There’s nothing more devastating than hearing the news that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that slowly mutates from asbestosis – a disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used in construction, mining, manufacturing, and other industries. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can damage the lining of the lungs, chest cavity, and abdomen and later progress into carcinomas.
Mesothelioma symptoms typically appear 10-50 years after asbestos exposure. This means many people diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos decades earlier, often at work.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to file a compensation claim. The compensation amount can help you pay for medical expenses and cover other costs associated with the disease.
However, filing a mesothelioma claim is a complex procedure and requires a meticulous approach. If you’re planning to file a mesothelioma claim, here’re six tips to help you get started:
Hire a competent lawyer specializing in mesothelioma claims
It’s hard to steer through the legal complexities of filing a mesothelioma case without having expert background knowledge and experience. This is why you should hire a competent attorney for your case. Law firms like Sokolove Law have experienced legal teams throughout America who will help you file a lawsuit and win financial compensation from companies responsible for your asbestos exposure.
Your attorney will take care of all aspects of your claim – from gathering evidence and medical documents to tracing its causes, determining the type of claim, and negotiating with defendants.
Identify the source of asbestos exposure
Although mesothelioma cases often arise from exposure at work, it’s crucial to identify the source of asbestos exposure before filing the claim.
Your attorney will help you determine where and when you were exposed to asbestos. Provide them with detailed information related to the industry your employer belonged to and the specific products you worked with. This information is important for establishing the timeframe and extent of your asbestos exposure.
Your lawyer can use their connections to retrieve safety documentation highlighting the presence of asbestos in your workplace. This way, they can link your diagnosis and exposure to the source. This prognosis will help them determine whether you’re eligible for a claim and the maximum compensation you can receive from the company.
Gather all relevant documents and evidence
The success of your mesothelioma claim depends on your preparation and sound evidence. Gather all your pertinent documents supporting your mesothelioma claim, which include:
- All medical records
- Employment history, and
- Evidence of asbestos exposure
Include detailed medical information, treatment plans, prescription documents, imaging results, pathology reports, medication lists, and other reports that support your claim. Lack of evidence and inadequate documents can significantly weaken your case and hinder your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Determine the type of mesothelioma claim
There are four main categories of mesothelioma claims:
- Personal injury claim, wherein a patient diagnosed with mesothelioma can file for compensation against the company. This claim is typically filed for compensation for medical expenditures, lost wages, future expenditures, and other damages caused by the disease.
- Wrongful death claim, which is filed by the dependents, spouse, children, or beneficiaries after the victim has passed away. Wrongful death claims are filed for compensation for losing a loved one, loss of financial support, and funeral and burial expenses.
- Trust fund claim, which is filed to seek compensation from the asbestos trust funds. Companies that frequently face asbestos-related lawsuits have established trust funds to compensate victims affected by the company’s asbestos-containing products.
- Secondary exposure claim, wherein a family member or person exposed to asbestos through contact with the primary victim can file a claim.
Each claim requires a different legal strategy, documents, and evidence. Once you determine the type of claim you’ll be filing, your lawyer will tailor their legal approach to increase the chances of success and get maximum compensation.
Determine the statute of limitations
Understanding the statute of limitations is extremely important before filing your claim. Each state or jurisdiction has its timeframe within which the claim must be filed. For example, you can file a personal injury claim in Maine within 6 years, while residents of California and Kentucky only have a 12-month window to file the same. If you fail to file your claim within this period, you lose the right to seek compensation.
Moreover, statutes of limitation differ in terms of where you can file the claim. Your lawyer will determine the state in which you’ll file the claim based on your residence, the location of the company, and the site of asbestos exposure.
Try to reach a settlement early
Generally, a mesothelioma settlement can amount to $1 million to $1.4 million. As soon as your claim is filed, your lawyer will negotiate for an early settlement to preempt a tribunal proceeding and secure compensation at the earliest. The majority of mesothelioma lawsuits reach a reasonable settlement before the trial begins. Your employer will initially offer a compensation amount on which the lawyer will further negotiate.
It’s highly advisable to seriously consider the first settlement offered by the employer, especially if it aligns with equitable terms. This is because when a case proceeds to trial, your employer may try to discredit your claim or undermine the strength of your evidence, which could lead to an unfavorable outcome. Moreover, if you lack substantial evidence, you may even end up losing the case.
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure at work. Whether you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma or lost a loved one who was battling it, a compensation claim can help you get financial benefits for your treatment and gain the confidence to stand up against the injustice of exposure-induced suffering. It’s important to hire a competent attorney with a deep understanding of mesothelioma cases who can guide you toward justice and the compensation you deserve.