Thousands of companies have had to defend themselves from asbestos lawsuits. Some of these cases were brought by the family of a person who was diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related illness, and passed away either before or during a lawsuit. People who are close enough to the deceased can file a wrongful death claim, provided they meet certain criteria.
An experienced attorney will educate you about your right to resubmit your lawsuit as a wrongful death suit. The laws for this process differ between states.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Statutes of Limitations
Time is of the essence when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits related to asbestos. Generally speaking, you have one to three years to make your asbestos claim. The amount of time you have to file depends on the state where you will file your claim.
Kazan Law’s History of Winning Wrongful Death Suits
In 2014 Kazan Law was recognized for obtaining the largest wrongful death jury verdict in all of California.. Representing Emily Bankhead, Tammy Bankhead, and Debbie Bankhead-Meiers, the widow and adult daughters of Gordon Bankhead, Kazan Law partner David McClain led our team to an $11.3 million verdict on behalf of the family. The defendant, Pneumo Abex, routinely exposed Mr. Bankhead to asbestos-containing brakes.
After Death Mesothelioma Claims: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Certain criteria must be met and the death itself needs to be the result of negligence or a wrongful act to file a wrongful death suit.
The ability to seek compensation for the death of an individual has evolved over time. In the past when a person was murdered or died at the hands of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, you could not sue for damages. It was actually cheaer for the guilty party financially if the victim died as a result of the injuries, rather than having to pay for lifetime medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering compensation.
Seeing this problem with old law, governments established the right for people to sue for compensation as a result of a wrongful death. But the people who could bring the suit forward had to be close enough to the deceased that it made sense. An acquaintance or long lost cousin could not come forward and claim they deserved compensation for the death of a person they barely knew.
Legally speaking, you need to be eligible to file your suit. This is called “standing.” Below are some examples of the types of relationships that may permit a wrongful death suit.
- Husbands, wives, children (including adopted or step), mothers and fathers, sisters or brothers
- Grandparents are also included
- People who are financially dependent on the deceased (This varies by states. In California you need to be at least half financially dependent)
Asbestos companies knew long ago that the substance could lead to death and sickness. Exposing their employees or customers to asbestos can qualify as negligence or a wrongful act.
If you are an immediate family member or financially dependent on a person who has died from asbestos, you should talk with an experienced attorney about filing a wrongful death suit.
The Asbestos, Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process
In all asbestos-related cases, a good lawyer will conduct extensive research. This often starts with interviews with the potential plaintiff. We have our own team of investigators who are experienced in asbestos and have a comprehensive resource database. Kazan Law is aware of almost every company that has used asbestos, enabling our research process to be fast, efficient and accurate. Only at the conclusion of our research will we make an official legal recommendation on what you should do.
If we conclude that you should file a lawsuit and seek damages, we will file the claim. Determining which state to file in is not always straightforward. Generally the claim is filed where the asbestos victim lives or was exposed to asbestos. If there is another state where you could file the case and achieve better results, that state may be chosen.
Discovery is the next part of the lawsuit process. This where your attorney works to build the best case possible. He or she will depose the defendants and gather information about your work history, personal and medical history.
Defendants and their attorneys will make efforts to get the lawsuit dismissed before there is ever a trial. They may also attempt to lowball you on a settlement. Having one of Kazan Law’s experienced attorneys for the negotiation process will guarantee you get the compensation you deserve. Roughly 95% of mesothelioma and asbestos cases will end in settlements. The amount you receive is likely going to be the most significant financial event of your life. So it’s very important to carefully select the right law firm. Our mesothelioma law firm has secured multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients.
To see what legal options you have regarding a wrongful death lawsuit related to asbestos exposure, contact Kazan Law for a free consultation.