Mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, can wreak havoc on those afflicted with the disease, as well as their loved ones after they have passed. Family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for their loved ones exposure to the deadly substance. A wrongful death lawsuit can help offset the costs of medical bills, funeral arrangements and lost wages, as well as the emotional loss of companionship.
Contacting an experienced mesothelioma lawyer should be the first step in determining eligibility and your rights. The statutes of limitations and the rules for filing such a lawsuit can vary by state. Filing a wrongful death claim may seem like an arduous task after losing a loved one, but time is of the essence since the statutes of limitations may limit the amount of time to file.
Important Facts to Know Regarding Eligibility
Relationship to the Victim – the claimant must be close to the deceased, not estranged or a mere acquaintance. Depending on the state, some examples of relationships that may pursue a wrongful death suit include:
- Spouse or life partners
- Children, including adopted children or stepchildren
- Parents or grandparents
- Someone financially dependent on the deceased
Statute of Limitations – these are the laws that determine the amount of time a claimant has to file a lawsuit or claim. Due to the long latency periods of asbestos-related diseases, those afflicted may not experience symptoms for 20-50 years after exposure, or the mesothelioma may not have been discovered until the cause of death was determined. For an asbestos-related diagnosis, the statutes of limitations can range from one to six years; however, the wrongful death statute is much shorter and those filing on behalf of the deceased only have between one and three years to take action. Since the statutes of limitations vary by state, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help to determine your state’s statutes.
Impact of Loss – To file a mesothelioma lawsuit on behalf of the deceased, the claimant must be able to prove significant impact and loss due to the death of their loved one – whether it be financial, emotional or both. Again, this will vary by state, but the relationship to the deceased will play a large role in making this determination.
Previous Compensation – If the deceased previously filed a lawsuit against a company for an asbestos disease, and signed a release which releases that company from liability even if the deceased contracts another asbestos disease, then a new lawsuit cannot be filed against that same company. However, if the victim signed a release only for the actual disease that he or she has, i.e. asbestosis, and then later contracts lung cancer or mesothelioma, then that person can file a lawsuit for those cancers.
Experienced mesothelioma lawyers will be able to guide loved ones in not only determining eligibility to file a claim, but also to identify all companies responsible for the asbestos exposure to the deceased. For years, companies were negligent regarding their employees’ safety with asbestos. Mesothelioma lawyers have the experience and years of researched cases to help those impacted by the loss of their loved one file a wrongful death lawsuit.