Why You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent You in Your Mesothelioma Claim
By David Carnes, Staff Writer
Mesothelioma is a devastating disease caused by long-term exposure to asbestos that often leaves its victims with a year or so to live (longer survival rates are becoming more common). Symptoms often fail to appear until decades after exposure. Because of the widespread use of asbestos in the U.S., mesothelioma has resulted in a torrent of litigation. Since victims typically have short life expectancies, and an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can expedite your case so that you receive compensation before it’s too late.
Statutes of Limitations
The statute of limitations sets forth how long you have to file your mesothelioma claim. If you miss the deadline, you will not be able to file a lawsuit (and the defendant can safely ignore your settlement demands). The statute of limitations for a mesothelioma claim varies from one year in California to six years in Maine. Fortunately, the limitation period begins running when you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, not when you were exposed to asbestos.
The statute of limitations deadlines for filing mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits (filed by close relatives of a deceased mesothelioma victim) begin running on the date that the victim dies, and they allow the plaintiff similar periods to file a lawsuit.
Contingency Fee Arrangements
Pursuing a mesothelioma personal injury claim can be expensive, especially if extensive investigation is required to prove how and where you were exposed to asbestos as well as your past, present and future damages. Lawyers typically handle mesothelioma claims on a contingency fee basis, however. This means that you pay your lawyer nothing if you lose the case, and your lawyer might even pay the case expenses (such as investigation fees) on your behalf. If you win the case or negotiate a settlement, your lawyer will be entitled to a percentage of your recovery.
Asbestos Victim’s Trust Funds
Since mesothelioma takes so long to develop, many manufacturers have gone out of business. Normally, this would prevent you from obtaining any damages, since you would have no defendant to sue or negotiate with. Fortunately, however, courts required manufacturers and installers to contribute to mesothelioma trust funds that were established to pay out damages to mesothelioma victims. Some of these trust funds are richer than others, and how much money you end up with depends to some extent on which trust fund is paying your claim.
In a mesothelioma verdict or settlement, you can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering and other items. The amount you actually receive could be anything from a few thousand dollars to several million dollars, depending on:
- The identity of the plaintiff (an asbestos manufacturer or installer, a mesothelioma victim trust fund or an insurance company);
- The extent that your illness has affected your life; and
- The skill of your lawyer at selecting the right plaintiff to sue, proving your damages and bargaining at the negotiating table.
With the assistance of an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, your chances of a sufficient recovery are quite good.
If you have mesothelioma and suspect that it may have been caused by exposure to asbestos, use our attorney search function to locate a mesothelioma attorney near you.