obtain substantial compensation to cover the high costs of pleural mesothelioma or other asbestos injuries.
However, it is not always possible to file a lawsuit against some companies. Some manufacturers that have incurred substantial asbestos liabilities have sought bankruptcy protection, shielding them from further lawsuits. In order to receive compensation from these companies, asbestos victims and their survivors must file asbestos bankruptcy trust claims. Trusts pay claims based on a predetermined schedule of compensation. The amount available depends on the type of asbestos injury and other factors.
Why Should I Consider Litigation If I’m Eligible for Other Types of Compensation?
Workers’ compensation, VA benefits and asbestos bankruptcy trusts typically only pay a fraction of an asbestos victim’s expenses. This is because there is a limited amount of funds available to disburse to victims under those systems. Compensation under the tort litigation system, however, is determined by the value of the individual plaintiff’s losses and the percentage of liability for those losses attributed to each defendant. In other words, juries base awards on the value of a plaintiff’s injuries, not a defendant’s ability to pay.
Practically speaking, asbestos litigation defendants are usually accused of widespread injuries and are often involved in multiple lawsuits. Given the long latency period for asbestos-related illnesses like pleural mesothelioma, they could face new lawsuits for decades to come. For this reason, there are concerns that companies will run out of money to pay future claims. Indeed, these concerns form part of the rationale behind establishing asbestos bankruptcy trusts.
But the law is clear that people who have been injured due to the negligence of others may seek compensation for their injuries from those responsible. In more than 40 years since asbestos litigation began, Congress has not developed an alternative compensation scheme for asbestos victims and their loved ones. So asbestos litigation will likely remain the most significant source of asbestos personal injury compensation for the foreseeable future.
Although there may be substantial benefits to filing an asbestos lawsuit, it is important to remember that the decision to sue should not be made lightly. At some point, you and perhaps your loved ones will have to testify about not only the circumstances around your asbestos exposure but also the hardships your injuries have caused. In addition, defendants sometimes resort to questionable tactics like delaying depositions for severely ill plaintiffs in hopes they will die before their claims are resolved.
But although other types of compensation systems don’t involve going head-to-head with a defendant, claimants should keep in mind that they will still have to navigate procedural hurdles and prove their claims in order to receive compensation. Administrative burdens and claims processing delays under these systems can be frustrating.
Whether you choose to file a claim in or out of court, or both, it’s a good idea to seek legal assistance so you don’t have to go it alone. If you believe that you or a loved one may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation, VA benefits, asbestos litigation or asbestos bankruptcy trust claim, consider talking to a pleural mesothelioma attorney about all of your options for compensation.