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How to File an Asbestos Claim for Mesothelioma

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With over $30 billion available for victims through the Asbestos Trust Funds, you could be entitled to financial compensations without ever filing a lawsuit at all. Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer victims qualify immediately. Complete the form or call us toll free (800) 352-0871

If you have mesothelioma or asbestosis, it is probably because you had extensive exposure to asbestos at some point in your life. Most asbestos cancer victims were exposed to asbestos at their work.

Employees such as shipbuilders, electricians, shipyard workers, power plant workers and construction workers are likely to have been exposed to this toxic substance year ago.

No matter how you were exposed to asbestos, if you have mesothelioma or a related condition, you have the legal right to file a claim against the company that caused your condition. Asbestos was known to be toxic as early as the 1930s, but many companies continued to use it despite the many known dangers. (mesotheliomaveterans.org)

How to File an Asbestos Claim for Exposure

  • Legal claims: Making as an asbestos claim through the court system requires an attorney. There are several types of legal claims you can file, depending on the situation. You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit.
  • VA claim: If you are a military veteran with military benefits who was exposed to asbestos in the military and are ill, you may be able to get VA benefits. There are several types of disability benefits available through the VA. An attorney can also help you to file a VA asbestos claim, or you can work directly with the VA.

Finding a ‘No-Fee’ Attorney to File an Asbestos Claim

All legal claims that are filed for asbestos exposure are about negligence. What this means is that someone or an entity filed in their requirement to protect you from ham on the job. In most cases, this means a past employer exposed you to asbestos-containing products and did not tell you about it. Or, they did not provide sufficient safety equipment to protect you from inhaling asbestos fibers into your lungs. (asbestos.com)

Most companies that are found liable for asbestos claims are large manufacturers with many attorneys representing them. To have any chance of winning substantial compensation, you need to have an asbestos attorney working in your corner. You will get much more compensation working with an asbestos attorney than you ever could hope to on your own.

Most mesothelioma attorneys will provide a ‘no fee until you win’ approach and has access to databases, resources and courts that you do not have. Your attorney can also make the claim go faster so you can get money faster. After all, if you have mesothelioma, you probably have a lot of medical bills, lost wages, and considerable pain and suffering. The sooner you are able to obtain compensation from the liable company or companies, the better your life will be.

Some of the things that an experienced mesothelioma attorney can do for you include:

  • Carefully document your asbestos exposure. He or she will be able to find the companies that exposed you to asbestos, when and for how long. This type of detail is essential to win an asbestos claim.
  • Gather evidence of negligent behavior from companies that used asbestos. They can subpoena old company documents that show executives were aware of asbestos exposure and did nothing about it.
  • Write up and file all documents with the proper courts
  • Use their connections with other attorneys and judges to get a faster settlement.

Types of Asbestos Legal Claims You Can File

There are two basic types of claims your mesothelioma attorney can file, depending on the situation:

  • Personal injury lawsuit: This asbestos claim you file because you personally were exposed to asbestos and developed an asbestos-related disease. Each state has an asbestos statute of limitations in which you must file a claim, but it does not begin until the day you have a diagnosis. It can take 40 or 50 years from the time you were exposed until you develop cancer.
  • Wrongful death lawsuit: A person can be exposed to asbestos and pass away from mesothelioma before the asbestos claim can be filed. The lawsuit may start out as a personal injury claim, but before there is a mesothelioma settlement or verdict, the patient could pass away. In these situations, the case may become a wrongful death claim. This is where direct loved ones file the claim to obtain money from damages they had because of the death of their loved one.

Options to File an Asbestos Claim

Asbestos claims vary. They are unique to the person and situation. In some cases, the funds can come quickly through a bankruptcy trust fund. In other cases, funds may only come by going all the way through a trial. Your attorney will help you determine the best path to make your asbestos claim:

Bankruptcy Trust Claims

There have been thousands of asbestos claims filed against many companies that have gone bankrupt. But as part of the bankruptcy, many companies have been required to establish Asbestos Trust Funds to payout asbestos claim benefits to people who have asbestos-related illnesses.

A bankruptcy trust fund may be set up by the judge or by the company directly. Your mesothelioma attorney can help you find out if your company has an asbestos trust fund available.

Lawsuit Claims

Many people hire mesothelioma attorneys near you who file an asbestos claim on your behalf. You can file for damages because of your asbestos illness. This action can include any suffering that you incurred, lost earnings while you were sick, lost future wages, funeral costs, medical costs, and loss of consortium.

When you file an asbestos lawsuit, you should have all of your medical and financial records so that you get the compensation you are owed.

Worker’s Compensation Claims

You may be able to file an asbestos claim against the company you worked for that is a workers’ compensation claim. Every state has its own laws in this area, so you need an attorney well-versed in workers’ compensation laws for each state.

