Troy E. Walton
Personal Injury Attorney
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Everything You Need to Know About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Important Facts About Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Claims
- Mesothelioma wrongful death claims can be filed when a victim of asbestos exposure has passed away due to mesothelioma cancer.
- In most states, the surviving spouse, children and parents are the family members eligible to file wrongful death lawsuits or trust fund claims for mesothelioma.
- The wrongful death legal process usually ends in a settlement or a verdict.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim for Mesothelioma?
A wrongful death claim is a legal action taken when someone’s death is caused by the negligence or wrongful actions of another party.
Mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused solely by asbestos exposure, is connected to corporate greed and withholding the severe health risks of asbestos from the public. When someone dies of this cancer, their surviving loved ones are the claimants in any potential mesothelioma case. Wrongful death claims for mesothelioma allow family members to recover compensation from the asbestos manufacturers responsible for the loss of a loved one.
Wrongful death claims are different from personal injury mesothelioma claims, which involve a person filing a legal claim against an asbestos company for causing their current health issue. The patient must be alive to file a personal injury claim.
Loved ones of deceased asbestos exposure victims can file:
- Wrongful death lawsuits – Legal claims filed against viable asbestos companies that may result in a settlement agreement or court-ordered verdict
- Wrongful death trust fund claims – Legal claims filed with bankrupt asbestos companies’ trust funds that result in a specific compensation amount established by the trust
Attributes of a Wrongful Death Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Pinpointing where the victim’s asbestos exposure occurred is important. A skilled lawyer uses multiple resources to determine when and where exposure occurred. If you are a family member of a loved one who died due to mesothelioma, the patient advocates at Mesothelioma Guide can help. They’ll connect you with a top law firm to assess your case.
Asbestos companies responsible for asbestos exposure knew of the substance’s dangers. They knew the risk they were causing for millions of people. Wrongful death lawsuits apply when the disease and asbestos exposure attributed to the direct victim’s death.
Losing a loved one is difficult for the family left behind. When the death occurs due to mesothelioma, the loss often is tougher to handle emotionally and financially.
Wrongful death settlements are typically maximized when the family can show the adverse impact of their loved one’s passing. These effects may be evidenced emotionally, financially, or both.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Deaths
Asbestos manufacturing companies knowingly exposed people to the dangerous mineral known as asbestos for decades. Despite knowing about the health risks, companies hid this information from workers, consumers and the rest of the public.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive disease, and survival rates are poor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3,000 U.S. residents each year are diagnosed with this cancer. Nearly the same number of people in the U.S. die each year from this disease, and the median survival is approximately 10-12 months. Mesothelioma wrongful death cases are quite common due to the high death rate associated with this cancer.
Difference Between Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Trust Fund Claims
If a mesothelioma death is linked to asbestos exposure caused by companies that are still active and operating, then the surviving family members are eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. With the help of a trusted mesothelioma law firm, the family may decide to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit for a loved one’s exposure to asbestos that resulted in premature death from mesothelioma.
If the company responsible for the mesothelioma death has filed for bankruptcy – meaning they cannot be a defendant in a lawsuit – then the surviving loved ones would file an asbestos trust fund claim. These claims usually get resolved quicker than lawsuits, leading to faster compensation for the family, but the payout is often less than what they’d receive in a lawsuit.
Who Can File for Mesothelioma Wrongful Death?
The laws dictating who can file a mesothelioma lawsuit or asbestos trust fund claim vary by state. In every state, surviving children and spouses can file a wrongful death lawsuit or trust fund claim for the death of a spouse or parent. In some states, other parties, such as the deceased’s parents or life partner, are allowed to file a claim after death.
Parties who may file a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit or trust fund claim include:
- Immediate family members – In every state, close family members (spouses and children) may file.
- Life partners – In some states, life partners and financial dependents can file.
- Anyone who suffers financially – In certain states, non-family members who were financially impacted by the victim’s death can file a claim.
An experienced mesothelioma attorney can determine if you are eligible to file. With extensive experience in mesothelioma and asbestos claims, mesothelioma lawyers will know which states your lawsuit and/or claim applies to and will maximize your opportunity for receiving the compensation you deserve.
