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Workers’ Compensation for Mesothelioma

If you were exposed to asbestos in the workplace and later developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, or another asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits for mesothelioma patients include partial wage replacement and coverage for mesothelioma treatment. Surviving family members of mesothelioma patients who pass away can also recover death benefits through workers’ compensation.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos at work, our experienced lawyers can file your mesothelioma workers’ compensation claim and provide legal advice about your legal options to recover mesothelioma compensation from all available avenues.

Mesothelioma Workers’ Compensation

Occupational asbestos exposure typically involves regular and heavy exposure over an extended period, making it the most common cause of asbestos-related illnesses.

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program that covers employee damages on behalf of employers in the event of a work-related illness or injury.

Mesothelioma claims are more complex than other workers’ compensation claims due to mesothelioma’s latency, meaning it typically takes decades for the disease to develop. By the time you receive a diagnosis, you may not be working for the same employer. You may even have retired.

Employers often throw up roadblocks to avoid paying workers’ compensation claims, especially when your claim arises decades later. Our nationally recognized mesothelioma lawyers at the

Lanier Law Firm can help you overcome your employer’s tactics and recover the benefits you deserve.

Workers’ compensation benefits may include the following:

  • Medical care – full coverage for treatment for your asbestos-related illness
  • Partial wage replacement – a percentage of your wages, which varies from state to state, based on your average recent earnings
  • Death benefits – burial costs and partial wage replacement for the family of someone who died of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at work

Who qualifies for mesothelioma workers’ compensation?

Employees with a confirmed diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness may be eligible for workers’ compensation if they were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. The following working conditions are typical sources of asbestos exposure:

  • Mining asbestos or minerals contaminated with asbestos
  • Directly handling raw asbestos during manufacturing
  • Directly handling materials that contain asbestos
  • Working in a building or area where asbestos is airborne

Is Workers’ Compensation the Best Option for Mesothelioma Victims?

The only way to know for certain whether a workers’ compensation claim is right for you is to contact a well-established mesothelioma law firm. Our trusted mesothelioma lawyers can evaluate your asbestos exposure history and determine the most advantageous pathway to compensation for you.

Workers’ compensation can be a good option, but it is not the best option for everyone. Workers’ compensation benefits are limited to medical care and lost wages, but the cost of a mesothelioma diagnosis goes well beyond these financial losses.

Workers’ compensation does not pay damages for the significant pain and suffering mesothelioma patients experience. It falls short of covering all financial costs associated with asbestos-related

illnesses, such as personal care services, palliative care, and domestic services. The other limitations of workers’ compensation claims include the following:

  • In many states, workers’ compensation only covers doctors in a particular network. This may limit your access to the specialized treatment mesothelioma patients need to extend life or improve their quality of life.
  • You typically cannot receive wage loss benefits if you were already retired when diagnosed. Thus, your benefits are limited to qualified medical care, and you would be unable to receive a financial payout.

If you do receive a financial payout, you may receive small weekly payments or a lump sum. However, even a lump sum is generally lower than alternative forms of compensation available to workers with mesothelioma.

Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation for Mesothelioma Victims

You may be able to recover damages for all of your losses, including pain and suffering, in a mesothelioma lawsuit. Compensation from a lawsuit may allow you to pursue the best medical treatment available without restrictions. You could also recover punitive damages in a mesothelioma lawsuit. None of this is possible through a workers’ compensation claim.

Mesothelioma lawsuits are usually filed against the manufacturers or suppliers of the asbestos. Employers covered by workers’ compensation are generally exempt from lawsuits. In some cases, asbestos suppliers are also exempt from lawsuits because they have filed for bankruptcy protection.

However, you can still pursue damages for your financial losses and pain and suffering by filing a claim with the appropriate asbestos trust fund. Asbestos suppliers that declare bankruptcy must establish trust funds to compensate asbestos-exposure victims. Trust fund claims may also yield higher compensation than workers’ compensation claims alone.

If you are a veteran, you may also have been exposed to asbestos in the military. Thus, you may be eligible to file a VA claim for mesothelioma. If approved, you will be eligible for free medical treatment and monthly tax-free compensation.

Workers’ Compensation and the Statute of Limitations

Workers’ compensation is not always available for mesothelioma victims because of the statute of limitations, which varies by state. The statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must file your workers’ compensation claim.

The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation is often shorter than for civil lawsuits and trust fund claims. In some states, the clock doesn’t begin to run until after you are diagnosed.

However, some states have a more strict version of a statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims known as a statute of repose.

A statute of repose is a hard deadline by which workers’ compensation claims must be filed, regardless of when you were diagnosed. It is common for a statute of repose to have expired well before your mesothelioma was diagnosed.

Thus, contacting our accomplished mesothelioma lawyers as soon as possible after your diagnosis is critical.

Occupations with the Highest Asbestos
Exposure Risks

Data from the International Commission of Occupational Health found that nearly 40,000 American workers lose their lives every year to asbestos-related illnesses. OSHA estimates that more than 500,000 workers are exposed to asbestos.

A recent review of the scientific literature analyzed occupational asbestos exposure and found that workers in the following occupations have the highest rates of asbestos-related illnesses:

The most well-known asbestos-related diseases are malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural plaques. However, the studies identified in the literature review noted that other forms of cancer were also prevalent among workers exposed to asbestos.

Ovarian cancer was prevalent among women exposed to asbestos. The most common source of occupational asbestos exposure in women was textile factory work. Women also frequently contracted asbestos-related illnesses as a result of secondary asbestos exposure.

