Asbestos was used prolifically for years as a fire retardant and insulator, only for the public to discover that the substance is carcinogenic. Asbestos is a fibrous material, and the minuscule fibers that asbestos insulation can shed can be inhaled into the lungs. There, these fibers embed into lung tissue, and mesothelioma begins to develop. This form of lung cancer is incurable, debilitating, and will eventually result in death. Some people acquire mesothelioma but do not notice any symptoms for years or even decades after initial exposure to asbestos.
A mesothelioma diagnosis can be tragic and frightening for the victim and their family. This form of cancer appears very gradually, often over several years, and there are very few noticeable symptoms until it reaches critical levels. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, it is important to know whether you have any legal recourse available to you and what you can do to recover compensation.
Filing a Claim for Asbestos-Related Cancer
Workers’ compensation is the primary legal vehicle for victims of asbestos-related cancer to recover compensation. Most people who develop mesothelioma do so from their work environments. People who work in older buildings that still contain asbestos may be exposed to this substance daily; others are required to perform their job duties in locations that pose asbestos exposure risks. Plumbing, electrical work, shipyard labor, roofing, foundry work, and many other types of employment all inherently carry some risk of asbestos exposure.
Virtually every employer in North Carolina is required to have workers’ compensation insurance, and workers’ compensation is also required in most other states. If you are injured at work or acquire an illness through the performance of your daily job duties, you likely have grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim. This includes asbestos-related cancer and other debilitating medical conditions acquired over time, as long as you can prove that you acquired your condition through your workplace.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is similar to how one would file any other type of insurance claim. However, they face an additional layer of complexity due to their employer’s involvement in the process. Dealing with any insurance company is much easier with the help of an experienced attorney. When you have a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney representing you, they can help with every stage of the claim filing process and address any disputes the insurance company may raise regarding your claim. The sooner you secure legal representation following your diagnosis, the more likely you are to maximize the benefit you receive. A good attorney can also explore alternative avenues of recovery on your behalf outside of workers’ compensation, potentially enhancing your recovery.
Q: How Do You Prove Asbestos Exposure?
A: Before you can claim any compensation for asbestos exposure and asbestos-related illness, you must prove the origin of your exposure. If you intend to file a workers’ compensation claim for your condition, it’s vital to prove that you were exposed to asbestos through your work duties. This may not only include asbestos in your primary workplace but also work you were required to perform in locations known to have asbestos. An experienced asbestos injury attorney is a valuable asset for gathering the evidence needed to prove the source of your condition.
Q: What Is the Average Payout for Asbestos Cancer?
A: The exact value of an asbestos-related cancer claim can vary based on several factors, but generally, a claimant can secure around $1 million to $1.5 million in compensation. Many people who develop asbestos-related cancer acquire the condition through their work duties, and if this applies to your case, you will need to prove that your cancer manifested through performing your work duties. You could have grounds for alternative recourse, so it’s ideal to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your diagnosis so you can thoroughly explore all your recovery options.
Q: Do I Need an Attorney to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A: Technically, no, you are not required to hire an attorney to help you with a workers’ compensation claim. However, dealing with any insurance company can be very difficult without legal counsel you can trust. The right attorney can make navigating your claim much easier, and with their help, you have a much better chance of maximizing the compensation you secure from the insurance carrier. If you have grounds for further legal action, you will need your attorney’s assistance to succeed with these legal efforts as well.
Q: What Benefits Can I Receive From Workers’ Compensation?
A: A successful workers’ compensation claim will typically provide two forms of benefits to the claimant. The insurance company will pay for any medical care they need to fully recover, and they will receive ongoing disability benefits based on the time they will be unable to work. Having an experienced attorney help with your claim can dramatically improve the overall quality of the benefits determination you receive, and you will be better prepared to address any unexpected complications that arise with the claim filing process.
Q: How Much Will It Cost to Hire an Attorney for an Asbestos Cancer Claim?
A: The majority of attorneys who represent clients in workers’ compensation cases and asbestos-related cancer cases will work on a contingency fee basis. This means the client does not pay upfront or ongoing fees for representation. Instead, the attorney takes a percentage of the total compensation they win for the client, but only if they win the case. Before agreeing to any attorney’s representation, make sure you fully understand their billing policy.
M. Reid Acree, Jr., has years of professional experience helping clients with work injury and work-related injury claims. Our firm provides compassionate and responsive legal counsel to every client we represent, and we know the stress and uncertainty that an asbestos-related cancer diagnosis can present to any victim and their family. If you are ready to explore your options for obtaining compensation for work-related asbestos exposure, we can help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our team.