Answers to Legal Questions for Those Suffering from Asbestos-related Illnesses
Why File an Asbestos Claim?
Have you been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness? If so, you may be facing lost income due to missed time at work, mounting medical bills, or an inability to spend time with your family and those you love. Many people in your position file asbestos claims in order to seek compensation from those responsible for their condition. Those who find themselves in these circumstances are rarely at fault, and have the right to seek compensation from those who are.
If you decide to file a claim, you’ll want to speak to an experienced asbestos lawyer to guide you through the process and prepare you for what to expect. These lawyers have not only the expertise but the experience to get you the compensation you deserve.
Once you have decided to pursue an asbestos claim, it’s important that you act as quickly as you can. The reason for this is that the states have set a limit on the amount of time in which those suffering from asbestos-related illnesses are able to file claims. This amount of time is known as the statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations ends before you file your claim, you may forfeit your chance at seeking compensation.
Where Do I File My Asbestos Claim?
Where you file your claim depends on several factors, such as where you were living when the asbestos exposure occurred, and the state in which the offending parties are located. Your asbestos lawyer will help you determine in which state your claim should be filed.
Who Do I File My Asbestos Claim Against?
You may be filing your asbestos claim against a current or former employer that failed to warn you about the dangers of asbestos, or didn’t provide adequate protection against it. It’s also possible that you’ll be filing your claim against a manufacturer that used asbestos in its products without telling its customers. Schools and other organizations have been called out for keeping asbestos on their properties, but not warning those who use those properties to the danger. Your asbestos lawyer will help you determine exactly who you should be filing your claim against.
The Asbestos Litigation Process
- Before Filing Your Claim
Before your asbestos claim is officially filed with the court, your lawyer will gather information on your condition, how your exposure to asbestos occurred, and other important facts. Your asbestos lawyer will also help you choose which court will be most favorable to your case.
- Filing Your Claim
Once your asbestos lawyer has gathered all of the relevant information, they will officially file your claim in the form of a written document known as a complaint.
- Responding to Your Claim
Asbestos cases are unique because it can take years for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses to manifest themselves. Because of this, it may take some time to locate those you are filing your claim against. Once they’ve been reached, they’ll typically have 30 days to respond. Keep in mind that they will most likely deny any wrongdoing. They may claim that your illness is not due to exposure to asbestos. Your lawyer will expect this, and will know what steps to take next.
- Gathering Information About Your Claim
Through a process known as discovery, your lawyer, as well as the defendant’s will collect more information about your case. This information will take the form of documents, written questions, and videotaped depositions. Your lawyer will look for information that may help your case, while the defendant’s will look for information to discredit it. Things like your work and medical history will be looked at. Your friends and family may be interviewed. Your lawyer will help prepare you for what to expect.
- Settling Your Claim
The large majority of claims are settled by the parties involved before making it to trial. If the defendant attempts to settle your claim, your lawyer will review their offer with you and advise you on how to proceed.
- Taking Your Claim to Trial
In some cases, a claim is not settled and instead goes to trial. In these instances, evidence and testimony are presented to a jury, who will decide the outcome.
- Appealing Your Claim
If you win your case, the defendant may decide to appeal the verdict. They will typically have between one and six months to do this. If an appeals court overturns the original court decision, it could mean that you will be awarded a smaller amount of compensation, or no compensation at all.
How Long is the Asbestos Litigation Process?
Typical court cases can take months or even years before they are resolved. Because asbestos-related cases deal with serious health conditions, cases can sometimes be expedited.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive for My Asbestos Claim?
The amount of compensation you receive from your asbestos claim depends on several factors. How you were exposed to asbestos, your medical history, lost wages, and factors such as pain and suffering will all be taken into consideration when determining that amount. In the past, victims of asbestos-related illnesses have been awarded amounts in the millions of dollars. However, beware of any lawyer who promises to make you rich. Your lawyer should work with you in determining a proper amount of compensation to seek.
If a Loved One Has Passed Away
Unfortunately, illnesses are sometimes diagnosed too late. In some cases, victims of asbestos-related illnesses pass away before their claim is resolved. If your loved one has passed away, you can still file an asbestos lawsuit. Compensation received from a wrongful death lawsuit can be used to pay medical bills, funeral costs, even provide for children who have lost a parent.
Speak with an Experienced Asbestos Lawyer
If you’re suffering from an asbestos-related illness, you undoubtedly have a lot of questions. An experienced asbestos lawyer will be able to answer any questions you have about filing your claim, and what to expect once you do. They understand the unique set of challenges you’re facing, and will fight not only to get you the compensation, but also the justice you deserve.