Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Claims
There are two primary types of mesothelioma claims: personal injury and wrongful death. The two are similar in some ways: Most notably, they both involve one party being responsible for harmful actions. However, they are applicable in different scenarios.
Written by Retired LCDR Carl Jewett
Fact Checked by Troy Walton
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a legal claim involving a victim who has passed away, which makes his or her surviving loved ones the claimants. A mesothelioma wrongful death claim allows family members to recover compensation from the asbestos companies responsible for their loved one’s death.
A wrongful death claim for a mesothelioma case could involve a lawsuit or an asbestos trust fund. Both methods of compensation can benefit the spouse, children or other loved ones of a deceased mesothelioma victim. Compensation for mesothelioma may include retribution for lost wages, medical bills or loss of companionship.
They are different from personal injury claims, which involve a person filing a claim against a company for causing a health issue.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In mesothelioma cases, asbestos manufacturing companies knowingly exposed people to the dangerous mineral for much of the 20th century. Despite the companies knowing about the health risks associated with asbestos, they hid this information from the public. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, and people who have the rare cancer due to asbestos exposure can file claims against the negligent corporations.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive disease, and death can occur within months after a diagnosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3,000-3,300 Americans each year are diagnosed with the cancer. Close to the same number of Americans die each year from the disease.
When someone who was wronged by an asbestos-related company dies, their family members can file a mesothelioma lawsuit after the death.
Attributes of a Wrongful Death Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Who Can Sue for Mesothelioma Wrongful Death?
Surviving children and spouses of the deceased usually can file a wrongful death claim, as stated in an article on the website The Balance. In some states, however, other parties (such as the deceased’s parents or life partner) are allowed to file. The laws dictating who can file a claim for wrongful death compensation vary by state. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you are eligible to file a claim — and in which states.
Parties that may file a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Immediate family members – In every state in the country, immediate family members (such as spouses and children) may file.
- Life partners – In some states, life partners and financial dependents can file.
- Anyone who suffers financially – Certain states allow non-family members who were financially impacted to file a claim.
Mesothelioma patients should create a will before they die and designate a primary beneficiary, personal representative or executor of the estate. In all states, this person has the right to file a wrongful death claim.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Process
The wrongful death procedure may vary for each state. The information needed is largely the same as for a personal injury case.
Steps of a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit usually include:
Research — Lawyers perform extensive research and one-on-one interviews with the client to determine the best course of action.
Filing — Claims may be filed in the state where the exposure occurred, where the asbestos company’s main office is located or whichever state tied to the case provides the best option for compensation recovery.
Discovery — Lawyers look more extensively into the patient’s work and personal history in order to build the best possible case, which involves evaluating all available evidence.
Trial or settlement — A wrongful death claim may result in a trial or a pre-trial mesothelioma settlement. Mesothelioma wrongful death settlements are often recovered fairly quickly, sometimes within months. Trials can take a few years — and victims or family members may not receive compensation for years after the trial ends due to appeals. Trials may end with a mesothelioma verdict, which is a risk since compensation depends on the jury.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim for Mesothelioma
Losing a loved one is a tragic and stressful experience. When someone dies due to mesothelioma, there almost always is a liable party. Asbestos manufacturing companies put many people at risk of developing numerous health risks, and one of them may be responsible for the emotional pain and financial hardship you’re going through.
Filing a wrongful death claim for mesothelioma compensation can be an overwhelming, complicated process. However, you do not have to endure the stress on your own — or even handle most of the work. Get in touch with one of many prestigious national law firms to start your claim. We at Mesothelioma Guide can provide tips on finding a mesothelioma lawyer to handle your wrongful death case.
Last Edited: August 30, 2020.