Legal Options for Asbestos Victims
It’s important for asbestos victims to know that they have legal rights to compensation. However, your compensation varies based on several factors. These include when you were exposed, how you were exposed, who was responsible and when you received your diagnosis.
Knowing these factors will help you and your legal team determine the best avenue for seeking compensation.
Mesothelioma patients have a few options for obtaining compensation, including:
- Accessing asbestos bankruptcy trust funds (out of court)
- Filing a lawsuit against the negligent party for personal injury
- Filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased victim
- Being awarded compensation through a trial verdict
- Filing for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs
By working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, you can determine which legal option is best for you. The best course of action is based on many factors, including the amount of money you can realistically receive and the amount of time it will take to receive the money.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Many victims of mesothelioma can pursue compensation by filing a claim through an asbestos trust fund. Which asbestos trust fund you file against depends on which of the asbestos manufacturers’ products you encountered during your work history.
Some of the highest asbestos bankruptcy trust funds come from the following companies:
- Owens Corning
- US Gypsum Company
- Johns Manville
- Babcock and Wilcox Company
- Armstrong World Industries
Currently, there is over $30 billion in bankruptcy trust funds available for mesothelioma victims and their families.
To access bankruptcy trust funds, you need to prove that you have an asbestos-related illness by providing:
- Medical records
- A history of companies you worked at
- Any known or possible history of asbestos exposure
- What asbestos-related disease you have
This information helps your lawyer estimate the value of your claim. Certain diseases and levels of exposure will yield higher amounts than others.
Asbestos Personal Injury Lawsuits
An alternative to filing a claim through an asbestos trust fund is to file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent company.
Lawsuits can only be filed against negligent companies still in operation. Bankrupt companies remain under bankruptcy protection to shield them from liabilities.
Depending on your unique case, it may make more sense to file a lawsuit against an asbestos company. Lawsuits typically result in larger payouts because the defendants still have the financial means to pay the claims. Asbestos victims can file lawsuits against multiple companies depending on their exposure history.
The vast majority of lawsuits settle out of court. This means that before going to trial, the defendant (the asbestos company) reaches a deal with the patient for an agreed upon amount. While these amounts remain undisclosed as part of the settlement agreement, many settlements have been around $1 Million, and some have been significantly higher.
Asbestos Trial Verdicts
If a settlement is not reached before going to court, a decision will be made through a trial verdict. Your lawyer is responsible for preparing you for trial. They’ll also help you decide which type of trial — jury trial or a bench trial with a judge — will give you the best chance at receiving your requested compensation amount.
Going to trial has a higher risk-reward ratio. While it is riskier to go to trial to have your case heard, it can also result in larger payouts than through settlements. In some cases, a settlement is reached during trial.
Asbestos Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If you are the family member of a loved one who has died from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. You are within your right to seek compensation for the damages suffered while your loved one was ill and for damages suffered afterward.
In the case of a wrongful death, it’s vital for families to work with a mesothelioma lawyer. A skilled and specialized attorney can investigate your loved one’s work history and uncover the truth about how and when they were exposed to asbestos.
Based on what the lawyer finds, they will put together a case claiming that your family has suffered significant impact both emotionally and financially.
If you have a loved one who has passed away due to mesothelioma or another asbestos-related injury, contact The Mesothelioma Justice Network today to begin working with a mesothelioma attorney in your state.