Once the initial shock of a mesothelioma diagnosis has passed, patients and loved ones are often left wondering how they can afford expensive treatment and other financial hardships. Choosing the right mesothelioma lawyer to represent you is an important first step in ensuring your family’s financial future.
Statutes of limitations vary from state to state, and you may be running out of time to file a lawsuit for compensation. That’s why it’s important to learn about your legal options as soon as possible.
What Are the Qualities to Look for in a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
Not all lawyers are created equal. Mesothelioma lawsuits are complex and time sensitive. A lawyer with a history of successful asbestos litigation makes the process simple and hassle free, giving you more time to focus on what matters most: Your health and family.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer will handle your case from start to finish and explain your options along the way. They are familiar with other avenues of compensation and will help you make the right decision.
Established mesothelioma law firms serve clients nationwide, no matter where they live. Many lawyers will travel to advise you in your home, so you can stay comfortable. Don’t feel discouraged from filing a lawsuit if you live in a remote area — you have the same legal rights and opportunities as anyone else.
Top Qualities for a Mesothelioma Lawyer
- Empathetic: A great mesothelioma lawyer listens to your needs and understands what you and your family are going through.
- Expertise: The best mesothelioma lawyers focus solely on asbestos litigation.
- Experience: Find a lawyer who has many years of experience and a proven track record.
- Comprehensive: The best firms gather exhaustive resources to build strong cases.
Joe Lahav Lawyer and on-site legal advisor
“You should think about choosing a mesothelioma attorney the same way you would choose a mesothelioma doctor. You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist if you needed treatment for mesothelioma in your lungs. Likewise, you shouldn’t just assume any attorney is capable of handling a mesothelioma claim.”
Bankrupt asbestos companies have set aside billions to compensate people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos trust fund claims are filed out of court and can get those injured by negligent companies the compensation they deserve — often quicker than a traditional lawsuit.
Military veterans exposed to asbestos during service can file a disability claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A qualified asbestos attorney can help veterans navigate the complicated VA claims process as well as legal routes.
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Reasons for Hiring an Experienced Mesothelioma Attorney
Asbestos law is complex. Only specialized mesothelioma lawyers have the resources and experience you need for such an important undertaking. Because every claim is different, your lawyer will explain the types of compensation available for your situation and evaluate how much money you can receive.
Compassion and Understanding
An asbestos lawyer will be compassionate during the hard time you and your loved ones are going through. A representative from the attorney’s firm will travel to you when gathering information for your case. The law firm will work hard to make sure you don’t have to spend a day in court unl1ess it is absolutely necessary.
Mesothelioma attorneys are familiar with the companies that used asbestos. They know which job sites caused significant asbestos exposure and which products contained high concentrations of the toxic mineral. Identifying when and where you were exposed to asbestos is crucial to winning your claim.
Winning Track Record
Asbestos industry defenders always put up a tough fight. You need a national law firm with a proven track record of winning asbestos lawsuits or large settlements. Qualified attorneys know the best jurisdictions for filing claims, and they are also well versed in the asbestos trust fund claims process.
What Expenses Can Be Covered by Legal Compensation?
A trustworthy attorney will never guarantee an outcome, a settlement or a successful jury verdict. However, finding a mesothelioma lawyer who can offer a high probability of success will make it easier to obtain compensation.
In addition to expensive treatments not covered by your health insurance, other common expenses for mesothelioma patients include:
- Lost wages
- Caregiver costs
- Travel expenses for treatment
- Funeral expenses
- Therapy and grief support
- Other expenses not covered by insurance
It is important to save all your medical and financial records so your lawyer can have updated information about your expenses. In addition to compensation to cover expenses, mesothelioma lawsuits may include punitive damages to punish the defendant and award the plaintiff for their pain and suffering.
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Differences in Legal Options
Asbestos exposure is often the result of someone else’s negligence, making mesothelioma an almost entirely preventable cancer. Many companies knew of the dangers of asbestos but failed to warn their employees. Lawsuits hold these companies accountable while providing much-needed compensation to those diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases.
A qualified asbestos lawyer will help you decide if it’s better to file a lawsuit or pursue another type of claim, as well as estimate the potential value of your claim.
Depending on your situation, it may even be possible for you to receive compensation without stepping foot in court. Many people have successfully done so through asbestos trust claims, VA disability claims and out-of-court settlements.
Joe Lahav Legal Advisor at The Mesothelioma Center
“Often, legal options are the method of financial assistance that yields the best results for patients. The key point to understand about legal options is that not all law firms are created equally, and it is vitally important to choose a reputable and experienced law firm.”
Filing a Lawsuit in Court
There are two types of asbestos injury lawsuits: Personal injury claims and wrongful death suits.
Specific rights in these lawsuits depend on the county and state where the case is filed. A mesothelioma lawyer will help you determine which of these lawsuits is best for you or your family.
- Personal Injury Claim
- An individual diagnosed with mesothelioma can file a personal injury claim against one or more companies that may be responsible for their illness. Many cases are settled out of court.
- Wrongful Death Suit
- The family of a person who died from the asbestos-related disease can file a wrongful death lawsuit. There is a possibility they may need to appear in court.
