Mesothelioma patients may be eligible for workers’ compensation if they were exposed to asbestos on the job. Patients with other work-related asbestos injuries, such as asbestosis, may also be eligible. Workers’ compensation can help mesothelioma patients with medical bills and loss of income.

01. What Is Workers’ Comp?

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides money and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill because of their job. People who were exposed to asbestos at work and developed a related disease may be eligible for workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation for asbestos injuries is commonly referred to as asbestos workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ Compensation for Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure is considered a work injury. As a result, individuals with illnesses caused by asbestos exposure may be eligible for workers’ compensation. These illnesses include mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos cancers.

How Can A Lawyer Help?

  • They will determine if an asbestos injury constitutes a work injury.
  • They understand state-specific workers’ compensation laws.
  • They help ensure you meet claim deadlines.
  • They can advise if workers’ compensation is the best option.

Many employers knowingly exposed workers to the dangers of asbestos. Workers’ compensation is one way for asbestos victims to seek compensation for this negligence.

Employees previously had to sue their employers for any financial help for a work injury. By the 1920s, most states had established workers’ compensation as an option.

Now, companies typically must have this insurance to handle injuries in the workplace.

Workers’ Compensation for Asbestosis and Lung Cancer

Workers’ compensation claims are typically more common for asbestosis and lung cancer than for mesothelioma. This is because these illnesses may have a shorter latency period. In other words, symptoms may emerge sooner.

Asbestosis Workers’ Compensation
  • Asbestosis is typically caused by long-term asbestos exposure.
  • Asbestosis was one of the earliest recognizable illnesses caused by exposure.
  • Some individuals are diagnosed while still working an asbestos occupation.
  • Asbestosis workers’ compensation can help with medical bills and lost income.
Lung Cancer Workers’ Compensation
  • According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Studies show asbestos causes around 4% of lung cancer cases.
  • Lung cancer often prevents individuals from being able to work.
  • Workers’ compensation for lung cancer can help with lost income and medical expenses.
02. Workers’ Comp Eligibility

Am I Eligible for Asbestos Workers’ Compensation?

Asbestos exposure is considered a work injury. As a result, individuals with illnesses caused by asbestos exposure may be eligible for workers’ compensation. These illnesses include mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos cancers.

Asbestos workers’ compensation may be an option for individuals with a diagnosis directly related to asbestos exposure at work. Common requirements include proof of an asbestos-related diagnosis and proof of occupational exposure.

An occupational disease is an illness caused by work or working conditions.

Workers may have been directly or indirectly exposed to asbestos at work. Examples of occupational asbestos exposure include:

  • Those manufacturing products with raw types of asbestos
  • Those working with materials that contain asbestos
  • Those working in a building or area with exposed asbestos materials

Claimants should talk to an asbestos lawyer to determine workers’ compensation eligibility. 

Statutes of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Claims

Claimants must meet certain deadlines for filing a workers’ compensation claim. These deadlines are referred to as the statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations vary by state and type of claim.

Workers’ compensation claim deadlines are often strict and short (1 – 3 years after injury). However, asbestos-related illnesses may take much longer to develop.

For example, mesothelioma has a long latency period. This means it may take patients 10 – 50 years to develop mesothelioma symptoms. Patients may be diagnosed after their workers’ compensation deadline has passed.

Many mesothelioma patients do receive money from workers’ compensation claims. However, it is a more common financial option for patients with asbestosis and lung cancer. These conditions often present much sooner, meaning victims can meet state deadlines for filing a claim.

Other Workers’ Compensation Requirements

Depending on where a workers’ compensation claim is filed, additional limitations may apply. In some states, the claimant’s age and retirement status may impact eligibility.

Workers’ Comp for Federal Employees

The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) outlines additional requirements for federal workers. FECA is administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP).

For example, Rhode Island residents may not be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim if they voluntarily left a job. This applies to retired employees.

However, some states are more flexible with workers’ compensation laws. For example, Connecticut residents can file a claim if they are working (or retired) and at any age.

03. Benefits & Drawbacks

Is Workers’ Compensation the Best Option for Mesothelioma Victims?

