbestos lawsuits that generalized attorneys may not be aware of. Working with an experienced asbestos lawyer will help the success and efficiency of your case.
Many mesothelioma lawsuits are settled privately and do not go to trial. However, many states allow for expedited review of mesothelioma cases, which means the case will be heard by a judge or jury within a year of filing. With this, there is no definite timeline for mesothelioma lawsuit compensation. The timeline for compensation can range from one year to multiple years – in extreme cases.
VA Compensation Timeline
VA claims can be a bit tricky if you are not working with a VA claims agent with experience in asbestos claims. The VA’s language can be confusing and misleading to those without experience.
The key to filing a VA claim is completing and submitting all required paperwork correctly. A VA-accredited claims agent will ensure all documentation is completed and submitted correctly, increasing your chances of approval.
However, approval by the VA can be a complex process. It may take as little as a few months or as long as a year to receive approval from the VA. This is why it is important to work with an experienced VA claims agent because they can contact the VA to check on the status of your claim and work out any issues the VA may have.
The Process of Filing Asbestos Trust Fund Claims
Asbestos trust fund claims are a key type of mesothelioma claim victims can file. This type of claim is filed against asbestos companies that have now claimed bankruptcy.
In the U.S. legal system, bankrupt companies cannot be sued and taken to court by a lawsuit. This allowed certain asbestos manufacturing companies to sidestep lawsuits by filing for asbestos bankruptcy.
In order to protect victims with pending lawsuits or future victims seeking compensation, the courts ordered bankrupt asbestos companies to create and fund bank accounts dedicated to victims of asbestos exposure called asbestos trust funds, which are essentially asbestos bankruptcy trusts. There are billions of dollars set aside in these accounts today.
How to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim for Mesothelioma
Connect with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. Not all attorneys have experience with mesothelioma claims or asbestos litigation. Mesothelioma and asbestos cases have unique characteristics and are vastly different from a typical personal injury and wrongful death.
Determine your asbestos exposure history by learning where and how you were exposed. This is essential to filing a mesothelioma claim. Without proving your mesothelioma was caused by specific instances of asbestos exposure, your claim likely won’t be accepted. Experienced mesothelioma lawyers can help determine your asbestos exposure and the responsible parties.
File claims with the proper asbestos trust funds. Casting a wide net helps by providing more opportunities for a successful claim and additional financial compensation from asbestos trust funds.
Steps of the Asbestos Trust Fund Claim Process
File the claims — With the help of a mesothelioma attorney, you’ll match your exposure history to specific companies involved in manufacturing and using asbestos. You’ll likely file claims with multiple trusts.
Review — Your claims are reviewed based on the rules of the trust. There’s either an expedited review, which pays you a predetermined amount, or an individual review. Expedited reviews are quicker. A mesothelioma attorney can help select the right type of review.
Liquidation — Liquidation is the assignment of a monetary value to the claim. When filed as expedited and valid, claims already have a monetary value scheduled by the trust. Liquidation for individual reviews, on the other hand, is negotiated between the trust fund’s trustee and your asbestos lawyer.
Payment — After an offer is made and accepted, payment is the final step of the procedure.
Get Access to Trust Fund Money
$32 billion is available to mesothelioma patients and their families.
How Can Trust Funds Help?
- Assist in paying for treatment and travel expenses
- Ensure your family's financial future
- Quick compensation
The Process of Filing VA Claims for Mesothelioma
Veterans who were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military can also file claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans account for more than one-third of diagnosed mesothelioma cases, and most veterans were exposed to asbestos during their military service. Asbestos was prevalent in Navy carriers and battleships, Coast Guard ships, Air Force aircraft, Army barracks and military vehicles.
The VA has benefit programs for veterans who were exposed to asbestos while on active duty and have now been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, such as mesothelioma. U.S. military veterans with mesothelioma can receive compensation from the VA to pay for bills, medical expenses, lost wages and more.
For more information about VA claims, contact our VA-accredited claims agent, retired LCDR Carl Jewett.
Types of VA Claims for Mesothelioma
Veterans with mesothelioma may be eligible for:
- VA Disability Compensation – A monthly, tax-free benefit provided to veterans with a service-connected health condition, such as mesothelioma, if their asbestos exposure occurred mostly during military service
- VA Pension – Monthly compensation option for veterans who were exposed to asbestos primarily in their civilian jobs and do not qualify for Disability Compensation
- Aid & Attendance (A&A) – Financial compensation for someone who requires the assistance of another person to perform daily living activities; veterans can receive additional compensation when a spouse requires A&A
- VA Health Care – Health insurance for eligible veterans that covers major surgeries, chemotherapy treatment, immunotherapy, radiation sessions, diagnostic tests, biopsies, follow-up scans and medication
Veterans who file VA claims can still file legal claims against the companies that manufactured and sold asbestos to the U.S. military. These legal claims are not made against the government or the military branches, so veterans do not need to feel any guilt about pursuing legal compensation in addition to VA compensation. They deserve as much financial assistance as possible and should not feel any remorse for the companies that exposed them to asbestos.
The surviving loved ones of a veteran who passed away from mesothelioma can also file VA claims:
How to File a VA Claim for Mesothelioma
The process for a VA claim depends on the type of VA compensation you’re eligible to receive. For instance, the steps of VA Disability Compensation claims are different from the steps of VA Pension claims. This is largely because the documents and forms required to get the claim approved are different, and the VA is particular in which information it needs to accept the claim.
