Mesothelioma Lawsuit: Filing A Lawsuit For Asbestos Exposure
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Mesothelioma? Is asbestos exposure the cause? If so, you may have solid grounds for a mesothelioma lawsuit.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, extremely aggressive, and deadly cancer that usually affects the tissue lining the lungs. It isn’t caused by smoking, however. It is usually by prolonged exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma is incurable and is diagnosed in approximately 3,500 people each year.
Other than mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos is also linked to asbestosis (scarring of the lungs) and silicosis. The chances of getting an asbestos-related illness increase as the level and duration of exposure to asbestos increases.
How Does Exposure Happen?
Asbestos-related illnesses usually stem from occupational exposure. Although the last US asbestos mine closed in 2002, the heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral had already been woven into fabrics and used in fire-resistant and insulating materials for decades.
Asbestos products were widely used in construction for decades as a fire prevention material — and there’s a lot of it in the numerous manufacturing buildings that dot the Michigan landscape. Many homes built prior to the 1970s have asbestos in their flooring, insulation, plaster, and paint.
Despite the dangers, asbestos has never been completely banned in the United States, and it is still used in transmission components, brakes, clutch facings, and gaskets.
Thousands of products — boilers, brakes, engines, electronics, and even household goods — contain varying amounts of asbestos. Failure to provide proper warnings about the dangers of asbestos could create a liability situation for the manufacturer.
When You Get The Diagnosis
A mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating news. As your doctor has already informed you, the prognosis for pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma is not good. There is no cure, and while treatment has improved in recent years, it is also limited.
If you or a family member are diagnosed with an asbestos-related lung cancer like mesothelioma — and you believe you know how your exposure happened — contacting an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can be a very helpful step to take. An attorney can help you understand your situation and legal options — including filing a mesothelioma lawsuit to recover damages.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages, you will be seeking compensation not only for your medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with your cancer treatment, but also for all the other nonmedical losses associated with your illness, too.
An attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is ready to be your trusted legal advisor and confidant as you work together to get adequate compensation for you and your family. Someone will be glad to meet with you at your convenience, and in a place that is most comfortable for you, including our offices, your home, or some other location. After this free consultation, if we decide to work together, it will be on a contingency fee agreement, which means we don’t get paid until we receive a settlement for you.
If You Are A Family Member
Families who have lost loved ones to an asbestos-related cancer may file a wrongful death claim against a negligent party or parties.
Who Is Liable?
Compensation for your losses can come from several sources, including:
- Asbestos trust funds: Many companies have established trust funds specifically to pay asbestos-related claims. These trust funds protect the company from bankruptcy.
- Insurance companies: Some companies have liability insurance for such lawsuits. Also, a company’s workers’ compensation insurance may also be involved in your claim, but that system isn’t designed to adequately compensate people for occupational cancer.
- Liable companies: Mining companies and operators, product manufacturers, and companies that have distributed or used asbestos products.
- Department of Veterans Affairs: If it can be shown that the mesothelioma diagnosis is service-related and that exposure happened during military service, the Department may take responsibility for the claim.
Filing a claim at the VA or through workers’ compensation can provide some financial compensation without initiating any kind of lawsuit.
An attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you understand your legal options, explore different settlement scenarios, and be your advocate in any settlement discussion with an insurance company.
Understanding Insurance Claims
It’s important that you talk with someone to help you understand all the details of your insurance coverage and benefits and make sure you are not missing out on any insurance resources available to you.
- Medical Insurance: If you have it, it will usually cover the majority of your mesothelioma treatment costs, but leaves many individuals with significant out of pocket expenses.
- Disability Insurance. Some individuals have short term disability coverage through their employer. This coverage compensates you for lost income for a limited period of time.
- SSDI. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are eligible for SS retirement benefits, you can file to receive these benefits early by making a Social Security Disability Insurance claim.
- Life Insurance. Surviving family can file a life insurance claim against a policy that has been purchased individually or through an employer or other entity, on behalf of the person who has died from mesothelioma.
Private insurance companies, for the most part, do not have your interests in mind, and you should exercise caution in any discussion with an insurance company regarding compensation for your illness.
An attorney at our law firm can help you understand your filing options, where to file, make sure all claim paperwork is filled out correctly and filed on time if deadlines apply.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is a law firm that specializes in personal injury law, and helping individuals and families throughout Michigan receive compensation for their injuries and losses. We’re ready to be your advocate in any discussion with insurance company attorneys regarding a settlement.
Proving negligence and liability for mesothelioma — and other diseases that have long latency periods — is more challenging than it might be for other work-related injuries and illnesses. The latency period for mesothelioma — from initial exposure to symptom development — can be up to 50 years.
Therefore, in an asbestos case or class action lawsuit, proof of exposure, decades ago, is more difficult than proving something more recent. But it’s certainly not impossible.
If you believe you’ve been exposed to asbestos, and have become ill as a result, an attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you what to do next, and the kinds of records and documents that must be assembled and evaluated when making a claim.
- Medical records, proving the diagnosis. Sometimes expert medical testimony helps to support a claim, too.
- Work history that shows your employment with the company named in your claim
- Financial records, showing hardship as well as lost wages.
- Any other testimony related to proving your exposure source and the resulting cancer diagnosis
Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Cases
In Michigan, the statute of limitations to file an asbestos lawsuit is three years from the date that the cause of action accrues — which is a complicated way of saying the date that the person was diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma. This statute of limitations holds true in a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death claim.
Trust fund claims can take several months to settle. Mesothelioma personal injury lawsuits or wrongful death claims can take years to reach a satisfactory settlement or trial verdict.
If for some reason a claimant is too ill to initiate a claim, a family member may step in on their behalf to get the process underway. One of the first steps should be finding an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to work with you.
Hiring an attorney enables that person and firm to do the research they need to do, locate and interview witnesses, and gathering other evidence to support the case. We also encourage the recording of a claimant deposition if the claimant is too ill to appear at a settlement hearing or in court.
The professionals at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are ready to put in the amount of time necessary to be successful and get you the result you need and deserve.
Contact us (24 hours) toll-free at (866)-755-9502 or use our convenient contact form to schedule your free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.