Mesothelioma is something with which no individual or family should ever have to deal. Unfortunately, any number of old structures, from homes to warehouses, built with asbestos can cause mesothelioma. We often see cases of mesothelioma as a result of workplaces whose building materials are out of date and therefore expose workers to dangerous amounts of asbestos.
If you’ve developed mesothelioma as a result of similar circumstances, you almost certainly have a case, but what if your loved one comes down with mesothelioma, but passes away before they can file a claim? Even though you weren’t the one with the cancer, can you still file a claim?
Though no settlement can replace the loss of a loved one, we’re here to walk you through this tough scenario.
Statutes of Limitations
First things first: it’s important to establish the statute of limitations when we talk about starting a mesothelioma case.
In Indiana, you have two years from the time you’re formally diagnosed with mesothelioma to file a claim. The same time frame holds true in the event you want to file a wrongful death claim for a loved one who died from mesothelioma.
Individual vs. Estate
If someone dies from mesothelioma, the damages they could have received through their case then fall to their estate.
What’s the difference, then, between the original claimant and their estate? Simply put, the claimant is the person directly affected in the mesothelioma case — the one with the actual disease.
The estate, then, is the collection of assets belonging to the claimant, and, in the event of the claimant’s death, the legal decisions regarding both the case and the estate go to whomever the plaintiff has chosen to be their estate representative.
Most often, this representative is from the individual’s immediate family—a spouse, parent, or child. However, this does not mean someone else can’t be an estate representative. Determining whether you’re an estate representative is essential before proceeding with a wrongful death claim regarding your loved one.
Wrongful Death Damages
If you’re filing a wrongful death claim in a mesothelioma scenario, you should expect right away that the total damages you’ll receive will likely be lower than they would have been if the individual with the cancer had filed and won the claim.
This is due to a few factors.
First, the ongoing medical expenses a mesothelioma patient incurred during treatment are no longer a factor. In the same vein, a patient’s opportunity cost of undergoing medical procedures instead of working also cease being relevant in the case of death.
This is not to say, however, that you, as the loved one of someone who’s died from mesothelioma, are not still entitled to some damages.
You’re still eligible to receive damages due to the economic loss your loved one’s death creates, especially if they were a major income contributor in your household. If you can define and quantify noneconomic losses, like pain and suffering or the loss of companionship, then you could also be entitled to compensation for those damages.
Help from a Mesothelioma Lawyer
No one ever wants to go through the pain of losing a loved one to mesothelioma. If you or someone you know is experiencing this loss and wondering what the next step should be, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim. Our mesothelioma lawyers are here to help.