What Are Asbestos Compensation Claims?
Mesothelioma is a particularly unforgiving form of cancer. Its victims usually succumb to the disease within one to two years. Sometimes the end may come much more quickly. There may be no time to pursue compensation while a family member is still living unless the family acts quickly. Ensuring proper healthcare and that your loved one is as comfortable as possible are your top priorities. This doesn’t change the fact that when someone in your family passes away due to mesothelioma, caused by asbestos, or another asbestos disease, you are likely to have very valuable asbestos compensation claims against the corporations responsible for exposing your loved one to asbestos.
After mesothelioma has claimed the life of your loved one, it is not too late to pursue asbestos compensation claims. You can file a type of lawsuit called a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Purpose of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When you lose a family member to mesothelioma or other asbestos disease, you can file asbestos compensation claims for your own losses and on behalf of your loved one. Your claims may include the loss of future financial support and wages, the cost of medical bills, and the pain and suffering experienced between the diagnosis and the death of your family member. If the person you have lost was your spouse, you may be able to recover damages due to loss of consortium. This category of damages covers the loss of emotional support and comfort that the death has cost you.
The Basics of Asbestos Compensation Claims After Death
All legal claims are subject to statutes of limitations. This means that you need to take action within a certain amount of time or you lose your right to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims varies from state to state. You will most likely need to file a wrongful death lawsuit within one to three years after the death of your family member due to asbestos exposure. It’s a good idea to consult an experienced asbestos attorney as soon as you can, to be sure you preserve your rights to your asbestos compensation claims.
There are some limits on who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You may be able to pursue asbestos compensation claims on behalf of your deceased loved one if you are a close family member: child (natural or adopted), spouse, parent, grandparent, sister, or brother.
If you are not a family member but you relied on the person who died for significant financial support, you may also have valid asbestos compensation claims that you can pursue through a wrongful death lawsuit. You must have a serious financial loss to qualify as financially dependent. California, for example, will allow non-family members to file wrongful death lawsuits if they received, at minimum, half their financial support from the person who died due to asbestos exposure.
Wrongful Death Verdicts and Settlements
Jury trials are not the only way to resolve asbestos compensation claims. About 95% of asbestos lawsuits are completely settled before trial. Settlement is appealing to corporations because it saves them the expense and embarrassment of a jury trial. The responsible companies can provide compensation without admitting guilt, in most cases, and the amount of the settlement is usually confidential.
Settlement is also beneficial for plaintiffs, because it spares you from the process of going through trial, which can be stressful and costly. While settlements are usually smaller than jury verdicts, they make up for this by saving plaintiffs legal costs. A settlement can also be the quickest way for you to get the compensation you need to make up for lost wages and pay medical bills.
There is a third avenue for asbestos compensation claims: asbestos trust funds. A number of companies have filed for bankruptcy due to asbestos lawsuits. Those corporations set up asbestos compensation funds, to pay their victims of asbestos exposure. If your loved one was exposed to asbestos by a corporation which has set up an asbestos trust fund, your attorney can make a wrongful death claim against the fund.
How Large Are Asbestos Compensation Claims After Death?
Like asbestos lawsuits filed by people with mesothelioma, wrongful death lawsuits relating to asbestos compensation claims can result in large payouts. Kazan Law has a track record of gaining large settlements and jury verdicts for its clients. In fact, Kazan Law won the highest wrongful death jury verdict in the State of California in 2014. A Kazan attorney was able to obtain $11.3 million in compensation for the widow and daughters of a man who had died due to exposure to asbestos-lined brakes at his workplace.
The amount you receive will depend on a number of factors, including the age and work prospects of the family member who died, the nature of the illness before death, and the weight of the evidence connecting his or her death to asbestos exposure at the hands of particular corporations. The amount you receive can also vary depending on whether you get it from an asbestos trust fund or through a settlement or verdict. An experienced asbestos attorney can walk you through these factors and help you assess the strength of your claim and the range of compensation you may be likely to receive.
That said, asbestos compensation claims often lead to settlements and verdicts worth millions of dollars.
How Do I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Your most important ally in recovering your asbestos compensation claims after the death of your loved one is your asbestos attorney. Good asbestos attorneys will take your case on a contingency basis. This means that you pay no legal fees unless your attorney is able to win compensation for your wrongful death claims; when you do receive payment, your attorney’s fees are a percentage of that money.
The most important decision you will make after the death of your family member – indeed, one of the most important financial decisions of your life – is the choice of your asbestos law firm. When you work with an experienced asbestos firm with a track record of winning compensation for mesothelioma clients, such as Kazan Law, it can mean the difference of millions of dollars in recovery for your asbestos compensation claims.