Mesothelioma victims should consult with an experienced attorney to determine if workers’ compensation is the best option. Mesothelioma patients may receive more compensation through a mesothelioma settlement, asbestos lawsuit or asbestos trust fund claim. Some individuals may also be eligible for veterans’ benefits.

In some cases, workers’ compensation may be the best option for financial help. However, there are various compensation options for a mesothelioma patient to consider.

Asbestos attorneys have experience handling such cases. They can advise a claimant on which option will likely result in the highest award. They will review work history, medical records and other documentation before helping a victim file an asbestos claim.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Mesothelioma Patients

Workers’ compensation can provide patients and families with financial help. This includes help with mesothelioma treatment costs and loss of income.

Potential Benefits of Workers’ Compensation for Asbestos Victims

  • Provides help with medical expenses
  • Replaces lost income
  • Helps victims find another job, when applicable

Patients seeking specialized treatment often have to pay for travel, lodging and other associated expenses. Workers’ compensation can help cover these bills. For some patients, workers’ compensation may be the only compensation option.

Workers’ compensation can help recover lost income by providing disability payments to patients. Disability payments are also referred to as replacement income. Replacement income may be temporary or permanent. Individuals may be eligible for weekly payments or large lump sums.

In some circumstances, workers’ compensation may also help claimants find a new job.

Drawbacks of Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma workers’ compensation claims may result in less compensation than a lawsuit or settlement. This is a factor for many claimants. Additionally, individuals who file a workers’ compensation claim may not be able to pursue other compensation options.

Workers’ compensation claims also have stricter deadlines compared to other claim types.

  • Deadlines for workers’ compensation claims are typically 1 – 3 years after a workplace injury.
  • Deadlines for personal injury or wrongful death claims are typically 1 – 3 years after diagnosis. This provides patients with a longer timeframe to file a claim.

Potential Drawbacks of Workers’ Compensation for Asbestos Victims

  • Lower average compensation amounts than settlements or jury awards
  • Tighter time constraints for filing a claim
  • Offsets can lower future compensation awards

Individuals filing an asbestos workers’ compensation claim may also face offsets. Offsets can lower future compensation amounts.

For example, a claimant may receive a workers’ compensation award and later decide to pursue a lawsuit against an asbestos manufacturer. The workers’ compensation award could be deducted from the mesothelioma lawsuit award. Offset rules vary by state.

04. Workers’ Comp After Death

Is Workers’ Compensation an Option After Death?

Loved ones may be able to receive workers’ compensation after losing a family member to an asbestos injury. Eligibility and benefits differ by state.

Workers’ compensation after death can provide help with:

  • Loss of income from the deceased individual
  • Burial fees and other funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses incurred prior to death

Children of a deceased victim may receive financial help. Depending on the state the claim is filed in, this is an option if children are below 18 – 22 years old. However, they may have a longer eligibility period if attending college. Surviving loved ones should consult with an attorney to determine if workers’ compensation is a potential option.

05. Compensation Amounts

How Much Money Can I Get From Workers’ Compensation?

The amount of money claimants receive from a workers’ compensation claim varies. An asbestos lawyer can help patients determine if a workers’ compensation claim will deliver the most compensation possible. For some asbestos victims, a lawsuit or trust fund claim may be more successful.

Some workers’ compensation claims result in large financial awards. Payouts may total hundreds of thousands of dollars. In rare cases, victims can receive up to $1 million. A mesothelioma attorney can help individuals determine if a workers’ compensation claim will provide the best compensation.

06. How to File a Claim

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim After Asbestos Exposure

The first step to filing a workers’ compensation claim is to speak with a lawyer experienced with asbestos litigation. An experienced lawyer will review your case to determine if workers’ compensation is right for you.

If you move forward with a workers’ compensation claim, a lawyer can guide you through the entire process. Your lawyer will determine what documentation you need to successfully file in your state. An attorney can help you collect the required documentation and submit the claim.

The claim will then be reviewed and approved or denied. If approved, either the company responsible for exposure or its insurance company will pay out the award.

If a workers’ compensation claim is disputed, claimants may need to go to court. A judge will review all aspects of the case and issue an official ruling.

A mesothelioma law firm can help through this entire process.