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 ELEVEN
Many of the most frequently asked questions about asbestos-related wrongful death claims surround the issue of mesothelioma compensation for surviving family members and dependents. In an effort to provide answers to some of these pertinent inquiries, we’ll be dedicating the second-to-last installment of our series to the information contained below.
- What types of mesothelioma compensation are available to me and my family
Generally damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are awarded in three categories, two of which are common in cases related to death caused by negligent and/or illegal asbestos exposure. Families of mesothelioma victims are usually eligible to receive either or both economic and non-economic damages. Examples of expenses that might qualify a family for economic damages include funeral and burial services and well as loss of earnings and benefits (such as health insurance) to victim. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate for emotional anguish, pain and suffering inflicted on surviving family members-and in some cases, even the “loss of love, society and companionship of the deceased.”
- How much can I expect in mesothelioma compensation from a wrongful death suit?
As with any asbestos claim, it is difficult to predict how much a claimant is entitled to receive. Cases that end in settlements tend to pay out at less than trial awards-but both can be substantial. A case earlier this year made headlines when a California jury awarded a whopping $11 million to the family of one former employee of an automotive parts manufacturer-and while that may not be a reasonable expectation for every case, it goes to show that compensatory damages in wrongful death suits can be very, very generous.
- What portion of a settlement or trial award from a wrongful death claim will go to my family directly?
The claimant in a wrongful death suit generally takes home as much as 60 percent or more of the total compensation amount. The average asbestos attorney charges somewhere in the vicinity of 40 percent as a contingency fee, and that amount is deducted from the settlement or trial award prior to it being paid out. However, some states do allow claimants to be potentially awarded legal fees as part of a judgment against the defendant.