A qualified mesothelioma attorney can help you decide if and when to pursue a lawsuit as well as guide you through the process. The right asbestos attorney can also help you file your claim before the statute of limitations expires and will evaluate your case so you can receive the maximum compensation.
Most mesothelioma lawsuits never go to trial because they are settled out of court before the trial takes place.
How Long Does a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Take?
The legal process for an asbestos-related lawsuit depends on the health of the plaintiff. If you are in poor health, the entire process can be expedited, but if there is no urgency, the process could take several months or longer. In either case, the defendant probably will try to drag out the process. Your attorney will work to resolve your case as quickly as possible, handling each step so you can focus on your health and spend time with your loved ones.
Will I Need to Travel?
The location where you file can affect the length of the case process. Your attorney will help you choose the best jurisdiction for your case. It may be necessary to file outside the state where you live. You typically will not need to travel because your mesothelioma attorney can often handle the entire case process and travel to you when necessary.
Individual Lawsuits – These generally involve a single plaintiff who files suit against one or more companies over an illness related to their individual exposure to asbestos. Each side files motions and presents their evidence to a judge, ultimately being resolved either when both sides reach a settlement or the trial jury reaches a verdict.
Class Action Lawsuits – Class actions involve a person or group of people filing a lawsuit on behalf of everyone who is “similarly situated.” Classes can include anywhere from a few hundred to millions of people, and each person can decide whether to remain as part of the class action or opt out. While class actions have been filed over the years, most asbestos lawsuits are either individual or part of a multidistrict litigation.
Keep in mind that other parties involved may be one person or company, or several people or companies. Once your complaint is submitted, it will get the process rolling in the court of law. The defendant or defendants involved will receive notification letting them know that you have filed a lawsuit against them. They’ll also receive a copy of the complaint and will then have a certain amount of time to file a response, usually 30 days.
If the defendant(s) fails to respond, the court may enter a judgement against them, which results in a default decision in your favor. At this point, your attorney will be able to provide you with information regarding the damages you’re entitled to.
After Death Mesothelioma Claims: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Certain criteria must be met and the death itself needs to be the result of negligence or a wrongful act to file a wrongful death suit.
The ability to seek compensation for the death of an individual has evolved over time. In the past when a person was murdered or died at the hands of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, you could not sue for damages. It was actually cheaer for the guilty party financially if the victim died as a result of the injuries, rather than having to pay for lifetime medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering compensation.
Seeing this problem with old law, governments established the right for people to sue for compensation as a result of a wrongful death. But the people who could bring the suit forward had to be close enough to the deceased that it made sense. An acquaintance or long lost cousin could not come forward and claim they deserved compensation for the death of a person they barely knew.
Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
Mesothelioma class action lawsuits no longer exist. Mesothelioma patients can receive compensation through individual lawsuits, which are uniquely developed and personalized. Mesothelioma patients find the best success when working alongside an experienced lawyer who understands the complex medical and legal aspects of an individual mesothelioma lawsuit.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there is a good chance you are eligible for compensation. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer will be able to help you get as much compensation as possible. Skilled mesothelioma lawyers make the process easy so patients can focus on their treatment and receive financial security without the stress of a difficult lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to Sue?
Mesothelioma tends to develop 10 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos. State laws called statutes of limitations usually give people one to five years (depending on the state) from the diagnosis or discovery of mesothelioma to file a lawsuit. But it’s important to act promptly, because in a few states, including California, Tennessee, and Louisiana, the statue of limitations is only one year from diagnosis. (Check out Nolo’s chart Statutes of Limitations in All 50 States.)
If a mesothelioma victim has already died, his or her spouse and other heirs typically have one to three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death action, which can also result in the recovery of substantial money damages.
Mesothelioma victims can’t file or join in class actions lawsuits because each person’s medical history and prognosis is different, so mesothelioma cases must be filed individually.
The benefits under Workers’ Compensation include weekly payments based on a percentage of the employee’s average weekly wage for temporary total disability, partial disability, permanent and total disability and permanent loss of function and disfigurement. Workers’ Compensation also covers medical expenses for treatment that is reasonable, necessary and related to the industrial injury and vocational rehabilitation services.
Unfortunately, Workers’ Compensation alone is sometimes insufficient compensation especially in the case of very serious and catastrophic personal injuries. In such cases, it is necessary to look for a negligent third party such as the manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product, improper safety devices or some other party who is at fault. Mesothelioma claims require immediate attention and expertise because the responsible third party is often difficult to locate and evidence needs to be preserved.
