Troy E. Walton
Personal Injury Attorney
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Important Facts About Legal Mesothelioma Claims
- There are two types of legal mesothelioma claims: lawsuits and asbestos trust funds.
- Compensation from a mesothelioma lawsuit comes from either an out-of-court settlement or a verdict delivered by a judge or jury.
- Asbestos trust fund claims are filed with bankrupt asbestos companies who have created bank accounts with money set aside to compensate victims of asbestos exposure.
- The victim’s exposure history will determine the type of mesothelioma claim filed.
What Are Legal Mesothelioma Claims?
Mesothelioma is the direct result of asbestos exposure, as asbestos is the only known cause of this rare cancer. Corporations that manufactured and sold asbestos to the public knew about the health risks and did not warn consumers.
Due to unethical business practices and corporate negligence, victims of asbestos exposure who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma are eligible to file legal claims and receive financial compensation.
The two types of mesothelioma legal claims victims can file include:
- Asbestos trust fund claims — Legal claims filed with bankrupt asbestos companies’ trust funds that result in a fixed compensation amount previously established by the trustees
- Mesothelioma lawsuits — Legal claims filed against active asbestos companies that often result in a settlement agreement or a verdict decided by a jury
Veterans of the U.S. military can also file mesothelioma claims through the VA for financial assistance, although these are not legal claims but disability benefits from the government. Learn more about VA claims for mesothelioma here.
With knowledge of mesothelioma compensation options, the claim process and the qualification requirements, victims and families can pursue multiple claims.
How To File a Mesothelioma Legal Claim
- Connect with a lawyer who has experience with mesothelioma claims. Not all attorneys have experience with asbestos and mesothelioma. These claims are vastly different from other types of legal claims and require extensive experience to be successful.
- Identify how and where you were exposed to asbestos. This step is essential to filing a mesothelioma claim. Without connecting your cancer diagnosis to specific instances of asbestos exposure, your claim likely won’t succeed. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can determine your history of exposure.
- File a claim(s) against all responsible parties. Mesothelioma claims are often filed in multiple states due to the complexity of asbestos exposure. Companies distributed asbestos across the country, so there may be several jurisdictions applicable to the victim’s claim. By filing in multiple states, there is more opportunity for maximum compensation.
Asbestos Trust Fund Claims for Mesothelioma
Asbestos trust funds are bank accounts created and funded by bankrupt asbestos companies. Victims of asbestos exposure with an asbestos disease can file an asbestos trust fund claim and receive compensation.
The asbestos market came to a near halt after organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) condemned the unsafe use of the substance and implemented safety precautions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aligned with OSHA’s stance and implemented strict regulations on the use of asbestos.
Once the public learned the health risks of asbestos and victims of exposure were diagnosed with asbestos diseases, they began to take legal action against the responsible companies. Due to the onslaught of lawsuits against asbestos companies, they tried to escape the responsibility of financially compensating victims fairly. Lawsuits often resulted in massive verdicts for victims, encouraging companies to file for bankruptcy. A bankrupt company cannot be sued and taken to court in the U.S. justice system.
As a method of preserving some level of justice for the victims of asbestos exposure and the people affected by asbestos-caused diseases such as mesothelioma cancer, U.S. bankruptcy courts forced companies to create asbestos trust funds to ensure asbestos manufacturers cannot avoid their legal and ethical responsibility. These funds allow future victims to file claims, receive money quickly, and avoid a lengthy legal process.
According to the last report issued by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, the median mesothelioma trust fund payment was $41,000, although each individual claim is different so trust fund compensation can vary.
How to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
- Connect with a qualified mesothelioma lawyer – Not all attorneys have the experience required to be successful with mesothelioma or asbestos claims. Filing an asbestos trust fund claim requires extensive knowledge of asbestos products and companies in order to file claims with the right trusts. Lawyers specializing in mesothelioma and asbestos claims possess the knowledge and expertise necessary for success.
- Determine asbestos exposure history – Connecting with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will simplify this step. A qualified attorney will know what questions to ask, how to pinpoint specific instances of exposure, and which companies are responsible. Proving specific instances of asbestos exposure and the link to certain companies is essential to filing an asbestos trust fund claim. Without proof of exposure, the claim will not move forward.
- File claims with the proper asbestos trust funds – Most asbestos trust fund claims are filed with multiple trusts as there is usually more than one responsible party. Filing with multiple trusts provides more opportunity for a successful claim and a larger payout.
