Occupational Disease and Lung Cancer Lawsuits

Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, increasing numbers of laborers left self-employed trades to work for similarly increasing numbers of corporations. Prior to the creation of federal labor laws to protect employees, the standards for working conditions in the U.S. were often dismal. Job-related injury and illness rates were high across a range of industries, prompting early legislation in the railroad business as well as the military. In 1916, the Federal Compensation Act was the first to broadly provide American workers with benefits after being injured or contracting an illness on the job.

Exposure to cancer-causing toxins like asbestos, carbon monoxideradon, and lead, can lead to several long-term health problems. If this exposure occurs at work, at the fault of the employer, workers may be able to file a legal claim seeking compensation. Depending on the type of case, compensation may cover medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages.

Workers’ compensation claims provide protection and benefits for currently employed individuals when working conditions cause occupational disease. For retired individuals and those no longer working at the company, personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits may provide compensation.

Knowing the type of case as well as preparing the right case information can be difficult without legal aid. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about lung cancer and other work-related illnesses, legal resources, and information for veterans.

After Diagnosis

Below is a list of frequently asked questions many people have after a diagnosis of lung cancer or another work-related disease.

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How do I know if my lung cancer is work-related?

A number of factors surrounding your lung cancer diagnosis help doctors and attorneys narrow down a list of potential causes. Risk factors like workplace exposure to asbestos, radon, carbon monoxide, and other carcinogens can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing certain types of cancer.

If you worked in a high-risk occupation (especially prior to the 1980s), your diagnosis may be related to hazardous working conditions. Discuss your professional history with a qualified attorney to determine the likely cause or causes of your lung cancer. Moreover, specialized attorneys have detailed lists of negligent products and companies to help clients identify exposure sources.


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Can I sue for compensation if I have lung cancer?

Some individuals diagnosed with lung cancer are eligible to file a legal claim for financial compensation. Depending on the cause of cancer (such as occupational exposure), the timeline for your exposure and diagnosis, as well as which manufacturers are responsible, you may be able to file a lawsuit.

The statute of limitations is one of the primary factors in suing for compensation. In many cases, if the deadline passes you are no longer eligible to file a claim.

Lawsuits

Knowing which type of lawsuit your case falls under is the first step in a filing. You may have more than one option in seeking compensation.

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What are the types of work-related illness and worker’s comp lawsuits?

If your lung cancer was caused by toxic exposure that occurred on the job, you have an occupational illness that may qualify for compensation. For current employees, workers’ compensation claims are the easiest way to seek recuperation for medical bills and lost wages. Retired individuals, however, must file a legal claim in court to receive any benefits.

The two types of legal claims for people diagnosed with occupational lung disease are personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Additionally, for people whose cancer is a result of asbestos exposure, claims made to mesothelioma and asbestos trust funds may provide compensation.


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How much is the average personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit settlement?

Because each case is different, it’s difficult to determine the average payment received by successful plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit settlements. A retired worker or their family suing for compensation may receive a few thousand or million dollars from their settlement depending on v aspects of their case (such as the amount the plaintiff is seeking, the company’s percentage of fault, etc.).

Working with a lawyer knowledgeable about your specific type of occupational exposure and lung disease gives you the best chance of a successful lawsuit and settlement.


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Who can file a personal injury claim and wrongful death lawsuit?

Anyone whose lung cancer or other chronic disease was caused by negligent exposure can sue the company or companies responsible. While each state’s statute of limitations curbs the amount of time people have to file a lawsuit, a personal injury claim can generally be made by a single individual or by their representative.

Wrongful death claims occur after an individual with a work-related illness has died. These types of lawsuits seek compensation for damages, medical bills, and lost wages for the deceased individual.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos trust funds have been created in the U.S. to ensure victims of asbestos exposure are compensated properly.

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Can I apply to an asbestos trust fund if I have lung cancer?

Yes. Asbestos trust funds are available to those whose chronic illness is a result of asbestos exposure, including those diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancers, and asbestosis.


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How much compensation does the average asbestos trust fund provide?

The amount a person receives from an asbestos trust fund depends on the percentage of the claim granted by the judge. Payment percentages range from one to 100 percent and determine the portion of the claim the claimant is entitled to. For instance, if the value of a claim is $100,000 and a claimant is granted 60 percent, the total settlement is worth $60,000.

Your Case

Before getting started, there may be some questions about preparing your case as well as preparing for court.

This is an image representing an occupation that exposes workers to asbestos.

How can I prove I was exposed to toxins at work?

To prove your lung cancer diagnosis is a result of workplace exposure, an attorney specializing in personal injury claims will review your work and residence history. Commonly, these lawyers have detailed lists of companies and manufacturers responsible for hazardous workplaces and/or products.


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Will I need to go to a court to file a lawsuit? What if I’m unable to travel?

Typically, an experienced attorney will travel to their client to review their personal and work histories, and to begin building the person’s case. They will then attend court proceedings on your behalf, allowing clients to continue cancer treatments from home.


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Can I file a second personal injury lawsuit?

In most cases, companies require plaintiffs to sign agreements releasing the company from any further liability. However, some people may be able to file claims against multiple defendants (i.e., negligent companies).

Info for Veterans

If you developed lung cancer (or other chronic occupational illness) as a result of working conditions while serving in the military, you may be eligible to sue for compensation. Veterans will not be suing the military or government but will instead bring action against the company that manufactured the toxic responsible for occupational exposure.

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Will filing a lawsuit affect my veteran’s benefits?

If you choose to file a lawsuit, the legal claim will not affect your veteran’s benefits or filing status with the VA. Your claim will not be filed against your branch of service (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard) or the VA, but against the manufacturers who sold the asbestos-containing or other hazardous products to the military.

What are the next steps?

For more information about filing a lawsuit for compensation after a lung cancer diagnosis, fill out a free case evaluation form.