Filing a Trust Claim Outside of Court
More than 60 trusts have been established on behalf of asbestos companies that filed for bankruptcy reorganization to avoid future lawsuits. The U.S. government requires these companies to fund these trusts with enough money to pay out current and future claims.
It is estimated that asbestos trust funds contain more than $30 billion in total.
Filing for VA Benefits
Military veterans can apply for VA benefits such as health care and monthly disability compensation. The surviving spouses and children of veterans who died of service-related disabilities can apply for a monthly Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefit.
According to the 2016 Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables, an unmarried veteran without children can receive more than $2,900 per month, while a married veteran with at least one child can receive nearly $3,200 per month.
You may file a lawsuit and win compensation without having to go to court. The vast majority of mesothelioma lawsuits never go to trial. Although a jury verdict may result in a larger reward, mesothelioma settlements are guaranteed compensation and a quicker resolution to a case.
Trials can be lengthy and some plaintiffs might not receive compensation until months after the verdict, depending on an appeal. An experienced lawyer will explain the strengths of your case and help you decide whether to settle or seek a verdict.
Can I Afford an Attorney?
In asbestos lawsuits, attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing until you receive compensation and nothing at all if your case is not successful.
Contingency fees protect you because they usually are based on a percentage of any compensation you receive. Be sure to discuss this percentage during your first meeting with an attorney.
Mesothelioma lawsuits have helped hundreds of thousands of people seek compensation from companies that negligently exposed them to asbestos. The ultimate goal is to put money in the hands of someone who needs help reducing financial hardships during an illness and providing a more stable future for loved ones.
- $250 Million Awarded to Steel Worker
- A retired U.S. Steel worker from Indiana won a 2003 mesothelioma trial after alleging the company was responsible for exposing him to asbestos insulation for decades. U.S. Steel was expected to appeal the $250 million verdict, but instead settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
- $75 Million Awarded to Wife of Race Car Driver
- In 2017, the wife of a race car driver won a mesothelioma lawsuit in New York against a group of auto-part manufacturers. For years, she had swept the garage where her husband worked with asbestos-containing gaskets, which carried no warnings about health risks from asbestos exposure.
- $48 Million Awarded to Family of Construction Worker
- The family of a cement contractor and construction superintendent won a mesothelioma lawsuit against Union Carbide and others in 2012. A Los Angeles jury ordered the companies to pay extra punitive damages after the trial revealed they had intentionally covered up the dangers of asbestos for years.
- $18.6 Million Awarded to Family of Tire Factory Worker
- In 2014, a Dallas county jury awarded $18.6 million to the family of a tire builder who died of mesothelioma. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. employee was repeatedly exposed to asbestos over 30 years while working with Goodyear tire machines at a plant in Tyler, Texas.
- $18 Million Awarded to Barber’s Son
- A man in California set a major precedent in 2016 by winning a lawsuit over asbestos in talcum powder. He had been exposed to asbestos at his father’s barber shop through products supplied by companies such as Whittaker, Clark & Daniels. This exposure led to both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.
- $1.74 Million Awarded to Family of Auto Mechanics
- In 2011, the Delaware Supreme Court awarded damages to the family of a mother and son who died of pleural mesothelioma after exposures at a family auto shop. Four surviving family members received $1.24 million for pain and suffering and $500,000 in a wrongful death verdict.
Mesothelioma Legal Information by State
State regulations on asbestos lawsuits vary widely. Some state courts are considered more lenient to businesses, while other courts tend to be more sympathetic to people harmed by asbestos exposure. Experienced mesothelioma attorneys understand the differences between jurisdictions.
Frequently Asked Legal Questions About Mesothelioma
Getting compensation for mesothelioma is a complex process. Don’t let misconceptions prevent you from seeking important legal help from a specialized lawyer.
When Should I Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
The sooner you seek legal help, the sooner you may be able to receive compensation to cover medical expenses. Mesothelioma lawsuits are time-sensitive because of statutes of limitations. State laws may prevent you from filing a claim one or two years after learning about your diagnosis.
How Do I Choose a High-Value Asbestos Attorney?
Most mesothelioma attorneys offer free consultations. It’s possible to discuss your case with a qualified lawyer with no obligations, giving you a chance to find someone you are comfortable with at no cost. If you decide to file a lawsuit, your lawyer only gets paid if you receive an award from a settlement or trial verdict.
Do I Sue the Military or the Government?
Mesothelioma lawsuits are filed against companies that produced and sold asbestos, not the government. If you were exposed to asbestos during military service, you may have the option to sue a company that supplied asbestos-containing products to the armed forces. If you don’t feel comfortable filing a lawsuit, you may be able to recover funds by filing a VA claim.
Couldn’t Any Lawyer Help Me File a Mesothelioma Claim?
Because mesothelioma lawsuits are complicated, you want to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Attorneys who are well-versed in asbestos-exposure cases offer you the best chance of winning enough compensation to cover treatment and provide for your family. Make sure your lawyer has a proven track record of success winning both out-of-court settlements and trial verdicts.
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Last Modified January 8, 2019
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