Cancers of the trachea and bronchus were noted in the naval industry and in those who handled asbestos directly.

The following cancers were observed in workers in the automotive, naval, and construction industries:

  • Mouth and throat cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bile duct cancer

Pleural plaques are often precursors of other asbestos-related illnesses. Asbestos miners had the most extensive pleural plaques and the highest incidence of asbestosis, followed by construction workers, metal workers, and furniture workers.

By handling asbestos exposure claims over the last 25+ years, our seasoned mesothelioma lawyers have found that the most extensive naval asbestos exposure occurs in shipyards and aboard Navy ships.

In the construction industry, we have found that workers with the most significant exposures include the following:

First responders also experience heavy asbestos exposure. This is especially true of search and rescue workers and firefighters. These workers are still regularly exposed to asbestos. This exposure is still common because the EPA has determined it is generally safer to leave undamaged asbestos in place than to remove it.

However, when a building containing asbestos is damaged, high concentrations of the toxic material can be released into the air and inhaled by first responders during emergencies.

Can I File Mesothelioma Workers’ Compensation Claims Against Multiple Employers?

Exposure to asbestos through multiple employers is not uncommon. State laws determine which employers are liable when diagnosed with an asbestos illness. Many states follow the last injurious exposure doctrine. Others let you choose between the employer with the most significant exposure or the last employer.

Under the last injurious exposure doctrine, the only liable party is the last employer to expose the worker to asbestos. You may be allowed to file multiple workers’ compensation claims in a few states, but this does not substantially increase your benefits in many cases. In these states, employers may offset payouts from other employers.

When you work with our knowledgeable mesothelioma attorneys at the Lanier Law Firm, we can determine the best strategy to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits.

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Mesothelioma

Workers’ compensation claims are typically filed through the employer by contacting your supervisor or the designated individual in the human resources department. The filing process may differ depending on state laws, but they often follow the same sequence:

  • The employee reports the work-related injury to the employer
  • The employer provides a claim form to the employee
  • The employer submits the form to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier
  • The insurance carrier approves or denies the claim

When latent illnesses like mesothelioma occur decades later, your employer may no longer exist. If this happens, you may still be covered. The difference is that you will most likely deal directly with the insurer. Our mesothelioma attorneys can help you determine which insurer your employer used and help you file a claim directly with the insurer.

What are my options if my mesothelioma workers’ compensation claim is denied?

If your workers’ compensation claim for mesothelioma is denied, you may have the right to appeal. A workers’ compensation appeal may involve a review of your claim or a hearing. We recommend contacting an attorney with experience handling both workers’ compensation and mesothelioma claims.

Our mesothelioma lawyers know the workers’ compensation laws of all 50 states. We can file your appeal for you and represent you at any required workers’ compensation hearing. In many cases, we can negotiate a lump sum settlement with your state’s workers’ compensation board so you receive your benefits as soon as possible.

What Do I Need To Prove To Get Workers Comp Benefits?

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program, which means you can recover compensation for occupational illnesses without proof that your employer was at fault. However, you will still have to prove the following:

  • You were an employee of the company. You will need evidence like paystubs to prove that you were employed at the site and worked as an employee, not an independent contractor.
  • You experienced asbestos exposure at your employer’s job site. You must prove that you handled asbestos directly or worked in an area where asbestos was present. Such evidence could include eyewitness testimony, employer purchasing records, internal memos, video evidence, photographic evidence, or an admission by the employer.
  • You have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. It is not enough to know that you were exposed to asbestos. You must have a confirmed diagnosis before receiving workers’ compensation benefits. You can use your medical records to prove a diagnosis. You will need your doctor’s notes, imaging test results, and pathology test results.
  • Your diagnosis is linked to your workplace asbestos exposure. You may need the testimony of your doctor or another expert to testify that your diagnosis is causally linked to your asbestos exposure at the employer’s job site.

Do All Employers Provide Workers’ Compensation?

Most states require employers to provide workers’ compensation with a few exceptions. For example, Texas does not require it, and some states offer exemptions for certain small employers. However, your employer’s workers’ compensation policy may not cover your asbestos-related illness for these reasons:

  • Some policies specifically exclude asbestos-related illnesses from coverage.
  • Some states have strict statutes of limitations on workers’ compensation claims that time-bar such claims for workers with mesothelioma due to the long latency period.
  • The employer or the insurance company may no longer be solvent.

Contact the Lanier Law Firm Today for Help with Your Mesothelioma Workers’ Compensation Claim

When you contact our award-winning mesothelioma attorneys, you can count on us to handle your workers’ compensation claim in a way that maximizes your benefits. Whether you are applying for the first time or appealing a denial, we will handle all aspects of your claim so you can focus on treatment and spending time with your loved ones. Our services include the following:

  • Identifying the liable employer
  • Gathering evidence to prove your eligibility
  • Submitting your workers’ compensation claim
  • Representing you at an appeal hearing if necessary

We will also ask about your life and work history to determine whether you could recover compensation through a mesothelioma lawsuit, trust fund claim, or VA benefits.

We have over 25 years of experience helping mesothelioma patients recover the maximum financial compensation available through every possible avenue. Workers’ compensation claims for latent illnesses like mesothelioma can be especially complex, and employers often make this process more difficult.

We have won more than $20 billion in compensation for our clients, and we know what it takes to overcome the tactics of any employer or workers’ compensation insurance company. We are ready to help you win your workers’ compensation claim and more. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.

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