Discover Who Qualifies for the Asbestos Lawsuit
Knowing that an illness was caused by asbestos exposure can leave victims, and their families overwhelmed. If you were exposed in the workplace where you served your company for years or decades, you could be feeling betrayed on top of everything. Knowing who qualifies for an asbestos lawsuit is crucial because you and your family could be entitled to compensation.
You should know that you could be able to take legal action and seek a financial recovery for the emotional hardships and medical challenges you now face. Bringing an asbestos claim or lawsuit doesn’t have to be overwhelming, either. An asbestos lawsuit lawyer can explain your legal options and help you with every part of the process.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Cause Asbestosis and Mesothelioma?
Asbestos exposure can lead to various health conditions, some of which can be very serious. If you were exposed to asbestos over a long period, you could be facing the following:
- Asbestosis: The air sacs in the lungs, known as alveoli, can become damaged by asbestos fibers, leading to asbestosis. This is a progressive lung condition characterized by lung tissue scarring. People with this condition may have shortness of breath, chest tightness, a persistent cough, and clubbing of the fingers (Mayo Clinic). It can take up to 20 to 30 years for asbestosis to develop after initial exposure.
- Mesothelioma: Asbestos fibers can enter the lungs or stomach through inhalation or swallowing, where they can cause an aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma. It can take as long as 20 to 50 years for mesothelioma to be diagnosed after initial exposure (Mayo Clinic).
Where Are People Exposed to Asbestos?
In general, asbestos is no longer a staple material for building and construction. However, the mineral was ubiquitous in many building applications before the 1980s. Some people may have been exposed to asbestos directly through working conditions involving asbestos mining or processing. Construction workers, firefighters, shipyard workers, industrial workers, and power plant workers are typically among the most vulnerable.
On the other hand, people can develop these serious health problems even from indirect exposure to asbestos. A partner or spouse who brings home asbestos fibers on their clothing can be exposed to asbestos at dangerous levels.
Additionally, people can be exposed to asbestos outside of the work environment. You could have a case if your health condition resulted from asbestos in your home.
How Do You Qualify for a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
You may qualify to file an asbestos lawsuit if you are suffering from mesothelioma or you lost a loved one to their illness.
Qualifying for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if:
- You have an asbestosis diagnosis.
- You or your lawyer have evidence to bring against a liable party, showing that you were exposed to asbestos at work or elsewhere.
Specific forms of evidence can strengthen your claim for compensation. If you have employment records or pay stubs documenting your work history, this can be crucial evidence in your case. You should also be able to show that you have mesothelioma through your medical records. If you have evidence of any treatments you’ve received for cancer, this should also be included as part of your lawsuit.
Qualifying for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Similarly, you could qualify to file an asbestos lawsuit if you lost a loved one to mesothelioma. Your case could qualify if your loved one had a mesothelioma diagnosis, and you have evidence to link their health condition to a liable party.
State law determines who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. You could be able to bring a case or receive compensation from a suit if you lost your loved one and you are their:
- Surviving spouse
- Another dependent
An attorney can clarify the laws in your state and explain if you have a right to file a wrongful death suit.
Can You Make a Claim or Lawsuit for Asbestosis?
Because asbestosis is also caused as a result of asbestos exposure, you may also be able to file a claim or lawsuit for asbestosis.
Qualifying to take legal action for an asbestosis case also involves showing that you were exposed to asbestos either directly or indirectly. You could have been exposed at work or through the home.
Again, a crucial element of your claim or lawsuit is the evidence you or your lawyer gathers to show that you were harmed and that another party is liable for your losses. A lawyer can help you with this task and every other step involved when you bring a claim or lawsuit.
What Are the Steps to Bring a Case for Mesothelioma or Asbestosis?
There are certain steps that you or your mesothelioma lawsuit lawyer will need to take when you bring a personal injury case or wrongful death case. While an attorney can walk you through the process and handle these details for you, it’s important to understand the general steps involved in a claim or lawsuit.
Understand Your Legal Options
Many attorneys offer free consultations for asbestos exposure victims. During this free call, you can learn more about your options for recovery. An attorney’s team can tell you if you may be eligible to file a lawsuit or seek other forms of compensation, such as from an asbestos trust fund or veteran’s benefits.
Gather Evidence of Your Health Condition and Exposure
Researching your case and collecting supporting evidence is an important next step. Essentially, you will need to link your health condition to another party’s negligence or a dangerous product containing asbestos. In other words, you will need to show that someone else was responsible for exposing you to asbestos and that you developed asbestosis or mesothelioma as a result.
