Legal Recourse for Lung Cancer
In the United States, people typically think of lung cancer as something that men and women do to themselves. A direct byproduct of smoking cigarettes. While it is true that smoking can cause cancer and that cigarettes, in particular, are a leading cause of lung cancer across the globe, there are other causes and risk factors tied to lung cancer — causes, which aren't always the choice of the victim diagnosed.
When Does Lung Cancer Warrant Legal Action?
While this does not apply to every case, there are situations where people with lung cancer have grounds for legal action. In these cases, the development of cancer is due to an external factor, such as asbestos, that was out of the control of the victim.
Asbestos exposure is the principal cause of legal action from lung cancer. Despite it being considered rare, less than 15% of people in the United States are diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer each year. Men and women who’ve been exposed to asbestos have grounds for legal recourse against companies and employers responsible. These cases can settle for anything from $200,000 to $2,500,000.
When someone’s lung cancer can be tied directly to asbestos exposure throughout their work history, they can be eligible for legal compensation through several means that fit the situation of the individual. These can include:
Exposure to radon, despite being the cause of up to 21,000 cases of lung cancer every year, does not carry the same level of punishment that asbestos does.
For one, not every state enforces penalties. In many situations, the owners of the property don’t need to disclose concentrations of radon in their buildings unless asked, and then they can “misrepresent” these readings. This can mean taking the reading on a higher floor, concentrations are highest in the basement, or giving the tenant a false number. In situations like these, the owners of the property could face a fine. This fine doesn’t necessarily go to the victims. It would typically be a fine charged by and paid to the city. States with criminal penalties for misrepresented radon readings:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
States with civil penalties for misrepresented radon readings:
- South Carolina
- Washington D.C.
Types of Lawsuits
After a positive lung cancer diagnosis is confirmed, the diagnosed individual could have options to pursue legal action. The type of claim they file is dependent on who they are and how they developed lung cancer. These options include:
The type of legal action taken by the individual varies by situation and the status of the individual. Knowing these factors is important when seeking legal counsel and getting the greatest amount of compensation possible. Factors for legal situations include:
- The individual diagnosed
- When they were diagnosed
- If they were exposed to some hazardous chemical
- Where they were exposed
- How they were exposed
- Can their diagnosis be tied to more than one site
- Are they still living
This may seem like a comprehensive list, but a lawyer that specializes in these kinds of cases can help collect all the information and documents necessary to file a claim. Having proper representation can be the difference between covering you or your loved one’s medical bills, or being refused compensation by a judge or committee.
Individuals who are still alive and have been diagnosed with lung cancer can pursue a personal injury case against the corporation that was responsible for their exposure to asbestos. In situations like these, the claimant must be the one who was diagnosed with lung cancer, they must have a clear work history that attaches them to the exposure, and they must file within the statute of limitations (set by the individual state).
For anyone who has lost a loved one to lung cancer, they have the potential to file a wrongful death suit. This action is subject to the statute of limitations, as dictated by the individual’s state, and must be processed soon after the loved one’s death.
Though seeking compensation for wrongful death can’t help recover what one has lost, it can help ease the financial burden they may be suffering.
Though not typical for cases involving asbestos exposure, class action lawsuits have been used to, historically, bring large groups of people together (the class) to bring outstanding charges against an organization.
Today, class action suits have been substituted by personal injury, wrongful death, and asbestos trusts claims. Reaching out to an experienced professional can ensure maximum compensation when filing these claims.
Other Legal Action
In situations where there is a proven connection between an individual’s cancer and exposure to asbestos, the claimant can receive compensation from a company’s asbestos trust. Trusts are set up for companies that were responsible for the exposure of large groups of people. Rather than handling every case individually, these companies can file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which establishes a trust in their name and provides easy compensation for any lives that were affected as a result.
For anyone who has fallen ill from a toxic material while on the job, they could be eligible for Workers’ Compensation. The oldest insurance program of it’s kind, Workers’ Compensation can be claimed for any individual who is injured as a result of their duty. This also covers asbestos-related illnesses that were the result of occupational exposure.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a legal precedence often set by individual states. These limitations are put in place as a means to limit individuals who may try to seek compensation for conditions that are unrelated to their work experience or past exposures. However, this statute can keep people from receiving rightful compensation if they’re not immediately active after receiving their diagnosis.
These limitations are why it is important for anyone who receives a positive diagnosis, especially one that may be tied to asbestos exposure, to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
If your lung cancer diagnosis is tied to exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as asbestos, that you came into contact with due to work then you could be entitled to compensation. Reach out to a legal specialist that understands the intricacies of lung cancer cases, and learn if you have a case.