Filing a mesothelioma claim is the primary way that victims obtain compensation from the companies responsible for their asbestos exposure. A successful claim allows patients to recover money for medical bills, lost income and other disease-related expenses.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation from multiple sources. Our legal team will fight so that you get the financial relief that you deserve.
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Our Tough and Dedicated Mesothelioma Lawyers Fight Hard & Win Big
Belluck & Fox is a premier asbestos law firm with more than 25 years of experience handling mesothelioma claims. Our experienced legal team has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for clients who suffer from mesothelioma and related asbestos diseases.
Our New York mesothelioma attorneys at Belluck & Fox have the background and legal expertise to deliver maximum results for victims and their families. We don’t back down when asbestos companies try to deny responsibility for their actions. We fight harder — because that’s what we are trained to do.
Not sure if you have a valid claim? It’s easy and free to find out. Schedule a consultation with one of our mesothelioma lawyers today.
Should I File A Mesothelioma Claim?
Mesothelioma is a debilitating form of cancer. It is also rare. And in the majority of cases, mesothelioma victims were exposed to asbestos without knowing how harmful it can be.
But asbestos companies did know of the dangers — and they failed to warn anyone. Victims can hold them accountable for their negligence by filing legal claims against them. For those who don’t wish to sue, there are still ways to seek compensation to assist with the financial hardships resulting from a mesothelioma diagnosis.
There are several reasons why you should consider filing a mesothelioma claim:
- Mesothelioma treatment is expensive. The cost of treatment alone is enormous. Add to that financial losses caused by missing work or having to quit a job, and the burden is significant.
- You need specialized care. Not every oncologist understands the complexities of mesothelioma. You may have to travel across the country for treatment. Travel expenses are compensable in a mesothelioma claim.
- Your life has been altered by your diagnosis ― forever. Mesothelioma has no cure. The disease also worsens rapidly, robbing victims of the opportunity for a long life. Money can’t make up for a life, but it can make things easier during treatment and for the loved ones left behind.
Our compassionate attorneys will explain all of your options for compensation, both legal and otherwise. Whatever choices you make, we will stand behind you and work to achieve your goals.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims
Mesothelioma patients have several possible pathways to compensation. We can determine which route(s) are best for you.
Mesothelioma compensation can come from:
- Asbestos trust funds
- Legal claims
- Veterans’ benefits
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Workers’ compensation
Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos companies that went bankrupt established trust funds to pay current and future victims with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Victims can file claims for the losses they have endured as a result of their mesothelioma diagnosis.
Our skilled mesothelioma lawyers are a vital asset to victims who seek trust fund compensation. Forecasts show that trust funds will not have enough money to compensate all future victims of asbestos diseases. Some have already exhausted their funds. That means that trust fund claims are reviewed very carefully before payment decisions are made.
When you work with us, we will build a mesothelioma claim that is supported by the evidence required to secure compensation. Our lawyers will also work with the board of trustees to negotiate a fair payment if your claim undergoes an individual review.
Mesothelioma victims may be eligible for payments from more than one trust. Our knowledgeable attorneys will perform a detailed review of your employment history to identify all potential trusts that may provide compensation in your case.
Several factors will form the basis of your trust fund claim:
- Location of asbestos exposure
- Which asbestos disease(s) you have
- Medical documentation (e.g., doctor’s notes, treatments performed, diagnostic test results)
- How the disease has affected your life
There is currently $30 billion available in trust fund compensation for victims and families who are coping with asbestos cancers and other diseases.
Trust fund payouts vary widely. The scheduled value for mesothelioma claims ranges from $7,000 to $150,000 among the top 26 asbestos trusts.
An asbestos trust fund claim is not a lawsuit. No part of the process involves the courts. However, hiring an attorney who knows all of the available trust funds ― and also knows what it takes to maximize payouts — can help you get the money that you need.
Mesothelioma Legal Claims
Most mesothelioma victims file a lawsuit in order to secure full and fair compensation for their physical, financial and emotional suffering.
There are two primary types of mesothelioma lawsuits:
- Personal injury claims
- Wrongful death claims
Personal injury lawsuits are filed on behalf of a single mesothelioma victim. A person with power of attorney can also file a claim if the victim is too sick to do so.
