How can I file a mesothelioma claim if a loved one died?

file a mesothelioma claim

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that takes route in the lungs and then spreads throughout the body. Mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos particles into the lungs. It can sometimes be challenging to win a mesothelioma claim, as the disease is slow to develop. It often takes around thirty years before symptoms become prevalent after the initial asbestos exposure.

Whenever there is a diagnosis of mesothelioma, speak with a qualified attorney who can advise you on your legal options. At-fault parties can be held responsible, but you have a limited amount of time to file a claim following diagnosis. Otherwise, the statute of limitations will run out.

How can I file a mesothelioma claim if a loved one died?

Survival rate

The American Cancer Society provides information on survival rates when diagnosed with different types of cancer. They do so by dividing them into categories that include localized, regional, and distant.

When diagnosed with localized mesothelioma, it means that the cancer has not spread beyond the pleura, which is the lining that surrounds the lungs. If it is regional, then the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other close organs. If your mesothelioma diagnosis falls under the distant category, then the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, kidney, or bones.

Even if it is localized, the survival rate for mesothelioma is only 20 percent after five years. The survival rate drops to 12 percent if it is regional and 8 percent if it is distant. Overall, mesothelioma has a survival rate of just 10 percent.

What causes mesothelioma?

The link between asbestos and mesothelioma lung cancer is well established today, but unfortunately, millions of people have already been exposed to this harmful mineral. There are people who may receive a mesothelioma diagnosis who did not have any clear history of asbestos exposure. However, this remains the only proven cause of the disease.

While it is possible that there is another yet unknown cause for mesothelioma, it is also just as likely that the people in these cases were simply unaware of any exposure to these harmful fibers.

According to the American Cancer Society, 80 percent of people who contract mesothelioma had proven exposure to asbestos. What is even more frightening is that mesothelioma has a latency period of between 30 and 45 years. Although there have been cases with a latency period as long as 60 years.

The pros and cons of a long latency period

The latency period is the time between asbestos exposure and the formation of mesothelioma. This means someone could have been exposed to asbestos without their knowledge at a young age and develop mesothelioma after retirement.

One of the biggest downsides of a long latency period is that you are unlikely to know that you could be at risk. When you feel healthy for half your life after asbestos exposure, it can come as a huge shock to find out one day that an occurrence from 30 years ago is killing you.

On the plus side, a long latency period means that if you are exposed to asbestos, your death is not imminent. You will want to receive regular testing from a doctor if you have a history of exposure. However, you do not have to worry about being diagnosed with terminal cancer a year later. This is also comforting if your exposure comes later in life. If you are first exposed to asbestos in your 70’s or 80’s you probably will not suffer the consequences.

Wrongful death claim

When a loved one dies of mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. A wrongful death claim may be filed by surviving members of the deceased person’s family against the company that was responsible for the asbestos exposure. In some cases, the claim may also be filed against a former or current employer if the asbestos exposure occurred while your loved one was working. Through a wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Lost wages while they fought cancer as well as future wages they will not earn
  • Medical bills incurred as your loved one fought the cancer
  • Pain and suffering
  • Travel costs to receive medical care

Options when filing

You have a few options regarding how to file a wrongful death claim. Several manufacturers who were facing large mesothelioma claims were forced into bankruptcy. However, as part of the bankruptcy agreements, the companies had to set up funds to help pay mesothelioma claims. These funds are the quickest and easiest way to get compensation for the death of your loved one if you qualify.

These asbestos trust funds allow you to file a claim for the wrongful death of your loved one and, if you qualify, you may receive a settlement in just a few months. You also have the option of filing a lawsuit against the company you feel is responsible for your loved one contracting mesothelioma. If the company offers you a settlement that you feel is fair, you may receive a payout fairly quickly. A jury trial, however, could take several years.

Bring in an expert

You will likely have multiple options for claiming benefits when a loved one dies from mesothelioma. A qualified attorney is going to be your best guide in determining what path is right for you. When you find an experienced lawyer with whom you feel comfortable, they will discuss all of your options with you, and together, you can come up with an action plan.

Filing a wrongful death claim can be a confusing process and is likely not one you want to try to figure out on your own while mourning the death of a loved one. Bringing in an expert is the best way to assure that you get a fair settlement while allowing you to focus on yourself and your family. The death of a loved one is difficult enough. Let someone else do the heavy lifting when it comes to a wrongful death claim.

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