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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

What Can You Claim for With Mesothelioma? | Asbestos Litigation

There was a time when asbestos used to be one of the most important materials in the construction industry. Its unique properties and heat-resistant attributes make it the ideal choice for use in building materials, friction products (brakes), packaging, and heat-proof fabrics.

However, after research was done on asbestos-related diseases, its use decreased dramatically. Many countries such as the U.S. and India still use asbestos products, with China and Russia going as far as actually mining it.

A few countries have decided to ban its use outright, and these include Brazil, Australia, Argentina, and Algeria.

In the U.S., mesothelioma lawsuits are quite common, as victims seek compensation after being diagnosed with the disease.

However, because of the long time it takes between asbestos exposure and receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, such cases can be complicated.

That is why victims and their families need an experienced asbestos attorney in Dallas on their side when they seek compensation for an asbestos-related illness. Due to the severity of the disease, patients can be awarded a huge settlement amount by the liable parties.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is ready to go to war for mesothelioma patients and their families. Victims in Dallas, Texas can call +1 214-253-4639 and ask for a free case review. They can also help with questions like Can you claim for mesothelioma after death?

What Is Mesothelioma?

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a severe type of cancer that is diagnosed when a tumor grows in the lining of the lungs, heart, stomach, and other organs.

The dangers of asbestos exposure are highlighted in the suffering of mesothelioma patients and their families. Currently, there is no definitive cure for mesothelioma, and the life expectancy after diagnosis is typically between 4-18 months.

As such, being diagnosed with mesothelioma, especially in its later stages, amounts to a death sentence for the majority of patients.

This is why wrongful death claims are quite common when dealing with mesothelioma lawsuits, and the expected financial compensation can be quite significant.

Why File an Asbestos Claim?

The sad part about asbestos-related diseases is that the companies responsible for mining it and manufacturing asbestos products have known for many years how dangerous this material is.

However, they chose to keep making profits while their workers, customers, and those who live close to their mines/factories suffer from asbestos exposure.

On top of that, after getting a mesothelioma diagnosis, the medical expenses and impact of losing a loved one can be devastating for most families.

This is why asbestos litigation is so important. The asbestos companies responsible for the suffering of mesothelioma victims need to be held accountable for their actions, and the patients and family members require help managing the medical expenses.

In 2020 alone, more than 3,600 asbestos claims and wrongful death lawsuits were filed in the U.S. This highlights the full extent of the problem.

Considering how long it takes to develop mesothelioma symptoms, and the fact that asbestos companies are still operational, asbestos-related personal injury claims can be expected for decades to come.

Complications of a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Even though the risks of asbestos exposure are well known, receiving mesothelioma compensation is not always a straightforward process.

Such a personal injury claim requires a lot of proof, which is why hiring an asbestos attorney is the right move.

Some of the problems that victims can face when seeking compensation for mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases include:

  • Proving the mesothelioma diagnosis

  • Showing asbestos exposure history

  • Linking the asbestos exposure to the companies responsible

  • Receiving financial compensation that is adequate for their medical expenses and lost wages

Four Ways to File a Mesothelioma Claim

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, the patient must make the right decisions to give themselves the best chance of receiving compensation.

The first thing is to decide which type of claim/ filing process to use. In that regard, the asbestos victims have four choices, and these are:

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Any individual who was exposed to asbestos and later developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases can file a mesothelioma claim in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.

Such a mesothelioma lawsuit will be brought against the companies responsible for the asbestos exposure.

The jury verdicts will decide whether the company responsible is liable to pay damages to the mesothelioma patients, and will award monetary settlements to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.

If it is found that the company responsible for the asbestos exposure was willfully negligent and deceptive, the jury can award punitive damages to discourage other companies from repeating such behavior.

Victims can also file a mesothelioma claim after developing an asbestos-related illness due to secondary exposure.

The majority of mesothelioma claims are handled out of court, meaning most victims do not need to endure a long trial process before they receive compensation.

Wrongful Death Claims

Any asbestos-related disease can be very dangerous, and in the case of mesothelioma, it is almost always fatal. As such, there are many instances whereby mesothelioma victims die before they can file an asbestos claim.

