A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing ordeal that brings numerous tumultuous transformations in our personal and professional lives. Most patients find themselves drawn into a never-ending cycle of diagnostic tests, screenings, and costly treatments. Cancer treatments come with a humungous financial strain and debilitating pain without the assurance of recovery.
Mesothelioma is one of the deadliest cancers, which damages several internal organs. Unlike other forms of cancer that develop through excess and unhealthy habit, mesothelioma develops from asbestos exposure. Therefore, contracting mesothelioma has more to do with your home and work environment than your lifestyle itself.
It has been found that patients who develop mesothelioma worked in industrial and manufacturing plants that involve asbestos-containing materials. These industries include construction, automotive, mining, manufacturing plants, shipbuilding, and chemicals. Professionals who work as mechanics, machinery operators, chemical handlers, foremen, and laborers have a far greater risk of asbestos exposure.
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit against your employer isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to make up your mind and proceed with a legal solution.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
It’s crucial to note that mesothelioma doesn’t occur immediately after asbestos exposure. It takes at least 10-40 years of prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers for cancer to develop. Typically, the period of filing a lawsuit ranges between one and five years of a mesothelioma diagnosis. Each state has its specific statutes of limitations regarding the period of filing a lawsuit.
Legal experts advise patients to file immediately after their diagnosis to ensure substantial mesothelioma lawsuit settlements and higher success rates. It’s wise to act promptly, especially if your state only allows a year to file a lawsuit after the diagnosis. Unfortunately, mesothelioma patients have a survival rate of around 12 months, which leaves very little time.
Should a family member, parent, or spouse die of mesothelioma, the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This legal action is usually taken within 1-3 years after the death. Suppose multiple employees have developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure at the same workplace. In that case, a class-action lawsuit isn’t possible as each patient has a different disease prognosis and medical history.
It’s wise to file your lawsuit individually and work with a lawyer specializing in mesothelioma lawsuits.
Sufficient Grounds to File a Claim
You cannot file a lawsuit if you don’t have a mesothelioma diagnosis from a credible doctor. Exposure to asbestos at the workplace alone isn’t sufficient ground to take legal action against your employer. Once you’ve received your mesothelioma diagnosis, it’s wise to engage a lawyer without delay. Your lawyer will walk you through the statutes of limitations that apply within your state and help you gather evidence.
Does your cancer diagnosis interfere with your work routine, daily activities, and responsibilities towards your family? If that’s the case, you have substantial grounds to file a case. Filing a lawsuit will help you recover financial damages once you have a mesothelioma diagnosis. If your workplace contains any asbestos-containing materials or equipment, you’re likely to secure a financial settlement.
Who is Responsible for the Asbestos Exposure?
Since mesothelioma develops within 10-40 years of prolonged asbestos exposure, finding a culprit is challenging. Who is responsible for your asbestos exposure?
Is the firm that created the asbestos-containing equipment or material? Or is it your employer who bought that asbestos-containing equipment or material for the workplace construction? Or perhaps, the insurance company liable for the firm’s damages will award your financial compensation.
Finding the culprit is tricky, to say the least, which is why it’s crucial to work closely with an experienced attorney. In most cases, patients receive their compensation long after the manufacturer of the asbestos-containing product has filed for bankruptcy. You can still file a lawsuit if you cannot pinpoint the culprit behind your asbestos exposure.
Don’t overthink too much and give up on your decision to sue simply because you can’t identify the culprit. Remember, it’s the attorney’s job to launch a thorough investigation and unearth relevant details around your work experience. The investigation will explore materials, records, and incidents spanning years of your work experience. Ultimately, the legal team will identify when, where, and how the exposure occurred and who is responsible.
The legal investigation will highlight the corporation, stakeholders, and key players responsible for asbestos exposure. There is more than one culprit in most cases as multiple parties come together to buy and sell asbestos-containing materials. If you file against numerous individuals/entities, they will have to share a certain percentage of the financial settlement.
Fighting a Mesothelioma Case
Most people are discouraged by the idea of dragging a lawsuit for years without any settlement in sight. If you believe this concept, someone is feeding you misinformation, or you’re blissfully unaware of legal settlements.
You see, most mesothelioma cases are settled long before entering the jury stage. Companies, manufacturers, and organizations do not want the negative publicity of a public trial. However, you need credible evidence to settle the case immediately and avoid the jury stage. Evidence-gathering is crucial to build a solid case and get your settlement within a year.
You will need to provide detailed records outlining your employment history, payment source, and mesothelioma diagnosis. Suppose your settlement relies on the jury phase and the lawyer feels compelled to go to trial. In that case, the lawsuit can linger on for two years or more, depending on the complexities of the legal proceedings.
However, most states account for the short life expectancy and survival rates of mesothelioma patients. Therefore, it’s likely that the lawsuit will be processed speedily.
Securing a Financial Settlement
Let’s ask the big question: how much financial compensation will you receive from the lawsuit? Each case is unique, and the employers’ or manufacturer’s negligence details determine the financial compensation. Some patients have managed to secure millions of compensation, while others settle in modest amounts.
Typically, settlements are modest when the asbestos manufacturer or involved stakeholders have shut down or filed for bankruptcy. Suppose the manufacturer or responsible entity is thriving and flourishing and still exposing people to asbestos-containing materials. In that case, the settlement will likely secure a significant amount to elevate your life quality and support your treatment.
A lawsuit considers asbestos exposure, mesothelioma diagnosis, and the overall impact on your life. The settlement will likely cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced life quality due to unemployment. The legal authorities will consider your mental and physical anguish and the pain of your loved ones.