Types of Mesothelioma Claims
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma, also leading to asbestosis and other asbestos cancers. As a result, patients and their surviving family members file asbestos claims to gain compensation for expenses, pain and suffering and much more.
There are two types of asbestos and mesothelioma claims that can be filed. Which type of claim you file depends on whether you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, or if you are filing on behalf of a loved one that has passed away from the cancer.
Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury claim can be filed by someone who has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma. With personal injury claims, the person directly affected by the disease is claiming that compensation is needed for reasons such as:
Medical expenses incurred during mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment, including future treatment
Lost wages or other income, including expected future income
Pain and suffering experienced because of an asbestos-related disease
Personal injury claims can typically be filed wherever the patient resided, worked or served in the military.
Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim is filed by the mesothelioma victim’s family after their loved one has passed away. In this case, the family members sue to receive compensation related to the loss of their beloved. This can include:
Loss of expected income due to the untimely death
Medical costs incurred during mesothelioma treatment administered before the deceased’s passing
The specific claims available to family members may vary from state to state. To fully understand your legal options, it’s best to discuss with an asbestos attorney.
Filing Asbestos Claims
There is a detailed legal process to filing an asbestos-related claim. To receive compensation, there are many details that need to be worked out to build your case. Your mesothelioma attorney will perform most of the research, allowing you to focus on your treatment journey. Key pieces of information that they will look for include:
How you were exposed to asbestos
How long the exposure occurred
How the exposure has affected your health, quality of life and ability to work
It can be difficult for a patient or loved one to pinpoint details of exposure, especially when working or living at multiple places where exposure was possible. Secondhand exposure is also a possibility, as asbestos dust was brought home frequently on the clothing of workers dealing with asbestos-containing materials.
Whether you know how you were exposed, or if the method of exposure is unknown, it’s best to speak with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to determine the strength of your case. In many cases, a lawyer can determine potential exposures to help get you compensation.
If considering filing a mesothelioma claim, it’s crucial to understand deadlines. The statute of limitations sets a deadline by which a claim must be filed. Statutes of limitations vary based on state and by the type of claim that you’re filing. Experienced mesothelioma law firms work nationwide and understand the requirements of each state.
How Mesothelioma Claims Are Paid
Patients and loved ones may be eligible for one or more types of compensation. When filing a claim, your lawyer will outline your financial options with you to determine the best route for your specific case. Common ways that asbestos claims are paid out include through asbestos trusts, lawsuits, veterans’ benefits and workers' compensation.
Asbestos Trust Funds
As the dangers of asbestos became well-known, many companies admitted their liability or filed for bankruptcy. In order to continue paying out current claims and future claims, many companies were required to establish asbestos bankruptcy trusts. Each fund has a certain amount of money and is managed by trustees to compensate patients and families for asbestos-related claims.
Currently, there are approximately 60 asbestos trusts in the United States. As long as the claimant meets any required trust fund criteria, there is no limit on how many trusts they can make a claim against.
If an asbestos trust fund doesn’t apply to your case, another option is filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. The two types of mesothelioma claims that are filed in preparation for a lawsuit are personal injury claims (by the patient) and wrongful death claims (by surviving family members).
Claims can be filed against one or more defendants. After going to court, if the judge or jury rules in your favor, a compensation amount is determined and awarded. In most cases, asbestos lawsuits don’t make it to court, and instead, both parties reach a settlement.
Once you file a mesothelioma claim, the defendant can offer a settlement. Typically settlements result in less compensation than if the case goes to trial, allowing asbestos companies to pay less. However, there is a chance that they won’t be found liable, and lawsuits can be extremely lengthy, taking longer to payout.
If a settlement is offered, your lawyer can best advise the advantages and disadvantages of accepting. It’s ultimately up to the claimant whether or not to accept or deny the settlement. Negotiation is also an option, which will be done by your attorney. If the settlement is denied, the case moves forward to trial.
One of the jobs with the highest rates of occupational exposure is veterans of the U.S. Armed Services. Naval shipyards frequently used asbestos for its durability and fireproofing qualities, exposing many and putting them at risk to developing mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos cancers.
Individuals who were exposed to asbestos during their military career are likely to qualify for veterans’ benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify, the individual must not have been discharged under dishonorable circumstances and must be able to show that exposure did occur during the time of service.
Filing a claim for medical benefits through the VA is a different process than filing a legal claim against an asbestos trust or a company. Through the VA, veterans may receive disability payments if the majority of their exposure occurred during active duty, with special payments going to veterans who are housebound or bedridden due to their illness. Veterans who qualify can also receive treatment at VA hospitals.
Spouses of veterans who die due to service-related disabilities, such as mesothelioma, may also receive a monthly benefit known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
The Workers’ Compensation Act allows individuals to recover money for general exposure to asbestos during employment experiences. In some cases, you may be able to recover money even after you’ve retired from your job, which is important due to the long latency period of mesothelioma.
