When a loved one dies of Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, he or she has probably suffered a lot. It’s not only the pain caused by the disease, but the pain knowing the disease could have been avoided but for someone else’s negligence. That someone else is the asbestos company supplying the asbestos that your loved one was exposed to. As such, you loved one had a right to file a claim against the company — though there are usually more than a single asbestos company at fault.
That said, at the time of diagnosis, the victim and his or her family will endure the suffering caused by the knowledge of the disease. The victim will have to undergo treatment. Family members will have to work harder to support their loved one and pay bills. It is an all-around busy time. Thinking of filing a lawsuit is one thing, but actually getting around to doing it is another thing entirely.
But you should.
Is It Important To File A Mesothelioma Claim Before A Loved One Dies?
Yes. It is important to file a mesothelioma claim prior to your death or your loved one’s death. If the victim — either you or your loved one — has claims for pain and suffering, then that claim will only survive if the claim was filed prior to death.
Also, depending on the circumstances and facts of the case, a victim may also be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are not awarded to family members who file a wrongful death claim.
When or if the claimant dies prior to a settlement or an award provided by a jury, then the claim still survives via that person’s estate and what is known as a survivor action. The estate representative will then be in control of the claim.
Filing a claim before a possible death is important because it helps to ensure that heirs to your estate receive the best compensation possible. Heirs are usually your family members, and we always want the best for them.
What Happens If You Wait To File A Claim After Your Loved One Dies?
If you or family members do not get around to filing a mesothelioma claim or lawsuit before the victim — again, you or your loved one — dies, then family members will still have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members who can do so include:
- spouse or domestic partner;
- children, including adopted children, dependent step-children, and grandchildren;
- parents; and/or
- anyone who would be eligible according to California intestate succession laws.
A wrongful death lawsuit, however, is limited. Family members must file the claim in one lawsuit and will not be able to claim pain and suffering or demand punitive damages.
So, in the end, it is always best to file the claim as soon as possible, meaning while you are living. You don’t want to wait anyway because you or your family do not have forever to file a claim. Statutes of limitations add an extra layer of urgency to the claim process.
If you need to file a mesothelioma claim, contact the Ledger Law Firm today. We understand these difficult times and do our best to ensure everything on the legal side of things at least goes smoothly while you and your family worry about your health and getting better.