Mesothelioma occurs when a person continually inhales asbestos fibers. Those fibers begin to concentrate in the lungs, heart, and abdomen, creating serious health problems — the most deadly of which is a malignant tumor, mesothelioma. If you know you’ve been exposed to asbestos over an extended period of time and you’re beginning to come down with symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath, it might be time to speak to a personal injury lawyer.
You’re at risk of developing mesothelioma if you’ve worked in industries like construction, insulation, pipefitting, plumbing, boiler repair, and automobile repair. Military veterans might be at increased risk as well.
You’ll want to know how these cases are usually handled both in and out of court. Your lawyer will certainly help walk you through the process but it doesn’t hurt to know a little beforehand. The statute of limitations might affect your case. In most personal injury cases, the clock starts ticking the minute a victim receives the mesothelioma diagnosis. In most wrongful death cases, the clock starts ticking as soon as a victim passes away. The time limit for either averages anywhere from 2 to 4 years.
First, an investigation into the victim’s history of asbestos exposure will be conducted. The victim will file a claim, dependent on where and how the exposure occurred. Both sides will conduct additional investigations to determine the facts of the case. Then the victim’s lawyer will negotiate with the defense to arrange a settlement. If a settlement cannot be agreed upon, the case will go to trial and a judge will have the sole discretion to decide whether to move forward or dismiss.
Many mesothelioma claims involve companies that have since gone defunct. That’s why there are active asbestos trust funds to pay victims that have yet to come forward or realize they have contracted the malignant tumor. The trust fund payments aren’t always very large. But sometimes a victim can pull from multiple funds to increase relevant compensation. Other times a company is still active and the victim can sue directly.
The trust fund payments are most often used to cover medical payments before a lawsuit can recover additional damages on behalf of the victim or the victim’s family (if the case turns into a wrongful death lawsuit). There are dozens of active asbestos trust funds that your lawyer will be able to look into.
Because time is so important to these cases, we strongly advise you to seek the aid of an experienced mesothelioma lawyer right now!