Many mesothelioma patients can receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other financial burdens through a variety of legal options. An experienced and qualified mesothelioma attorney can help you get the money you deserve through a lawsuit or asbestos trust funds that hold more than $30 billion.
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.
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.
“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.”
— Joe Lahav Lawyer and on-site legal advisor
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 mesothelioma attorney can help veterans navigate the complicated VA claims process as well as legal routes.
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An asbestos attorney who specializes in these cases has the knowledge, resources and experience you need for such an important undertaking. Because every claim is different, your lawyer will work with you to explain the types of compensation available for your specific situation.
Check if the attorney has a proven track record winning asbestos lawsuits or large settlements.
Find out if the attorney will travel to you when gathering information for the case.
Ask about the attorney’s experience filing successful claims against asbestos trust funds.
See if the attorney will evaluate your potential compensation.
Identifying when and where you were exposed to asbestos is crucial to your lawsuit. Without it, winning your claim may be tough.
Experienced mesothelioma lawyers are familiar with companies that used asbestos. They know which job sites had significant asbestos use and which products contained high concentrations of the toxic mineral.
Qualified attorneys are also well-versed in the asbestos trust claims process and familiar with specific jurisdictions for filing claims.
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 successwill make it easier to obtain compensation.
In addition to expensive treatments not covered by your health insurance, other common expenses for mesothelioma patients include:
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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“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.”
— Joe Lahav Legal Expert at The Mesothelioma Center
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 mesothelioma 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1998, a Texas jury awarded $115 million to 21 steelworkers who developed asbestosis while working at an Alabama steel mill. Carborundum Company, the manufacturer of an asbestos-containing grinding wheel used at the mill, was ordered to pay $100 million in punitive damages.
A Dallas county jury awarded $18.6 million in 2014 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.
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.
There are many misconceptions about the mesothelioma legal process and why it is important to hire a specialized lawyer. Don’t let these misconceptions prevent you from seeking important legal help.
Although investing your time and energy into treatment and feeling better is important, mesothelioma lawsuits are time sensitive. Depending on your location, state laws may prevent you from filing a claim one or two years after learning about your diagnosis. In addition, the sooner you seek legal help, the sooner you may be able to receive compensation to cover medical expenses.
If you’re concerned about the cost of legal counsel, you should know 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, you only need to pay your lawyer if you receive an award from a settlement or trial verdict.
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 file a lawsuit against 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.
Because mesothelioma lawsuits are complicated, you want to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Attorneys who are well-versed in these types of cases know the ins and outs of filing a claim. They offer you the best chance of winning compensation to cover treatment and provide for your family. Make sure your lawyer has a proven track record of success. This includes winning verdicts in the courtroom, should your case go to trial.
Joe Lahav is a lawyer and legal advisor at The Mesothelioma Center. He graduated with honors from the University of Florida College of Law in 2000, and he's licensed to practice in Washington, D.C., and Florida. Joe lost his mother to cancer, and he understands the emotional toll mesothelioma can have on families.