Legal Help and Guidance For Asbestos-Related Diseases

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Mesothelioma patients often experience huge emotional and financial burdens. Patients face expensive treatments, travel costs, job loss and other incidental issues. Thankfully, those affected by asbestos exposure have legal rights to compensation to help ease these concerns.

Asbestos Legal Help Overview

Mesothelioma patients have several avenues to obtain financial compensation and legal assistance. The Mesothelioma Justice Network is home to a full staff of compassionate and knowledgeable legal advocates who are here to help you with your asbestos claim.

Here is what every mesothelioma patient and their families should know about legal compensation for asbestos exposure:

  • Asbestos manufacturers have been deemed liable for their negligence in knowingly distributing toxic substances
  • All asbestos disease patients may be eligible for legal compensation based on their exposure history
  • Patients or their family members can file claims to obtain compensation through asbestos trust funds or lawsuits
  • Working with a specialized mesothelioma lawyer can ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation available to you quickly
  • Lawyers don’t get paid unless you obtain compensation and many competent lawyers will travel directly to you

Legal procedures are often overwhelming and can become discouraging without a legal team backing you up. You and your family deserve to be compensated so you can pay for life-saving treatments at specialized cancer centers.

Asbestos Illness and Death: Who Is at Fault?

After a shocking mesothelioma diagnosis, patients often wonder who is at fault and who will cover their treatment costs. Sadly, there have been hundreds of thousands of families left wondering the same thing.

Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products hid the dangers of asbestos exposure for decades. Court-ordered trusts have been established to pay those injured by asbestos. An estimated $30 Billion has been set aside in trust funds to pay asbestos victims.

Negligent Companies

The parties at fault are the companies who manufactured, distributed and sold asbestos with full knowledge of the deadly risks caused by their product.

View a Complete List of Asbestos Companies

History shows that it has long been known that there are health dangers associated with asbestos. Evidence demonstrates companies hid the dangers of asbestos and continued using it in their products. As a result, the asbestos industry continued to flourish while workers paid the ultimate price with their health.

Negligent Asbestos Companies

By the 1970s and 80s, it was revealed that many of the asbestos industry’s top companies, including Johns-Manville Corporation, were hiding the truth about asbestos health hazards from their own workers. Instead of deciding to come forward honestly, they chose to cover up the truth, which subsequently led to thousands of deaths and many yet to come.

As the truth about asbestos was unveiled, hundreds of companies found themselves defending their acts. Not only were the asbestos companies themselves found to be negligent, but many separate entities like insurance companies were also found to have colluded with the companies to hide the truth.

As more companies faced massive financial losses as ruled by various courts, dozens of manufacturers of asbestos-containing products were forced to declare bankruptcy. As part of the resolution, many of these companies placed billions of dollars into trust funds to be accessed by asbestos victims over the coming decades. It is estimated $30 Billion has been set aside to pay claims to asbestos victims and their families.

Legal Options for Asbestos Victims

It’s important for all asbestos victims to know that they have legal rights to compensation. However, there are differences in each case, including when you were exposed, how you were exposed, who was responsible and when you received your diagnosis.

All of 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 Veterans Affairs benefits

By working with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, you can determine which option is right 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 it. To make this decision, it’s vital to work a mesothelioma lawyer you can trust.

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40 years of experience handling mesothelioma cases. We fight on behalf of patients, demanding justice from negligent asbestos companies.

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Asbestos Trust Funds

Many victims of mesothelioma choose to pursue compensation by filing a claim through asbestos trust funds. Which trust fund you file against depends on which of the manufacturers’ products you encountered during your work history. In some cases, mesothelioma victims may be eligible for compensation from multiple trusts.

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 approximately $30 Billion in bankruptcy trust funds available to help compensate 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. You’ll also need to provide information about your work history and any possible asbestos exposure to help determine claim values. Certain diseases and levels of exposure will yield higher amounts than others.

Asbestos Personal Injury Lawsuits

In addition to filing a claim through an asbestos trust fund you can file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent company.

Lawsuits can only be filed against negligent companies still in operation, since 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 the $1 Million mark and some have been significantly higher.

Asbestos Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you are the family member of a loved one who has passed due to mesothelioma or another asbestos-related injury, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company at fault.

If your family member has passed as a result of the negligence of an asbestos company, 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 with a goal of easing your family’s emotional and financial burdens.

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 work with a Justice Support Team member in your state.

