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For thousands of years, people valued the mineral asbestos for its ability to resist fire. For almost that long, people have observed that those who worked with asbestos developed “sickness of the lungs.” Despite that hazard, asbestos was used in industry for decades. Workers who were exposed to it began to develop mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious health problems. Today, companies that took advantage of asbestos workers are being compelled to compensate victims of asbestos-related injuries.
While medical science can treat the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, medical treatment is expensive, and insurance often fails to cover all the costs. If you’re researching the topic, you probably know how mesothelioma affects the body, and how it can incapacitate victims and make any kind of work impossible. Patients need to spend their time and energy on managing the cancer, yet they still have to think about paying bills and providing for their families.
Knowledgeable asbestos attorneys, like those on the staff at Weitz & Luxenberg, can help you recover compensation for your injuries. Weitz & Luxenberg has been involved with mesothelioma litigation for over 30 years. In that time, we’ve represented thousands of clients and obtained billions of dollars through trial and settlement while holding negligent companies responsible for their actions.
Why Should I Seek Compensation for Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and expensive cancer. Treatment can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in medical expenses alone, and most medical insurance plans do not cover all of the costs.
The following are just a few expenses that a typical mesothelioma patient must endure. Each treatment option varies in cost:
- Radiation therapy
- Medical devices, such as oxygen tanks
- At-home medical aids
Unfortunately, if your insurance company feels that any one of these items is not a necessity, it may not cover its cost.
Victims of asbestos disease and their families may be eligible for compensation for a variety of damages in addition to the direct costs of treatment. For instance, someone may be eligible to receive asbestos compensation for pain and suffering if he or she has sustained an asbestos-related injury. Family members may be compensated for the loss of a spouse or parent who dies of an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.
To receive mesothelioma compensation, those affected must file a legal claim. Lawyers who specialize in asbestos and mesothelioma claims can work with their clients to obtain the documents necessary to prove that someone worked in a place that exposed him or her to asbestos.
This process can be very complicated. Determining asbestos exposure and the negligent parties can take a lot of time and effort. The attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg are highly experienced in the process of obtaining the proper documentation. We have an Asbestos Litigation group at the firm that includes attorneys, investigators and support staff to assist in the process.
Compensation may be available from several sources. A lawsuit can produce compensation either by a courtroom trial verdict or by a settlement reached through negotiation. In most cases, filing an asbestos lawsuit is a strong preference, as it applies legal pressure on the defendants to come forward with a mesothelioma compensation offer.
You can initiate a lawsuit to receive asbestos compensation if you have a diagnosed asbestos-caused disease, or if that disease has claimed a loved one. Depending on your circumstances, you also may be able to file other types of asbestos compensation claims.
Many companies that caused asbestos injuries have chosen to avoid future asbestos lawsuits by establishing an asbestos bankruptcy trust. While such an arrangement allows a company to avoid a lawsuit, it does not allow it to avoid liability – and the obligation to pay compensation – if someone can prove that his or her asbestos injury was caused by exposure to that company’s products.
State workers’ compensation claims systems may provide an additional source of asbestos compensation. Workers’ compensation is paid monthly to people injured or sickened on the job. It is intended mainly as a source of replacement income for a defined amount of time, and it serves to help pay medical bills. The amount of compensation paid is set by law, but usually makes up for only a portion of a person’s lost wages.
Veterans Administration (VA) benefits may be available if the patient served in the U.S. military or is the spouse or child of a former member of the armed forces. Two VA benefits programs are available: Disability Compensation pays a monthly sum to veterans who meet certain criteria concerning their asbestos exposure, while Dependency and Indemnity Compensation pays a monthly sum to surviving spouses and dependent children.
How Long Will It Take Before I Receive Compensation?
The time it takes to receive compensation varies. People often wait the longest to receive compensation from a lawsuit resolved by trial – that process can take anywhere from at least a year to several years. By contrast, compensation from a settlement usually arrives within eight weeks of the time an agreement is reached, although the settlement itself may take a year or more to achieve. Compensation from asbestos trusts, workers’ compensation and VA benefits may come within six to 26 weeks after submission of compensation claims.
How Do I Start the Process of Claiming Asbestos Compensation?
The process of receiving compensation from lawsuits, insurance or benefits begins with filing a claim, and you must make sure you submit your claim by the applicable filing deadline. The filing deadline depends on the statute of limitations, a law that establishes how much time you have to file your claim after diagnosis of or death caused by an asbestos-related illness. Every state has a different statute of limitations, and in many cases the deadline is easy to miss unless you act promptly upon receiving your diagnosis or beginning treatment.
If you feel like you want to take the next step to file an asbestos claim, you will need to retain the services of an asbestos compensation lawyer or law firm to assist you with the claims process. Please contact Weitz & Luxenberg’s Asbestos Litigation group. Our team will evaluate your case for free to determine if you are eligible for a claim and what kind of claim to file.
While asbestos cases are some of the longest continuous mass torts in the nation’s history, there isn’t an unlimited amount of time allowed to file a case. Asbestos cases are different than other cases in that diseases like mesothelioma can take many years to appear after exposure. In many cases it is necessary to conduct months of research into a victim’s work history to find the source of the asbestos exposure and the negligent party.
Again before you wade through this information yourself, it would be a good idea to contact a lawyer to help determine the statute of limitations for the case in your state and generally evaluate the individual merits of your case.
Is Legal Representation Necessary?
A law firm that specializes in asbestos claims can help you obtain all the compensation for which you’re eligible. The amount of compensation you may receive can depend not only on the type of asbestos disease involved and the extent of the losses you suffered because of that disease, but also the knowledge, skill and talent of the asbestos compensation lawyer or law firm you retain to represent you.
Getting compensation can improve an asbestos disease victim’s quality of life and state of mind. For example, if you are medically eligible to participate in clinical trials involving experimental drugs for the treatment of mesothelioma, appropriate financial resources may help you do so. Participation in clinical trials is often free, but the travel costs to the research institution and the costs of lodging and food during trials are not.
You are not the only one affected by the cancer. Being out of work means that your family has one less provider. Asbestos compensation can help ease your family’s mortgage payments or ensure that your children can go to college. It can help you maintain the best possible quality of life, given the circumstances.
We know that nothing about this process is easy. Our job is to give you the resources, information and support you need to claim and receive asbestos compensation. Weitz & Luxenberg is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm whose attorneys have secured financial compensation via favorable verdicts and settlements for people afflicted with mesothelioma and other asbestos injuries1. We may be able to help you, too. For a free consultation and more information about your legal options, please complete the form on this page or call us at (800) 476-6070.
1While our past record doesn’t guarantee future success, it is something you may want to consider when evaluating our experience.