Below is an overview of the steps you can take to set yourself up for success in filing a successful VA claim for mesothelioma:
Connect with a veterans claims agent who specializes in mesothelioma and asbestos claims. Mesothelioma and asbestos cases are given special circumstances, and experience with these specific claims is essential to receiving all deserved benefits.
Gather evidence proving the majority of your asbestos exposure occurred while on active duty. Provide medical records that show you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.
Determine which VA benefits to apply for and complete all required paperwork. Your VA claims agent will know which benefits you are eligible for and will help gather all required documentation.
Submit all VA forms and standby for a decision from the VA.
Requirements for Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
Regardless of the type of mesothelioma claim the victim intends to file, there are a few requirements to address before the process begins:
- Diagnosis and medical records – The victim must have a mesothelioma diagnosis or another asbestos-related disease and provide medical records confirming the diagnosis.
- History of asbestos exposure – The victim must provide their history of exposure (work history, military service, or a loved one’s connection to working with asbestos).
- Financial records – The victim should record all financial losses and hardships caused by their diagnosis in order to increase the chances of receiving maximum compensation.
Working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer – or, for veterans, a VA claims agent – will help simplify this process as they will assist you in gathering all required documentation.
Why Should You File a Mesothelioma or Asbestos Claim
Most companies responsible for manufacturing and distributing asbestos products and materials knew of the health risks associated with the substance but chose not to disclose the risks to the public. These asbestos companies are legally responsible for how mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases affect victims and their families; therefore, they are legally obligated to provide financial compensation to victims of asbestos exposure.
Victims can be exposed to asbestos at work, from a loved one who worked with asbestos, or from products that contained asbestos. Talc powders, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, were negligently contaminated with asbestos due to the mineral often mixing with talc.
Working with a mesothelioma lawyer will help victims of asbestos exposure receive the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Regardless of the type of mesothelioma claim the victim intends to file, there are a few requirements to address before the process begins:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Travel costs for medical treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, learning about your options can help you avoid financial loss. Working with an experienced mesothelioma and asbestos attorney can help secure maximum compensation, which could be the difference between financial security or years of medical bills.
If you or someone you know was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma, contact our team to learn how to file a claim as soon as possible.
What to Expect When You File a Mesothelioma Compensation Claim
Many mesothelioma patients and their families hesitate to file a claim because they do not know what to expect and are intimidated by the thought of working with attorneys, but mesothelioma lawyers work with victims to make the process much easier than most realize.
One of the main benefits of working with a lawyer specializing in mesothelioma cases is that victims are not obligated to pay any out-of-pocket legal fees. Mesothelioma lawyers typically work on a contingency basis, which means they receive a percentage of the awarded verdict or settlement amount. Lawyers only receive pay from a claim if it’s successful, which is one reason your lawyer will work diligently to ensure the claim is successful in providing deserved compensation.
Being involved in legal matters may seem overwhelming, but mesothelioma attorneys simplify the process. They do most of the work, such as:
- Traveling to the victim in order to gather all necessary information for the claim
- Determining the victim’s asbestos exposure history
- Travel costs for medical treatment
- Compiling and completing all required paperwork
- Filing the claim(s) against all responsible parties in all applicable jurisdictions
Another common misconception about mesothelioma and asbestos claims is many veterans are hesitant to file claims because they are under the impression they will be suing the military. This is false. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers monetary benefit programs for veterans who were exposed to asbestos while on active duty and have now been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.
Additionally, any legal claims filed by veterans are not made against the military. They are against the manufacturing companies that sold asbestos to the military without any warning.
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Claims and the Process
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
The length of the mesothelioma claims process varies based on the type of claim you seek. Asbestos trust fund claims usually reach a favorable conclusion in a few months since the money is set aside specifically to compensate victims of asbestos-related diseases. VA claims can take longer due to the steps of filing a VA claim.
How do you prove asbestos exposure?
The key to proving asbestos exposure is working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer or VA claims agent. Asbestos exposure can be proven by evaluating a victim's work history and determining if they worked with or near any asbestos-containing products and materials that would have resulted in exposure.
What is the most important part of the mesothelioma claim process?
The most important part of the mesothelioma claims process is the first part: hiring a mesothelioma lawyer. The legal help you choose could determine how fast you receive compensation or whether you receive your deserved compensation amount. Choose an experienced lawyer who can prove you were exposed to asbestos and are in need of financial help to pay for bills, treatment and more.
Sources & Author
- Asbestos. Mealey’s Litigation Report. Retrieved from: https://www.bateswhite.com/media/pnc/5/media.285.pdf. Accessed: 11/07/2023.
- Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf. Accessed: 11/07/2023.
- Resolving Asbestos Claims: The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Duke Law. Retrieved from: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4069&context=lcp. Accessed: 11/07/2023.
- Chapter 11 – Bankruptcy Basics. United States Courts. Retrieved from: https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/chapter-11-bankruptcy-basics. Accessed: 11/07/2023.
- Asbestos and the Future of Mass Torts. National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from: https://www.nber.org/papers/w10308#:~:text=The%20paper%20contrasts%20asbestos%20litigation,torts%20larger%20and%20more%20expensive Accessed: 11/08/2023.
- Veterans asbestos exposure. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/asbestos/ Accessed: 04/06/23.
- Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts and Tort Compensation. RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2011/RAND_MG1104.pdf. Accessed: 11/08/2023.
- Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/resources_comp01.asp> Accessed: 11/08/2023.