Mesothelioma Patients and Workers’ Compensation

Patients with mesothelioma may sometimes be entitled to compensation. Some pursue filing for workers’ compensation due to their work-related asbestos exposure. However, sometimes other options, like asbestos-related lawsuits, may result in greater payouts.

Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and may result in less compensation, making mesothelioma lawsuits a better option for some. 

Mesothelioma Lawsuits versus Workers’ Comp

When making a decision between filing a lawsuit or a workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to know that not only are each of these processes different, but you can expect to see differences in duration and payouts as well. 

Workers’ Compensation

As with lawsuits, every state will have their own statutes that dictates how much time can pass between receiving a diagnosis and filing a workers’ comp claim. 

Despite the majority of mesothelioma cases being attributed to exposure at work, not all workers are able to file a claim due to the time between exposure and diagnosis sometimes much longer than the time permitted for workers’ compensation claims (due to the long latency period). 

Most patients are no longer with the same company where exposure occurred when a diagnosis of mesothelioma is finally received, however because of the shorter latency period, these types of exposures may be eligible for compensation for an asbestosis diagnosis. 

Often, workers’ comp claims are disputed and those who file claims are in no way guaranteed to receive benefits.

Compensation and Lawsuits

With workers’ comp, states often cap the amount that a worker may receive and, as such, lawsuits can be more likely to award greater compensation to the patient. 

Workers’ Compensation Purpose

Workers prior to the 1920s with work-related injuries needed to sue the employer for financial assistance related to the injury. The Insurance Journal states that “Early work comp laws (those adopted between 1911 and 1916) were voluntary participation laws. Employers were not compelled by the various statutes to purchase workers’ compensation.”

Included Benefits

  • Medical care: disability payments (temporary or permanent)
  • Help finding another job

Workers typically must report injuries to the employer in writing and it is the employer’s task to submit it to through the proper channels, including the insurer.

Workers’ Comp Issues

Laws were created to help employees, but also to protect companies by placing maximums on workers’ compensation claims.

Due to underwriting losses, many private carriers have reduced workers’ comp programs in the last twenty years. 

According to The American Cancer Society, the majority of pleural mesothelioma cases “have been linked to high levels of asbestos exposure, usually in the workplace.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Comp for Mesothelioma

What options are available to me for exposure to asbestos at work?

Company trust funds, settlements, and mesothelioma lawsuits are options for those exposed to asbestos at work.

Before I file a workers’ comp claim, should I get in touch with an attorney?

It’s in your best interest to consult an attorney before filing for workers’ compensation for asbestos exposure. Lawyers with expertise in asbestos claims can help with navigating the process and represent you in court. 

Should I file a workers’ comp claim or a mesothelioma lawsuit?

Anyone with mesothelioma may be eligible for a mesothelioma lawsuit filing but your case would be best discussed with a lawyer specializing in these cases.