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  • Erin Jewell

What Financial Support Options Are Available for Asbestos Victim Compensation?

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

After a diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease, patients and their families may face a variety of challenges and financial hardships, but asbestos victim compensation is available.

Harty Jewell PLLC can help you with asbestos victim compensation

When facing a mesothelioma diagnosis, many find that juggling medical treatments and doctors visits, while coping with a serious illness and newly diagnosed cancer to be stressful. Mesothelioma patients are generally diagnosed by a biopsy, which often occurs after an individual experiences severe shortness of breath, pain, and overall fatigue. Individuals with mesothelioma often have a recurrent pleural effusion, or a build-up of fluid between the pleura and the lung, sometimes called “water on the lungs.” There can be other causes of pleural effusions, such as pneumonia, heart failure, or a virus, but a pleural effusion in an individual with asbestos exposure that won’t resolve or go away with treatment often results in a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Medical treatments can be costly for mesothelioma. Hospitalization can occur from the underlying pleural effusion, biopsy, shortness of breath, pain, or any of a number of end-stage conditions. Additionally, the cost of ongoing medical treatment, chemotherapy, prescription drugs, and, ultimately, hospice services accumulates fast.

While mesothelioma is a signal disease of asbestos exposure--in other words a disease that is virtually only linked to asbestos exposure--lung cancer can also be attributable to asbestos exposure in some cases. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States, and is often linked to tobacco use. However, asbestos exposure significantly increases the risk of lung cancer in both smokers and nonsmokers, and can contribute to cause lung cancer.

Lung cancer is often diagnosed following chest x-rays, CT scans, and then a biopsy. In a patient with lung cancer, there are certain criteria that are looked at to determine if an individual’s lung cancer is in fact asbestos-related. This can include whether the individual has a nonmalignant disease called asbestosis (a disease caused by asbestos fibers scarring the lung tissue or "parenchyma" that results in decreased breathing capacity), or whether the individual has changes in the pleura that are caused by asbestos exposure, such as pleural plaques and pleural thickening. In addition, the presence of asbestos fibers in the person’s lung tissue or fluids in or around the lung, and a known history of asbestos exposure support a link to asbestos causation.

Both mesothelioma and lung cancer patients will be referred to an oncologist, or a cancer doctor, and may undergo chemotherapy and radiation. Additional surgeries may sometimes be needed to resect or remove a portion of the patient’s lung, or even to remove the pleural lining around the lung in mesothelioma victims. These surgeries can result in significant hospital stays, as well as extended follow-up care, just for the surgeries themselves. Mesothelioma and lung cancer patients will often be under the care of an oncologist, a pulmonologist, and a thoracic surgeon all at the same time. Between the rising medical bills, as well as potential lost wages and the impact on the victim and his or her family, asbestos victims often find themselves immersed in bills and overwhelmed.

There are multiple ways to obtain financial compensation for asbestos victims. First, personal injury damages are available while the asbestos victim is still alive. A personal injury lawsuit may be filed against companies who manufactured or supplied asbestos products the victim worked with or around. Compensation may also be obtained for an asbestos victim through claims filed against certain asbestos trusts established to pay claims to asbestos victims. If the asbestos victim dies while his or her claims are pending, or if the victim has already passed when counsel is retained, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. The Virginia mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers at Harty Jewell, PLLC have extensive experience with asbestos claims and obtained compensation through the courts and through the asbestos bankruptcy trusts for many asbestos victims. Our firm evaluates each case carefully, and explores every option available for each client to determine the best avenue for compensation.

In addition, workers’ compensation benefits may also be available. Workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job may have a claim for their asbestos-related disease under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The Virginia mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers at Harty Jewell, PLLC will evaluate the merits of each case and let the client know whether workers compensation can be pursued. Attorney Erin Jewell has obtained six figure workers’ compensation settlements for mesothelioma victims who qualified for benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Moreover, for veterans diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or lung cancer, compensation may be available from the Veteran’s Administration in the form of VA disability payments or a VA pension. This is in addition to retirement pay for retired veterans. Attorney Erin Jewell has obtained VA disability benefits for many veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer, as well as spouses who have sought dependency and indemnity benefits as a result of the loss of their loved one from mesothelioma or lung cancer. Understanding the medical evidence and exposure criteria necessary to prove a claim is a critical factor in a successful claim for VA benefits, and Harty Jewell, PLLC can help.

Finally, if a loved one has died as a result of mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related disease, there is also compensation often also available to an asbestos-victim's family members. The experienced Virginia asbestos attorneys at Harty Jewell, PLLC evaluate each case carefully to ensure that each potential avenue of compensation is considered.

While facing a new diagnosis of mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related disease, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer and had asbestos exposure, call the Lawyers who Listen at Harty Jewell, PLLC. Our Virginia mesothelioma lawyers have handled mesothelioma cases throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, including for workers who worked at Newport News Shipyard, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Norshipco, Virginia Electric and Power Company Power Plants, Amoco Oil Refinery, Dupont, Allied Chemical, Hercules, and other industrial sites. The mesothelioma attorneys at Harty Jewell have handled cases in Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond and other surrounding areas. We are here to help, and to answer your questions about a potential asbestos claim. Call at 757-568-9633 or fill out our contact form here to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you and your loved ones receive the compensation you deserve.

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