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Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I Was Just Diagnosed With Mesothelioma - Can I Sue My Employer?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, which is a membrane that protects the abdomen, heart and lungs. Mesothelioma is caused by chemical exposure, namely, asbestos. In many cases, this exposure occurred because of your work situation, making it likely that your employer is liable for your damages. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is best to contact a lawyer right away and learn more about your legal rights.

Mesothelioma Is Caused by Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos has heat-resistant features that made it popular in several industries many decades ago, although there are no laws banning its use today. Asbestos can release particles into the air, and when they are inhaled, they can stick to the lungs and cause cancer.

Mesothelioma presents no symptoms in the beginning and is very difficult to diagnose. As a result, most patients do not get the treatment they need and die within 18 months from the time they are diagnosed.  

Hiring a Lawyer

Mesothelioma claims can be quite complicated, so hiring a lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma or other types of chemical exposure is ideal. If the mesothelioma victim is still alive, he or she can file a personal injury. If the person died from mesothelioma, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim against the person’s employer.

Many mesothelioma victims never file a lawsuit because they don’t know who caused the asbestos exposure. You should still contact a lawyer anyway. Your lawyer can investigate based on your employment history and locate the liable party. In some cases, multiple employers are responsible for asbestos exposure.

Options for Obtaining Compensation

There are three main ways to receive compensation for a mesothelioma diagnosis:

  • Suing under a bankruptcy trust
  • Filing a civil lawsuit
  • Filing a veterans benefits or workers’ compensation claim

When you sue under a bankruptcy trust, your lawyer will determine if your employer has a trust fund created for mesothelioma victims. Although many asbestos-related companies have gone bankrupt, sometimes the court will ask these companies to create a fund that will provide financial compensation for mesothelioma victims. If your company has done so, your lawyer will file a claim.

If a bankruptcy trust is not available, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the liable employer and take your case to court. The majority of cases go to court. There, your lawyer will use evidence to create a strong case against your employer. As a result, you may be able to receive compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Pennsylvania has no caps on damages in personal injury cases. The only exception is for punitive damages, which are limited to twice the amount of actual damages.

If you believe you were exposed to asbestos while in the military, you cannot file a lawsuit. However, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. You may also receive assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. They can help you apply for veterans benefits.

Mesothelioma is a deadly disease, but there is hope for compensation. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call us to schedule a consult with the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Louis P. Lombardi II & Associates today.

 


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