People with mesothelioma should create a will and designate a personal representative or executor of the estate. However, this person doesn't necessarily have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. An expert mesothelioma attorney can accurately designate the proper parties who are able to file asbestos claims on the deceased victim’s behalf.
Examples of Wrongful Death Verdicts for Mesothelioma
Wrongful death claims for mesothelioma can be filed in the form of a lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits for mesothelioma can end in a private settlement amount that all parties agree to before the case goes to trial or a verdict decided by a judge or jury in a trial.
There are many examples of verdicts awarded to surviving loved ones after their family member died of mesothelioma. These victims were awarded favorable verdicts in cases against companies that either manufactured and sold or used asbestos:
- A former janitor from Irvine, California, died of pleural mesothelioma, and his family was awarded a $107 million verdict. The deceased cleaned up dust and debris left behind by repair work in an apartment complex built with large amounts of asbestos. This is one of the largest mesothelioma verdicts in recent years.
- A victim of secondhand asbestos exposure died of mesothelioma, which led his wife to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A jury in Cook County, Illinois, awarded her $30 million due to the deceased’s father working at a Firestone tire manufacturing facility in Decatur, Illinois. Working at the facility involved handling talc that was contaminated with asbestos.
- A family (husband, son and daughter) received $6 million from Ford Motor Company after a woman (wife and mother) died of mesothelioma. The deceased worked at automobile manufacturing companies where asbestos was present and often disturbed during the repair of automobile brakes.
- Family members received $20 million from a Connecticut jury after filing a wrongful death lawsuit for their loved one’s death. The deceased was exposed to asbestos by scraping and removing dried glazing from window frames. The glazing he worked with in the 1960s allegedly contained chrysotile asbestos, and he developed mesothelioma nearly 50 years later. The $20 million the family received is reportedly one of the largest mesothelioma verdicts in Connecticut state history.
High-Profile Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Mesothelioma
One of the most notable wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuits involves the family of a deceased TV star suing for their father’s cancer death. Angus Cloud, a former actor in the TV show “Euphoria”, passed away from a drug overdose in 2023. However, a few months before Angus’ passing, his father died of mesothelioma.
The surviving loved ones have filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, a multinational pharmaceutical corporation that manufactures numerous health and hygienic products. One specific product was Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which is a talcum powder-based product linked to asbestos exposure. Johnson & Johnson faces tens of thousands of cancer lawsuits – many involving people with mesothelioma – due to consumers using the Baby Powder without being warned of the potential health risks.
In the lawsuit involving Angus Cloud’s family and his father’s mesothelioma, the claim alleges the father used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder throughout his life (1957-2023). The surviving family (Angus Cloud’s mother and two sisters) is seeking compensation for personal injuries and “loss of consortium.”
As of the last reports, the case is still active and has not yet reached a conclusion.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Claims?
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit or trust fund claim begins when the patient passes away. Mesothelioma wrongful death claims allow a patient’s family to hold the asbestos companies responsible and receive deserved compensation.
Each state has different rules for who can file wrongful death claims after a loved one passes. In most states, the surviving spouse, parents, and children are the only people who can do so.
For example, in Texas, the wrongful death statute of limitations for lawsuits is two years. However, victims have a “borrowing statute,” which means if a mesothelioma patient dies before the expiration of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, the remaining time carries over to their loved one filing a wrongful death claim.
So, if a mesothelioma victim passed away six months before their personal injury statute of limitations expired, then their family would have two years and six months to file a wrongful death case in Texas.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Asbestos Trust Fund Claims
The statute of limitations is different for wrongful death asbestos trust fund claims. Most mesothelioma trusts allow three years from the date of the victim’s death regardless of the particular state that applies to a surviving family’s claim.
For example, in Louisiana, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is one year. However, the surviving family would have three years to file their bankruptcy trust claims. This is true for every state, but some trusts may have a different time limit, which is why having an experienced asbestos trust fund attorney helps.
Victims should find a mesothelioma lawyer to represent their wrongful death case. Mesothelioma lawsuits often have different rules that do not apply to standard lawsuits. Generalized attorneys may not be aware of the various caveats associated with mesothelioma and asbestos litigation.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process
The wrongful death claims procedure may vary for each state and based on the type of claim (lawsuit or trust fund), but the typical process includes:
- Finding a lawyer – The first step in filing a wrongful death claim for mesothelioma is finding a lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma and asbestos cases.
