How Far Back Can You Go to File a Lawsuit for Mesothelioma?
Do you have mesothelioma, or have you watched a loved one struggle and pass away from the disease? This kind of stress, financial strain, and loss can be too much to bear for many people. It is totally understandable for you to want relief or compensation as quickly as possible.
Each mesothelioma claim has its own unique circumstances. The results from a trial are never guaranteed and can drag out for years. Settlement timelines vary as well, but they can be estimated with more accuracy. This guide will give you key information about the different kinds of mesothelioma claims, the general timeline of a mesothelioma lawsuit, and what your legal options may be.
General Timeline of a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Mesothelioma claims can take months or even years before reaching trial. Many claims end in a settlement agreement, which is usually resolved much faster. However, claims can also take time to settle.
The steps in a typical mesothelioma case are listed below. Remember that the lengths of time provided here are only guidelines – your individual case may take longer.
- File your lawsuit: If you choose legal representation, your personal injury attorneys need time to conduct their investigation. They will gather information supporting your claim and then file the lawsuit on our behalf. This step may take approximately two months.
- The defendant responds: After your lawsuit is filed, the defendant has a certain amount of time to respond.
- Discovery: The discovery period is when both sides build their cases. This usually takes the most time. Because every case is different, this step can take months or longer.
- Negotiations: Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf. Getting a fair settlement and avoiding a trial can save you a great deal of time and stress.
- The trial: If both sides cannot come to an agreement, your case will go to trial. An uncomplicated case with clear facts could be over in days. If your case is more complicated, it could take from months to a year.
- The appeals process: After the trial, the losing side may choose to appeal the results. This timeline varies according to the court and applicable state laws.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for Mesothelioma?
The amount of compensation you may receive for your claim can also vary greatly.
If your case goes to trial, remember that trial results are not guaranteed. Also, remember that a settlement is usually reached much faster than a verdict in court.
After reviewing the facts of your case, a personal injury lawyer can help determine how much you might recover in a settlement or lawsuit.
How Long Will It Take to Get Compensation in a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
First, realize that there is no guarantee of being compensated. If you are successful in receiving a payout, the unique circumstances of your case will influence when you get your compensation.
Second, there are two ways to seek compensation for you or a lost loved one – a lawsuit or a settlement. In a lawsuit, there is a great deal of research and preparation, as both sides need ample time to prepare their case.
Investigating for a Lawsuit
If you hire an attorney, your legal team must conduct their own investigation of your case. For instance, they must review detailed medical records to establish a link between your illness and exposure to asbestos from a company’s product or your workplace. Next, you must add the timeline associated with a trial. The court system can take months or years before a case reaches the trial stage.
Negotiating a Settlement
The other way to seek financial compensation is through a settlement. In settlements, the plaintiff and defendant come to a mutual agreement to avoid a lengthy and costly trial. Settlements are often – but not always – reached much faster than trial verdicts. Some settlements are reached in as little as 90 days, but do not go into your claim expecting a fast settlement.
A mesothelioma lawyer can file all the necessary paperwork and negotiate for a fair settlement, saving you the stress of doing it yourself.
Types of Mesothelioma Compensation
Because of the complexity surrounding mesothelioma litigation, there are several kinds of compensation. Your eligibility depends on your case’s circumstances.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos trust funds were set up in the wake of companies filing for bankruptcy. These funds were established to make sure that victims who came forward after the companies went bankrupt were still protected.
Because a person may be diagnosed with mesothelioma years after their asbestos exposure, these funds help ensure that victims still receive compensation – even if the disease did not present itself until after the company (or companies)responsible went out of business.
How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for an Asbestos Trust Fund Settlement?
Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure can file a claim. People diagnosed with the disease were often exposed to asbestos as part of their job. Consumers have also been exposed to asbestos from using certain commercial products.
Other victims received second-hand exposure. For example, someone may have worked around asbestos and then unknowingly exposed their family members when they returned home.
Surviving Family Members
If you are the surviving spouse or immediate family member of a loved one who died from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If so, you can seek financial compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses stemming from the victim’s loss.
Mesothelioma Trust Funds
According to some estimates, current mesothelioma trust funds total approximately $30 billion. If you are awarded financial compensation, the amount you receive will depend on the disease you are diagnosed with – not all asbestos-related diseases are mesothelioma. Payouts are also affected by the number of people who file claims against a specific trust fund.
