Claiming an Asbestos Lawsuit After the Death of a Loved One
Asbestos is a sneaky killer, with an average latency period of up to 40 years. Often, patients will claim a personal injury or an asbestos trust fund claim, but if disease is diagnosed too late, this may not be an option.
In either case, you will want to be sure to hire a competent and experienced attorney to help defend you in court and give you the best legal options available for your specific situation. Navigating a mesothelioma lawsuit can be extremely difficult because when the patient dies, it is much harder to prove their history of exposure.
Most mesothelioma cases originate from construction malpractice or outdated methods of construction. If you or a loved one has worked in the construction industry, educating yourself in the event you ever have to claim an asbestos lawsuit for yourself or a loved one could prove to be beneficial.
Initiating a Mesothelioma Lawsuit vs. Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
There are two primary ways to file a claim against someone who has caused a certain individual to develop mesothelioma after substantial exposure to asbestos materials. According to the Hastings Law Journal, “asbestos is the generic name given to several naturally occurring fibrous mineral silicates.”
The same article reports, “the widespread use of asbestos is a 20th-century phenomenon. Some 3,000 uses of asbestos have been recorded.” If you or a loved one has been affected by asbestos and that has resulted in a diagnosis of mesothelioma, you will want to know how to claim your lawsuit, and what your available legal options are.
Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
If a living person wants to file a claim to receive financial compensation for their medical expenses related to mesothelioma, they may file an asbestos trust fund claim. In this case, the plaintiff (individual) is the most accurate witness of the case.
This is especially useful because the plaintiff will be able to confirm the diagnosis with updated proof by the time the court takes the case. If the plaintiff dies during the legal process, responsibilities will defer to the estate representative, usually a loved one or family member connected to the case.
When a patient who has suffered from mesothelioma dies, navigating a lawsuit can be very difficult. If the individual did not start a claim before they died, filing a claim can usually be pursued with enough legal evidence to substantiate the case.
Research from the RAND Institute for Civil Justice indicates that over 600,000 people have filed claims for asbestos-related personal injuries by the year 2000 and annual filing has risen by a drastic number nearly every year since. If you or a loved one has suffered mesothelioma, you may be eligible for compensation through the court of law.
File a Wrongful Death Claim for the Deceased
In certain cases, the original claimant may have died as a result of the disease and potential awards from the claim will probably go to the estate, depending on the case. If this happens, the estate representative will have to file a wrongful death claim and hire an attorney to help them navigate the difficult paperwork.
An estate representative will be listed in a person’s last will and testament, or can be officially appointed by the court. The estate representative can be a part of the family, or they may be blood-related.
Get a Game Plan
If you want to file a wrongful death claim, you may want to look at a few ways to prepare for and initiate your claim below.
- Find a Lawyer – If a loved one has suffered from mesothelioma but failed to initiate a claim before their untimely death, a lawyer with experience will help you consider all of your legal options and establish connections that will help you build a solid case.
- Create an Investigation – It is typical for an attorney that has experience with mesothelioma cases to start investigating the asbestos products that the plaintiff was exposed to and which manufacturers may have played a part in developing the disease.
- Initiate a Claim – Now that you have discovered substantial evidence to state your case to the court, you will file a mesothelioma claim against the manufacturers who are responsible for the plaintiff’s disease.
- Discovery – This part of the process may happen pretrial and this phase includes conducting depositions, gathering witness testimony, and collecting crucial evidence.
- Trial or Settlement – Sometimes, cases will not reach a trial because most mesothelioma lawsuits end in a settlement. The average settlement for a mesothelioma case is around $1.4 million.
When determining whether to file a claim, make sure that your case will present known exposure from the specific products used to cause the disease and the companies that are responsible for causing the plaintiff to contract the disease. You want to also be able to prove clear negligence and a significant impact on the quality of your life to be awarded compensation.
You also want to be aware of the deadlines for filing these types of claims, as they vary by state. Usually, the statute of limitations will state that you can file a claim anywhere between one and three years after the death of your loved one.
If at all possible, it would be in the best interest of a patient with mesothelioma to start the claim while actively affected by the disease, as it can aid in the process and give all parties a better settlement at the end. You should not be discouraged if you need to file a claim after the death of a loved one, though, as long as you can prove negligence and investigate which companies are responsible for the plaintiff’s diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Now that you have educated yourself on what it will take to file a mesothelioma claim after a loved one’s death, you can make a more informed decision about the next steps you or your family would like to take.