Mesothelioma is usually the result of negligence. If a person dies of this disease, their estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person’s former employer who sold or produced products containing asbestos.
The one thing to keep in mind when considering such a lawsuit is that filing it is a time-sensitive process. States come with their own statute of limitations when it comes to wrongful death claims.
This is why you should consult with mesothelioma attorneys in your area so you properly understand how your claim may be affected by the statute of limitations.
Here is everything that you need to know about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit after the death of a loved one.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
After a person dies of an illness related to asbestos, the legal decisions will usually be taken by an estate representative – namely, an immediate family member. However, the estate representative does not have to be a blood relative.
This is because the representative is usually named in the deceased person’s testament and last will. Also known as an administrator or executor, the estate representative will be named by the court if no one has been appointed.
An estate representative can be the: spouse or life partner, parents, grandparents, children (including stepchildren and adopted), close friends, or someone who is financially dependent on the deceased person, depending on the state.
How Are Compensations Handled?
It is worth mentioning that the estate representative will not receive the allots resulted from wrongful death lawsuits. Instead, these go to the estate itself. Basically, any gains from trial verdicts or settlements may be divided among the family members, just like assets are split after the death of a loved one.
When it comes to wrongful death claims, the awards are significantly less than in the case of personal injury claims. This is because there are no ongoing medical bills, emotional distress, and travel expenses that the plaintiff has to pay.
Clearly, you cannot file a personal injury claim for a person that is deceased.
Limitations of a Wrongful Death Claim
The limitations that come with a wrongful death claim make it more difficult to pursue – naturally, this is mainly because the injured party can no longer serve as the plaintiff.
When filing a wrongful death claim, you may come across the following challenges:
- The deceased person is not available for any type of attestation (trial, affidavit, or deposition under oath);
- It is harder to track down witnesses – for example, co-workers -, who can attest the exposure to asbestos;
- Asbestos exposure history can be tough to prove;
- You may not be able to file the claim before the statute of limitations expires;
- Medical records, work records, as well as other documents may be tricky to find and compile into viable evidence.
The Bottom Line
In order to avoid any issues with the statute of limitations, it is worth noting that you can file a wrongful death claim only if mesothelioma caused the death of your loved one.
Even though filing such a lawsuit can be overwhelming, it is vital to act fast and get information on everything you should know about such cases. In this respect, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can provide you with all of the details to pursue this kind of lawsuit.