Types of Asbestos Compensation
There are four main types of compensation that mesothelioma patients may receive. Not all patients are eligible for all compensation options. A mesothelioma lawyer can discuss what is best for you.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos was used frequently from the 1940s through the 1960s, before its dangers became known and laws and regulations were put into place in the early 1970s. Over time, a number of asbestos companies that manufactured, distributed, sold or used asbestos products and materials have either gone out of business, merged with other corporations or have been restructured due to bankruptcy. Oftentimes, the end of their business was due to a series of compensation claims filed against them for asbestos-related injuries.
Even if the company responsible for your exposure and diagnosis is no longer in business, it’s still possible to receive compensation from them. In many cases, they were required to establish asbestos bankruptcy trust funds with money to pay out future claims. These claims do have certain criteria that the mesothelioma victim must meet to be eligible. An asbestos attorney can help determine your eligibility.
A settlement can occur if a patient or loved one files a mesothelioma claim against one or more asbestos companies for personal injury or wrongful death. In most cases, companies will offer a settlement before the claim reaches trial, to avoid the possibility of paying out even more financial compensation if the jury or judge finds them guilty.
The patient or family member filing can decide whether or not to accept compensation in the form of a settlement, and an experienced mesothelioma attorney can offer insight to the advantages and disadvantages.
From time to time, a mesothelioma claim may make it all the way to a jury trial. If no settlement is reached, and if the defendant is found liable for the asbestos exposure that led to the development of mesothelioma, a jury will determine the amount of compensation to be paid to the injured party. The amount awarded often includes actual expenses incurred as well as punitive damages.
Waiting for a verdict can sometimes be risky, which is why many companies want to settle. However, it may also be in the best interest of the plaintiff to settle as well, since juries could also return a verdict that either finds the company not to be liable or which awards a smaller amount of compensation than they might have received in a settlement. Having a skilled attorney who can advise you about the strength of your case and the likelihood of a favorable verdict and award is critical to ensuring that you receive the greatest amount of monetary compensation possible.
Retired military personnel make up one of the largest populations of people that were exposed to asbestos, especially those who served in the Navy, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and U.S. Army Transport Service. Much of veterans’ exposure was due to the use of asbestos on warships and other naval vessels. As a result, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) has designated mesothelioma as one of the several diseases that qualify for disability benefits.
To qualify for a VA claim, veterans must meet the following criteria:
- Discharged under circumstances other than dishonorable conditions.
- Ability to show that asbestos exposure occurred during the time of service.
Veterans may also be eligible to get financial assistance through no-cost health benefits given to veterans with service-related disabilities, including malignant mesothelioma.
Resources for Mesothelioma Patients
Eligibility for Compensation
Oftentimes patients question their eligibility if they don’t know how or when they were exposed to asbestos. However, experienced mesothelioma law firms are typically able to do extensive research into your personal and occupational history to pinpoint the likely cause of exposure. Eligibility also differs based on the type of compensation that you are pursuing.
Determining Compensation Amounts
It’s impossible to predict how much compensation you will receive. Compensation can vary greatly based on the type of financial assistance you pursue and a variety of other characteristics.
Factors that could affect the value of your case include:
- Venue, or location, of your mesothelioma claim
- Whether or not you have served in the military
- Age, gender and occupational history
- Level of pain and suffering
- Type of asbestos that you were exposed to
- Location and amount of asbestos exposure
Mesothelioma lawyers understand that there are many different expenses associated with your diagnosis, which could lead to an increase in your compensation award. Expenses that are considered when determining this amount include:
- Diagnostic costs, treatment costs and other medical expenses not covered by your health insurance
- Ongoing medical bills throughout the course of treatment
- Travel costs associated with finding a cancer center/mesothelioma specialist
- Loss of income when you or a family member is no longer able to work as a result of their mesothelioma diagnosis
- Inability to support dependants in your household
- Funeral expenses and loss of potential income, in the case of wrongful death claims
Although mesothelioma law firms cannot provide you with a definitive estimate of how much compensation you will receive, they can help you understand what option will likely provide you with the most financial assistance.