Filing a claim for asbestos-related diseases after the death of a loved one

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on October 08th, 2017

If you lost a family member to a disease caused by occupational or military asbestos exposure who had not sought financial compensation during their lifetime, you can file a claim to recover the money you are entitled to on their behalf. With the assistance of a specialized attorney, you will recover fair compensation.

During the last century, over 24 million people were exposed to asbestos on the job, out of whom 20% will develop a serious disease. Furthermore, the military also made use of asbestos in tremendous amounts, which is why today, 30% of veterans are struggling with terrible diseases as a result of exposure. Because the death rate for diseases stemming from asbestos exposure is very high, numerous people fail to seek the financial compensation they deserve while they are still alive. Furthermore, there are many victims of asbestos exposure who refuse to take legal action, usually out of fear of a long and complicated process. While the legal process is very complex, it will require minimal involvement on your part if you lost a family member to asbestos exposure and would like to obtain compensation on their behalf.

  • The family members of anyone who lost their lives to a disease caused by occupational or military asbestos exposure are eligible for compensation, which will come from asbestos trust funds and, if they were a veteran, from the VA as well.
  • There is also the frequent case when a victim of asbestos exposure passes away during the legal process, but a family member can step in and continue the legal process on their behalf.
  • If a victim of asbestos exposure passes away during the legal process, their claim will become part of their estate. It is worthy of note that in these cases have a statute of limitations of 2 years from the moment of death in the majority of states, which should make taking legal action a priority for you.
  • If the statute of limitations is exceeded, you will lose your right to financial compensation. It is worthy of note that the legal process in these cases is significantly more challenging, as the claimant is no longer alive and the following will be a problem:
    • the history of their asbestos exposure may become more difficult to determine and prove
    • pertinent evidence, such as employment and medical records, will be harder to obtain

Family members eligibility for an asbestos claim after death

Nevertheless, with the help of a lawyer who specializes in toxic exposure cases, you will obtain the maximum compensation available on behalf of your deceased loved one. You will only have to send your attorney their employment and medical records, as well as their death certificate, which must state that their life was claimed by a disease caused by asbestos exposure. The rest of the paperwork will be efficiently handled by our resourceful legal team. If you wonder who has the legal right to file an asbestos exposure claim after the death of a loved one who passed away in an asbestos-related illness, here are the eligible groups:

  • spouses or life partners
  • children
  • adopted children and stepchildren
  • parents
  • grandparents
  • people financially dependant on the deceased

However, it is important to know that if you want to seek compensation on behalf of a family member who lost their lives to a disease caused by asbestos exposure, you must open the estate and have a personal representative appointed.

  • The first decision the surviving family members have to make is whether to file an asbestos exposure claim.
  • This depends on what funds are available for the payout and if it is feasible for the family to open the estate.
  • The personal representative is typically a close family member, such as a spouse or child, but the person does not have to be a blood relative.
  • After the estate is open, the legal decisions are taken by the estate representative.

The legal process in cases where a family member passes away due to asbestos exposure is similar to that of a standard asbestos exposure case, as the claim will be filed with asbestos trust funds and, if the lost family member was a veteran, with the VA as well. Because solid evidence must accompany this asbestos exposure claim, our legal experts will conduct in-depth research to discover additional proof for your case, as the victim of asbestos exposure is no longer alive to describe the circumstances of their exposure.

Compensation coverage asbestos claims for family members after the death of a loved one

By filing an asbestos exposure claim on behalf of a deceased family member, the compensation you will eventually receive will help you cover the following:

  • the cost of past medical expenses
  • the cost of funeral and burial expenses
  • damages for emotional distress
  • the value of lost income and benefits
  • the value of lost support and services
  • the cost of past travel for treatment

However, it is worthy of note that the compensation you will recover after filing a claim after the death of a loved one with a history of asbestos exposure will consist of a lower amount of money, as there are no longer medical expenses to pay for the asbestos victim. The compensation you will receive ranges between $50,000 and $700,000, depending on the severity of the diagnosis of your deceased family member. If you lost your family member to mesothelioma the claim will result in the largest sum of money, as it is the most serious disease asbestos exposure can result in.

For what diseases can I file an asbestos exposure claim after the death of my family member?

While all diseases caused by asbestos exposure can take a heavy toll on the quality of life of the sufferer, there are some diseases with immediate eligibility for which you can file a claim. These diseases, which become terminal over the years and claim the life of the sufferer, are:

Why should I file an asbestos exposure claim after my loved one passes away?

By filing an asbestos exposure claim, not only will you recover the compensation you deserve on behalf of your lost family member, but you will also hold the responsible companies liable for their negligence. The asbestos companies had been aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure since 1920 but continued using the toxic mineral for their own financial gain, as it was very cheap at the time. While filing an asbestos claim will not bring back your loved one, it will help you cover the cost of their past expenses, which are often very high when it comes to diseases caused by asbestos exposure. Although you may feel overwhelmed by your recent loss, it is very important to seek legal help as soon as possible.

