Mesothelioma Compensation - Asbestos Compensation Claims
For decades, the construction industry, mining companies, and manufacturers used asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, in a variety of products ranging from shingles and insulation to brakes and flooring.
When inhaled or ingested, the dust from asbestos can cause serious illnesses, including mesothelioma, a type of cancer that attacks the membranes that protect the lungs, heart, and abdomen.
Although a number of safety regulations have made exposure to asbestos much rarer than in prior decades, it still can and does occur. Tragically, mesothelioma is incurable and most patients are given a prognosis of between six months and two years to live after diagnosis.
While nothing can make it right for a person with this type of deadly illness, it is possible for mesothelioma patients and their families to seek compensation for treatment costs, travel expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
There are five main types of compensation mesothelioma patients may qualify for, including:
- Asbestos trust fund payments
- Settlements and lawsuit verdicts
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Veterans’ benefits
- Social Security benefits
Not all patients qualify for these benefits. If you or a loved one were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to consult with an experienced mesothelioma attorney who can help you seek the compensation that you deserve.
Contact The Law Offices of Michael P. Joyce, P.C., now for a free consultation about your legal options.
Bankruptcy Trust Funds
Asbestos was used frequently between the 1940s and 1960s, but its dangers were not fully understood until the early 1970s, when a number of safety measures were implemented by state and federal regulators.
The resulting lawsuits, settlements, and fines that followed the discovery of the dangers of asbestos exposure bankrupted a number of major companies responsible for manufacturing, distributing, using, or selling asbestos materials and products. In other cases, the companies survived, but were forced to merge with other corporations or were restructured.
Even if a company that was responsible for exposing others to asbestos is no longer in business, affected parties may still be able to receive compensation from it. This is because, in many cases, companies were required to create asbestos bankruptcy trusts that contained funds to pay out future claims before they closed their doors.
Only certain individuals are eligible for compensation under these trust funds, namely those who can prove that they or a loved one were either:
- Exposed to asbestos at a certain worksite
- Exposed to asbestos while using a product that was manufactured using asbestos
Many asbestos bankruptcy trusts have also set up additional exposure and medical criteria that claimants must meet before their claims will be approved. All trust funds have their own schedules for issuing payments, usually based on a percentage of what a particular claimant is entitled to receive.
For help determining whether you qualify for a trust fund payment and if so, seeking to maximize your compensation, please contact our asbestos litigation legal team today.
Asbestos Lawsuit Settlements and Jury Awards
When a company that is responsible for asbestos exposure is still in business, a patient who is suffering from mesothelioma as a result of related exposure may seek to hold the company liable for damages by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit in court.
In many cases, at-fault companies will attempt to negotiate a settlement before a case goes to trial by offering a lump sum award. There could be a number of benefits to accepting a settlement, as it can save the parties a significant amount of time and money to do so. Some settlement awards, however, are lower than a person could recover if he or she took a case to court.
In the event that an asbestos claim makes it to a jury trial, the injured party will be required to prove that the defendant was responsible for the asbestos exposure that caused him or her to develop mesothelioma. If successful, a jury will award the injured party an amount that it deems fair. This may include money to cover economic expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Ultimately whether a person should accept a settlement instead of going to trial depends on the strength of the case and the likelihood of a favorable verdict. Mesothelioma patients who believe that they may have a legal claim against a manufacturer or former employer should speak with an experienced asbestos compensation claims attorney at The Law Offices of Michael P. Joyce, P.C., before moving forward with their claim.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma patients who can link their illness to exposure to asbestos exposure at work may not be forced to take a company to court or seek approval for a trust fund payment to collect compensation for their illness if they qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Under Massachusetts law, these benefits are available only to patients who can prove that exposure to asbestos at their place of employment caused mesothelioma, or that their spouse or parent passed away as a result of workplace exposure to asbestos. If the employer or its insurer approves the claim, the injured party could collect medical benefits compensating them for treatment-related costs, as well as partial wage replacement.
Illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos can take years to develop. Employees who are diagnosed with mesothelioma and who became ill as a result of their exposure to asbestos while working have up until four years from the date that they discovered the link between their illness and their employment to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Many insurers unfairly deny valid claims, in which case, the claimant can appeal that decision by filing a claim with the state. To learn more about appealing or filing a workers’ compensation claim for mesothelioma-related benefits, please call our office for assistance.
Veterans’ and Social Security Benefits for Mesothelioma
Retired servicemen and women who served their country in the armed forces make up one of the largest populations of individuals who were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. This is especially true for those who served in the Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines, as asbestos was commonly used on ships.
Recognizing that this exposure resulted in thousands of illnesses, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs designated mesothelioma as one of a number of diseases that automatically qualify a veteran for disability benefits and asbestos compensation. Veterans need only show that they were exposed to asbestos during their service and were not dishonorably discharged.
Certain patients may also be eligible for mesothelioma compensation through the Social Security Administration (SSA), which offers benefits known as compassionate allowances to individuals who are suffering from mesothelioma. Because mesothelioma automatically qualifies as a disability, applicants are generally spared the need to go through a time-consuming application process and will usually have their petitions approved as long as they can provide the proper medical documentation, including biopsy and pathology reports.
Damages in Asbestos Compensation Claims
Mesothelioma patients who choose to file a claim against their former employer or another corporation that was responsible for their exposure to asbestos could qualify for damages that are much more extensive than the benefits awarded by the VA, the SSA, or their state’s workers’ compensation program.
For example, jury awards or settlements may include compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses, including the cost of diagnostic testing, treatment, nursing care, and travel
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity due to permanent disability and loss of future income
- Pain and suffering endured by the patient as a result of the illness
Families of patients who pass away as a result of their illness before they can file a claim are also often eligible for wrongful death damages, which they can collect on their relative’s behalf. These damages can provide coverage for the medical bills incurred during the illness, compensation for the wages that the deceased would have earned if he or she had lived, payment of burial and funeral expenses, and compensation for emotional distress and loss of companionship.
Talk to a Mesothelioma Lawyer Now
The experience, compassion, and dedication of the Boston mesothelioma attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael P. Joyce, P.C., have uniquely equipped our legal team to handle mesothelioma compensation claims.
For help determining whether you may have an asbestos injury claim, please call the dedicated asbestos litigation attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael P. Joyce, P.C. The consultation is free and confidential. There are no fees unless and until you recover compensation.