You watched your loved one suffer from mesothelioma and die as a result. As you grieve, you might have many questions:
- Why did your loved one develop mesothelioma?
- Who was responsible for his asbestos exposure?
- Is it worth your efforts to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
This is an intensely personal decision that you should think through and talk about with family and an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. While the wrongful death legal process is different in every state, in this article, we'll provide you with some general information about mesothelioma wrongful death cases that is applicable in all states. This may help you decide whether or not a wrongful death case is the right choice for you and your family.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death means someone else was legally responsible for your loved one’s death. If you pursue a wrongful death claim, you allege that:
- The defendant owed your loved one a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty of care by failing to act like a reasonable person would in similar circumstances.
- Your loved one died because of the defendant’s breach of the duty of care.
- You have legal standing to pursue damages.
Therefore, you'll need to prove:
- When your loved one was exposed to asbestos or another mesothelioma-causing element.
- That your loved one’s employer, representatives of the asbestos company, or another entity responsible for exposure to a mesothelioma-causing element knew or should have known about the risk and failed to protect your loved one.
- The cause of your loved one’s death.
- That you have suffered emotionally, financially, and additional ways because of your loved one’s death.
You may pursue a claim for damages if you can prove these things; if the time for filing a wrongful death case hasn't expired; and if you have standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Damages
Before you can decide whether or not to pursue a wrongful death claim, you need to know what you may be able to recover if your claim is successful. The specific damages are dependent on individual state law and the unique facts of your case. These damages may include:
- Medical expenses incurred prior to death. Any medical costs that your loved one incurred, including copays and deductibles, should be included in your wrongful death compensation.
- Funeral costs. End-of-life rituals are important for respect and closure, but they're also expensive. You shouldn't be left to bear this financial burden when someone else was responsible for your loved one’s death.
- Lost income. If your loved one was still working at the time of his mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be able to recover any income he was unable to earn because of his medical condition and untimely death. This recovery may be from the time of his diagnosis until his reasonably-anticipated retirement date.
- Loss of companionship, advice, and household help. Generally, this means financial compensation for the loss of your loved one’s emotional and physical contributions to your household. This may be your most significant loss, but it's often the hardest to prove.
In rare cases, punitive damages that punish the defendant for intentional actions or gross negligence are also possible in wrongful death financial recovery.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you evaluate the evidence available in your case, apply state law to your claim, and estimate potential compensation.
Should You File a Wrongful Death Case?
Every case is different, and we want you to make the right decision for your family. You’ve already endured a tragic loss. Don’t let financial concerns add to your worries. Where we can provide assistance is to inform you of your options based on applicable state law, the contingencies mentioned above, and your preferences.
Before you make a decision about whether or not to file a wrongful death case, let’s meet for a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 and let’s talk about your legal options.
Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers will fight hard for your family’s fair and just recovery, and you won’t incur any up-front legal costs for our services. Instead, we will only be paid if your claim is successful.