If you lost a loved one to mesothelioma, you might be able to recover compensation from the responsible company by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. With this legal action, both the damages suffered by the deceased mesothelioma victim and the family will be covered.
The first type of compensation in a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit covers what affected the mesothelioma victim from the time of their diagnosis until their final days:
- Lost income: The estimated wages the injured person would have earned until retirement.
- The cost of medical expenses and treatment for their mesothelioma.
- Funeral costs
The damages the family can recover in a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Loss of future care, assistance, and services the asbestos victim could have provided the family.
- Loss of comfort, companionship, and guidance
Family Members That Can File a Wrongful Death Mesothelioma Claim
It is not unusual for people suffering from mesothelioma to not file a personal injury lawsuit during their lifetime to obtain compensation for their injuries. They might feel too sick to go through a lawsuit, or fear a months-long legal process.
Either way, many mesothelioma victims never receive the funds they are entitled to. While money will never replace your loved one, the surviving family can obtain financial compensation on their behalf, assuming the statute of limitations has not expired in their state of residence.
As with asbestos cancer claims that are filed directly by the victim, wrongful death lawsuits have a statute of limitations that varies by state. Note that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is shorter than for an asbestos claim, usually from one to three years. For most US states, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. So, if you want to file a mesothelioma wrongful death claim, it is important to start the legal process as soon as possible with your attorney.
Who Can File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased mesothelioma victim depends on the state. Generally speaking, the following people can file:
- Immediate members of the family, including mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers
- Spouses (husbands and wives), as well as life partners
- Children (biological, adopted, or step-children)
- People who were financially dependent on the mesothelioma victim who died
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Requirements
For a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit to be successful, you must show the following:
- Exposure: You must have proof that the deceased received asbestos exposure in a certain location during a certain timeframe. You and your attorney can get this proof by job description, work that was performed and recorded by your loved one, testimony from witnesses, such as ex-coworkers who describe how your loved one was exposed. Proof also needs to be shown that the deceased party suffered death from asbestos exposure. Medical records can be subpoenaed by your attorney for this purpose.
- Negligence: Negligence must be proven on the part of the defending company or companies. The defendant must have known or should have known their workplace or product had problems with asbestos exposure. This is the vital legal element of a wrongful death claim for mesothelioma. Negligence can be proven by showing the company’s history, which may include exposing many other workers to asbestos.
- Impact: A successful mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit must prove the survivors suffered a clear loss from death. The deceased cannot be compensated for his losses, so the plaintiff must show they have been hurt by the loss of financial support, companionship, and guidance. Emotional suffering and even punitive damages can be part of the claim for the family.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process for Mesothelioma Claims
In all cases of death from mesothelioma, an experienced attorney will perform plenty of research. This often begins with the plaintiff. Top mesothelioma law firms have legal investigator teams who have performed many mesothelioma claims in the past and they have large databases of companies at their disposal.
Experienced law firms know the contact information and names of corporations that used asbestos-containing products years ago. After the research is concluded, your attorney should possess the information to know if there is sufficient evidence to pursue your claim.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If it is found there is enough evidence, your mesothelioma attorney will make the recommendation that a lawsuit be filed. If the wrongful death lawsuit involves mesothelioma, it may not be obvious in which state you should file the claim. In most cases, the claim will be filed where the victim lived or where they were exposed to asbestos. But if there is a state where the wrongful death action might be filed with better results, your attorney may select that state.
Once your attorney decides to file suit, discovery is the next part of the process. This is where your lawyer builds the best case he can. He will depose defendants and will obtain information about your loved one’s work history, personal and medical information.
It is not unusual at this point for the defense to try to have the asbestos lawsuit dismissed before it gets to court. The defending company may make a low offer.
In a wrongful death lawsuit where the defendant was negligent in exposing the deceased to the toxic mineral, the settlement or verdict might be in the millions of dollars. Your experienced wrongful death attorney will not be taken in by a low offer. Most mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits result in a settlement, but your attorney will negotiate the highest settlement possible.
No matter what your relationship was with the mesothelioma victim, working with an attorney with years of experience in mesothelioma litigation is vital. Only an attorney experienced in this complex area of the law has the resources and knowledge to pursue a wrongful death claim successfully. From discovering which companies exposed your loved one to asbestos, to finding additional evidence in support of your claim, your attorney will ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your losses.