Asbestos Trial Verdicts

If a settlement is not reached before going to court, then a trial verdict will be reached. When a case goes to trial, a decision will be made either by a judge or a jury. 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 of receiving your requested compensation amount.

Going to trial has a higher risk-reward ratio. While it’s riskier to go to trial and have your case heard, it can also result in larger payouts than through settlements. In some cases, a settlement is reached during trial.

Do I Need an Asbestos Lawyer?

Many patients wonder whether they even need a mesothelioma lawyer. Although many people feel uneasy about suing a company, it’s essential for patients to know that they are within their rights as victims of asbestos exposure.

Specialized lawyers know mesothelioma cases inside and out, including details of the law by state that the average person doesn’t know.

Here are some of the reasons why it’s important to work with a mesothelioma lawyer:

  • Investigate Work History: In many cases, the patient cannot remember their complete work history or how and when they may have been exposed to asbestos. A mesothelioma lawyer is an expert investigator who can uncover your work history and determine exactly how your exposure occurred. This helps strengthen your case should you file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Experienced in State Law: Each state governs personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. With each state having their own legal parameters, patients need a lawyer who knows how to properly file in any given state. Additionally, lawyers will decide which state to file in based on timeframes and other factors.
  • Know the Statute of Limitations: A statute of limitations is the time in which you are legally allowed to file a claim for personal injury. Each state has its own statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims.

Because a mesothelioma diagnosis isn’t reached until 10-50 years after exposure, there are special rules around the statute of limitations in these cases. Call the Mesothelioma Justice Network to determine the rules for your state at (888) 360-4215.

It’s vital for patients to contact a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after a diagnosis or after the autopsy of a loved one who has passed.

Free Legal Case Review

40 years of experience handling mesothelioma cases. We fight on behalf of patients, demanding justice from negligent asbestos companies.

Free Legal Case Review

What to Expect During Legal Processes

Many patients immediately feel overwhelmed at the idea of a lengthy legal process. Provided you work with a specialized lawyer, mesothelioma cases are relatively straightforward because there have been so many of them to date. The complicated part is going through your work history and determining the scope of your asbestos exposure.

The legal process consists of:

  1. Hiring a Lawyer: Hiring a competent and experienced mesothelioma lawyer is the first step in the process. Not all lawyers have equal levels of experience and expertise necessary to tackle a mesothelioma case. It’s key to work with an attorney who has dedicated their career to asbestos victims in particular. These top mesothelioma attorneys will travel to you, so you don’t have to worry about any additional burdens to your health.
  2. Reviewing Work and Medical History: Your mesothelioma lawyer will then investigate your work history. This is a crucial step. Working with you, your family and your employment records, a lawyer can piece together the big picture of your asbestos exposure. This includes when you were exposed, how you were exposed and who was responsible for your exposure. Without solid details of your asbestos exposure history, it can be hard to win a case.
  3. Determining an Appropriate Legal Course: Once your lawyer has uncovered the details of your asbestos exposure history, they can recommend legal courses of action. An attorney will always present you with what they feel will be able to get you the most money. In some cases, this may only be filing through a trust fund, while in other cases it may mean going to trial against a negligent company.
  4. Filing a Claim: Once you and your attorney have decided upon a legal course of action, your attorney will file the claim on your behalf. Attorneys ensure that all legal requirements are met when filing a claim. Legal requirements include full work and medical history as well as ensuring the claim is filed within the statute of limitations for that state. Mesothelioma lawyers are also helpful when there are many claims being filed.
  5. Receiving Compensation: Depending on the legal course of action you take, compensation is awarded after a claim has been reviewed, after a settlement has been agreed to or when trial verdict has been reached. The length of time it takes to receive payment depends on different factors. Lawyers may ask to have cases expedited especially if your cancer has advanced. Compensation is typically paid out in installments as opposed to a lump sum. You should discuss your payment preference with your lawyer ahead of time.

Seeking Legal Compensation 

Mesothelioma lawyers do not get paid unless compensation is awarded, so there is no financial risk for the patient when hiring a lawyer. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, do not delay in contacting a lawyer.

The Mesothelioma Justice Network can match you with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer that will travel directly to you regardless where in the country you live, so you can focus on your health and treatments. Call today at (888) 360-4215.

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Sources
  1. RAND Institute for Civil Justice, “Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts” Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf. Accessed on December 9, 2017.

Last modified: January 24, 2019