- Claim(s) are reviewed based on the rules of the trust – Asbestos trust fund claims are reviewed in two ways: expedited or individually. Expedited review pays a predetermined amount and cannot be negotiated. Individual review means each claim is reviewed as it is received, and the compensation amount is determined based on various factors and can be negotiated. An experienced mesothelioma attorney will help choose the best type of review for the victim’s circumstances.
- Claim(s) are assigned monetary value – This is called liquidation. When filed for expedited review, claims already have a monetary value automatically assigned by the trust. When filed for individual review, the monetary value is negotiated between the trustee and the victim’s asbestos attorney.
- Victim receives payment – After a monetary value is assigned to the asbestos trust fund claim, whether through expedited or individual review, the victim will receive payment as the last step of the process.
Mesothelioma lawsuits are a type of lawsuit victims of asbestos exposure who have developed this rare cancer are eligible to file. If an asbestos company responsible for the victim’s mesothelioma is still active and has not filed for bankruptcy, the victim can file a mesothelioma lawsuit.
To file a mesothelioma lawsuit, victims should connect with a lawyer specializing in mesothelioma and asbestos litigation. Mesothelioma lawsuits have special circumstances due to the long latency period of the cancer. Lawyers without experience in mesothelioma lawsuits may not be aware of the specific rules that apply to mesothelioma and asbestos cases.
Many victims are hesitant to file because of misconceptions about the legal process. However, a mesothelioma lawyer will streamline the process and do most of the work. In fact, most lawsuits regarding mesothelioma reach a settlement before going to trial. This allows the victim to receive compensation quicker, to focus on their mesothelioma treatment, and to spend quality time with loved ones.
How to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
- Connect with a lawyer who has experience with mesothelioma lawsuits. Not all attorneys have experience with asbestos litigation. They may advertise themselves as experts, but mesothelioma lawsuits are different from all other types of cases.
- Identify specific instances of asbestos exposure. This step is essential to filing a lawsuit. Without proof linking the victim’s cancer diagnosis to individual instances of asbestos exposure, the lawsuit likely won’t succeed. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer will determine the history of exposure.
- File lawsuit(s) against all responsible parties. Mesothelioma lawsuits are often filed against multiple companies and in multiple states due to the complexity of asbestos exposure. Companies sold asbestos to companies across the country, so there may be several jurisdictions and companies involved in the claim.
- Gather key witnesses and medical experts to testify on the victim’s behalf. The victim’s legal team will reach out to witnesses and medical experts who can support the victim’s claim. The victim may also give testimony in the form of a deposition, which is a video testimony that can be pre-recorded and presented in court.
- Both sides attempt to negotiate a settlement. Most mesothelioma lawsuits end in a settlement agreement and do not go to trial. During negotiations, both sides attempt to agree on a settlement amount, so the accused companies do not risk being forced to pay a hefty verdict to the victim. In rare cases, neither side can reach an agreement, so the lawsuit proceeds to trial.
- The settlement amount is paid to the victim, or the case proceeds to trial. If both sides reach a settlement agreement, the victim receives payment. If the case proceeds to trial, the decision is in the hands of the judge or jury.
Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Claims
The statute of limitations is a law that sets the time frame victims have for filing a legal claim: asbestos trust fund or lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations, and the time limit varies depending on the state and type of claim.
Understanding the statute of limitations for mesothelioma claims is crucial for victims of asbestos exposure. 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.
In most states, the statute of limitations for mesothelioma claims is 2-4 years. Some states have a one-year time limit, while others can be up to six years. The importance of these deadlines and the variation among states enforces the need for a qualified mesothelioma attorney.
If a state’s statute of limitations for your type of claim has expired, you will not be able to file a claim in that state. However, you might be able to file the claim in another state with a longer statute of limitations. Most mesothelioma legal claims can be filed in multiple states.
How to File a Legal Claim for Mesothelioma
Most legal claims for mesothelioma require minimal work by the people affected by the disease. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can simplify the claim process so claimants can focus on their health and spending time with loved ones.
Finding a quality law firm that specializes in mesothelioma and asbestos litigation is the first step in filing a claim. A benefit of working with mesothelioma lawyers is they work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they secure compensation for the victim. This means two things: the victim will never have any out-of-pocket legal expenses, and the mesothelioma legal team will work diligently to secure compensation.
The best mesothelioma law firms are recognized as national law firms, which means they can work with victims throughout the U.S. and file lawsuits in any state. Top mesothelioma lawyers will travel to the victim’s home or a convenient location to meet one-on-one and gather important information for the claim.
