Many people who have received a mesothelioma diagnosis are concerned that they may not live long enough to receive a settlement for their illness. The expenses associated with this severe disease can reach tens of thousands of dollars or more, potentially forcing family members to file for bankruptcy. Fortunately, most mesothelioma claims result in a settlement (or verdict) that covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and occasionally more.
Additionally, many court systems are able to expedite the legal process for mesothelioma sufferers, sometimes resulting in the receipt of settlement funds in as little as four or five months. Should you pass away before the settlement is awarded, family members may still be eligible to receive the anticipated funds or file a post-mortem wrongful death claim to cover outstanding medical costs, funeral expenses and beyond.
Importance of Early Initiation of the Claims Process
Sadly, the majority of mesothelioma victims are not diagnosed until their illness has reached an advanced stage that is typically very difficult to treat. Most people will live at least another year after their initial diagnosis while some live as long as five to ten additional years. With so many unknowns involved, it is extremely important to initiate your mesothelioma claim as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you determine the best course of action in your situation, as multiple claim options to obtain compensation may exist.
The Right Lawyer is a Significant Factor
When time is of the essence, hiring the best lawyer becomes a significant factor which can influence how long you will have to wait to receive compensation. Your lawyer will need to determine where and when you were exposed to asbestos and will prepare a significant amount of paperwork for your claim. When interviewing potential law firms, be sure to inquire as to whether they will be able to begin working on your case immediately, what experience they have, and what settlements and verdicts they’ve won for other mesothelioma patients.
Attorneys within some firms are more concerned with money than they are with their clients and have a tendency to spread themselves overly thin. This can result in the loss of precious time, so be sure to do your homework before committing to work with any particular attorney.
Settlements Vs. Verdicts
Although the vast majority of mesothelioma cases are settled out of court, some do make it to trial and may result in a significantly higher payout if the verdict is in favor of the plaintiff. Time is often a critical issue for those suffering from mesothelioma and many judges will prioritize cases involving those who are seriously ill. Still, even when the process is expedited, most courtroom trials take significantly longer to complete than out of court settlements.
Most organizations prefer to settle out of court to avoid expensive legal costs and negative publicity, but a professional attorney is important to ensure each victim receives a fair amount of compensation. Additionally, if the corporation or organization responsible for your illness has filed for bankruptcy and established a trust containing funds to compensate mesothelioma victims, sometimes you not have the option of going to court. Although trusts have established payment amounts which are sometimes lower than anticipated, compensation from a mesothelioma trust fund is virtually guaranteed if you qualify for a claim.
Wrongful Death Claims May be Filed by Family Members
In the event that you do pass away before a legal settlement or verdict is reached, your family members may still be eligible to receive funds from an anticipated settlement in proportions you are able to clearly define before your death. As an alternative, they may prefer to file a wrongful death claim to receive financial compensation for any outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses and beyond.
Claims must be filed before the statute of limitations runs out, but in some cases, settlements may be larger than those received prior to death. Healthy family members may be more likely to refuse low settlement offers if encouraged to do so by an experienced lawyer who is familiar with mesothelioma proceedings.