Since the beginning of asbestos litigation in the 1970s and 1980s, there have been many misconceptions about mesothelioma claims including their nature, eligibility, timeframe for filing a claim, amount of recovery, and other aspects.
Unfortunately, many mesothelioma victims and their family members have not timely consulted with a qualified attorney to learn and understand their legal rights and rather allowed themselves to be misguided by these misconceptions. This may have resulted in many deserving families being denied full compensation. Today, we attempt to correct some of the most common misconceptions about mesothelioma claims.
There are asbestos bankruptcy trusts that will pay large settlements to every person diagnosed with mesothelioma.
To qualify for compensation with an asbestos bankruptcy trust, a person diagnosed with mesothelioma will usually have to present: (1) proof of exposure to the asbestos-containing products of the particular company that formed the trust; or (2) evidence that they were present at an “approved work site” recognized by the particular bankruptcy trust. The amount of proof needed depends on the rules for the particular trust. A person who qualifies for many bankruptcy trusts may receive a significant amount of money. However, the amounts awarded by bankruptcy trusts are much less than the full value of the devastating, fatal injuries caused by mesothelioma.
All of the companies that made or sold asbestos-containing products are bankrupt and have already been brought to justice.
A large number of companies that made or sold asbestos-containing products are not bankrupt. Thousands of companies manufactured or sold asbestos-containing products. Many of these companies are among the biggest and most profitable corporations in America. Many companies who made or sold asbestos-containing products have not been brought to justice and are still being identified as new people become sick with mesothelioma. There are many solvent companies who can be brought to justice in a civil lawsuit if there is proof that they caused asbestos exposure to a person with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma claims are “class action” lawsuits and not individual cases.
A class action is a group action in which one person known as a “class representative” represents the interests of other people who are “similarly situated.” Mesothelioma lawsuits are NOT class actions. A person with mesothelioma has their own individual lawsuit. The lawsuit starts out with the filing of an individual complaint and culminates with a trial date for the individual person. In some jurisdictions, several individual mesothelioma claims may be “joined” by the court for a single trial because the cases share common issues for a jury to decide.
All mesothelioma claims are worth a similar amount of money.
A mesothelioma claim may be worth a large amount of money if there is detailed proof of exposure to asbestos for which solvent companies are legally responsible. On the other hand, a mesothelioma claim can be worth a very small amount of money if there is little or no proof of exposure to asbestos materials manufactured or sold by particular companies. In other words, mesothelioma claims can be worth very different amounts of money depending on the facts of each case.
If a person with mesothelioma does not know how they were exposed to asbestos, they will not have a case.
Many people do not know how they were exposed to asbestos. This is because most asbestos products contained no label about the presence of asbestos and no warnings about the hazards of asbestos. Law firms specializing in mesothelioma claims, and medical experts trained in occupational and environmental medicine, are trained in identifying products and work activities that may have exposed a person to asbestos. A person may be exposed to asbestos from working directly with a product, from being a bystander to someone else working with a product, from having contact with contaminated work clothing of a family member, or from living in the neighborhood of a plant that manufactured asbestos products. An investigation into a person’s work history and background can uncover asbestos exposures that a person did not know about.
If a person diagnosed with mesothelioma served in the military, they can only recover money through a claim with the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.
Veterans who were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military and developed mesothelioma may receive benefits from the United States government by filing a “VA claim”. However, this claim does NOT prevent a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma from seeking full compensation by also filing claims with bankruptcy trusts and against solvent companies in a civil lawsuit.
All law firms that advertise for mesothelioma claims litigate the cases on behalf of the client.
Some law firms that advertise for mesothelioma claims on television or on the internet do not have experience actually litigating asbestos cases. Some of these “advertising firms” refer all the cases to other law firms who actually litigate the cases. A person interviewing a firm to handle a mesothelioma case should find out about the firm’s track record in actually litigating, settling and trying mesothelioma cases in courtrooms.
While the facts we provide above can help correct some of the most common misconceptions about mesothelioma claims, we strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney specialized in mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases to ensure you or your loved understand your legal rights and so that you can make an informed decision about your family’s future.
To receive a FREE consultation with one of our mesothelioma attorneys, please call 24/7 at 1-800-637-6529 or submit an online inquiry on this website.
Under the law of most states, pain and suffering from mesothelioma may be compensated through the award of money damages, usually obtained with the help of experienced mesothelioma attorneys. In some states other types of damages may also be recovered.
Asbestos litigation affords mesothelioma victims the opportunity to receive financial compensation and hold accountable the companies that caused their asbestos exposure.
- Preserve your rights to bring a legal action against the responsible parties within the limited time frame allowed by law, known as statute of limitations;
- Obtain maximum compensation in your case by being able to:
- Preserve evidence and establish facts of the asbestos exposure while the claimant is still alive and able to provide information;
- File and resolve a lawsuit against the responsible parties before they file for bankruptcy or, if they already have, to obtain compensation before their bankruptcy trust funds run out of money;
- Expedite your case, as courts tend to give higher priority to mesothelioma lawsuits where the claimant is still alive.