Legal Support for Mesothelioma Patients

Quick Summary

If you’ve been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it’s natural to feel frustrated or scared. At this time, your focus will probably be primarily on treatment and improving your prognosis. Pursuing legal channels may be the last thing on your mind. But this is an incredibly important time to look into your legal options.

Mesothelioma Patients and Legal Rights

Mesothelioma stems almost exclusively from exposure to asbestos—a silicate mineral that can cause several fatal illnesses when its fibers are ingested or inhaled. Asbestos use in commercial, residential and industrial settings during the 20th century led to unnecessary exposure, and associated litigation continues to this day.

Here at Mesothelioma Help Now, we help equip you with the information you need to deal with a mesothelioma diagnosis. And while that includes providing resources for your health and wellbeing, we’re also focused on ensuring you get the legal support you deserve.

The link between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure means that those diagnosed were often exposed to the carcinogen at work, at home or through the use of a particular product. Signs of mesothelioma don’t manifest for decades after this exposure. When this happens, you deserve to know what you’re entitled to.

Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or someone in your family has, you should be aware of your rights. To find out more about your options, start by contacting a mesothelioma lawyer to discuss the compensation you’re owed. A mesothelioma lawyer will be able to accurately assess your situation and help you determine what kind of case you have.

Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits

While speaking to a mesothelioma lawyer is the best way to fully understand your legal options, it can help to read about the types of mesothelioma lawsuits in advance.

In general, there are 2 primary types of mesothelioma lawsuits: wrongful death and personal injury.

  • Wrongful Death: A wrongful death lawsuit happens when an individual decides to file a lawsuit for the death of a deceased relative. If a family member passes away from mesothelioma, relatives can choose to file a claim on their behalf. Although it can sometimes be difficult or time-consuming for family members to collect all the information needed to file a claim, it’s still possible. Family members can sometimes receive compensation for expenses such as medical bills, funeral costs or loss of income in caring or treating for a mesothelioma.
  • Personal Injury: A personal injury claim is usually filed by yourself (or the individual with mesothelioma). In some cases, a personal injury claim can be filed by family members on behalf of someone who is too ill to do so themselves.
  • Class Action Lawsuits: Class action lawsuits for mesothelioma are rare, but they do occur. In class action lawsuits, a group may choose to file a claim together against one defendant. This group should have comparable injuries arising from similar circumstances. However, since asbestos cases are so varied, mesothelioma patients and their families usually opt to work with a mesothelioma lawyer who can concentrate on their individual case and its unique circumstances.

Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Lawsuits

It’s important to talk to a mesothelioma lawyer about filing a claim as soon as you know about your diagnosis. This is because there are laws in place limiting the time you have to file a claim. Lawyers refer to the time restrictions as the statute of limitations.

These time limits usually allow between 1-5 years for plaintiffs to file a lawsuit, but the exact time frame depends on which state you live in. You’ll need to research the limitations of your state or discuss this with your attorney as soon as possible.

Statue Of Limitations Update

It’s also important to remember that certain states will have different statutes of limitations for personal injury claims and wrongful death claims. Wrongful death suits sometimes have shorter statutes, giving relatives less time to file after a family member has died from mesothelioma. This makes even more important to try to act quickly.

The chart below details the statutes of limitations for each state. Regardless of your time frame, you should talk to your lawyer about the options available to you.

Personal Injury Statute (from diagnosis)Wrongful Death Statute (from death)
Alabama2 Years2 Years
Alaska2 Years2 Years
Arizona2 Years2 Years
Arkansas3 Years3 Years
California1 Year1 Year
Colorado2 Years2 Years
Connecticut3 Years3 Years
Delaware2 Years2 Years
Florida4 Years2 Years
Georgia2 Years2 Years
Hawaii2 Years2 Years
Idaho2 Years2 Years
Illinois2 Years2 Years
Indiana2 Years2 Years
Iowa2 Years2 Years
Kansas2 Years2 Years
Kentucky1 Year1 Year
Louisiana1 Year1 Year
Maine6 Years2 Years
Maryland3 Years3 Years
Massachusetts3 Years3 Years
Michigan3 Years3 Years
Minnesota4 Years3 Years
Mississippi3 Years3 Years
Missouri5 Years3 Years
Montana3 Years3 Years
Nebraska4 Years2 Years
Nevada2 Years2 Years
New Hampshire3 Years3 Years
New Jersey2 Years2 Years
New Mexico3 Years3 Years
New York3 Years2 Years
North Carolina3 Years2 Years
North Dakota6 Years2 Years
Ohio2 Years2 Years
Oklahoma2 Years2 Years
Oregon3 Years3 Years
Pennsylvania2 Years2 Years
Rhode Island3 Years3 Years
South Carolina3 Years3 Years
South Dakota3 Years3 Years
Tennessee1 Year1 Year
Texas2 Years2 Years
Utah3 Years2 Years
Vermont3 Years2 Years
Virginia2 Years2 Years
Washington3 Years3 Years
Washington, D.C.3 Years2 Years
West Virginia2 Years2 Years
Wisconsin3 Years3 Years
Wyoming4 Years2 Years

