7 Things You Should Know Before Filing an Asbestos Claim
Even though asbestos use has been limited ever since the 70’s when its harmful effects were made public, thousands of people are still diagnosed with related diseases yearly. If you are one of them, benefit from your right to file a claim for asbestos exposure. Here is what you should know about the
You can't submit a request without a pertinent diagnosisThe first and most important eligibility criterion that allows you to file an asbestos claim is a correlated diagnosis. If you have developed a condition that can be linked to the exposure, you can bring a claim for personal injury and get compensation for your suffering. In the absence of a relevant diagnosis, exposure alone doesn't qualify you for this right.
The most common diseases caused by asbestos exposure are Asbestosis and Mesothelioma. People who suffer from different types of cancers might also be entitled to compensation if there is relevant evidence that the disease stems from asbestos exposure.
Also, keep in mind that the diagnosis is taken into consideration only if a certified practitioner releases it.
You need proof of exposureThere is another essential requirement you must meet if you want to bring an asbestos claim. You have to be able to provide relevant evidence of exposure. Suffering from a disease caused by this substance, can't automatically enable you to receive compensation. There has to be a connection between your condition and a particular company you hold responsible for the exposure.
Essentially, there are two types of defendants: ex-employers and product manufacturers. The first ones are liable for exposing their staff on the job while the latter ones produced defective products that contained asbestos which led to correlated diseases. Consequently, we deal with two different types of claims which stem from these circumstances: personal injury claims and product liability claims.
There is a time limit for filing an asbestos claimBefore submitting a request for asbestos exposure, you must know that there is a specific time limit you shouldn't exceed. The law setting the time frame is called a statute of limitation, and it varies state-by-state from one to three years. Since asbestos-related diseases have a long latency period, the statute of limitations is calculated accordingly. The clock doesn't start ticking when exposure occurred because this might have happened 30 years ago. Instead, the date of diagnosis is the moment when the countdown begins.
The amount of compensation varies tremendouslyThe burning question that everyone wants to tackle is how much money they can get if their asbestos claim is successful. Unfortunately, nobody can predict the exact amount you can recover because it depends on how your case evolves. However, a lawyer who has experience in this type of claims can give you estimation, based on his or her previous claims and the factors that influence yours.
Among these, the most significant are:
o the severity of your condition
o medical costs
o economic loss
o the number of dependents in your family
You don't have to get to go to court to get compensatedLike any other personal injury request, asbestos claims can be settled out of court. In fact, most of them are solved through settlement. This resolution method benefits both claimants and defendants because it requires considerably less time and expenses than a legal lawsuit.
By settling, the defendants practically admit their fault, and they agree to provide victims with compensation. The value claimants will receive is stipulated in the settlement offer. Accepting the proposal brings the case to a close. Declining it either leads to a successive offer or to a court trial if it's not possible to reach an agreement with the opposite party.
You don't have to pay your lawyer unless you winFew people know this, but you don't need to provide money up front to hire an asbestos lawyer. These legal experts will get paid on a contingency fee basis. This means that they will only be able to charge their fee if your claim is successful. The money they receive is a percentage of your award, and you'll only have to make the payment after you start recovering.
Your family members might also be entitled to file a claimThere are two situations when family members have the right to bring a claim. The first scenario is called secondary exposure. This happens when a person developed an asbestos disease although they didn't have direct contact with the substance. How did contamination occur then? Through the family member who was primarily exposed to asbestos, on the job for example, and whose clothes and work-related items contained asbestos fibers.
If someone else in your family is also diagnosed with a disease caused by this type of exposure, they might be entitled to submit a request and receive compensation.
The second scenario occurs when the claimant dies, and the family decides to pursue a claim for wrongful death.
These are some basic facts anyone who wants to access compensation for asbestos-related injuries should know. Nonetheless, each state's laws differ, and it's never easy for laypersons to make their way through the legal system. In conclusion, it's always better to get in touch with a knowledgeable lawyer who can help you claim your rights.