What documents do I need to file an asbestos exposure claim?

Before filing an asbestos exposure claim, your attorney must gather a series of documents that will stand as evidence to support your case. While these documents may be more difficult to find now that you lost your family member, you may still be able to find them.

The following are the necessary documents you need to provide your lawyer with before they begin preparing your claim for submission:

  • their employment records
  • their medical records
  • their death certificate

If they were a veteran injured by military asbestos exposure, you will have to send your attorney their military records, which must describe their job duties involving asbestos use. The same applies to their employment records, as they must clearly state what work activities they performed that released asbestos fibers in the air. If the company they worked for was a major asbestos business, our attorneys will be able to quickly find additional information pertaining to asbestos exposure on your behalf by conducting research.

What factors affect the waiting time for wrongful death asbestos compensation?

If you filed an asbestos exposure claim with the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in toxic exposure cases, you may have to wait several months to one year to receive the compensation you are entitled to, as there is a series of factors that influence the waiting time, such as:

  • the state jurisdiction: mesothelioma cases will always have priority, as it is the most terrible disease caused by asbestos exposure, while the claims for other diagnoses will be subsequently handled
  • the number of asbestos trust funds: it is not uncommon for people to have been exposed to asbestos by multiple companies, in which case they are eligible for compensation from more than one asbestos trust fund
  • the number of claims the asbestos trust fund has to process: major asbestos trust funds usually have hundreds of claims to process and it may take a while before they process yours
  • the severity of the diagnosis: as previously mentioned, the asbestos claims of people who lost their lives to mesothelioma have priority, whereas the rest will have to wait longer

Thereby, if you lost a family member to mesothelioma, your waiting time before receiving financial compensation will be shorter than if you lost a family member to a disease such as pulmonary fibrosis, asbestosis, or diffuse pleural thickening. Nonetheless, with the assistance of a lawyer whose main area of practice is toxic exposure cases, you will recover the compensation you are entitled to within the shortest time possible.

The importance of filing a claim for asbestos exposure before death

It is never too early to document your history of asbestos exposure, even before the diagnosis of a related disease. Having a detailed file of work history can make the legal process significantly easier should you develop a disease. Based on this file, it is usually possible to determine where and how you may have been exposed to asbestos by comparing your personal history to a list of known exposure sites and asbestos companies.

Easier legal process

Prevailing upon a claim for asbestos exposure may also become more difficult without the original applicant, because viable evidence may be harder to compile, the history of asbestos exposure may be more difficult to prove and it may be more difficult to track down witnesses who can attest the exposure.

If not quickly addressed, financial issues can become insurmountable

From expensive treatments to lost wages, the cost of occupational lung disease from exposure to asbestos can be financially devastating for many patients. Asbestos claims allow patients and their loved ones to get financial compensation to cover medical bills and other expenses associated with asbestos-related diagnoses.

As a victim of asbestos exposure, you have the legal right to seek financial compensation

Victims of asbestos exposure have several options in pursuing a claim to receive compensation from negligent companies. Depending on your circumstances, such as your diagnosis and work history, you may be able to pursue multiple compensation options. Only a lawyer specialized in asbestos cases can help you decide which options will give you the greatest chance at successfully being awarded compensation.

Time is of the essence when filing a claim for asbestos exposure

It is important to keep in mind that time is of the essence when filing a claim for asbestos exposure, as every state has specific deadlines and statutes of limitations that can prevent compensation if you miss the time limits for filing a lawsuit. Seek legal help as soon as you receive your diagnosis, otherwise, you may lose your right to seek financial compensation.

Unfortunately, due to the serious nature of diseases stemming from asbestos exposure, some of the patients have a poor prognosis. Victims of asbestos exposure might be worried about what happens to their family in these circumstances, but it is possible for loved ones to continue their claim, providing some financial security for them. For example, if you were receiving compensation from asbestos trust funds, it will automatically go to your beneficiaries upon your death.

Legal help for families and loved ones

If you lost a family member to a disease caused by asbestos exposure, we strongly encourage you to contact our law firm, as we have been pursuing toxic exposure cases since 1990. With the legal assistance of our knowledgeable attorneys, you will be able to file a claim for asbestos exposure, which will eventually result in the maximum compensation you are entitled to. After you provide your lawyer with the necessary documents, they will promptly begin preparing your asbestos claim for submission. The rest of the necessary paperwork will be carefully taken care of by our skilled legal team. In the end, you will receive fair compensation on behalf of your lost family member if you decide to work with our experienced law firm. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that the statute of limitations for asbestos claims after a wrongful death, which, in most states, is 2 years from the moment of death. This should make filing a claim a priority for you, despite the fact that we know how devastated and overwhelmed you may be feeling.