Thousands of businesses have had to defend themselves against asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits in the past several decades. Some of these asbestos lawsuits were brought by the individual who suffered from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease. In other cases, the family of the victim files the lawsuit because the victim passed away. People who have a close enough relation to the deceased mesothelioma victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit, if they meet certain legal criteria.
In California, for example, the statute of limitations for an asbestos-related lawsuit is one one year after the date that the person suffered a disability, or one year after the date the person know or should of known that their disability was caused by asbestos exposure.
Who Can File a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To file a wrongful death lawsuit, certain criteria must be met and the death needs to be a result of a person’s or company’s negligence. The ability to sue for the death of a person due to negligence has evolved a great deal over the years. In the past, if a person died due to another party’s negligence or wrongful act, it was impossible to sue for damages. In some cases, it was more cost effective for the guilty party if the victim died from their injuries instead of having to pay for medical costs, lost earnings and pain and suffering.
That is why governments now have established the right for people to sue for compensation for wrongful death, such as in a mesothelioma case. But note that the people who bring the mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit must be close enough to the victim. So, legally speaking, you have to be eligible to file this type of lawsuit; this is known as legal standing. Some of the relationships that will allow you to file a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit are:
- Husbands, wives and children, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters
- People who were financially dependent upon the victim; this will vary by state. In California, the family must be at least 50% financially dependent upon the victim.
Thousands of wrongful death lawsuits have been filed on the behalf of mesothelioma victims over the years. Asbestos companies and those that used asbestos in their products and buildings have been shown many times to have known that the toxic substance could lead to injury and death. With proper legal representation, you can file and win a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit against the company or companies that exposed your loved one to asbestos.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process
In all asbestos-related lawsuits, a skilled attorney will do a great amount of research. This will usually commence with interviews of the plaintiff. Our mesothelioma attorneys has a skilled team of investigators who have experience in asbestos/mesothelioma investigations and have extensive resources at our disposal. Our law firm is aware of most of the companies that have used asbestos in the past. This allows our research to occur efficiently and accurately. Only when we have concluded our research will we present to you our opinion about the potential of your mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit. If our attorneys conclude that you should file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek damages, the claim will be filed. But deciding in which state to file the claim is not as easy as it seems. Usually, the wrongful death lawsuit will be filed where the mesothelioma victim lived or was exposed to the asbestos. But if there is another state where the case may be filed and better results are possible, this could be preferable.
Some states make companies liable for asbestos exposure that occurs on a secondhand way. It is possible for tiny asbestos fibers to cling to shoes, clothes, hair and skin of the person who worked around the substance. Cases have been won where the family of the worker exposed to asbestos brought it home from work and this lead to mesothelioma for members of the family. It has been common for firefighters, construction workers, auto mechanics and electricians to bring home asbestos on their person.
Document Asbestos Exposure
One of the things that many people unfortunately neglect is to document their or their loved one’s asbestos exposure on the job. Even if you or a loved one has not yet come down with mesothelioma, it is a very good idea to document possible exposure, in case mesothelioma is ever diagnosed. That way, you have critical information that you need to file a successful personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
If you think that you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos, it is wise to document the following information:
- Work history, including the dates that were spent in each job and where that job was located.
- A list of co-workers who also may have been exposed.
- Job duties, including tasks that put you or your loved one at a higher risk of exposure. For example, many cases have been filed on the behalf of automotive mechanics who were exposed to asbestos when they were repairing brake pads and rotors. Asbestos was once commonly used on these automotive parts.
- Any specific machines or materials that were worked around that could elevate the risk of asbestos exposure.
- Work history of a loved one or family member if you are concerned about second hand asbestos exposure.
Being prepared in this way can save you and your loved ones much time if someone dies later from asbestos exposure. Having information about the person’s detailed work history and contacts can help your wrongful death attorney to build a better case in less time. This can be important particularly for meeting any relevant statute of limitations to file the case.
Discovery in a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Discovery is a vital part of the wrongful death lawsuit process. This is where the wrongful death attorney works to collect evidence, documents, witness testimony and more to build the best case. The attorney will depose defendants and will collect extensive information about your employment history, medical and personal history.
This type of lawsuit is challenging in terms of collecting evidence and proving the case, especially if the person died without documenting their exposure to asbestos in their work history. As exposure typically happened many years before, even family members who knew about the exposure at the time may have forgotten key evidence and facts of the exposure.
That is the reason that other witnesses, including co-workers and written evidence are so important to proving a mesothelioma wrongful death claim. Your lawyer will spend much time and resources collecting records, interviewing people and speaking to representatives of the companies in question. If specific companies cannot be determined that caused the exposure, it is possible the case could be limited to suppliers and manufacturers of commonly used asbestos related products.
Keep in mind that defendants and their attorneys will aggressively attempt to dismiss the lawsuit before it goes to trial. Many companies also will try to make you a lowball settlement offer. That is why having one of our mesothelioma lawsuit attorneys working for you is very important in the settlement negotiation process. This ensures that you will be fairly compensated for the loss of your loved one.
It is estimated that 95% of asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits end in a settlement. The amount that you get for the loss of your loved one could be one of the largest financial events of your entire life. That is why it is so important to choose the right law firm to represent you.
- Filing an Asbestos Claim After Death of Loved One. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma-lawyer/statute-of-limitations/filing-asbestos-claim-after-death/
- Asbestos and Wrongful Death Lawsuits. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/personal-injury/asbestos-and-mesothelioma/asbestos-and-wrongful-death-lawsuits.html
- How to Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Mesothelioma. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blogs.findlaw.com/injured/2016/11/how-to-bring-a-wrongful-death-lawsuit-for-mesothelioma.html