The vast majority — possibly even all — of mesothelioma patients aren’t legal experts. They are construction workers, insulation workers, plumbers, pipefitters, boiler repair workers, military veterans, automobile repair workers and more salt-of-the-earth Americans.
So the idea of filing a mesothelioma claim or taking any sort of legal action is likely far beyond their comfort zone. If you’re a mesothelioma patient who is thinking about starting a claim, you probably can relate to this uncomfortable feeling.
That’s perfectly fine; you shouldn’t be expected to handle the case process on your own. We at Mesothelioma Guide spoke with legal experts who have decades of experience, and they shared five essential tips for victims like you to remember.
Once you’ve read these words of advice, contact either of our patient advocates, Jenna Campagna or Carl Jewett. They have connected thousands of mesothelioma patients to legal experts who can offer even more pointers. Email either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more help.
Research the Mesothelioma Case Process
Familiarize yourself with the steps involved in mesothelioma claims. The process is often unique from other types of cases.
The five general parts of a mesothelioma lawsuit are:
- Preparation — The plaintiff side determines the victim’s asbestos exposure history and uncovers which corporations are responsible.
- Filing — The claim is filed in the locations (states) most advantageous to the victim.
- Discovery — Both sides of the lawsuit evaluate all evidence, such as exposure time and work history
- Negotiations — Many mesothelioma lawsuits end here, as the defendant will offer a settlement to avoid an expensive trial.
- Trial and judgment — If the case reaches trial, then a judge or jury will declare a verdict. While the payout for a mesothelioma verdict is often higher than a settlement, the payment usually takes much longer.
Your role in the case process is minimal. You can find more information about the mesothelioma case process.
Know the Statute of Limitations for Your Claim
Each mesothelioma claim is unique due to numerous factors, such as the victim’s diagnosis, exposure history and more. Their location — both where they are now and where they were exposed — is another variable.
Each mesothelioma claim has a “ticking clock,” meaning the patient has a finite amount of time to begin the case process. This clock is referred to as the “statute of limitations,” which is a law unique to each state. To avoid missing out on compensation owed to you, you should think about contacting a lawyer right away and filing a claim before receiving treatment.
For personal injury claims — which apply when the diagnosed patient is still alive — the statute of limitations begins when the victim receives their diagnosis. The time limit varies but is usually between two and four years.
For wrongful death claims — which apply when the patient has passed away — the statute of limitations usually begins once the victim passes. The time limit also varies by state but typically lasts between two and four years.
Before starting your mesothelioma claim, learn the statute of limitations for the state or states applicable to your case.
Understand How Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work
There are two parts to a mesothelioma lawsuit: personal injury claims and wrongful death claims. When the diagnosed patient passes away, their surviving loved ones are eligible to either continue an already-started lawsuit or file a new one.
Despite the mesothelioma patient passing away, the loved ones are entitled to compensation. Their family member’s passing has a neverending effect on them, one caused by corporate greed and negligence. Each state has different rules for who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most locations, the surviving spouse, parents and legal children are eligible to do so.
If you’re a mesothelioma patient, you should provide a summary of legal options to your loved ones. Prepare them in case they need to file a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit.
You and your loved ones can read more about wrongful death lawsuits.
Look Up Some of the Active Asbestos Trust Funds
Many mesothelioma claims aren’t lawsuits but rather are asbestos trust fund claims. These types of cases involve bankrupt companies that cannot be sued. However, to protect victims such as yourself, they were required to create bank accounts to compensate the people whom they wronged.
Asbestos trust fund payments often are lower than those of lawsuits. However, you can file with multiple trust funds to maximize your compensation. Additionally, as a victim, you’ll receive the financial help much faster. This quick payment will allow you to cover medical bills, run the household as normal and keep your family stable despite your diagnosis.
There are approximately 60 active asbestos trust funds — some national and some regional. You can find a few of the national trusts on our asbestos trust funds page for reference.
Find an Experienced, National Mesothelioma Law Firm
This tip is the most important on the list. There are numerous benefits to being selective with your representation.
National mesothelioma lawyers can file a claim in multiple states and seek the most advantageous route for your case. Prioritizing experience also ensures you’ll receive the best legal advice and representation possible, and it’ll increase your chances of getting maximum financial help.
Hiring an elite mesothelioma law firm for your case means more likelihood you can cover your medical bills, wipe out your debt and secure your family’s future. Don’t settle when choosing a mesothelioma law firm to handle your claim. You and your family deserve the best, so you should hire the best mesothelioma lawyer.
For more tips on hiring a mesothelioma lawyer, including advice from our own legal experts, visit our website and request a free case evaluation. Doing so requires no commitment from you and will help you make an informed legal decision regarding your case.