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What Are Your Legal Rights After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis?

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on December 17, 2020

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that often comes from exposure to asbestos – a mineral that is a known carcinogen to humans. It is normal to feel overwhelmed or frustrated at your situation if a doctor has recently diagnosed you or a loved one with mesothelioma.

However, it is crucial to act now to protect your rights by investigating your legal options. Mesothelioma is a preventable disease. If someone breached a duty of care owed to you by failing to warn you of the dangers of asbestos, such as an employer, and this is why you now have mesothelioma, the company could owe you financial compensation.

Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Party

One of the best things you can do as a mesothelioma patient is to hire a mesothelioma lawyer. A mesothelioma attorney will be able to take over complicated legal processes on your behalf while you focus on medical treatments and getting well. Your lawyer will explain your legal rights and take immediate action toward obtaining a compensatory award or financial benefits – starting with an investigation to identify the source of the disease, to try to name a defendant.

A thorough investigation can pinpoint the company responsible for exposing you to asbestos. This party will serve as the defendant during your mesothelioma lawsuit. The defendant will be the party that owed you a duty to exercise care, breached this duty and caused your mesothelioma. If your lawyer can prove these three main elements, the courts in New York may grant an award for your damages.

It will be your attorney’s job to demonstrate in court that the company did not warn you of the dangers of asbestos. Individuals, companies and employers have a duty to warn of known dangers – including any risks related to exposure to hazardous substances such as asbestos. Failure to warn creates liability for the company. If your attorney can prove a breach of duty of care connected to your mesothelioma diagnosis, the defendant may owe you compensation.

Asbestos Trust Fund

A successful mesothelioma claim against one or more defendants could help you and your family pay for the costs of mesothelioma. A settlement with an insurance company or a jury-issued verdict could pay for your past and future medical costs, hospital bills, medications, medical devices, therapies, surgeries, legal services, lost income, and pain and suffering. If the at-fault company has since gone out of business or declared bankruptcy, you still have other options for recovery.

You may file a class action mesothelioma lawsuit, a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a loved one due to mesothelioma or a personal injury lawsuit in New York. If the defendant named in your case cannot afford to pay, your lawyer can seek restitution through alternative outlets. The federal government created asbestos trust funds to help pay for victims’ damages in these situations. You may be eligible for compensation through one of the 60 active trust funds in the US if you have mesothelioma, asbestosis or a related disease.

Other Options for Recovery

A civil claim and/or a payout from an asbestos trust fund are not the only legal options you have as a mesothelioma patient. If you are a veteran or active military service member, you may qualify for veterans’ benefits. Veterans’ benefits could pay for medical care and other needs if you suffered asbestos exposure while on duty.

You may also be able to file a workers’ compensation claim in New York if your job exposed you to asbestos. Workers’ compensation benefits may help you pay your expenses without having to prove negligence. Many mesothelioma patients are also eligible for Social Security benefits in addition to other forms of compensation. For a full list of your legal options as someone diagnosed with mesothelioma, speak to a lawyer near you.

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