In such cases, the surviving family members can file wrongful death claims against the company responsible for the asbestos exposure that led to the development of mesothelioma.

The jury can award mesothelioma compensation for various damages, such as cancer treatment costs, funeral costs, and loss of consortium.

Here is what the family members eligible to file a mesothelioma claim for wrongful death need to remember:

  • Family members can receive compensation for mesothelioma wrongful death as a lump sum or in installments.

  • The mesothelioma lawyers handling the case will distribute the awards after the lawsuit.

  • When a patient dies during the mesothelioma lawsuit, the damages will be paid to the victim's estate.

Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Fund Claims

The impact of being sued for mesothelioma compensation claims can lead many companies to bankruptcy.

However, the victims and their family members still deserve to be compensated, even from the bankrupt asbestos companies.

As such, asbestos bankruptcy trusts have been created to set aside money for mesothelioma compensation. If this option is available, asbestos attorneys will guide family members through the process.

The claim and the amount of compensation that each victim will receive are handled by the fund's administrators.

It is usually based on the size of the fund and the payment percentage. If the victim was exposed to asbestos from different companies, they may be eligible to file a mesothelioma compensation claim against multiple trusts.

At the moment, more than $30 billion has been set aside by up to 65 different trust funds. While the compensation amounts may be less with trust funds for bankrupt companies compared to court settlements, the payouts are usually much quicker.

Product Liability Claims

If an individual is exposed to asbestos from a product that contains the material, they can sue the responsible company for product liability.

The most important requirement for this type of claim is that the asbestos victims prove that the product was defective and posed a high risk due to the presence of asbestos.

Litigation will also depend on establishing a link between the use of the product and the development of the asbestos-related disease.

How to File a Mesothelioma Claim: Important Documentation

The best way to file an asbestos claim is with the help of an experienced asbestos lawyer.

Mesothelioma attorneys will assist the victim or their family members in filing the correct types of mesothelioma claims against the at-fault parties.

There is a lot of documentation that is required for a mesothelioma claim to prove a history of asbestos exposure, the mesothelioma diagnosis, medical records, cancer treatment costs, and other losses.

In preparation for filing a mesothelioma claim, the personal injury attorney will require the following documents from the patient's family:

  • Financial records showing the impact the medical expenses have caused on their financial security

  • Written testimony linking the exposure to asbestos to the mesothelioma diagnosis

  • Work history records that show the victim worked for the liable company

  • Medical records to prove they were diagnosed with mesothelioma

Six Steps to Take When Filing a Mesothelioma Claim

Many mesothelioma patients choose to file a claim through a qualified lawyer to make the process easier. These are the steps that need to be taken when preparing to file an asbestos claim:

Step 1: Getting Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

The most important document in an asbestos claim is the medical record that proves that the victim was diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma.

In the case of a wrongful death claim, the courts or asbestos trust funds will want to see a death certificate showing that the cause of death was mesothelioma or a similar disease.

Step 2: Consulting With a Lawyer

Hiring an experienced mesothelioma lawyer is the best way to make sure that the victim is eligible to file a claim and that all the required documents are in place.

Victims can rely on the experience and track record of their mesothelioma attorney to guide them through the complex filing process.

Step 3: Confirming Eligibility

Both the courts and the asbestos trust funds will require documentation that proves the victim is eligible for compensation.

The mesothelioma attorney will have to research the patient's history to establish when they could have been exposed to asbestos.

This will lead them to file a claim against the victim's employer or the company responsible for the defective asbestos-containing product.

Step 4: Filing a Mesothelioma Claim

Many legal steps need to be taken when the asbestos claim is filed in court, and the mesothelioma lawyer will handle the process.

Step 5: Discovery

After the mesothelioma attorney files the asbestos claim, both parties will be given time for discovery. This is when the evidence presented by the victim will be reviewed, research conducted, and depositions collected.

Step 6: Trial, Verdicts, and Mesothelioma Compensation

Most of the time, a mesothelioma case settles out of court. This means the victim's family will be compensated without the need to go to trial.

