Legal information for people with mesothelioma cancer
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Because it is unique in that it occurs solely as the result of an occupational hazard, mesothelioma cancer has been the basis of many multimillion-dollar lawsuits in recent years.
There are two general forms of mesothelioma: benign mesothelioma, which is a harmless tumor, and malignant mesothelioma. You will only have the basis for a lawsuit if your mesothelioma tumor is malignant. A secondary type of malignancy is known as pleural mesothelioma, meaning the cancer affects the lining (or pleura) of your lungs.
If you or a loved one has received a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis, it is important that you learn your rights under the law and act quickly if you want to initiate litigation. As with construction accidents and other types of personal injury lawsuits, there are strict statutes of limitation governing mesothelioma litigation. Most jurisdictions require you to file your lawsuit within one to two years after the initial diagnosis.
The Basics of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Anyone who has developed mesothelioma as the result of asbestos exposure is entitled to file a claim, provided the legal action falls within statute of limitation guidelines. In the event that the person with mesothelioma cancer has already passed away, it is possible for surviving family members or the executor(s) of the person's estate to initiate legal action. However, remember that time limits still apply to lawsuits filed by surviving family members or estate executors.
While it is helpful if you know where and when you were exposed to asbestos, your lawyer will be able to help build your case if you aren't sure when the exposure took place. This step, though it will take some time, will be able to pinpoint which company or companies are responsible for your exposure and the cancer that resulted from it.
Financing Your Malignant Mesothelioma Litigation
Many mesothelioma lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you aren't charged any legal fees up front, and the attorney only gets paid if you win a settlement. Typically, the lawyer's compensation will be expressed as a percentage of the total settlement amount.
While compensation varies dramatically from case to case, many past settlements have totaled six or even seven figures.