Once the legal team has gathered enough information, they can determine the victim’s exposure history. The most experienced mesothelioma lawyers have spent their careers researching asbestos products and manufacturing companies in order to know which companies to file claims against.
Whether the victim is filing an asbestos trust fund claim or a lawsuit against the responsible parties, they will likely file more than one claim in more than one state. Most claims involve multiple companies and jurisdictions, which is one of the complexities of mesothelioma claims. The victim’s asbestos attorney will know where to file and who to file against.
Mesothelioma lawsuit payments can be negotiated. Mesothelioma lawsuits most often end in a settlement agreement between both sides. In rare cases, the lawsuit will proceed to trial and payment cannot be negotiated.
With asbestos trust funds, victims can receive a predetermined amount based on the trust fund’s payment percentage or have their claim reviewed individually and receive a payment amount that reflects their circumstances.
Why File an Asbestos Legal Claim?
Filing an asbestos or mesothelioma claim helps victims of asbestos exposure receive compensation and hold the responsible parties accountable. Compensation from a mesothelioma claim can assist victims and their loved ones in overcoming some of the burdens brought on by a life-altering disease.
For many victims, the welfare of their families is a primary concern. The fear of leaving loved ones with debt or financial uncertainty should be the last thing on their mind. Filing a mesothelioma claim can secure compensation to cover many expenses, such as debt, medical expenses, lost wages and funeral arrangements. This compensation could even give you the opportunity to invest in the future.
Many asbestos manufacturing companies were aware of the health risks associated with asbestos and made the decision to not disclose the risks to the public. Due to this negligence, victims have a right to hold the companies responsible. Victims of asbestos exposure are victims of a crime and have every right to be compensated.
In most cases, victims are unaware of when or how they were exposed. This is why working with an experienced mesothelioma attorney is crucial. An experienced attorney will be able to pinpoint exactly how, when and where exposure occurred and who is responsible. Then the lawyer will file all necessary paperwork.
Sometimes, insurance is not enough to cover the cost of mesothelioma treatment, as it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Due to the steep cost of treatment, few insurance companies cover it in full, leaving patients and their families to pay hefty out-of-pocket fees or forcing them to skip treatment entirely. Patients may also incur additional expenses such as traveling for treatment or paying for a full-time caregiver.
While fighting mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, patients may not be able to maintain a regular work schedule or steady income, which can result in financial hardships and increased debt. Victims are entitled to collect lost wages, which are assessed when determining the value of their claim.
Importance of a Mesothelioma Lawyer
Finding an experienced mesothelioma and asbestos attorney to represent your claim can make the filing process much simpler. A knowledgeable lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma claims will know exactly how to handle the unique circumstances of mesothelioma and asbestos claims.
Some of the benefits of working with a qualified mesothelioma lawyer include:
- Extensive experience in mesothelioma claims
- Likelihood of receiving maximum compensation
- Stress-free and efficient filing process
- No out-of-pocket legal fees
- Filing your claims in multiple states
- Managing all aspects, including negotiating a settlement or determining the best review process for an asbestos trust fund claim
Mesothelioma and asbestos claims have special rules that apply due to the complexity of asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases. Lawyers specializing in these types of claims understand how the process works and how to maximize compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Mesothelioma Claims
How do I file a mesothelioma claim?
The first step to filing a claim is speaking with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. They will go over your exposure history and determine which claims you might be eligible for.
Who do I file a mesothelioma claim against?
You file your mesothelioma claim against the asbestos manufacturing companies that are responsible for your cancer. These companies hid the dangers of asbestos from Americans, and they owe you compensation.
How much does a mesothelioma claim pay?
The amount of your mesothelioma claim depends on numerous factors, such as your age, where you live, your occupation, and the years and length of time exposed to asbestos. The most important factor is your asbestos exposure history.
What are the different types of mesothelioma claims?
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
Mesothelioma claims can take anywhere from a few months to multiple years. Hiring an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will expedite the process.
Can loved ones of a mesothelioma patient file a claim?
Yes, but only in specific circumstances. Wrongful death claims are one legal option for the loved ones of a patient who passed away. They provide financial help and justice to the family of the victim.
What is the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims?
The statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims is the time limit for starting a claim. Each state has a different statute of limitations. Most range from 2-4 years.
Sources & Author
- Asbestos Litigation. RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG162.sum.pdf. Accessed: 10/30/18.