Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects tissues lining a person’s lungs, heart, or abdomen. Mesothelioma is generally known to be caused by exposure to asbestos, specifically by breathing in asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance that was commonly used building materials and for other industrial and even household purposes prior to the mid-1900’s. Asbestos was a preferred material before its health risks were known because of its extreme heat and fire resistance. Although asbestos is well-regulated now and unlikely to appear in the average workplace, people exposed to the substance many years ago are just now developing mesothelioma. In fact, mesothelioma can take decades to appear after a person is exposed to asbestos.
People who have developed mesothelioma from on-the-job exposure to asbestos likely need financial assistance with medical bills and treatment, lost wages if they were still working at the time of diagnosis, and, eventually, end of life care. Loved ones of workers who developed mesothelioma often seek monetary compensation for the loss of their companion. There may be multiple ways for a worker or his or her family to receive this financial assistance, but the method of recovery may vary by state, by the employer of the worker when he or she was exposed to asbestos, and by the facts and circumstances of the exposure. It is always a good idea to consult with a professional, competent personal injury lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma law to learn more about how you may be able to file a claim to recover for your losses due to mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. In the meantime, however, here are a few important points to consider:
- Monetary compensation for mesothelioma claims may only be recoverable through the workers’ compensation process. All states require employers to carry workers compensation insurance that will compensate its employees in the event of workplace injury. In exchange for requiring employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, many states prohibit employees from filing a lawsuit against their employer for a workplace injury. This means that the best, and in fact only, way to pursue compensation for your injury may be through the workers’ compensation process which is generally handled outside of a traditional court setting. Workers’ compensation laws also may limit the amount of recoverable losses under a workers’ compensation claim and may dictate the kind of proof required to establish a claim.
- There may, however, be other means of recovery. Some states, however, allow workers to file personal injury lawsuits for mesothelioma in the traditional court process against employers and other entities that used asbestos and who contributed to the workers’ exposure. Other workers may qualify for compensation through trust funds set up through court order by companies who were bankrupted by a high volume of asbestos claims.
If you have questions about mesothelioma law and how you may recover monetary compensation for your work-related injury, contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney who can guide you through the law in your state.