Mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until it has already reached later stages of the disease. The life expectancy for victims with advanced pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma is about 12 to 16 months. Unfortunately, many victims pass away during the legal process when seeking compensation.
Below, our attorneys at PWHD discuss what happens to a mesothelioma claim after a victim’s death. If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, reach out to our firm to set up a risk-free, no-obligation legal consultation. There are no upfront fees to retain our services.
A Mesothelioma Claim May Continue After the Victim’s Death
If a mesothelioma claim is filed while the victim is alive, compensation from a settlement or verdict is awarded directly to him or her. Once a victim passes away, the legal process becomes more complex. Depending on the jurisdiction, the claim may become part of the victim’s estate or may be controlled through wrongful death statutes.
After a mesothelioma victim passes away, his or her estate representative is responsible for making legal decisions. This includes speaking on behalf of the victim’s estate and determining whether and how the estate will continue pursuing a claim.
The estate representative may be appointed by the victim before death in his or her will. If the deceased victim has no will or the named representative is unable to or refuses to take on the responsibility, a person may petition a court to become the estate representative. Oftentimes, the estate representative is a family member of the victim, but it could also be a friend, attorney, or other third party without having to be a blood relative.
Who May Be Eligible to Receive Compensation?
Depending on the jurisdiction, compensation from a mesothelioma claim can help cover the following:
- Medical bills, including costs of future treatment
- Travel expenses to/from doctor’s appointments
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Loss of society
- The mental anguish of the survivors
- Pain and suffering, both physical and mental
If a victim passes away from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, the estate representative may be eligible to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. Depending on the jurisdiction, beneficiaries of a wrongful death or survival claim may include:
- A spouse
- Others financially dependent on the victim
Challenges After the Victim Passes Away
Pursuing a mesothelioma claim can be more challenging when the victim passes away for several reasons. For instance:
- It may be more difficult to prove the victim had a history of asbestos exposure if he or she is no longer alive to testify about this exposure and provide other helpful details.
- It may be harder to gather evidence without the victim’s assistance.
- Tracking down witnesses, such as a former co-worker who can corroborate asbestos exposure, may be a lot tougher without help from the victim.
- The victim is no longer able to give an affidavit or sworn written statement, attend a deposition or testify under oath at a trial.
This is why it is important to file a mesothelioma claim sooner, rather than later. An experienced lawyer can help investigate and gather the evidence needed from a victim to help prove asbestos exposure.
Claims that are settled sooner can provide financial assistance to help with treatment. It can also allow the victim more time to focus on his or her health and spend time with family and friends.
Get Legal Help from Our Firm Today
If your loved one has passed away from mesothelioma, it is not necessarily the end of his or her claim. A Hampton Roads-based mesothelioma lawyer at our firm is prepared to help you seek maximum compensation for your damages. We have recovered substantial income on behalf of victims and their families.
An initial consultation is 100 percent free and completely confidential. You are under no obligation to have us represent you. We also charge no upfront fees while we investigate a case.