However, if disputes arise between the two parties regarding the victim's eligibility or the amount of compensation to be awarded, the case will have to go to court.

Here the judge and the jury will decide whether or not the compensation claims are valid. In most cases, trial verdicts will result in a bigger payout for the victims compared to out-of-court settlements or compensation from asbestos trust funds.

Who Is Liable for Asbestos Exposure Claims?

The compensation from asbestos claims can come from a wide range of sources, so the mesothelioma attorney needs to be clear early on regarding who the liable party is.

In most cases, it is the circumstances regarding how the asbestos exposure occurred that will determine the responsible party in mesothelioma claims.

Possible at-fault parties include asbestos trust funds, asbestos companies, insurance companies, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos trust fund claims can be brought against the trust funds set aside by asbestos companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

Liable Asbestos Companies

Liable asbestos companies include:

  • Companies that distributed or used asbestos products

  • Asbestos product manufacturers

  • Asbestos mine operators

Insurance Companies

If the company in question has liability insurance that specifically covers mesothelioma compensation cases, the insurer will be liable for the asbestos claim.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The use of asbestos in the military is widespread due to its heat-resistant properties. It is found on ships, aircraft, army barracks, tanks, and fire-proof clothing. As such, military service is a valid case for exposure to asbestos.

In such cases, the Department of Veterans Affairs will be liable to pay compensation to current and future victims who can prove that they served in the military.

Mesothelioma Claim Amounts

The amount of money that a victim or their family members may be eligible to receive depends on the individual circumstances of the case. Most mesothelioma lawsuits and wrongful death claims settle for between $1 million to $1.4 million.

However, if the two parties fail to settle out of court, the case will go to trial and the victims may be awarded between $5 million to $11.4 million.

There have been mesothelioma verdict awards that are much higher than this. One particular case in California resulted in a janitor's family being awarded $107 million after he died from mesothelioma and it was shown that he had been exposed to asbestos from a wall compound.

How Long Does a Mesothelioma Claim Take?

Most mesothelioma compensation claims are filed and resolved within a few months to a year. The types of mesothelioma claims and the individual circumstances will determine how long the claim will take.

Settlements are the faster option, but if the victims feel that the settlement amount is not enough, they may decide on the longer route of going to trial and seeking a jury verdict. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help answer the questions of How long does a mesothelioma claim take?

Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Claims

In Texas, the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims is two years from the date the victim was diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, or from the date they passed away if it is a wrongful death claim.

Mesothelioma symptoms may take years or even decades to appear, which is why the statute of limitations clock only starts ticking after the diagnosis has been confirmed.

Filing a Mesothelioma Claim for a Loved One

The effects of suffering from mesothelioma can leave victims unable to file a claim for themselves. If this is the case, or if the victim has already died, a loved one can file a claim on their behalf. The victim's estate representative can also file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the remaining family members.

During deposition, if the victim is too sick to record statements for the mesothelioma attorney, witnesses can be brought forward to give their evidence. With just two years to file a claim, the process must be started as soon as possible.

Insurance Claims and Benefits

Another avenue that can be explored by mesothelioma lawyers is to file a claim for workers' compensation.

However, not all workers' compensation insurance companies are designed to provide financial support and benefits to mesothelioma patients. Health insurance and veterans' asbestos exposure benefits are also other viable alternatives.

Myths About Legal Options for Mesothelioma Patients

Myths About Legal Options for Mesothelioma Patients

There is a lot of misinformation that may discourage mesothelioma victims from filing a claim and receiving the compensation that they deserve. The following are some of the false myths that claimants need to be aware of:

  • Claims for veterans must be filed against the government

  • Victims who file out of state will need to travel

  • The claims process is too long

  • Victims will be awarded very little as compensation for mesothelioma

  • Legal action is not possible without being sure of the liable party

  • A mesothelioma lawyer is expensive

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Is Ready to Go to War

Many complications can arise when filing a mesothelioma compensation claim. As such, victims will need a strong, determined, compassionate, and experienced attorney to fight for their rights.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is one of the top mesothelioma law firms in Texas that are ready to go to war for their clients. Victims can contact its law offices in Dallas and schedule a free case review.


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