Mesothelioma is Both a Medical and a Legal Issue
Though a person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma is correct in focusing on their condition as a medical issue, it is also important to recognize it as a legal issue: in most cases, exposure to asbestos is a result of an employer, a manufacturer, a supplier or some other entity being negligent in its handling of a material that it knew to be carcinogenic, and as a result the justice system has established that those who have been sickened as a result of this negligence are eligible to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the harm that they have suffered.
A Mesothelioma Lawsuit Can Help With Expenses
Many victims of asbestos exposure are uncomfortable with the idea of getting involved in a mesothelioma lawsuit, particularly because dealing with the emotional and physical aspects of their condition is so taxing. Though this is perfectly understandable, it is also important to recognize that mesothelioma treatment and care can be extremely costly, and the compensation that may be available can keep a family from enduring tremendous economic hardships. Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit also can give you and your loved ones the opportunity to seek justice for the wrong that has been done to you.
Choosing the Right Person for Mesothelioma Legal Advice
Though many mesothelioma victims want more information about their legal rights or what filing a mesothelioma lawsuit might entail, they make the mistake of seeking legal advice from attorneys who are friends, family members or neighbors. Though these members of your circle have well intentions and clearly have your best interest at heart, there are few general practice attorneys that possess the specialized knowledge that is needed to answer your questions about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Working with an attorney without this specific knowledge bases puts you at risk of missing filing deadlines, filing in the wrong state, or not identifying all parties that may be held responsible for your condition. It is strongly advised that you seek mesothelioma legal advice from a law firm that has specific and extensive experience in asbestos-related cases to ensure that the information that you get is accurate and helpful.
Who Gets Sued in a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Many mesothelioma victims hesitate about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit because they believe it will put them in conflict with a former employer to whom they feel a debt of gratitude or loyalty. In many cases, it is not the employer who is liable for asbestos exposure, but those who provided asbestos-contaminated equipment or supplies to the employer. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer will have an extensive library of previous mesothelioma cases, as well as other resources that will help to identify what materials were used in your work setting or where your asbestos exposure came from. By carefully reviewing your employment history, as well as other biographical details, they will be able to come up with a comprehensive list of those to be named in your mesothelioma lawsuit.
Military Exposure to Asbestos
It is an unfortunate fact that many mesothelioma victims were exposed to asbestos during their service in the American military. This is because asbestos was so widely used for insulation in high-heat environments and for sound insulation. Though veterans are not able to file a lawsuit against the military, they may be eligible for assistance from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which a mesothelioma attorney can help facilitate. Further, the various companies that were responsible for providing the asbestos-contaminated materials to the military can be sued for compensation, and a mesothelioma law firm can assist you in filing and winning that claim.
Deadlines for Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is not something that can be put off until a later date. There are statutes of limitations that impose limits on how much time can go by between the date of diagnosis and the date of filing, and if you exceed those limits you will lose your right to file a claim. Every state has different rules for how much time is available to file a mesothelioma lawsuit and an experienced mesothelioma attorney will be able to provide you with the information that you need specific to your case.
Benefits of Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
A mesothelioma lawsuit seeks compensation for the harm that the victim of asbestos exposure has suffered. The medical bills that are incurred for treatment of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases are certainly the most obvious of these damages, but there are other areas for which a mesothelioma victim can be compensated. These include lost wages, mental pain and suffering, and physical pain and suffering. In some cases it is possible to be awarded punitive damages, which is a jury’s way of sending a punishing message to the responsible party. Spouses and dependents of a mesothelioma victim may also be eligible to file their own claims for loss of consortium (companionship) and for loss of support.
The amount of compensation that you can expect to receive as a result of a successful mesothelioma claim varies greatly, and is dependent upon factors such as what your medical expenses are, how extensively the illness has caused you suffering or impacted your life, how far the disease has progressed and even where you file your mesothelioma lawsuit. The amount that you receive may also be affected by whether you agree to a settlement out of court or proceed with a jury trial. Though a quick settlement generally results in a lower award, it also has the benefits of being completed with a minimum amount of stress or time spent, and many mesothelioma victims choose this option when it is available. Some cases are resolved quickly and others can take years. Mesothelioma attorneys and the courts understand that a long process may mean that the plaintiff dies before the case can be closed, and for that reason they often try to expedite the process. If a mesothelioma victim does pass away before their case is resolved, then their surviving spouse or children are able to continue the mesothelioma lawsuit as a wrongful death case.
Paying for Your Mesothelioma Lawsuit
One of the reasons that many mesothelioma victims hesitate about pursuing a lawsuit is that they imagine that the process will be costly. In most cases, a mesothelioma lawyer will work on what is known as a contingency basis. This means that the attorney will not ask for any money up front or out of pocket, and if the case is not successful they will not receive any fees at all. Only once a case is won will the mesothelioma attorney be paid. Their fee is generally a percentage of the compensation that you receive as your award, and that amount is usually between 25% and 40%. It is important that when you select a mesothelioma attorney, you ask specific questions regarding their fees so that you know exactly what to expect.
Why You Need Both a Doctor and A Lawyer with Experience
You can hardly go anywhere without running into a doctor or lawyer. But since mesothelioma is a rare disease, finding an experienced mesothelioma doctor can be difficult because there are not that many really good ones. The same is true for lawyer that have experience with mesothelioma claims. In both cases you should take extra time to get enough information so you can be confident when you decide who you hire to help you.