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The most important purpose of mesothelioma claims is to compensate you for the injury you have suffered, either as a mesothelioma victim or as a mesothelioma victim’s surviving loved one. Depending on the type of mesothelioma claim and the amount of compensation it yields, you may be able to accomplish some or all of the following:
- Obtain justice.
- Gain financial security.
- Pay for mesothelioma treatment.
- Recover lost wages.
- Obtain substitute income.
- Pay mesothelioma-related debts.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims
There are four types of mesothelioma claims. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. A highly experienced mesothelioma lawyer or law firm will be able to explain to you those advantages and disadvantages as they apply to your unique situation. That same mesothelioma lawyer or law firm will also be able to tell you which of these claims you are eligible to file; you may be eligible to file more than one type of mesothelioma claim.
These are the four types of mesothelioma claims:
- Lawsuit – a civil court action brought against an asbestos company currently doing business.
- Bankruptcy claim – a filing against an asbestos company that has sought protection under federal bankruptcy laws.
- Workers’ compensation – a benefit consisting of monthly payouts from a state-administered insurance fund that covers people with a job-related injury or illness.
- Veterans benefits – eligibility-based monthly payments from the Veterans Administration (VA) to disabled former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
You may be able to bring mesothelioma lawsuits against one or more defendants if you have standing. Standing exists if you suffered a distinct and palpable injury, the cause of which can be fairly traced to the defendants’ conduct. Mesothelioma is a distinct and palpable injury that can be fairly traced to the defendants’ negligence in causing you to become exposed to asbestos. The mesothelioma injury you suffered will be addressed in a mesothelioma claim filed in the form of either of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Personal injury mesothelioma lawsuits can be brought if you were exposed to asbestos and later developed mesothelioma. Your exposure might have come from making or handling products containing asbestos. Or it might have come from someone carrying asbestos fibers into your home on work clothes or a uniform. A personal injury mesothelioma lawsuit can be brought by you while you are alive. In some states, the courts will allow your estate to continue a personal injury mesothelioma lawsuit initiated before you pass away. In other states, your personal injury mesothelioma lawsuit is dismissed if you pass away before the case is resolved.
Wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuits can be brought by the person appointed by you in your will to be the head of your “estate” when you pass away. The law acknowledges that your family’s loss of a loved one is a distinct and palpable injury. As a result, the law recognizes your family’s right to seek compensation from the defendants.
Mesothelioma Claims Against Bankruptcy Trusts
A mesothelioma lawsuit cannot be brought against a business protected by U.S. bankruptcy law. Many bankrupt asbestos companies have created an asbestos bankruptcy trust through which you – as a person injured by the company’s asbestos products or by its asbestos-contaminated workplace — or your family, can collect compensation. However, the amount of this compensation is determined not by a judge but by the administrator of the trust. It is determined after the trust receives from you extensive paperwork. The submission process is, of course, complicated. A skilled mesothelioma lawyer or law firm will be able to efficiently handle this for you.
The first step in filing mesothelioma claims against bankruptcy trusts is to gather documentation proving your mesothelioma injury. This documentation must include statements and/or medical records indicating when, where and how the asbestos exposure occurred. Then you will need to complete forms supplied by the bankruptcy trust, upon request.
The forms must be completed fully and with total accuracy. Failure to do either will usually result in your claim submission being rejected (which requires you to start over) or returned to you for additional input. This is why you should seriously consider relying on the expertise of highly qualified bankruptcy trust lawyers, such as those you will find at the mesothelioma law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg P.C.
Your submitted forms and supporting documentation will then be reviewed by the bankruptcy trust administrator. Approval should follow if your claim submission satisfies the bankruptcy trust’s acceptance criteria. However, asbestos bankruptcy trusts usually pay claims to the most seriously ill first. The skilled bankruptcy trust lawyers of Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. can help ensure that the trust administrator properly prioritizes your claim. They will also help resolve disputes that may arise over the amount of compensation awarded.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
You may be entitled to monthly payments from your state’s workers’ compensation claims system if the asbestos exposure that caused your mesothelioma injury was job-related. These payments may help you replace income you have lost and/or will lose, due to your inability to work (mesothelioma can disable you). The money may also help pay for your medical care. Additionally, your family members who survive you may, in some instances, be eligible for benefits through the workers’ compensation system.
Your state’s laws will usually set the amount and duration of the workers’ compensation claims payments you receive. However, there is no guarantee you will receive payments because not all injured workers qualify for compensation. Also, unique aspects of your claim can affect your eligibility. If you do receive payments, be aware that the monthly check will probably prove insufficient to replace all of your lost wages.
There are other disadvantages, as well. You will find the workers’ compensation claims system complex and disputes not easily resolved, especially if you attempt to pursue your claim without the benefit of skilled legal help. Going it alone means you may encounter lengthy delays in getting your claim approved. It also means you risk receiving less than the maximum payout to which you might otherwise be entitled. Another disadvantage is that, by accepting worker’s compensation payments, you might be waiving your right to sue your employer, if the state where you worked allows lawsuits against your employer. Weitz & Luxenberg’s mesothelioma lawyers are highly knowledgeable about the advantages and disadvantages of relying on the workers’ compensation claims system.
You may be entitled to VA benefits from either or both of two compensation programs available to U.S. military veterans and their dependents. While payments from these programs are helpful, they are not likely to be enough to meet the financial needs of the typical mesothelioma victim or surviving loved ones. The process of applying for compensation from these programs involves completing many detailed forms and producing an array of medical documents to accompany them.
Disability Compensation is the VA benefits program for mesothelioma victims still living. As of April 28, 2016, the current maximum monthly payment is $2,800. It is awarded to qualifying former servicemen and servicewomen who are 100 percent disabled (the Veterans Administration considers mesothelioma to be a 100-percent disabling condition). However, when you apply for Disability Compensation you must submit documentation showing that your mesothelioma injury traces back to service in the military.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is the VA benefits program available to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. At present, the program issues a minimum monthly check of $1,195. This amount is increased if you have dependent children. More money is added to the sum if your children have special needs.
Questions about Mesothelioma Claims?
The answers supplied above to these basic questions about mesothelioma claims provide only the roughest sketch of the options available to you. As a result, you probably have more extensive and detailed questions about this subject. Indeed, there is much more to know about mesothelioma claims.
The best source of answers for all your questions about mesothelioma claims is a mesothelioma lawyer or law firm that has handled a vast number of these cases over a long period of time. Weitz & Luxenberg’s mesothelioma lawyers have helped thousands of mesothelioma victims and families, just like you, over the past quarter-century.
Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. is an excellent choice of law firm to represent mesothelioma victims and families in pursuing any of the mesothelioma claim types discussed above. Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. has obtained compensation worth billions of dollars resulting from countless mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos bankruptcy trust claims we have successfully concluded on behalf of our clients.
For a free consultation, please complete a contact form on this page, and a representative of our law firm will contact you as soon as possible.
For questions about mesothelioma claims anywhere in the U.S., please call 800-476-6070.