Veterans Benefits Claims

If you worked in the US Armed Forces and were exposed to asbestos, you can file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. People who worked in the military have a higher risk of getting mesothelioma and other illnesses related to asbestos. Your asbestos attorney can help you decide if filing this type of veteran asbestos claim is for you.

Asbestos Claim Process for Mesothelioma

To potentially receive compensation for your asbestos-related cancer, it is necessary to file an asbestos claim with the company or companies that exposed you. Your asbestos cancer attorney will work with you to submit your claim for benefits by following these steps:

Step 1 – Initial Legal Consultation

Before filing an asbestos claim or lawsuit, you and your attorney should meet to talk about your objectives and goals. This allows you and your loved ones to ask vital questions about the process, and attorneys will learn more about your specific case.

During this consultation, asbestos exposure attorneys will usually ask about your medical history and asbestos exposure. The attorney will probably want to go over your health records and employment history. The initial consultation is usually free.

Your attorney will explain to you the possible avenues of compensation, including asbestos companies, companies that used asbestos-containing products, asbestos settlement trusts, the Department of Veterans Affairs, insurance companies, and other options.

Step 2 – Asbestos Claim Preparation and Evidence Gathering

Asbestos exposure attorneys start the process of a mesothelioma lawsuit like detectives attempt to solve crimes. They collect evidence about your asbestos exposure and subsequent illness. This process includes learning about your work history with asbestos and other important facts. Your attorney will gather your medical records and may speak with the diagnosing physician about your cancer.

You will probably be asked to provide any information that can help your attorney uncover any details about the companies that exposed you to asbestos. It is very important to identify the specific companies that exposed you and when it occurred.

Your attorney may ask your ex-coworkers about the extent of asbestos exposure at the company and determine if other companies may also be liable for exposing you.

Step 3 – File Complaint

An asbestos lawsuit begins with a written complaint, also known as a pleading. The complaint is drafted by your lawyer and filed in the appropriate court. The pleading states the legal basis for the asbestos lawsuit, including information about your asbestos exposure and the extent of your cancer.

Asbestos lawsuit pleadings focus on asbestos companies that did not post warnings about exposure dangers.

Lawyers file lawsuits in the office of the clerk of courts, so you do not need to be present. Every jurisdiction has different rules to file a pleading. Your attorney will know the statute of limitations for filing an asbestos claim, which is typically one to four years after you became aware of your cancer diagnosis. (asbestos.net)

After the complaint is filed, you and your family are considered plaintiffs, and the asbestos companies are defendants.

Step 4 – Response

After the asbestos lawsuit has been filed with the clerk of courts, each defendant gets a copy of the asbestos lawsuit.

Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma take years to show up, so the original companies may be out of business. Attorneys who handle asbestos lawsuits have many ways to track down the proper defendants to ensure they answer the complaint.

Most defendants will deny the claims at first, arguing the complaint is invalid or the cancer was caused by another company’s misdeeds.

Step 5 – Discovery

During discovery, attorneys on both sides collect information to be used in the trial. In some asbestos cases, discovery can take months. But judges may encourage attorneys to complete discovery quickly in mesothelioma cases, as patients are often seriously ill.

As part of discovery, attorneys for both sides will call depositions, which are Q&A sessions done under oath to learn more information about the lawsuit.

Depositions typically take place in attorneys’ offices and are audio and video recorded. To prepare for a deposition, you and your attorney will review possible questions in advance.

Several people are usually involved in depositions, such as attorneys for both parties and a court reporter.

Some of the people who can be deposed are plaintiffs, family members, friends, co-workers, and physicians. For the defense, executives and high-ranking managers also may be subject to depositions.

Step 6 – Settlement

Before the case goes to court, the defendant usually offers a settlement to end the legal proceedings. Most defendants would rather settle because they typically have to pay less than what a jury may order. Also, public trials are expensive and many plaintiffs do not want the negative publicity.

A settlement can be the best result for someone ill with mesothelioma, who needs money to pay for vital cancer treatments and other costs.  Your attorney will review the settlement offer and determine if it is reasonable or if negotiations should proceed. If no settlement can be reached, the case goes to trial.

Step 8 – Appeal

The defendant has 30-90 days to file an appeal. The appeal will delay your compensation, but the defendant must post a bond that equals the amount awarded at trial to ensure compensation is available right away if the appeal is turned down.

To begin the process of filing your asbestos claim, please speak to a licensed asbestos exposure attorney in your area.

Get Asbestos Claims Help Immediately

With over $30 billion available for victims through the Asbestos Trust Funds, you are entitled to financial compensations without ever filing a lawsuit. Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer victims qualify immediately. Complete the form or call Karst & Von Oiste, LLP toll-free (800) 352-0871