Legal Process for Asbestos Claims

It’s important to be prepared for the long and sometimes highly involved stages in filing a lawsuit. Although it’s not possible to know the timeline for any given lawsuit—each case is unique—there are steps that are almost always part of the procedure:

  1. Meet with a Mesothelioma Lawyer: The first thing you’ll want to do is set up a consultation with a qualified mesothelioma lawyer in your area. During the consultation, you can clear up any uncertainties you have about filing a claim and put any concerns to rest. This stage will also help you get acquainted with what to expect during the legal process so that you’re not surprised down the road. The lawyer may also want to discuss personal factors relating to your mesothelioma diagnosis. Don’t worry too much about sharing medical details—mesothelioma lawyers are experienced in dealing with the complexities of the disease and can offer understanding and sensitivity during your consultation.
  2. Research and Preparation: For your lawyer to compile a strong case, he or she will require as much information as you can possibly provide. They will need to know personal details about medical history, work history and where and when the asbestos exposure occurred. If you don’t know how you or a loved one was exposed, the lawyer can conduct some research to determine this. However, this is only possible if they have information about the individual’s employment, places of residence, education and more. A lawyer may also rely on specialists to trace and identify how a person was exposed to asbestos through a product.
  3. Explore Compensation Channels: At this stage, your lawyer may look into your options for receiving payment from asbestos trust funds. Your attorney can determine which trusts you qualify for compensation from, if any.
  4. Filing a Claim: When it’s time to file the complaint, your attorney will craft a legal document in compliance with relevant court rules. The first document filed in a lawsuit is often referred to simply as a complaint. The complaint provides an overview of your (the plaintiff) case against the defendant.
  5. Discovery: The discovery process is sometimes referred to as the fact-finding stage in the lawsuit. During this time, your mesothelioma lawyer and the defendant’s lawyers will present their findings in order to support or refute your claim. Usually, this will lead to a settlement, though in rare cases a mesothelioma lawsuit may proceed to trial.

What to Expect in a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

It’s important to remember that a mesothelioma lawsuit can be a stressful process. Although your attorney will handle the legwork, the defendant will aim to destabilize your complaint and even try to make your suffering seem illegitimate.

Despite the now widespread knowledge of asbestos’ harm, defendants will still look for ways to undermine your complaint.

Understandably, it can be difficult to see those responsible for you or your loved one’s illness deny liability. But you should rest assured that your mesothelioma attorney is well-equipped to deal with this process. A qualified mesothelioma attorney is your best chance at finding justice for you and your family.

Selecting the Right Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you’re ready to take the next step and speak with a legal professional about your options, selecting the right law firm and lawyer is key. A law firm with experience in asbestos-related diseases and asbestos litigation can provide you with the information you need to proceed with confidence.

You should choose a firm with a strong record and substantial history helping mesothelioma patients and their families find justice or secure the compensation they’re entitled to.

At Mesothelioma Help Now, we recommend working with an established and reputable firm so that you can rely on professionalism and proficiency throughout every step of the legal process. Plus, there is no need to commit right away. You can take the time to arrange a free consultation with lawyers so that you can ask any questions you need in order to decide if it’s the right firm.

In the meantime, if you have any inquiries about legal options for mesothelioma patients and relatives, we’re here to help. Contact Mesothelioma Help Now at 800-584-4151 for further information on our mesothelioma resources.