Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that primarily occurs from asbestos exposure. The disease progresses very slowly, and it’s not until it starts affecting various body organs that an affected individual starts experiencing symptoms. Therefore, physicians often give a poor mesothelioma prognosis and recommend treatments that can only manage pain but not treat this cancer.
Most mesothelioma patients get exposed to asbestos in occupational settings, such as construction workers, contractors, firefighters, or even veterans. Since these employers failed to protect their workforce from an occupational hazard, affected individuals can hold them liable for damages.
To this extent, mesothelioma compensation is a form of financial recompense that patients or their families receive. It seeks to alleviate the financial, emotional, and physical burden that comes with learning about the disease and its subsequent management.
Although mesothelioma patients have little to no chance of recovering, they can ease the burden on themselves by claiming compensation. This payment can help pay off medical bills that went into the diagnosis or treatment of the disease. Additionally, due to deteriorating health, affected individuals can’t continue working, and their families lose a source of steady income. Under such circumstances, mesothelioma compensations become crucial for the affected families.
And so, they can claim compensation for this disease in one of two ways: trust funds or lawsuits. Here, we discuss the differences between the two and identify how each compensates the injured party.
Companies liable for causing harm to their employees or customers typically establish trust funds to help victims of corporate neglect. This harm can be in the form of asbestos-related diseases or defective products that can cause fatal injuries or accidents. The purpose of these trust funds is to repay the victims in an efficient and streamlined process without any lengthy court proceedings. Seeking legal counsel from firms like Sokolove Law can further expedite this procedure since they have helped thousands of people pursue such cases outside the courtroom.
Those accountable for exposing workers to occupational hazards generally fund these trust funds. The compensation process begins when a victim submits their claim and the relevant evidence to said trust funds. The trust then reviews this claim and takes the subsequent steps according to predetermined criteria.
Trust Fund Process
When an injured party files for a trust fund compensation, there are certain steps they must take to expedite it. A general outline of these steps is as follows:
There are several asbestos-related trust funds, but each is specific to a particular company or product. Before filing a compensation claim, it’s essential to identify the appropriate trust fund(s) eligible for the relevant party.
Any evidence proving an individual’s exposure to asbestos can significantly affect their mesothelioma compensation claim. Documents like medical records, employment history, place of employment, and other such files can be especially helpful.
Consulting with legal counsel
Although this is not a legal requirement, seeking counsel from attorneys and solicitors who have experience with such cases can provide valuable insights. Besides helping you navigate the process, these professionals can offer advice that strengthens your claim and increases your compensation worth.
Completing a claim form
Most mesothelioma-related trust funds have a website or an online form that victims or their families can download. It’s vital to fill out all information as accurately as possible and to include all details about asbestos exposure and the subsequent disease.
Submitting the form
On completing the form, the claimant must attach all supporting documents mentioned in the guidelines. Some companies accept the forms electronically, while others may require the plaintiff to submit them through postal mail.
After receiving the form, the relevant trust fund administrators thoroughly review the information, documents, and other supporting material. They do this to determine the claim’s eligibility and calculate the compensation the injured party can receive.
If the form meets the criteria for a mesothelioma compensation claim, the trust fund offers compensation based on factors like disease stage, years of employment, etc. Once the plaintiff accepts this offer, they receive the amount from the trust fund.
Another legal approach to filing a mesothelioma compensation is through a lawsuit. This process involves legal action against a party responsible for causing asbestos-related injury, such as mesothelioma. In this case, the defendant is the company or organization the patient worked for.
Unlike trust fund compensations, lawsuits can be time-consuming and complex as they typically get resolved through trials or settlement negotiations. During this drawn-out process, both parties present evidence, engage in several proceedings, and even go through a trial before a judge and jury. The compensation the injured party receives from a lawsuit can cover medical bills, living expenses, and other pending payments. However, this financial award often comes far too late without guarantees.
Some of the steps involved in a mesothelioma lawsuit are:
Consult an attorney
Since a lawsuit will most likely go to trial, the plaintiff must consult with an attorney who specializes in asbestos-related cases. They can evaluate the claim, discuss options, and guide the individual through the intricacies of the legal system.
Prepare the case
The injured party must gather all the relevant evidence and documents supporting their claim so their attorney can use this information to build a stronger case.
File a lawsuit
On behalf of the plaintiff, the attorney files a lawsuit detailing allegations and the legal basis of the mesothelioma claim.
Response from the defendant
The defendants, in this case, the employer getting sued, must respond to the lawsuit within the predetermined timeframe. They can deny or admit the allegations or even file for a counterclaim.
Both parties exchange information through depositions, witness testimonies, or document requests.
There can be opportunities for negotiating a settlement at any time during these proceedings. The plaintiff’s attorney advocates for fair compensation that both parties mutually agree on.
Without a settlement, the case proceeds to trial, where both attorneys must present arguments, witnesses, and evidence to convince the judge and jury.
If the injured party wins their claim, the court will issue a judgment detailing the terms of mesothelioma compensation to be awarded.
Both parties can file an appeal if they believe there was an error in the legal proceedings.
However, if the defendant files no appeal and the injured party wins the lawsuit, they will receive compensation based on the court’s judgment.
Before filing either of the two mesothelioma compensation claims, consulting with a legal professional who can help understand available options might be better. This ensures mesothelioma patients or their families receive at least compensation for exposure to hazardous environments.