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 mesothelioma patients and their families should know about legal compensation for asbestos-related diseases:

  • Many asbestos manufacturers have been deemed liable for their negligence in knowingly distributing toxic substances
  • 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 help you get the maximum amount of compensation available to you quickly
  • The best lawyers don’t get paid unless you obtain compensation and will travel directly to you

Legal procedures are often overwhelming and can become discouraging without a legal team backing you up. With their help, you and your family may receive compensation. This compensation can help pay for life-extending 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 thousands of families left wondering the same thing.

Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products hid the dangers of asbestos for decades. In recent years, court-ordered trusts have been established to pay those injured by asbestos. Over $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

It has long been known that there are health dangers associated with asbestos. However, there is evidence that companies hid these dangers for decades and continued using it in their products. As a result, the asbestos industry continued to thrive while workers paid the ultimate price with their health.

Negligent Asbestos Companies

By the 1970s and 80s, it was revealed that many of the industry’s top companies, including the Johns-Manville Corporation, were hiding the truth about asbestos from their own workers. Instead of coming forward, they ignored the facts to make money. This lead to thousands of deaths, with many yet to come.

As the truth about asbestos was unveiled, hundreds of companies found themselves defending their acts. Not only were asbestos companies themselves found to be negligent, but many other groups like insurance companies also worked with the companies to hide the truth in some cases.

As more companies faced massive financial losses from various lawsuits, many of them were forced to declare bankruptcy. As part of the resolution, these companies placed billions of dollars into trust funds to be accessed by asbestos victims over the coming decades.

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 mesothelioma lawyer, you can determine which option is right for you. A lawyer will explore which option could award you with the amount of money and how long it will take to receive it. This is a big decision, so it’s vital to work a mesothelioma lawyer you can trust.

Free Legal Case Review

Our legal partners have 40 years of experience handling mesothelioma cases. They fight on behalf of patients and demand justice from negligent asbestos companies.

Free Legal Case Review

Asbestos Trust Funds

Many victims of mesothelioma can pursue compensation by filing a claim through asbestos trust funds. Which trust fund you file against depends on what products you encountered during your work history and what companies made them. 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 (formerly the Johns-Manville Corporation)
  • 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

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. 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 someone you love due to mesothelioma or another asbestos-related injury, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company at fault.

A wrongful death lawsuit seeks damages from negligent asbestos companies. You are within your right to seek compensation for your loved ones’ suffering during their illness. Mesothelioma brings emotional, physical and financial devastation to the patient and those closest to them.

In the case of a wrongful death, should work with with a mesothelioma lawyer. These experienced attorneys 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.

To find out how you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, 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 a 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 compensation.

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 a settlement. In some cases, a settlement is reached during trial.

Do I Need an Asbestos Lawyer?

Many patients wonder if they even need a mesothelioma lawyer. However, working with mesothelioma lawyers gives them the best chance of receiving compensation.

These lawyers know mesothelioma cases inside and out, including details of the law by state that the average lawyer may not 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 they may have been exposed to asbestos.  Mesothelioma lawyers have the resources to uncover these facts and determine exactly how your exposure occurred. This helps strengthen your case.
  • Experienced in State Law: Filing a lawsuit varies for each state, as they all have different laws and limitations. Because of this, patients need a lawyer who knows how to properly file in any state. Additionally, lawyers will decide which state to file in based on time frames 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.

Mesothelioma is usually not diagnosed until 20-50 years after your initial exposure. Because of this, there are special rules around the statutes of limitations in these cases. Call the Mesothelioma Justice Network to determine the rules for your state at (888) 360-4215.

If you are considering legal action, you should contact a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible so you don’t lose out.

Free Legal Case Review

Our legal partners have 40 years of experience handling mesothelioma cases. They fight on behalf of patients and demand justice from negligent asbestos companies.

Free Legal Case Review

What to Expect During Legal Processes

Some people may feel overwhelmed at the idea of taking legal action. However, mesothelioma cases are relatively straightforward because there have been so many of them to date. Working with a mesothelioma lawyer makes the process even easier.

The legal process typically consists of:

  1. Finding a Lawyer: Working with a competent and experienced mesothelioma lawyer is very important. Not all lawyers have the knowledge and resources necessary to tackle a mesothelioma case. It’s key to work with an attorney who has dedicated their career to asbestos victims in particular. Your should also travel to you and not charge any upfront fees.
  2. Reviewing Work and Medical 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 learns the details of your asbestos exposure history, they can recommend legal courses of action. Your attorney should always work to get the most value from your claim. In some cases, this may include filing through a trust fund, or 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.  Your attorney will ensure that all legal requirements are met when filing a claim. This includes compiling work and medical history and filing the claim within the statute of limitations for that state. Mesothelioma lawyers are very 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 if your cancer has advanced. Compensation is typically paid out in installments, not in a lump sum. You should discuss your payment preference with your lawyer ahead of time.

Seeking Legal Compensation 

The best mesothelioma lawyers do not get paid unless compensation is awarded, so there is no financial risk to you. 

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

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

View Author and Sources
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: April 10, 2019