Our occupations form a critical portion of our lives. It is how we make a living, put food on the table, care for our loved ones and ensure that the rainy-day pot stays full. Since a major chunk of our day is spent at the workplace, its environment and ambiance can significantly impact our physical and mental well-being.
Mesothelioma – An Occupational Illness
Some professions like construction, engineering, mining, farming, metalwork, and healthcare workers put workers at significant risk of contracting illnesses. These employers often work in extremely hazardous conditions where they are exposed to acidic chemicals, radioactive fumes, toxins, pollutants, carcinogens, and all known disease-causing factors. Any illness, disorder, or injury arising from occupational exposure to hazardous physical, chemical, and biological agents is called an occupational illness.
Mesothelioma is a rare but lethal example of an illness caused by repeated inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers. A form of lung cancer affects the mesothelial cells within the membranous coverings of various organs. This disease starts with just a few mutations within the DNA of healthy pleural cells. As it matures, it forms a parasitic attachment with the host, utilizing all its nutrition and fuel to further its growth. The malignancy spreads rapidly, degrading important respiratory and lymphatic system organs. Through the lymph nodes, cancerous cells can easily access distant organs, causing irreversible damage and compromising the integrity of the whole body.
Since this illness can be attributed to workplace asbestos exposure, afflicted individuals can file a claim for mesothelioma compensation against their employer. As per the existing Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1997, organizations must prioritize the health of their workers, provide relevant PPE and abandon practices that impose fatal risks. Failure to do so makes them liable to a fine which must be paid to the victim or their family as compensation for the harm caused. This monetary aid is intended to assist the victim in acquiring proper treatment and lessen their financial burden during recovery. However, understanding and tackling the law can be quite daunting for the average citizen, where lawyers come into play.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
Indeed, dealing with the law can be stressful, and one must proceed with caution. Proper guidance and support from a solicitor can make this stressful time easier for the victim. Therefore, hiring a professional you can trust, who can guide you through the numerous hurdles and help you make sensible decisions, will do you good. Here are a few reasons having a lawyer on the team can ease your burden.
They Will Help Determine The type of Claim You must File:
Filing for a compensation lawsuit is a lengthy and complex process that cannot be done without the assistance of a mesothelioma lawyer. When a client approaches a lawyer, their first objective is to study the case inside out, understand the circumstances and conclude whether or not the victim is eligible to file a claim. If they believe that the case is viable and will be allowed to proceed in court, they will guide you, discuss the next steps and help you understand all your legal options. There are three different types of claims that can be filed depending on the victim’s situation:
- Personal injury lawsuit – This lawsuit must be filed while the patient is still alive, as no other person is qualified to proceed on their behalf. The claim intends to provide monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, the physical damage, pain, and suffering an individual went through due to mesothelioma.
- Wrongful death lawsuit – This claim is filed by next of kin or family members of an individual who lost their life to mesothelioma and provides reimbursement for the past medical bills, loss of income, funeral expenses, and financial aid for the victim’s dependents.
- Veterans Affairs Claim: Veterans who suffered from mesothelioma due to their time in the armed forces qualify for this claim. The VA claim provides monetary assistance, covering disability payments, medical bills, survivor’s benefits, and indemnity compensation for family members.
Build A Strong Case:
For any compensation lawsuit to be taken seriously, the claimant must provide adequate physical evidence to prove the negligent behavior of their employer that led to severe harm which could otherwise have been avoided. Gathering all this data alone is no easy task. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney will help you collect all relevant files, records, and medical history to prove the diagnosis and back your claim. Utilizing the best possible strategy, they help build an undeniable case that works in the victim’s favor and provides them with maximum compensatory benefits. Some basic records that the claimant must include:
- Medical tests that prove the diagnosis and the severity of the condition
- Wok history showing for how long the claimant worked with the organization or employer mentioned in the claim
- Testimony from medical professional overseeing the case that to prove the cause behind the diagnosis
- Financial records to show how the illness and subsequent expenses impacted the victim and their family financially
Fill The Paperwork:
Filing the claim comes with a massive load of paperwork and forms, which must be filled with extreme caution and precision to ensure that no hindrance occurs in the future. Since all this data and the paperwork is further studied by the employer, compensation commissioner, and presiding, even the smallest error can compromise the case and put it on hold. Often this task becomes difficult for the victim who is already under immense pressure and distress. Mesothelioma lawyers are skilled in handling and filling out these forms while checking for errors and ensuring that every critical detail is mentioned. Moreover, they ensure that there is no fraudulent behavior from the employer’s end and that the case reaches relevant authorities as early as possible.
When you reach out to a solicitor, a significant part of their job is to assess the nature of the incident, the severity of its consequences, your current and future state to determine the appropriate amount of compensation fee. They must assess all past and future medical expenses, loss of income, reduced earning capacity, physical damages sustained, and their impact on the victim’s day-to-day life. The compensation amount demanded depends largely on the severity of the patient’s illness, as certain cases require more financial aid than others. Patients of mesothelioma who sustain permanent damage and can no longer earn, or victims who lose this battle and leave behind several young dependents, require more monetary assistance than others. You can expect your attorney to negotiate the highest possible fee for your case.
Represent You at Trial:
How a lawsuit proceeds depend largely on the defendant’s attitude to liability and causation. Most compensation claims never make it to court and are settled peacefully amongst the two parties’ lawyers. However, in certain cases, if the defendant refuses to cooperate, the claimant has no option but to go to trial. Should it ever come to that, having a lawyer on your team who has been with you every step of the way is a great advantage.
Your attorney is aware of your claim’s nature and strength. They also know of the available facts that are critical in deciding the proceeding trial. Some lawyers opt for a bench trial and present solely in front of the judge, while others consider a trial in the presence of a jury. They will fill the relevant forms, manage documentation, collect evidence, medical history, lab work, testimonies from medical professionals, and train witnesses, if any, to construct an indisputable case. Once the trial date is set, negotiations between the two parties begin. During this period, your attorney will speak on your behalf, discuss potential settlement offers and ensure that you receive the best deal on the table.
Filing for a compensation claim and opposing your employer can feel daunting, but as someone who has suffered at the hands of an occupational illness, it is your right to do so. Today there exist many firms that offer support to victims of occupational illnesses. They have a team of experienced professionals who study your case, help you file the complaint, guide you every step of the way and ensure that justice prevails. Indeed, working with a trusted, reliable, and reputable lawyer will make this process much easier.