9 Questions about Mesothelioma and the Law

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that typically forms in the lining of the lungs. In very rare cases, it forms in the lining of the heart, abdomen, or testicles. After several years of study, doctors discovered that mesothelioma is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Once this process was better understood, the government began regulating the ways in which asbestos could be used. Before these regulations came into effect, many people were negligently exposed to the substance while on the job. Others, because it was often used in construction materials and manufactured goods. Those who were exposed to asbestos and later developed mesothelioma may have the right to sue those responsible. However, mesothelioma and how it relates to the law can be complicated, and those put in this position often have a lot of questions.

Should I hire a lawyer?

Absolutely. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma or a loved one was diagnosed or passed away, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Collecting that compensation, however, can pose many challenges. An experienced attorney will help you understand how to file your claim, explain important information you’ll need to be aware of, and walk you through some of the other hurdles you may face. Having someone on your side who’s familiar with these issues and who’s helped others in the past will help ensure you receive your compensation as quickly as possible and with the least amount of difficulty.

How much will hiring a lawyer cost?

For these types of cases, many lawyers will work on a “contingency basis,” meaning you won’t pay them any upfront costs. They won’t be compensated until the case is won or settled. That amount will be agreed on before the claim is filed, and will be taken out of the amount you’re compensated.

How long do I have to file a legal claim?

The amount of time you have to file a claim following an accident is known as the statute of limitations. The SoL is different for every state, but is typically 2-3 years from the time accident occurs (although it can be as many as 6 years). When dealing with mesothelioma, which can take years to develop, the SoL runs out 2-3 years from the time the disease is diagnosed. Speak with your lawyer to make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines.

Who am I filing a lawsuit against?

Your claim will be filed against those responsible for exposing you to asbestos. This could be an employer who was aware of the dangers the substance posed, yet failed to take adequate safety precautions. It could also be a supplier who sold your employer materials which contained asbestos. In some cases, employers never enter the picture. If asbestos was found but not removed from an apartment complex or other building, a claim can be brought against those who own and operate it.

How much money is my lawsuit worth?

It’s true that some mesothelioma lawsuits have paid out millions of dollars, but keep in mind that every lawsuit is different, and you should be wary of any lawyer promising you a specific dollar amount. Should you win your case, several things will be taken into account when determining the amount of compensation you’ll receive. These can include how you got the disease, how long it’s been since you were diagnosed, and how far it’s progressed. Medical expenses, and how the disease has impacted your quality of life will also be considered.

If I file a claim, will I have to appear in court?

It’s a possibility, although most mesothelioma claims are settled before they reach the courtroom. If you and those you’ve filed a claim against are unable to reach an agreement, you’re case may go to trial. But even then, you may not have to appear. And even if it’s necessary, it’s always possible both sides will still reach a settlement before you do.

How long will my lawsuit last?

It’s hard to say. While some lawsuits are quickly resolved, others can last for months or even years. Courts will usually take into account the fact that mesothelioma is a serious health issue when scheduling a case, and settlements between two parties can often be reached relatively quickly. The overall strength of your case may also have a large impact on how long it lasts. Speaking with your attorney will give you a better idea of what to expect.

What if I developed mesothelioma after serving in the military?

For years, asbestos was heavily used in American shipbuilding. Because of this, those who served in the military were at increased risk of being exposed and later developing mesothelioma. For those who find themselves in this situation, while you’re unable to file a claim against the military, you are able to file against manufacturers who supplied them with asbestos and asbestos-containing materials. You may also be eligible for financial assistance, which you can learn more about from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Learn more about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma in the military.

I had a loved one who died of mesothelioma. Can I file a claim on their behalf?

Yes. Personal injury claims are filed whenever you’re injured or diagnosed with a disease. Wrongful death claims are filed when a loved one is killed or passes away. Every state in the country allows a victim’s immediate family to file these types of claims. However, what the law says about claims being filed by extended family, life partners, or financial dependents varies from state to state.

More than likely, you have a question that wasn’t answered here today. Perhaps you have more than one. This is why speaking with a mesothelioma attorney is so important. They’ve handled these cases, perhaps hundreds of times, and are best equipped to help as you file your claim. To talk to a mesothelioma attorney, give us a call or fill out the form on the page. We will get you the answers you need.