Filing a Mesothelioma Claim

Filing a mesothelioma claim can help you obtain money to cover medical expenses and lost income resulting from asbestos exposure. In the majority of cases, the individual who is filing the claim seeks monetary compensation for damages that arise after a diagnosis of an asbestos-related cancer.

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This page features: 11 cited research articles

If you or a loved one is considering seeking compensation for asbestos-related injuries, choosing the right attorney is an important first step.

Your case will have a better chance of proceeding more efficiently — and with the best chance for compensation — if you work with an experienced asbestos and mesothelioma attorney. When you decide to file a claim, your attorney will prepare and submit the required legal documents to begin the lawsuit process.

Experienced mesothelioma lawyers are familiar with asbestos manufacturers and can help you determine which ones are responsible for your illness. A qualified attorney is also knowledgeable about mesothelioma trust funds set aside for asbestos victims and can help you file a claim.

Options for Filing a Claim

There are multiple ways to file a mesothelioma claim, including traditional lawsuits, asbestos trust fund claims and workers’ compensation claims. Military veterans exposed to asbestos during service may be eligible to file disability and health care claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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Litigation

Asbestos-related medical problems are almost always the result of an asbestos manufacturing corporation’s negligence or a company’s failure to warn of asbestos hazards. Filing a lawsuit against the company or companies responsible for your asbestos exposure may result in compensation for many types of damages.

Damages covered by an asbestos claim:

  • Medical expenses

  • Lost income

  • Pain or suffering

  • Travel costs and other miscellaneous expenses

Lawyer and on-site legal expert Joe Lahav explains why it’s important to hire an asbestos attorney to help you file a mesothelioma lawsuit or claim.

A lawyer can determine whether additional expenses may be covered under your claim. It is important to save all medical and financial records relating to your illness for this reason.

There are two types of mesothelioma lawsuits:

  • Personal Injury Claims: A lawsuit filed by an individual diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.

  • Wrongful Death Claims: If the original claimant dies as a result of the disease, family members or loved ones may be able to step in as plaintiffs. If a claim was never submitted, they may have the option to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their deceased loved one.

Your attorney will be aware of the legal options available and can guide you through the process of filing a claim. After speaking with your attorney, you may determine that a lawsuit offers the best opportunity to obtain a large award for your injuries. Most mesothelioma lawsuits are settled out of court before a trial takes place.

Bankruptcy Trusts

In the past few decades, many asbestos manufacturing companies have since declared bankruptcy for a variety of reasons. Filing for bankruptcy does not always mean the asbestos companies have run out of money. Instead, most asbestos companies that declare bankruptcy simply do it to reorganize and become more stable. In some cases, the courts involved in these bankruptcies ordered the creation of mesothelioma compensation funds, also known as trust funds.

These funds are intended to provide compensation for patients affected by an asbestos-related cancer. A lawyer with a specialty in asbestos diseases can help you determine whether the company responsible for your injuries has a trust fund and help you file a claim.

Find Out If You Qualify

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation laws can vary by state. Some of those laws change from year to year. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation to cover medical bills, pain and suffering.

But eligibility and compensation are two different things. The workers’ compensation board in your state can provide more information, and you should also speak with an experienced asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer.

If your illness was caused by asbestos exposure on the job, you may have the opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit and receive fair compensation for injuries. Attorneys usually don’t file a claim against your employer, unless the employer is an asbestos company. Instead, attorneys typically file lawsuits against the manufacturers of asbestos products. These manufacturers are generally held liable.

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Veterans Benefits

The men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma because of the dependence on asbestos in vessels, barracks and pipe coverings, among other military parts, tools and machinery. Those who served in the U.S. Navy — especially the ones who worked in shipbuilding during World War II — are most at risk.

Veterans can file a claim with the VA seeking compensation for any injuries or illnesses developed while serving their country. They can seek disability compensation, VA health care and dependency and indemnity compensation.

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Deadlines for Mesothelioma Claims

Unlike common personal injury claims where the clock starts ticking at the specific moment of injury, it’s difficult to determine exactly when and where the asbestos injury occurred because an accurate diagnosis typically comes 20 to 50 years after the initial exposure.

Because of this long latency period, courts in some states have made exceptions applying statutes of limitations.

Statutes of limitations refer to the amount of time a person has to file a claim. For victims of asbestos exposure, this timeframe begins once a person is diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer.

Three states — Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee — have statutes of limitations of just one year, while claims in Maine and North Dakota can be filed up to six years after a diagnosis.

State Statute of Limitations (years after a diagnosis)

Alabama

2

Alaska

2

Arizona

2

Arkansas

3

California

2

Colorado

2

Connecticut

2

Delaware

2

District of Columbia

3

Florida

4

Georgia

2

Hawaii

2

Idaho

2

Illinois

2

Indiana

2

Iowa

2

Kansas

2

Kentucky

1

Louisiana

1

Maine

6

Maryland

3

Massachusetts

3

Michigan

3

Minnesota

2

Mississippi

3

Missouri

5

Montana

3

Nebraska

4

Nevada

2

New Hampshire

3

New Jersey

2

New Mexico

3

New York

3

North Carolina

3

North Dakota

6

Ohio

2

Oklahoma

2

Oregon

2

Pennsylvania

2

Rhode Island

3

South Carolina

3

South Dakota

3

Tennessee

1

Texas

2

Utah

4

Vermont

3

Virginia

2

Washington

3

West Virginia

2

Wisconsin

3

Wyoming

4

A qualified mesothelioma attorney can ensure your claim is filed before the statutes of limitations expire.

You may also be able to file a lawsuit in multiple states, depending on the location of the companies identified as defendants and where the asbestos exposure occurred. An attorney who specializes in these cases can explain your rights, which vary from state and county, in these types of lawsuits.

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Matt Mauney

Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of professional writing experience. He joined Asbestos.com in 2016, and he spends much of his time reading, analyzing and reporting on mesothelioma research articles to ensure people in the mesothelioma community know the latest medical advancements. Prior to joining Asbestos.com, Matt was a reporter at the Orlando Sentinel. Matt also edits some of the pages on the website.

Sources
  1. Dixon, L. McGovern, D. and Coombe, A. (2010). Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/TR872.html
  2. Hare, J. & Ryan, D. (2016, April 19). COMMENTARY: Uncloaking Bankruptcy Trust Filings In Asbestos Litigation: Refuting the Myths About Transparency. Retrieved from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/7668/commentary-uncloaking-bankruptcy-trust-filings-in-asbestos-litigation-refuting-the-myths-about-transparency
  3. Scarcella, M. & Kelso, P. (2013, December 11). Asbestos Bankrupcy Trusts: A 2013 Overview of Trust Assets, Compensation & Governance. Retrieved from https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/litigation/b/litigation-blog/archive/2013/12/11/asbestos-bankruptcy-trusts-a-2013-overview-of-trust-assets-compensation-amp-governance.aspx
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2013, October 22). Compensation: Asbestos Exposure. Retrieved from http://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-asbestos.asp
  5. NOLO. (2015, September 18). Chart: Statutes of Limitations in All 50 States. Retrieved from http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/statute-of-limitations-state-laws-chart-29941.html
  6. NOLO. (n.d.). Statutes of Limitations: Is It Too Late to Sue? Retrieved from http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/statutes-limitations-is-it-too-late-sue-faq.html

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