Your legal rights
Those that develop mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos are very likely entitled to compensation for this terrible disease. The amount of compensation you are entitled to receive for your claim depends on many factors, such as life expectancy and medical expenses as well as the manner and method of exposure to asbestos.
Filing a claim
To receive compensation after a mesothelioma diagnosis, you will need to file a claim for personal injury. The surviving family members who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma can also file a wrongful death claim. A mesothelioma attorney will help you determine the best avenue for recovering compensation because of your asbestos exposure. Options for filing a mesothelioma claim include:
- Bankruptcy trust
- Veterans benefits
- Workers’ compensation
Your mesothelioma lawyer will file your claim with the appropriate entity depending on who the responsible party was for your asbestos exposure.
Even if the company that made the asbestos products that exposed you to asbestos has filed for bankruptcy, you may be able to recover compensation from the Court Ordered trust fund that was set up as part of that company’s reorganization. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can guide you through the process for any of these claim types.
Knowing if you have a case and when to file it
Talking with an experienced attorney who handles mesothelioma cases on a regular basis is the best way to find out if you have a claim, what it may be worth, and what steps you need to take to start the legal process.
Do you have a claim?
Knowing whether you have a legal claim is relatively straightforward. If you can answer yes to these questions, then you are likely entitled to compensation:
- Were you exposed to asbestos at work?
- Did you have second-hand exposure to asbestos?
- Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma?
Many people are concerned once they receive a mesothelioma diagnosis that there will be no one to hold responsible and pay for their injury since the disease can take 20 to 50 years to present symptoms.
The truth is that thousands of victims of asbestos exposure have been able to recover compensation for the development of mesothelioma.
Who you can recover from you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries from a variety of sources, including:
- Manufacturer of the asbestos
- Installer of the asbestos
- Asbestos victims’ trust fund
Many companies that subjected workers to asbestos are still viable business entities and they can be pursued in Court. Other companies have filed for and declared bankruptcy, but trusts have been set up by them and claims can be made to the trust. Often the bankruptcy Court required a company seeking bankruptcy protection to set aside large sums of money in trust for potential future claimants. If you were exposed to asbestos by one of these companies that has been forced to set up a bankruptcy trust,
You may be able to seek compensation from that trust.
Limitations on when you can file
Each state has enacted statutes of limitations which govern how long you have to file a personal injury claim against another party. Since there are time limitations, it’s important to immediately seek out advice on what types of claims to make so that they are timely. Because of the aggressive nature of mesothelioma, you will want to consult an attorney as soon as possible after your diagnosis so that you can begin the process of getting the compensation you deserve.
Employer responsibility after asbestos exposure
Every employer is required to inform workers that they are working with asbestos or in an environment with the risk of asbestos exposure. If you are concerned about asbestos exposure in your current work place, talk with your employer or their designated health and safety representative to understand if appropriate precautions are being taken to prevent asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma.
If you have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, talk to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer about your legal rights and entitlement to compensation.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the safety measures that should be taken by employers regarding asbestos. In general, employers should provide protection for employees, such as:
- Proper training for working with and around asbestos
- Monitoring of the exposure levels of employees
- Well ventilated workspace
- Protective clothing, like gloves and goggles
- Protective gear, like a respirator
- Warning signs on material containing asbestos, like raw materials, mixtures, and even waste
Employers are required to provide a safe working environment and limit employee exposure to dangerous materials like asbestos. If your employer fails to provide the proper safety precautions, you may have a legal claim against them.
Employers can be found responsible for exposing employees to asbestos because it causes mesothelioma. Unfortunately, because of the long latency period of mesothelioma, thirty or forty years may have passed between exposure to asbestos and diagnosis of mesothelioma. Working with an experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you determine what entity or entities could be responsible for your injuries. Based upon the individual facts of your case, you may be able to sue manufacturers of asbestos or asbestos containing products, building owners, contractors and other entities.
In some cases, you can go through the workers’ compensation system for your state or seek payment from a mesothelioma victim’s trust fund. Your lawyer will investigate your specific situation and work with you to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.