Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs on most of the thin tissue surfaces of your internal organs. It is one of the more aggressive and deadly forms of cancer caused mainly due to exposure to asbestos exposure. That alone accounts for more than 80% of all known cases of this cancer.
As such, this type of cancer has a high chance of occurrence due to human activities in factories and other places that deal with asbestos. Hence, the victims of this disease can often sue a person or an organization who caused their disease in mesothelioma lawsuits.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
There are two ways with which you can file a lawsuit for causing Mesothelioma. One is a personal injury, and the other, a wrongful death claim.
When a person or a company or companies expose you or a loved one to asbestos, and it leads to either expensive cancer treatments or even the death of a loved one, you can typically file a lawsuit if you meet the eligibility criterion for the same.
Eligibility to File a Lawsuit:
There are three basic requirements to fulfill your lawsuit, they are:
- You have a diagnosis report of Mesothelioma from a legally practicing doctor stating your diagnosis beyond any doubt.
- You can provide either testimony of you or any eyewitnesses of documentation proving that you’ve been significantly exposed to asbestos in recent years.
- Your claim does not exceed the statute of limitations, ranging from one to five years, depending on where you live.
These are the minimum requirements to be eligible to file a lawsuit. However, there are different requirements for the two types of lawsuits that you can file.
Eligibility for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
You would typically be eligible to file a lawsuit if you’re a legal representative of a person that had succumbed to Mesothelioma. You’d usually have to be widowhood or a legal heir or a representative appointed in writing by the person before passing away.
Eligibility for Personal Injury Lawsuit
For a personal injury lawsuit, you would have to file it yourself or through your authorized lawyer. If for any reason, you are hindered from doing so, your legal heir, such as any of your biological or adopted children or your spouse, can do it for you.
What If the Asbestos Company You Wish to Sue Has Filed for Bankruptcy?
In such cases, your file gets a little tricky. You would be indirectly suing the company through its trust fund claim. Your options for a lawsuit would now consist of suing private health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, social security disability benefits, or with the department of veterans’ affairs. Please note, veterans cannot sue the military, but they can sue the company that provided the military with the asbestos.
The Process of Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
The process of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is complex and best handled by a knowledgeable attorney. Here is how such a lawsuit progresses.
You would have to gather any and every piece of information about your history of asbestos exposure. It can include work stamps, of contracts that require you to work in the asbestos-related area, or any testimony from someone who can be called as an authentic witness and, if your attorney says, your testimony as well.
This is the part best left in the hands of your lawyer. They will now submit a written complaint in the court of law. If many years have passed since you’ve worked in the asbestos exposing company, it could now have been bought by a different company or have filed for bankruptcy or changed into another company. Your lawyer will track and find out the appropriate people to serve your complaint with.
All the people served with your complaint would be called defendants and typically have 30 days to respond. They rarely admit fault and will likely try to blame other means for asbestos exposure. Some of the more commonly given excuses include:
- Exposure also happened elsewhere, such as at home or any other place and not just work.
- Your family history has significant rates of unhealthy diagnoses
- Smoking, drinking, and/or drugs caused your problems
- You were exposed to a place where asbestos exposure was more significant.
Settlement requests are rarely included with these responses and are usually low. The wise thing to do would be to wait till the trial date approaches or even after the trial starts.
Lawyers on both sides gather information regarding your allegations and will question you concerning the same. Then based on the validity of your allegations, they would decide to either settle or go to court.
Once the trial begins, both sides would argue, and the jury would give its final verdict after both sides have finished with their arguments. If you win and the defendant does not appeal, you usually start receiving payments in a few months. If they choose to appeal, the whole process repeats. Usually, appeals can only be filed in a given number of days.
To learn more about mesothelioma lawsuits, contact our experienced attorneys today.