For the 3000 Americans diagnosed yearly with mesothelioma, compensation is available. In fact, there are multiple ways for victims to be fairly compensated-and none is generally considered exclusive.
For those exposed to asbestos in an occupational setting, workers compensation may be one viable option. In cases of veterans’ mesothelioma, disability compensation and other military benefits are provided through the Department of Veteran Affairs. The Social Security Administration also provides disability benefits to those unable to work due to illness.
Help is available through the court system as well. Filing a claim against the companies that were responsible for causing your exposure to what was known by industry insiders-even decades ago-to be a highly toxic carcinogen is considered one of the best ways to receive. Compensatory damages may be allotted for medical expenses, victims’ pain and suffering, as well as lost wages due to disability-related unemployment.
If you believe that you may be entitled to mesothelioma compensation-which can total into the millions-you’ll need to follow the steps outlined below to get started:
1. Hire an attorney.
The first step is perhaps the most important, because the attorney that you choose will be your guide through the following steps. You’ll want to find an attorney that specializes in mesothelioma- or asbestos-related litigation and also ensure that he or she is experienced handling cases like yours-guaranteeing the level of knowledge and expertise needed to put together a winning case.
2. File a claim.
Once your mesothelioma lawyer has collected all relevant information about your claim-including medical history, documentation of diagnosis and possibly occupational background-he or she will draft the appropriate legal documents and then file them with the court or courts that you have together determined are most applicable in your case. Compiling adequate proof of your asbestos exposure and subsequent illness, as well as documentation showing liability on the part of the defendant(s), is extremely important and will play an even bigger role after your claim has been filed and served to the opposing party or parties.
3. Exchange documentation with the defendant(s).
Your potential mesothelioma compensation is dependent on the accurateness and legitimacy of your claim. Your attorney will have to provide all requested documents, records and responses to interrogatories to the other side in a timely and organized manner. There will be a set window for this process, called “discovery”, and it will also give you the same opportunity to request information from the defendant. Discovery is important, not only because the evidence presented therein will be used to prove your case in court should it go that far, but also because the strength of that evidence is likely to be the chief determining factor to sway the defendant(s) in favor of a settlement or not.
4. Negotiate a settlement (or head to trial).
Most asbestos-related claims these days do settle out of court, as the liable party concedes to pay an agreed amount of mesothelioma compensation and avoid the hassle and expense of taking the case before a judge or jury. This is the quickest and easiest way to resolve a case and is very likely in any scenario where the defendant(s) do not expect to be able to win in court.