- Preparation – Lawyers conduct extensive research and hold one-on-one interviews with the victim, family and co-workers to determine the victim’s asbestos exposure history.
- Filing – The legal team determines the applicable jurisdictions for the case, and the claim is filed.
- Review or negotiation/trial – Depending on whether it’s a trust fund claim or a lawsuit, the claim proceeds to either a review by the trust or a trial. If it’s a lawsuit, the two parties have the opportunity to negotiate a settlement before the case proceeds to trial.
- Trust fund payout or verdict – If the trust fund review results in approval from the trust, then the surviving loved ones are paid the amount determined by the trust. In lawsuits, if no settlement is reached, the case proceeds to a trial and results in a mesothelioma verdict.
How to File a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Claim
Losing a loved one is a tragic and stressful experience. When someone dies from mesothelioma, there is almost always a liable party. Asbestos manufacturing companies put millions of people at risk, and they’re responsible for thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year. These corporations are also responsible for the emotional pain and financial hardship the families experience when their loved one dies, leading to mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit or trust fund claim for mesothelioma may appear to be an overwhelming, complicated process. However, the best mesothelioma attorneys handle all the paperwork and travel to meet with victims and loved ones. Get in touch with a national mesothelioma law firm to get your case evaluated.
For more information on filing a mesothelioma wrongful death claim, connect with our patient advocates. They have access to resources for finding the best mesothelioma lawyers to handle your mesothelioma compensation case and accurately assess your applicable statute of limitations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Mesothelioma Claims
What types of mesothelioma claims apply to wrongful death negligence?
Wrongful death claims may involve mesothelioma lawsuits or asbestos trust funds. Lawsuits and asbestos trust funds are based on whether the at-fault company is an active defendant or bankrupt. Even after the patient dies, the surviving loved ones deserve compensation from the malicious corporations.
Who can file for a wrongful death claim for mesothelioma?
Each state can make its own rules about who can file wrongful death legal claims. The victim’s immediate family members — spouses and children — can file a wrongful death claim in every state. A few states allow life partners or close family friends to file claims if they are financially affected. The people able to file a mesothelioma wrongful death claim may likely be owed compensation for the loss of their loved ones. If your loved one died of mesothelioma, a reputable, experienced mesothelioma lawyer will help you file a wrongful death asbestos lawsuit.
What defines a wrongful death case for mesothelioma?
A wrongful death case for mesothelioma applies when the mesothelioma patient dies from the cancer. The surviving loved ones — usually the spouse and children — become the claimants. They deserve compensation for lost wages, funeral costs, medical debt, other mesothelioma-related expenses, and pain and suffering.
What defines a wrongful death case for mesothelioma?
A wrongful death case for mesothelioma applies when the person with mesothelioma dies from the cancer. The surviving loved ones — usually the spouse and children — become the people who are deserving of financial help and can take legal action. They deserve compensation for lost wages, funeral costs, medical debt, other mesothelioma-related expenses, and pain and suffering.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim after my loved one died of mesothelioma?
The statute of limitations is the time limit allowed by a state’s law that a victim has to file their legal claim. The wrongful death statutes of limitations begin when the victim passes away from mesothelioma. This deadline to file a mesothelioma personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit varies from state to state but is typically 2-3 years. The deadline for wrongful death asbestos trust fund claims is typically three years regardless of the state applying to the claim. Trusts set the time limit for bankruptcy claims.
What is the average payout for a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit?
The average mesothelioma settlement is between $1 million and $1.4 million. If the case goes to trial, the jury may deliver a multi-million-dollar mesothelioma verdict. Lawsuit awards for wrongful death often result in large payouts, as the death causes financial and emotional strain on the family. The asbestos companies knew of the dangers of asbestos and failed to warn the public, so they are responsible for the tragic loss of life.
Sources & Author
- United States Cancer Statistics: Data Visualizations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/DataViz.html. Accessed: 07/22/19.
- How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit. The Balance. Retrieved from: https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-wrongful-death-lawsuit-filing-information-3505254. Accessed: 03/28/2019.
- Wrongful Death Settlement Distribution Laws by State. FindLaw. Retrieved from: https://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/wrongful-death-settlement-distribution-laws-by-state.html. Accessed: 03/28/19.