Filing a lawsuit can help get you and your family much-needed compensation. Victims of asbestos-related mesothelioma have some different options for their lawsuits.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you suffer from asbestos-related mesothelioma or a related disease, you can file a claim against the company responsible for your exposure.
Companies that fail to warn customers, workers, or the public about potential asbestos exposure from their products should be held liable. A personal injury lawyer will work to seek compensation on your behalf.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Have you suffered the loss of a loved one due to an asbestos-related disease? Spouses or immediate family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company responsible for their loved one’s asbestos exposure. The family may seek compensation to cover final medical bills, loss of earnings, and other damages.
Additionally, if a person diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease files suit against the company and then dies, that person’s estate can continue the lawsuit against the company in the form of a wrongful death claim.
Settling a mesothelioma case can happen at any point before or during a trial. Some companies choose to open discussions for settlement when the trial date is near.
As the plaintiff, choosing whether or not to accept a settlement is your right. Because the settlement process can be complicated, consider hiring an attorney who specializes in asbestos settlement negotiation to advise you.
Eligibility for Asbestos-Related Disease Compensation
If you are the victim of asbestos-related disease, the burden of proof falls on you. This proof needs to be established in three key areas:
1. Proof of diagnosis: You will need to support your case with medical documentation that proves your diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease is the cause of your health suffering. If you have symptoms of asbestosis, contact a doctor immediately.
2. Proof of link to asbestos: You must prove your disease was a result of asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma may present itself several years after your asbestos exposure. Because of this potentially lengthy time between exposure and disease, establishing asbestos as the culprit can be a difficult process – but an attorney with experience in this area can help.
3. Proof of link to the company (or companies): You must prove that your asbestos exposure was caused by the company using asbestos in its products or work facilities.
Statute of Limitations
Every potential claim has a time limit attached to it – this time limit is called the statute of limitations. While these statutes vary by state, 1-3 years is a common time frame for mesothelioma cases. If you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, your statute of limitations starts on the day of your diagnosis. All claims must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Are Family Members Eligible for a Settlement?
Family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of someone who died from an asbestos-related disease, but the family must meet certain criteria. Not every estate will receive a trust fund settlement.
The three main eligibility criteria for filing a wrongful death lawsuit are:
- No previous settlement payment
If your loved one previously sued a company for asbestos-related mesothelioma and received a settlement, family members are not able to file another suit if their loved one dies. However, a surviving family member may file suit against other companies not involved in the original suit.
- Spouse or immediate family members
The deceased person’s spouse or immediate family members are usually the only relatives eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, some states do allow parents of the deceased to file a lawsuit.
Another exception is financial support. If a person was financially supported by the victim, that person might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in some states.
- The statute of limitations
Like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims must be filed before the statute of limitations runs out. If your loved one succumbs to their asbestos-related disease, the timeline for surviving family members starts as soon as the victim dies. A wrongful death attorney can help guide you through this process. In some cases, they may be able to extend your deadline by filing your claim in a different state with longer time limits.
How to File for Compensation for Mesothelioma
Lawsuits are complicated, and the factors affecting your mesothelioma claim can vary greatly. Because the law is so complicated, you may want to hire an asbestos attorney to help with your case.
Your lawyer can provide an estimated timeline for your case along with realistic estimations for any settlement you may receive. Because there are no guarantees in any case, your lawyer can also answer any questions you have.
The circumstances of your case may vary, but filing a mesothelioma lawsuit generally comes down to these four steps:
1. Determine your eligibility
2. Establish the type of claim you want to file
3. Submit proper documentation for the claim
4. Wait for your claim to be reviewed
Requirements for a Mesothelioma Case
The specific requirements of your case will depend on the type of claim you file. However, one key component is proving that you were exposed to asbestos and subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma – this is achieved by providing supporting documentation and evidence. You must also file your claim before the applicable statute of limitations runs out.
Consult a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Attorney Today
Contact a personal injury attorney today to learn how far back you can go to file a lawsuit for mesothelioma, and what your mesothelioma lawsuit timeline will likely be.
Several mitigating factors can affect how long it takes to resolve your case and receive compensation, such as:
- State laws where you filed your claim
- The number of companies named in your lawsuit
- Other regulations
Don’t delay – get started now to fight for the compensation that you and your family deserve.
Connect With a Lawyer Who Specializes in Mesothelioma Cases
If you were exposed to asbestos and now suffer from mesothelioma, the company (or companies) responsible should be held accountable. To learn more, call 800-874-8678 or fill out our contact form today for a free consultation.