Personal injury claims have several purposes:
- To repay mesothelioma victims for the money spent or lost as a result of their illness
- To provide compensation that reflects the impact mesothelioma has had on the overall wellbeing of the patient and his/her family
- To ensure that the at-fault company(s) are held liable for exposing the victim and others to asbestos
Wrongful death claims are filed by family members of a patient who has passed away from mesothelioma. Money can never replace the loved one who is lost, but it can help families find financial stability during such a turbulent and tragic time.
Wrongful death claimants can receive compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills and other expenses incurred due to the deceased’s mesothelioma
- Loss of support and services
- Loss of guidance and nurturing children
- Loss of inheritance
Our attorneys understand that the idea of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can be overwhelming. That’s why we do all of the work for you. We will collect all of the necessary evidence to build a strong case for compensation and keep disruptions to your life at a minimum. That doesn’t mean that you will be out of touch as your case progresses ― our legal team will remain in constant communication with you from the beginning to end of our representation.
Most mesothelioma lawsuits result in settlements. They are a quicker and less risky alternative to a trial. Some of our clients have obtained settlements in as little as 30 days.
You should know that every state has a statute of limitations that dictates how long mesothelioma victims and families have to file legal claims. Check with our lawyers immediately so that the statute of limitations doesn’t expire on your claim.
Veterans are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma and related diseases than the general population. Asbestos was used extensively throughout the U.S. military, and both service members and civilian employees may have been exposed.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides monthly disability payments to veterans who suffer from mesothelioma. Any service member who is diagnosed with mesothelioma and not discharged dishonorably can apply for benefits.
Filing a claim can be confusing. Many claims are turned down initially, either because the file is incomplete or because a veteran accidentally misses an important deadline. But you don’t have to handle the claims process alone.
The lawyers at Belluck & Fox will file your veterans’ claim for free while we work on other aspects of your mesothelioma case. Receiving VA benefits does not disqualify you from pursuing other sources of mesothelioma compensation.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a type of benefit provided to certain mesothelioma patients who can no longer work.
Several requirements must be met to qualify for SSDI benefits:
- You must have earned enough work credits through jobs that paid into the Social Security system
- You must have a qualifying impairment according to the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book
Some forms of mesothelioma automatically render a person disabled by the agency’s standards:
- Mesothelioma of the pleura
- Malignant mesothelioma tumors, metastatic to the pleura
- Mesothelioma in the mediastinum, spreading beyond the lymph nodes and unresponsive to treatment
If you have pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma, you will qualify for the Social Security Administration’s compassionate allowance program, which expedites claims for patients with terminal diseases.
Mesothelioma victims who may not automatically qualify for SSDI may still have a chance for benefits by filing residual functioning capacity (RFC) forms. These assess the victim’s ability to work and may be enough to substantiate a claim for benefits through a medical-vocational allowance.
By examining your employment history, we can determine whether SSDI benefits may be a source of compensation for you during your battle with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is considered an occupational illness. If your exposure happened on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you had to stop working because of your illness.
Workers’ compensation can help cover the cost of medical bills and lost income resulting from your mesothelioma diagnosis. Your family may also be eligible to receive compensation in the event of your death.
We will examine the facts of your case to see if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp payments are usually not enough to cover the total cost of medical treatment, so our legal team will work with you to determine alternative sources of compensation.
Mesothelioma Health Insurance
Health care insurance is another way that mesothelioma patients can cut the costs of treatment. Although patients will have to spend some money out of pocket for treatment, a good heath insurance plan can help them get the care they need without paying the full price.
All medical insurance plans vary in terms of coverage. Some plans will pay more for treatments than others. Some may not cover a certain test or treatment at all. Regardless, some form of insurance is likely better than none for mesothelioma patients.
Keep in mind that insurance plans don’t start paying for treatment until patients have met their deductibles. For some, that can mean paying thousands of dollars before insurance pays a dime.
For example, high-deductible health plans have lower monthly premiums but require individuals to pay at least $1,350 in medical costs before insurance kicks in. For families on a high-deductible plan, the deductible is at least $2,700.
