How You Can Help a Loved One During the Asbestos Case Process

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People who are diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases need help from the people who care about them.

As we mentioned last week, help comes in many forms, including helping your friend or loved one get more information about filing an asbestos claim. But there are also ways that a caregiver can help during the litigation process.

Here are two ways that you can help during an asbestos lawsuit:

1. Keeping Records – Although a mesothelioma attorney handles all aspects of an asbestos case, he needs information from your loved one to get started. However, this may seem like a tall order if your loved one is still coming to terms with the diagnosis or tired from treatment. You can help by gathering the needed information, including:

  • Date of Diagnosis This information is crucial for proving a claim. If your loved one waits too long after diagnosis to file a claim, the case will be dismissed and he or she may lose the opportunity to win compensation.
  • Names and Addresses of All Health Care Providers Your loved one’s attorney will need help getting access to these records. This information provides details that will help prove the extent of your loved one’s injuries – not just treatments he or she has received so far, but also ongoing treatment.
  • Medical and Other Expenses This information will help determine how much compensation your loved one is entitled to. You can help by keeping track of out-of-pocket expenses, co-pays, deductibles and insurance benefit statements. Also remember related expenses like travel to and from the doctor, as well food and lodging expenses while away for medical care. The mesothelioma attorney will also want to know about lost wages and increased household expenses related to the disease. So keep track of your budget and make copies of prior year tax returns to help show how asbestos injuries have affected your household’s income.

2. Making Settlement Decisions – At some point during the lawsuit, your loved one may receive a settlement offer. This is when it’s important to remember that this is ultimately your loved one’s lawsuit. So be mindful of the opinions you offer. Feelings of loss, anger and betrayal are common and extremely personal among people who have suffered injury due to negligence. As a result, your loved one may have a very different opinion from you about what constitutes just compensation and how much risk they are willing to take at trial.

Your loved is more likely to find your opinion useful if you listen to what he or she has to say before offering advice or opinions. If they are not sure what to do, offer to sit in on their discussion with an attorney.

That way, you can help them weigh the pros and cons of a settlement offer. You will also be able to offer a more grounded and informed opinion if asked.

This also applies if you share a household with someone who has been injured because of asbestos exposure. If you’re concerned that your loved one is making the wrong decision, being pushy or aggressive probably won’t help.

By getting more information and listening to your loved one’s concerns, you can more gently and effectively point out household needs that may factor into your loved one’s decision whether to settle.

Above all, let your loved one know that you are there to provide unconditional support.

Next week, we’ll continue our list of practical tips for helping your loved one through the asbestos case process.


Karen Marshall has more than 17 years of legal experience and is an attorney with The Peterson Firm. She has been contributing to The Mesothelioma Center since 2011 and writes about asbestos-related legal issues and blogs for Asbestos.com.

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