FAQ – Legal Compensation and Health Insurance
Legal compensation and healthcare are two of a patient's most valuable resources. Learn the most frequently asked questions about mesothelioma resources.
Mesothelioma Lawsuits & Legal Questions
Asbestos has been used for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, and unfortunately most companies using asbestos products in the 20th century were aware of how dangerous it was. The lack of proper testing being done on asbestos prior to its adoption and widespread use allowed these companies to hide the dangers of asbestos. Many companies now admit fault in the case of asbestos-related illness and have tried to make amends to the victims by providing financial settlements and trust fund deposits.
Q: What is an asbestos trust fund?
As companies saw the increased risk for being sued for having used a toxic substance like asbestos, many of them formed trust funds to handle claims filed against them. In 1994, Congress updated the bankruptcy code and required negligent companies to create these funds to pay mesothelioma victims. Over the past few decades, these trust funds have accumulated nearly 40 billion dollars.
Q: How does a patient access a trust fund?
The only way a patient can receive a settlement from an asbestos trust fund is to file a claim against the company with the help of a lawyer. There are lawyers available that specialize in mesothelioma cases.
Q: Does it take long to process a trust fund claim?
Many lawyers who regularly deal with mesothelioma cases are able to reach a settlement quickly. Some of these lawyers also sit on the board of directors at these trust funds which can help in getting a larger, well-deserved settlement.
Q: What is a payment percentage?
A payment percentage is the percentage of the settlement awarded in court paid out to the claimant. Every trust has a trust manager who invests the capital in the fund to make sure there are funds available for mesothelioma patients. These trust managers also set the payment percentage of their respective trust. For example, a payment percentage of 20% for a particular trust means a patient will receive 20% of the amount awarded in court. The purpose of these percentages is to prevent asbestos trusts from running out of funds.
Q: What if a patient can’t afford a lawyer?
No patient should be unable to receive the help they need and deserve. The top mesothelioma lawyers work on a “contingency basis,” meaning the patient does not have to pay any money to the lawyer until a case is won. After the case is won, the legal team will be paid a percentage of the total to cover the costs of taking the case to court. All mesothelioma victims deserve the best legal team or assistance without any cost to them.
Q: What if a veteran doesn’t want to sue the government/military?
Veterans are loyal to their country they served and are never asked to file a lawsuit against the military. In fact, all cases involving the military are still brought against the asbestos manufacturers, not the armed forces.
Q: What if a patient doesn’t have the ability to travel?
The top legal firms handling mesothelioma cases are specially trained to meet the needs of their clients. They’ll often travel to their clients, collect all the information they need, and work on their client’s behalf. As a client, you can simply focus on your treatment while your legal team handles everything related to your case.
Q: Can a family member of an asbestos victim file a claim after the death of the victim?
A family member can file a wrongful death lawsuit in cases where mesothelioma caused by asbestos took the life of a patient. Families have options to ensure that their loved ones are never forgotten.
Q: Can a patient still sue if they can’t remember which companies exposed them to asbestos?
Many patients don’t remember which asbestos products they were exposed to, but through testing, a smart legal team can help determine the exact substance the patient had come into contact with. Patients should be guided through the process so that they can focus on their health and not be worried about anything else.
Q: Where should a patient file a lawsuit?
A lawsuit will usually be filed in the state where the company responsible for asbestos exposure is located and may involve multiple states. This is entirely up to the legal team. They will file these claims while the patient is recovering from their illness.
Q: Can a patient sue in more than one state?
Many cases are filed in more than one state, such as when a company has operated in 2 states. A lawyer will know all of the available options and help a patient choose the best option and bring about the greatest settlement.
Q: What happens if a patient dies before the case is resolved?
If a patient dies before a case is resolved, their estate is able to continue pursuing the case. In addition to the claim of exposure causing disease, the estate may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Q: Can a patient still sue if they file other claims such as VA benefits, worker’s comp, etc.?
Victims of mesothelioma are eligible for legal claims against negligent asbestos-producing companies regardless of other current claims. Victims are entitled to settlements and recovery of lost wages and health care costs.
The Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act or “COBRA” allows employees to retain their health insurance with a previous company after quitting, being fired, or being laid off. This program allows workers to maintain their current health coverage in the case of life change.
Q: What are a patient’s options if they cannot get healthcare coverage?
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most patients can get healthcare coverage. For patients that cannot, or are unable to afford it, there are public options such as Medicare (for senior citizens) and Medicaid (for low income citizens) to consider. These public options have limitations and anyone considering these options should consult with their doctor about all available options. In addition, patients can visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for more information about these programs.
Q: Can the type of coverage a patient has limit their ability to choose a specialist?
Certain insurance types may limit the in-network specialists available to patients. These plans may also limit patients to certain procedures. Its because of the high cost of mesothelioma treatment that many patients file a legal claim. Legal settlements help pay for treatment and ensure that patients get the best available specialist to treat them.
Q: Can a patient be dropped by their insurance company after diagnosis?
Patients cannot be removed from their insurance carrier after diagnosis, except in rare circumstances. However, certain patients may see a rise in insurance premium payments.