For the children and spouses of mesothelioma victims, both the illness period and its aftermath are typically characterized by a myriad of powerful emotions-including fear, anger, guilt and regret. It is also common for the constant stress of the grieving and bereavement periods to be compounded by financial struggles and an overwhelming list of new responsibilities.
Losing a loved one is devastating enough. Families of asbestos cancer victims don’t deserve to suffer the logistics of their tragic loss too. This ongoing series is dedicated to providing information and guidance to the newly bereaved as well as those anticipating the loss of a loved one in the near future.
Over the course of the next month, we’ll feature articles covering topics including: legal rights of asbestos’ victims families, benefits available to asbestos-injured veterans’ dependents, making hospice and palliative care arrangements for a terminally ill loved one, providing support to a family member suffering from mesothelioma, coping with grief, types of bereavement and what to expect from each, helping the terminally ill draft advance directives and other final documents-and more.
Families of Meso Victims-PART ONE
As one of the illness’ most tragic consequences, those diagnosed with mesothelioma are not the only ones left suffering-victims’ family members are also, perhaps even, equally affected and are sometimes left needing the guidance and legal representation of an asbestos cancer attorney. Meso victims are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after being diagnosed, but there are times when they simply can’t or won’t. There are also scenarios where an asbestos victim has begun the legal process but passed away before his or her case could be finalized.
Fortunately, in such situations-where a victim has succumbed to the cancer without pursuing or receiving legal compensation-his or her family is still entitled to take action. And the first step in doing so is to retain the services of an experienced and highly reputable asbestos law firm.
Personal Representatives (PRs) or Special Administrators
The legal term used to denote an individual designated to handle legal affairs for a deceased person is personal representative or PR (sometimes used interchangeably with the term special administrator). This term is used to define official representatives or executors of an estate and/or will in many areas of probate law; it also applies in wrongful death or posthumously litigated personal injury claims.
Two Types of Claims-Wrongful Death and Survival Actions
When a victim files a lawsuit but then succumbs to asbestos cancer, the attorney representing that individual can continue with the legal action already initiated by having a family member stand in as the PR for the original claimant. These types of claims are called survival actions.
A second type of claim, which may be filed on behalf of a deceased victim directly by his/her PA, is called awrongful death suit. In order for a family member or other designated PA to initiate a wrongful death claim, the victim must already be deceased and cannot have filed a previous action relating to the same type of personal injury/illness.
Both types of claim are special areas of asbestos litigation and require representation from an experienced and highly knowledgeable asbestos cancer attorney. Wrongful death and survival action claims are both governed by state law, which do vary from one state to the next.