Mesothelioma sufferers and their families need a fast route to getting the necessary funds for medical treatments, lost wages and pain and suffering, but getting access to this money may be tricky.
In asbestos-related injury cases, there are two main types of mesothelioma claims: personal injury and wrongful death. The first is filed by a patient who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and the second is filed by a family member of a mesothelioma victim who has died. For each types of claim, there are several ways to file for compensation, including bankruptcy trusts and lawsuits.
Which Type of Claim Should I File?
Since there are several types of claims, it may be difficult to decide how to proceed. That’s where a skilled attorney steps in. An attorney who is knowledgeable about asbestos-related litigation can help you decide which is your best option.
Bankruptcy Trust Funds
Even though manufacturers knew early on that asbestos was connected to cancer, many companies chose to ignore it and continued to put workers in danger. By the time federal regulators decided to put the brakes on asbestos use, thousands had already died from exposure and scores more would get sick. When injured victims and their families filed lawsuits against these reckless companies, the companies responded by filing for protection under bankruptcy laws. As a way to help injured victims, the courts forced the companies to establish mesothelioma compensation funds, also called trust funds. These are a way to provide financial compensation for mesothelioma patients and their families. Getting funds from a mesothelioma trust is a complicated process, so having a skilled attorney who is knowledgeable about mesothelioma trust funds is crucial.
Many mesothelioma sufferers and their families may instead choose to file a lawsuit claim. Almost all asbestos-related medical problems, including mesothelioma, are a result of workplace exposure to the mineral. Many times workers are never told that they are being exposed to asbestos or given the proper protective clothing. That means that either the manufacturer that made the asbestos product or the company that used the product is at fault. There are several types of damages that are most frequently filed in an asbestos lawsuit:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages, both past and future
- Loss of intimacy (also known as loss of consortium)
- Pain and suffering
Of all the groups of people who are exposed to asbestos, veterans face the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. For decades, all branches of the military ignored the warning that asbestos is dangerous. Instead, asbestos use was mandated in housing, vehicles, weaponry and clothing, especially in the Navy. Injured mesothelioma veterans are encouraged to seek funding through the Veteran’s Administration. The VA make getting funding difficult, requiring veterans to prove the disease is linked to military service.
In seeking a mesothelioma claim -- either through a trust fund, lawsuit or a veteran’s claim -- the most important step is consulting with a mesothelioma attorney. Your attorney can assist you through the legal options and guide you through a claims process.
Dixon, Lloyd, et al. Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf
United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Asbestos.” Retrieved from http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos