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Mesothelioma is a preventable type of cancer that affects the protective membrane of the lungs, stomach, and heart. An average of 3,000 people receive a mesothelioma diagnosis every year in the United States. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, with is natural insulation used across several industries from construction to auto. Symptoms of mesothelioma can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to present and are often difficult to diagnose. The disease may be rare, but it is devastating. If you recently received a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be eligible for financial compensation averaging between $1 million and $2.4 million.

What Are the Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits?

The first step in receiving compensation for expenses related to your diagnosis is to file a lawsuit. There are two types of mesothelioma lawsuits:

  • A wrongful death claim is filed by the estate or family member of a loved one that passed away from mesothelioma.
  • personal injury claim is filed by the living person diagnosed with mesothelioma. Compensation from this lawsuit typically covers medical bills, lost wages, and non-financial damages, such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

A mesothelioma lawsuit provides a way for victims to recover financial compensation for the damages caused by manufacturers who negligently sold products containing asbestos. The legal process is often complex, but an experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through it quickly and efficiently.

Steps in a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

The details surrounding your diagnosis differ in some ways from other cases. However, the basic legal process follows the same steps for all personal injury lawsuits.

Step 1: Legal Team Evaluates Your Case

Hiring an attorney is essential to your case. The first thing he or she will do is conduct a case evaluation to determine your eligibility. This includes asking questions about the nature of your asbestos exposure and finding out which person or manufacturer is responsible.

A mesothelioma attorney typically has a legal team in place to investigate your claim and build your case. That team may include paralegals to aid in the legal process, a medical professional to evaluate your condition and diagnosis, and investigators to gather information on the responsible party. The attorney’s office also has other support staff in place to complete delegated tasks and speed up the process.

Step 2: File a Lawsuit

Once you are found eligible, your legal team will determine which court system is best for your case and your attorney will file the lawsuit for you. Another advantage of having legal representation is that attorneys are familiar with the different courts and which are more agreeable for mesothelioma cases. You also get to avoid the cumbersome process of filing legal paperwork while going through a very difficult time.

Step 3: Response

In most cases, the defendant is a company. Once your case is filed, the defendant is notified about the claim. The rules vary from state to state, however, most require a response within 30 days of notification. If the defendant decides to refuse your claim, your legal team will begin to build your case.

Step 4: Discovery

The discovery phase entails the collection of evidence used to build your case. Any evidence gathered in this phase is meant to prove that your illness was avoidable and caused by the defendant’s negligence. The type of evidence used depends on the circumstances of your case. However, common examples include:

  • Medical records containing your diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Medical bills showing that you have already been treated for the disease
  • Employment history providing the dates that you worked for the defendant
  • Witness statements, which could even come from other employees with the same diagnosis, a likelihood in mesothelioma cases involving a large manufacturer
  • Documentation of the products containing asbestos that you used or worked with

Sometimes the defendant is a government agency. For example, if your exposure happened during military service, you may need to provide military service records for evidence.

Step 5: Potential Settlement

Most personal injury cases are settled before going to trial. Ideally, your attorney reaches a fair settlement in negotiations with the defendant’s attorney. A settlement can be reached at any point following a filed lawsuit, however, they most often happen just before the trial phase. If you do go to trial, your attorney is already prepared, and a jury decides your case. Trials are often lengthy, and while a jury can get you a larger settlement, the defendant then has the right to appeal the decision. This can lengthen the process even further, which is why having an attorney with negotiation experience is beneficial.

What Are the Types of Mesothelioma Compensation? 

Compensation in a mesothelioma case most commonly come from one of two places:

  1. Asbestos trust funds are created in the event that an asbestos manufacturer files bankruptcy. The funds are then used to compensate for any future claims by mesothelioma victims. These cases are always handled outside of the court system and are processed quickly.
  2. Settlements are used by a company to avoid the lawsuit process. A lengthy lawsuit is expensive and detrimental to a company’s reputation.

Other potential types of compensation include mesothelioma worker’s compensation and veteran’s mesothelioma claims. You can receive funding through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in the form of pension, disability, dependency, indemnity, or household benefits. Military service members commonly suffer from mesothelioma, particularly those in the Navy, because of the use of asbestos on naval ships. For that reason, VA benefits cover mesothelioma.

If you must seek compensation through settlement, your attorney will advise you through the process to ensure that you know when to settle and when to continue to fight. Most victims chose to settle rather than take their lawsuit to court. However, some decide to risk a trial when the attorney suggests that the case will likely resolve in the plaintiff’s favor.

How Do You Know if You Are Eligible for Compensation?

Any individual diagnosed with mesothelioma may qualify for legal compensation via lawsuit. However, the burden of proving that another party is responsible for your illness falls on you and your legal team. Additionally, any adult member of your family, most commonly a spouse or child, can file a lawsuit on your behalf. The same is true for anyone in charge of your estate.

Why Should You File?

There are many reasons that you may benefit from filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. The main reason is that you deserve compensation for any medical expenses and personal suffering incurred because of your illness. Also, the manufacturers that chose to use asbestos and ignore the health risks it presents should face accountability. You also have the chance to provide financial security for the ones that you love. They suffer from this situation as well. Sometimes family members need to take time off work to care for or just spend time with you. They should receive compensation for those lost wages.

If you or someone you love received a mesothelioma diagnosis, let the experienced personal injury attorneys at Norris Injury Lawyers help you seek justice for your pain and suffering. Contact us today, and we will get to work investigating your case and ensuring that your claim is valued efficiently to reflect the compensation that you and your loved ones deserve. Our asbestos cancer lawyers are ready to help you.