Causes of Asbestos Lawsuits
In many cases, asbestos lawsuits arise from circumstances such as employment where workers were subjected to high levels of asbestos exposure on a near-daily basis for weeks, months, or years at a time. In other cases, asbestos removal due to the renovation or demolition of a home, school, or other public building may be the basis for an asbestos exposure lawsuit.
Asbestos can also “come home” on the work clothes, shoes, or hair of someone who works with or near asbestos products. Many spouses and children of asbestos workers have incurred significant, damaging asbestos exposure in this manner.
What Are Asbestos Trusts?
In a large number of cases, companies are unable to pay all damages related to asbestos exposure and must file for bankruptcy. In these cases, courts require companies to establish trust funds that pay compensation to victims of asbestosis, mesothelioma and other illnesses caused by asbestos exposure. Many trusts use established criteria to establish requirements for individuals who seek compensation. Some of the larger asbestos trusts use claims processing companies to help respond to the number of claims received by the trust’s management. The amount of compensation that a person ultimately receives by the trust is often based on a percentage of the amount owed to the person. The amount that a trust pays also changes over time. If you require assistance with one of these trusts, a knowledgeable attorney can often prove essential.
How Long Does It Take for Mesothelioma to Show Up?
There is often a significant amount of time between when an individual is exposed to asbestos and when the first signs of mesothelioma are visible. The latency period for mesothelioma can be anywhere between 20 to 50 years. The length of the latency period depends on a variety of factors. The longer that a person is exposed to asbestos, in many cases the more quickly that person will develop mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases. Exposure to larger amount of asbestos will speed up how quickly a person could develop mesothelioma. There are also several types of asbestos including crocidolite which is the deadliest type of asbestos and has the quickest latency period.
Second, the sooner you act, the sooner you might receive compensation that could help with your medical bills and financial needs. Some judges will speed up the process for mesothelioma plaintiffs because they know that mesothelioma is a life-threatening illness, requiring significant resources for medical treatment.
Third, under the laws of some states, if someone with mesothelioma dies before the case is concluded, the case could face significant delays.
Fourth, you are the best witness in your case, and it is important to preserve your testimony about your asbestos exposure history.
As an aggressive cancer, Mesothelioma is a dreadful disease that causes significant damage to the pleural mesothelium (lining inside the lungs) or peritoneal mesothelium (abdomen). Nearly every case is caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral fiber that occurs naturally in soil and rocks.
For decades, doctors, attorneys and the federal government have known about the harmful effects of asbestos exposure on human health. Only in recent years have many high profile cases been publicized, creating a pathway for other victims to seek the compensation they deserve for their injury caused by the negligence of others.
Most common cases involving asbestos exposure occur in the workplace. Because exposure to asbestos is usually preventable, nearly every case of asbestos cancer and disease creates legitimate grounds to file a mesothelioma lawsuit to hold asbestos product manufacturers accountable for negligence.
Mesothelioma Lawyers and legal proceedings are not part of some people ̓s normal life making a mesothelioma lawsuit an intimidating task for them. Going down this road isn’t that complicated especially when victims are involved. The first step to take when considering to file a mesothelioma lawsuit is the most important you will take, and that is taking and making a strong decision to stand up for your rights and holding the company that caused your infection accountable for what they have done. This may seem unbelievable, impossible, or hard to imagine, but if you are infected with mesothelioma and your job exposed you to asbestos, then the establishment you worked for perhaps knew there was a great chance that you and other coworkers would contract a disease related to asbestos. They will therefore pay a huge compensation for such negligence.
Many people have many doubts and frequently ask questions about this. Below are some answers and clarities that will make this process simplified for anybody who believes they may be qualified to prepare a mesothelioma lawsuit settlement.
Asbestos Manufacturers Withheld Evidence of Health Risk
Asbestos manufacturers as early as the 1930’s concealed serious health concerns related to asbestos exposure. Information available in the 1930’s suggested that asbestos was associated with serious respiratory problems.
In an effort to discredit adverse information, the asbestos industry funded various scientific studies intended to prove that asbestos was safe. The studies concluded just the opposite asbestos was highly toxic and a carcinogen to humans.
Instead of alerting the public to the risk posed by asbestos, the manufacturers concealed the facts and continued producing asbestos-containing materials at an alarming rate.
Nearly every citizen in Canada will be exposed to asbestos at some point in their life. Asbestos was commonly used in the construction of residences, commercial buildings, and schools.