How Long Do Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Claims Take?
Mesothelioma has been plaguing workers for decades. However, the dangers of asbestos and its negative effect on human health were not officially recognized until the 1970s. Due to the long latency period, symptoms of an asbestos-related disease often do not appear until 30 to 40 years after exposure. As a result, mesothelioma claims against companies that manufactured asbestos, asbestos-related products, or heavily used asbestos materials have been ongoing since 1973.
Hazards of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is a carcinogen according the EPA, the Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Inhaling asbestos can cause the tiny fibers to become embedded in soft organ tissue – in particular the lungs and the outer lining – resulting in mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a severe and often fatal form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestosis is a breathing condition caused by scarring in the lungs from breathing asbestos fibers.
People who develop a disease from asbestos are usually those who are exposed to it regularly. People are exposed to asbestos where they work, their communities, or their homes. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos on the job where they worked directly with asbestos or through substantial environmental contact.
Type of Mesothelioma Claim You Can File a Lawsuit For
The type of mesothelioma claim you can request damages for in a lawsuit depends on a few factors, including:
- The time period and duration of your asbestos exposure
- The employer responsible for your exposure to asbestos
- Whether the company responsible is still in business
- Whether your only exposure to asbestos was while you were in military service
The above factors will determine which mesothelioma claim options are open to you, including:
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Fund Claim
Many companies established an asbestos trust fund after numerous people exposed to asbestos filed lawsuits against them. Companies that use asbestos can contribute to the trust, even if they are no longer in business or have declared bankruptcy. The trust fund assumes the liability for injuries. Mesothelioma patients may claim on these trusts for compensation if they can prove that their medical condition resulted from exposure due to contact with asbestos through inhalation or ingestion at a company over time.
VA Mesothelioma Claim
Veterans can receive VA benefits, including funds for legal assistance if they can prove their medical condition resulted from exposure in the military due to contact with asbestos.
Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are a current employee at a company that caused your asbestos-related condition, you might be eligible to file a claim against your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Filing a Private Lawsuit
A private lawsuit would be a personal injury claim that you suffered financial losses and damages from your mesothelioma, which was due to exposure to asbestos by a company’s negligent actions.
Types of Mesothelioma Compensation You Can Request
Several types of compensation are available to you in a lawsuit, trust fund, or VA claim. Compensation that is common in personal injury cases include:
- Medical bill reimbursement
- Compensation for time off work
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Compensation for future earnings lost
- Punitive damages
Statute of Limitations to File Mesothelioma Claim
Mesothelioma lawsuits are subject to the same statute of limitations as personal injury lawsuits. In Pennsylvania, 42 PA CSA § 5524(8) allows mesothelioma victims two years from the date of their diagnosis to file a claim. If you miss the filing deadline, you will not be able to pursue legal action or obtain compensation from the liable parties. However, it’s important to note that this statute varies by state filing is based on where you were exposed, not where you currently reside.
It is not easy to state how long a Pennsylvania mesothelioma claim will take, as each case is different. Several factors affect the timeline, such as the claimant’s health, the defendants, the evidence collection process, the jurisdiction, the backlog of cases, etc. The first step after the claim is filed is for the court to assign a settlement conference date. It might take a few months to a year to get to the first step. At the settlement conference, the lawyers for both sides will tell the judge whether they are ready to go to trial. If the case is ready, a trial date could be set within six months or up to a year.
When selecting a mesothelioma law firm, our combination of evidence, experience, and expertise culminate in the aggressive representation of our clients. Contact us today for a free case review.