It’s also important to remember that because mesothelioma is such an uncommon cancer, it may be difficult to find a provider that is in network with your insurance plan. You may need to consider doctors who are out of network, which will be more expensive.
Types of medical insurance include:
- Private health insurance: These can be individual health care plans or employer-sponsored group plans.
- Government insurance plans: Both Medicare and Medicaid are government health insurance programs that can help eligible patients pay for mesothelioma treatment. Most mesothelioma victims are diagnosed after retirement age, which means they can qualify for Medicare as long as they earned enough work credits over the years. Medicaid can provide coverage for low-income or unemployed mesothelioma patients.
- COBRA: The severe health effects of mesothelioma and/or mesothelioma treatment can force patients to stop working or reduce their work hours. For some, that means losing their employer-based health insurance. The Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers to extend health care coverage to former employees for at least 18 months.
Mesothelioma victims who are married may be entitled to health care coverage if their spouse has an employer-sponsored insurance plan. Usually changes can only be made to a health insurance plan during open enrollment. However, exceptions may be made for a “qualifying life event” (QLE). An illness does not count as a QLE, but losing your health insurance or COBRA coverage does.
Our lawyers can answer health insurance questions for you and your family.
Choosing a Lawyer to File a Mesothelioma Claim
When you’re choosing an attorney to file a complex mesothelioma claim, you can’t just choose anyone.
Technically speaking, any lawyer could take your case. Law schools expose future attorneys to many types of law, but do not train them in any specific area. But once lawyers enter practice, they usually funnel their interests into certain practice areas (e.g., personal injury, criminal law, contracts, etc.).
Only a lawyer with a track record of success in asbestos litigation should handle your mesothelioma claim.
- Prior knowledge and expertise: A mesothelioma lawyer who has represented clients in asbestos cases before will have a library full of research to jumpstart your claim.
- Prepared staff: A successful law firm is run by a team of professionals with exceptional support staff. Working with a mesothelioma firm guarantees that every person who works on your case understands the complexities of the law and also how high the stakes are.
- Trial and settlement experience: If you choose to file a legal claim, a mesothelioma attorney will be able to anticipate and respond to strategies that asbestos companies may try to deny your claim or have it dismissed.
- Genuine compassion: It’s impossible for anyone to know what it’s like to have mesothelioma unless they suffer from the disease themselves. But mesothelioma attorneys see the devastating effects of the disease on patients and families every day. When you work with a mesothelioma lawyer, you will have someone who understands the science of the disease and the laws protecting victims. But you will also have someone who treats your case with empathy and is passionate about getting you the results you deserve.
Other questions to ask a mesothelioma lawyer:
- Are there any upfront charges? The answer should always be no. An experienced mesothelioma attorney takes cases on a contingency-fee basis. That means that the firm pays for all of the necessary expenses to prepare your case. You only pay if the lawyer recovers a verdict or settlement on your behalf.
- How many cases have you taken to trial? The vast majority of mesothelioma cases settle. But you should hire an attorney with experience at trial.
- How are communications handled? Find out if the attorney prefers to correspond by phone, email or another way. Also ask how you will be updated about the progress of your case.
- Will I have to do anything? A mesothelioma law firm should take care of preparing every aspect of your case. There may be times when you need to answer questions or give a deposition. But the majority of legal work should be taken care of by the firm.
- How much money will I get? No lawyer should promise you a victory or guarantee an amount of money. Find a mesothelioma attorney who can explain how values are assigned to a case and how it applies to yours.
After you’ve met with a lawyer, go home and review the conversation in your mind. Do you feel comfortable and confident with that attorney? If you do, that’s the one for you. If not, interview another lawyer.
Let Our Top-Rated Attorneys File Your Mesothelioma Claim Today
The nationally recognized lawyers at Belluck & Fox know that compensation is essential to manage the losses that come from a mesothelioma diagnosis. Don’t try to shoulder the financial and emotional burdens alone.
Our lawyers offer complimentary consultations for victims and family members who are suffering from asbestos diseases. There’s no risk to learn about your legal options — and so much to gain.