A lawyer can help you gather evidence such as:
- Medical bills to verify your treatment costs
- Diagnostic tests
- Statements from your doctor
- Expert testimony from another medical professional
- Employment records
- Statements from other parties such as coworkers, friends, or family members
Identify the Liable Party
Many different parties could be responsible for your asbestos exposure. Whether you were exposed in the workplace or at home, you could hold one or more of the following entities accountable:
- Asbestos manufacturers
- Asbestos fiber producers or mining companies
- Suppliers of asbestos products
- Property owners
It is important to note that most states do not permit employees to file a lawsuit against their employer other than in cases of extreme wrongdoing. Alternatively, workers may be able to file workers’ compensation claims in addition to any potential lawsuits that could be brought against an asbestos manufacturer or other party.
File a Claim or Lawsuit
It is important to note that the liable party’s identity may determine your legal options.
If the responsible party is an operational, solvent company, then you could be filing a civil lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit could result in a settlement out of court or in a verdict at trial.
If the liable party no longer exists or filed for bankruptcy, you may be filing a claim through an asbestos bankruptcy trust fund set up to pay victims. Other legal options may include filing a workers’ compensation claim or filing a claim for benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
What Types of Compensation Can You Recover?
Recoverable compensation in an asbestos or mesothelioma lawsuit could allow you to cover many of the costs and losses resulting from your health condition.
You could seek compensation for:
- Past, present, and future medical bills, including diagnostic testing, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, lung transplant surgery or other forms of surgery, chemo or radiation therapy, and more
- Lost income, including a salary or wages you could not earn because of your illness
- Reduced earning capacity, if you can’t return to work in your former capacity because of your health condition
- Pain and suffering, for your physical pain and emotional hardships related to mesothelioma or asbestosis
Other types of compensation could be available, depending on the unique details of your case.
Mesothelioma Compensation for Family Members
If you lost a loved one to a health condition caused by asbestos, such as mesothelioma, you could recover compensation for the emotional and financial challenges you now face.
These losses could include:
- Medical costs necessary to treat your loved one’s health condition before their death
- Loss of income to your family
- Loss of companionship for the supportive relationship you will no longer have with your loved one
- Funeral and burial expenses
The types of compensation you could seek in a wrongful death case will vary based on the state where you’re filing a lawsuit. An attorney can explain all types of losses you could recover.
What Is the Average Settlement for Asbestosis?
Several unique factors will influence the value of any asbestosis claim or lawsuit. These include:
- The cost of your medical bills and future treatment expenses
- The severity of your asbestosis diagnosis
- The extent to which the health condition affected your life
- Who was liable for your asbestos exposure and the number of defendants
- Whether your case is settled out of court or at trial
With that being said, it can be challenging to say how much the average asbestosis settlement is worth. After all, given the unique circumstances of each case, there is no “average case” that can represent most victims’ situations.
However, you could be able to seek thousands of dollars in recovery. If your case was especially serious, you may be able to pursue a higher settlement. The highest-value asbestosis lawsuits can reach into the six figures.
What Is the Average Settlement for Asbestos Claim for Mesothelioma?
As discussed above, every injury case resulting from asbestos exposure is unique. So, too, are mesothelioma cases and their accompanying settlement or award amounts.
However, in addition to the factors listed above, the compensation available for mesothelioma cases varies based on one important additional factor: the seriousness of mesothelioma. Because mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that can come with a significant fatality rate, victims and their families may see higher compensation accordingly.
Again, while it is not possible to give a single average for mesothelioma victims’ settlements, it is not unusual to see high six- or even seven-figure settlement amounts.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims?
State law determines the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit for an asbestos-related injury case. Many states designate somewhere between two and four years for this deadline, although some states give even longer than this.
The statute of limitations clock typically starts ticking when the injury victim’s mesothelioma is diagnosed. For wrongful death lawsuits, this timeline begins when a victim dies.
An attorney can explain these and other relevant laws and procedures in your case.
Can I Still Bring a Case if I Was Exposed Years Ago?
Many people may be concerned about bringing a claim or lawsuit if they were exposed to asbestos years or decades ago. However, keep in mind that most statutes of limitations in asbestos exposure cases begin when the illness is discovered.
This means that even if you were exposed in the workplace in the 1970s but are just now experiencing symptoms and received a diagnosis, you could be able to file a claim or lawsuit.
Asbestos Claims Limitation
You may be wondering if there are any other restrictions or limitations on your ability to file an asbestos claim or lawsuit.
The statute of limitations deadline is one of these restrictions. However, other deadlines may be relevant to your case. These include:
- Workers’ compensation filing deadlines
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits filing deadlines
Again, an asbestos lawsuit lawyer will investigate your case to determine what deadlines or restrictions could limit your window for bringing a case.
Consult an Asbestos Lawsuit Attorney’s Office Today
An attorney can tell you who qualifies to file an asbestos lawsuit and help you bring a case for compensation. Even if you’re unsure if you qualify or what forms of compensation you could receive, you can call a lawyer’s team and get a case review. They can explain your next steps and help you seek recovery for your losses or after