As with filing claims against trusts or companies, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims varies from state to state and depends on whether the claim is filed by the person diagnosed with mesothelioma or, if that person has passed away, by their family.
When To Hire a Motorcycle Personal Injury Lawyer
Your claim for compensation for the injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident is classified as a civil lawsuit. This is in contrast to a case involving a violation of the state’s criminal code, such as assault or drug possession, which is a criminal matter handled in the state’s criminal courts.
A motorcycle personal injury lawyer is one whose practice usually is limited to handling claims on behalf of accident victims. The websites and advertising of many lawyers claim the firms handle personal injury cases along with an array of other types of cases, including criminal defense, real estate, and trusts and estates.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you might receive letters from lawyers offering their services to handle your case. The State Bar of California regulates lawyer solicitation and advertising, including the sending of letters to accident victims. Although letters soliciting clients may be a legitimate practice, you must do your research to ensure the attorney you depend upon to obtain maximum compensation for you has the skills, knowledge and years of experience to be capable of doing so.
Instead of a law firm that relies upon solicitation letters to generate a high volume of cases that can be settled quickly, you want an attorney willing to devote the time and resources to maximize the outcome. Motorcycle personal injury lawyers with significant experience in the courtroom pursuing claims for accident victims through jury and non-jury trials usually have built reputations as being willing to do all that is necessary to achieve the best possible result for their clients.
Questions to Ask a Motorcycle Personal Injury Lawyer
Finding an experienced motorcycle personal injury lawyer takes some effort on your part, but doing so can make a big difference in the final outcome of your claim for compensation. Most motorcycle personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to offer prospective clients the opportunity to have their cases evaluated and to ask questions about the claim and, more importantly, about the qualifications and experience of the lawyer.
Take advantage of the offer of a free consultation to interview a few motorcycle personal injury lawyers before hiring one to handle your claim. Recommendations from friends and relatives might be helpful to get the names of lawyers, but it is up to you to meet with the person to determine if he or she is the motorcycle injury lawyer you want handling your claim. Here are a few questions to help you gather the information needed to make the right decision.
Is the lawyer’s practice limited to motorcycle personal injury?
There is nothing wrong with being a jack-of-all-trades and many of the more than 170,000 attorneys in California handle multiple areas of the law, including motorcycle personal injury with varying degrees of success. However, the ability to investigate and assess the value of a personal injury claim requires the lawyer to have the experience and knowledge that can only be developed through years of actually handling cases similar to yours from intake through trial.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you want an attorney who knows and understands how motorcycles are ridden and the particular risks confronting riders and their passengers. Retaining the services of a motorcycle personal injury lawyer with experience handling motorcycle accidents means your lawyer knows what to look for when investigating the accident and assessing the strength of your claim.
How many cases similar to yours has the attorney successfully taken to trial?
The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled before they go to trial. In fact, a study by the federal government found that only 3 percent of civil cases arising from motor vehicle accidents ever went to trial. Some attorneys and law firms prefer to settle cases as quickly as possible to avoid the time and expense needed to properly prepare a case for trial.
A settlement can be good for the accident victim, but not when the lawyer’s reputation for settling cases and avoiding trials causes insurance company claims adjusters to offer less than the case is actually worth. Motorcycle personal injury lawyers with considerable trial experience can reject low settlement offers and hold out for more because insurance adjusters know the lawyer is capable of taking the case to trial.
What is the lawyer’s record of verdicts and settlements in motorcycle personal injury claims?
Past verdicts and settlements are not a guarantee of future outcomes in similar cases, but they do provide you with an indication of the motorcycle personal injury lawyers negotiating abilities and willingness to pursue a trial when necessary. When asking about prior verdicts and settlements, make certain to ask for the dates associated with them. Some attorneys will be more than willing to share their courtroom triumphs with a prospective client, but you want the information to show you the lawyer remains active in the courtroom as well as in pre-trial negotiations.
What legal organizations does the lawyer belong to that are related to personal injury?
Active membership bar association or trial lawyer organizations helps attorneys remain in their particular area of the law. A personal injury lawyer active in his or her state bar association or national associations devoted to trial advocacy and personal injury law is a good sign that the attorney is making the effort to remain up-to-date on the most effective trial strategies, laws and techniques for resolving accident victim claims.
Who will handle your case?
You might assume the lawyer you speak with during the initial consultation will be handling your case, but you could be wrong. Some law firms routinely assign associates and paralegals to handle various aspects of a motorcycle personal injury case. It is not uncommon for the preparation of the documents necessary to start your lawsuit to be assigned to a paralegal, which is fine as long as you know the attorney you thought was going to handle your case retains ultimate responsibility for it.
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