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Filing Mesothelioma Claims During COVID-19

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on June 11, 2020

Coronavirus & Mesothelioma: What Patients Should Know

Mesothelioma patients have higher health risks than the average person when it comes to the coronavirus or COVID-19. They are incredibly immunocompromised due to their medical conditions and related treatments, such as chemotherapy. This makes mesothelioma patients highly vulnerable to the disease. As a patient with mesothelioma, learn your risks and how to protect yourself from the novel coronavirus, according to health officials.

One of the many things COVID-19 has changed is the court system in New York. Social distancing guidelines and other effects of the pandemic have led to courthouses doing things differently. It is still critical, however, to file a mesothelioma claim on time. Many attorneys are still handling these suits through virtual and telecommunications tools. Filing a claim during COVID-19 could help you achieve a faster resolution as a patient with this disease. It could be crucial to act now if you are close to your filing deadline.

Mesothelioma Patients Are at High Risk

The coronavirus affects the same part of the body as the most common form of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma: the lungs. As someone with mesothelioma, you already have compromised respiratory and immune systems. Adding the symptoms of COVID-19 could mean severe illness. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that adults with severe underlying medical conditions, including lung diseases, are at a higher risk of serious complications connected to the coronavirus. Pay attention to potential signs of the virus. Early medical intervention is critical.

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty rousing
  • Body aches
  • Blue coloration of the lips or face

Coronavirus has many of the same symptoms as mesothelioma. It can be difficult, therefore, to tell whether you have COVID-19 or are simply experiencing symptoms related to your existing medical condition. If you notice anything new, or you have a high temperature when you did not before, contact your doctor immediately. Your physician can recommend additional tests or medical care for you as someone highly vulnerable to the virus. Prompt action could get you the treatment you need to prevent some of the most severe complications related to COVID-19.

Why You Need To Act Quickly

As someone with mesothelioma, you do not have unlimited time to file a claim. You must file by New York’s statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a legal deadline for all civil claims. In some states, the deadline for a mesothelioma claim is as short as one year from the date of diagnosis. The sooner you speak to a mesothelioma attorney about your case, the better. Discussing things early with an attorney can ensure you do not miss your deadline to file.

In general, you will have a maximum of three years from the date of your mesothelioma diagnosis to file a civil suit in New York. You will have two years if you bring a wrongful death cause of action. Experts do not know when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. While some states are extending statutes of limitations in light of changes related to the coronavirus, others are following existing deadlines. Do not wait to file your claim, or you could risk missing the time limit. Filing too late will usually mean losing your right to obtain compensation.

Isolation Is Your Greatest Protection

No known cure for the coronavirus exists. There is no vaccine available. Instead, healthcare professionals are recommending self-isolation and social distancing. As someone highly vulnerable to the coronavirus, isolate yourself at home with only your other household members for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation can be the best way to avoid exposure to the virus as someone with mesothelioma. If you allow anyone into your home, check that person for a high temperature and possible virus symptoms before allowing entrance.

Avoid large crowds and public transportation. While in self-isolation, keep up with physical exercise and any treatments for mesothelioma you can do at home. Using soap and warm water, rub your hands together to wash them for at least 20 seconds. Disinfect the surfaces of your home that are commonly touched at least once per day. Avoid touching your face or mouth, especially if you are in a place where you cannot wash your hands often. 

If you have to leave home, stay at least six feet away from other people and wear an approved mask to help avoid contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Help Is Available at Home

You may not have to leave your home to speak to a physician about mesothelioma. Many doctor’s offices offer virtual appointments for patients who are self-quarantined. You can use a virtual appointment to check in with your doctor as you usually would, in place of an in-office visit. If a virtual meeting is not possible, skip non-urgent doctor’s office visits until the government announces the end of the risk period for COVID-19. In the meantime, request your pharmacy to send your prescriptions directly to your residence.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus might delay your mesothelioma treatments, such as radiation therapy. Pulmonary units and medical teams at many hospitals are dedicating their personnel and resources entirely to caring for COVID-19-positive patients. Speak to your doctor about how the virus might impact your treatment plan. If you notice symptoms of an illness, call your primary care physician immediately for guidance. Your doctor can help you understand what to do if you get sick.

How To Bring A Claim During COVID-19

It is critical to keep yourself safe as a patient with mesothelioma who wishes to file a lawsuit during COVID-19. You are especially susceptible to severe health complications related to the coronavirus. Do not travel to a law office in person. Instead, call the firm or submit a query online to hear back virtually. Your mesothelioma attorney will understand that you are immunocompromised and must continue your case virtually for your safety. Discuss the possibility of a lawsuit during a video chat or phone call.

If the lawyer accepts your case, they can help you file your claim virtually. An attorney can ensure a smooth filing process with the correct county court. From obtaining electronic signatures to submitting paperwork virtually, your lawyer can handle matters on your behalf to start a mesothelioma claim without you needing to leave home. 

Many judges in New York are entering judgments and making decisions virtually whenever possible. Through videoconferencing technology, you could even have a face-to-face meeting without being in the same room as your lawyer or a judge.

Most mesothelioma claims resolve without needing to go to court. If you qualify for recovery through one of several federal asbestos trust funds, for example, a lawyer can handle your case outside the court system. 

Even if the courts are closed due to the coronavirus, you could receive compensation for your damages depending on the circumstances. The best thing you can do to help your mesothelioma lawsuit is to contact an attorney virtually or by phone immediately about a potential case. Even during COVID-19, there are safe and effective ways to obtain compensation for your losses.

Mesothelioma Lawyers Have Gone Virtual

Most law offices are still operating at total capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the New York mesothelioma lawyers at The Williams Law Firm are still accepting new clients and pursuing claims. They have changed most in-person matters to virtual meetings following social distancing guidelines and safer-at-home orders. 

Telecommunication technology allows lawyers to still host meetings, discuss cases, and answer client questions without face-to-face consultations. Ask a lawyer near you about pursuing a mesothelioma claim during COVID-19 regulations.

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