Mesothelioma Lawsuits

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Are there time limits for filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

If you were exposed to asbestos while working on ships under repair or construction or if you were exposed to asbestos while serving onboard ships in the Navy, maritime law provides that you may file a claim against asbestos manufacturers within 3 years from the date of “discovery” of your illness – in other words 3 years from the time you receive a diagnosis of asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma. This time may be extended if the asbestos victim dies within 3 years of the diagnosis. Further – if you have an earlier diagnosis of asbestosis – i.e. more than 3 years ago – you may nevertheless file a claim for mesothelioma within 3 years of the date on which your disease of mesothelioma was first diagnosed. This is known as the double injury rule – in other words you have 2 opportunities to file a lawsuit – one at the time of diagnosis of asbestosis and another at the time of the diagnosis of mesothelioma.

If your claim arises from landside exposure to asbestos in Virginia then you must file a claim against the responsible asbestos manufacturers within 2 years of the date that you are advised of a diagnosis of disabling asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma.

The time limit for filing a workmen’s compensation claim against a  private shipyard in Virginia is 1 year from the diagnosis. These claims are decided under the federal law - the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Act - and provide lifetime benefits for disabled asbestos victims even if they are retired at the time of diagnosis. If the asbestos related disease is disabling, federal law provides for lifetime weekly payments plus re-imbursement of all medical expenses related to the asbestos disease. This federal worker’s compensation claim may also be filed against the private shipyard for surviving spouse’s benefits. If the cause of death is caused or contributed to by the  disease of asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma the surviving spouse is entitled to receive weekly payments that last for her lifetime time  or until she remarries.

The time limit for filing a claim for workers compensation for landside asbestos exposure in Virginia is 2 years from the date of diagnosis of asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma. Under Virginia law retired workers and surviving spouses of retired workers are ineligible to receive weekly benefits, but they may receive medical benefits.

EMPLOYERS of asbestos victims are generally IMMUNE from lawsuits; consequently the ONLY remedy that an asbestos victim has against his employer is a claim for workers compensation.

What is the experience of PWHD in filing Asbestos and Mesothelioma claims?

Lawsuits Against the Asbestos Manufacturers

In the early 1970s, lawyers across the United States began to discover evidence that members of the asbestos industry had known about the dangers of asbestos products for many years, but they had failed to place any warnings on these products to advise shipyard workers or anyone else that these products could cause lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.  The first asbestos product liability lawsuit in Newport News was filed by Mr. Hatten in September 1976.  Since that time, Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein has successfully prosecuted over 3,000 asbestos product liability claims against asbestos product manufacturers and sellers on the grounds that these companies negligently failed to warn shipyard workers of the hazards associated with using asbestos products.

What are my rights if I wish to file a claim for Mesothelioma or an asbestos related disease?

There are legal remedies for nearly every person who suffers disease and/or disability as a result of exposure to asbestos.  Each of these remedies is a way of recovering money.

The principal remedies are:

  • a worker's compensation claim against the employer that you worked for when you were exposed to asbestos
  • a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the asbestos-containing products to which you were exposed
  • a claim for Social Security disability benefits

Some or all of these remedies may be available to you, but whatever remedy is available is best pursued with the assistance of an attorney. In the event that you or a relative or friend is afflicted by an asbestos illness, contact Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein. The firm's lawyers have successfully handled thousands of asbestos-related claims.

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