A lung cancer diagnosis can be life-changing for both the patient and his or her loved ones. Along with emotional distress, some patients may find themselves afflicted with financial pressure from medical expenses or loss of income. Patients may be eligible to file a personal injury claim to help relieve the burden of financial expenses.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Most lung cancer patients develop lung cancer as a result of smoking tobacco products. However, people can develop lung cancer from other factors, as well. This includes carcinogenic agents manufactured or distributed by certain companies. Personal injury lawsuits hold liable companies accountable for exposing employees or consumers to those carcinogens.
Compensation can come from a manufacturer, distributor, or supplier of one or more of the carcinogenic substances. Financial compensation can also come from a company that marketed and sold products containing carcinogens that can cause lung cancer. Many companies have gone bankrupt or closed down. However, some large corporations set funds aside for future victims.
Who’s Eligible for Compensation?
Lung cancer patients exposed to carcinogenic chemicals or minerals from companies who produced them may be eligible for compensation, residents who lived near mining or manufacturing areas, employees, and consumers.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) includes 248 agents, substances, mixtures, and exposure circumstances that are known to cause cancer in humans. Common agents or minerals listed in the report that cause lung cancer include arsenic, asbestos, nickel, uranium, radon, and carbon monoxide.
Employees worked around lung cancer-causing carcinogens in multiple industries, including:
- Aluminum production
- Asbestos manufacturing
- Ceramic and tile production
- Coal mines
- First Responders (Firefighters)
- Glass production
- Harbor Work
- Industrial chemical production
- Masonry work
- Plumbing and piping
- Petroleum production
- Power plant crew
- Railroad workers
- Tire and Rubber production
- Uranium mining
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Unlike a wrongful death claim, which is filed by a loved one on behalf of someone who has passed away, personal injury lawsuits cannot be filed by any person other than the one diagnosed with lung cancer.
A lawyer or team of lawyers may help the patient gather all the necessary information to get the process started. Before filing a claim, medical proof of illness and evidence of exposure to a toxic substance must be collected. In some cases, a lawsuit may require a written statement by the victim’s physician or oncologist. Since the exposure likely happened decades ago, the process can be complex. An experienced lawyer knows where to find information and can significantly speed up the process.
The onset of lung cancer symptoms can happen decades after exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. Each state governs its own Statute of Limitations, which is the amount of time, beginning from the moment the patient is diagnosed, a cancer patient has to file a claim against companies liable for their diagnosis. The statutes of limitations generally give victims two to five years to file a claim after diagnosis. Some states, including California, Tennessee, and Louisiana, only give victims one year to file a lawsuit after diagnosis.
What Determines My Compensation Amount?
Several important factors can affect the compensation amount in a personal injury settlement. The severity and nature of the patient’s lung cancer timeline can impact the compensation amount depending on the cost of treatment and care. Patients can also receive compensation for out-of-pocket expenses related to their cancer.
Compensation amounts take into account lost wages and diminished earning capacity, as treatment may require missing work. Pain and suffering are also taken into consideration when negotiating the settlement amount.
Other Legal Options
Workers’ compensation is a form of compensation that reimburses victims for medical expenses or loss of income. An employee or former employee can file a worker’s compensation claim against their employer or former employer. This form of compensation, however, does not take into consideration certain damages like pain and suffering.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A loved one, typically spouses, children, parents, friends, or financial dependents, may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one that passed away from lung cancer. Compensation from a wrongful death claim can cover remaining medical expenses or loss of income. The statute of limitations applies to wrongful death lawsuits and settlements.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Some negligent companies exposed many employees to asbestos. These companies had several lawsuits to pay and became bankrupt. Bankrupt businesses then put asbestos trust funds in place in order to help pay compensation to future lawsuits from employees who may have been exposed on the job.
Class Action Lawsuits
A class-action lawsuit involves a group of victims with common injuries, referred to as a “class,” who file a claim against one or more companies liable for their diagnosis. There are currently class action lawsuits for patients with lung cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma of the lungs or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If you’ve developed lung cancer caused by exposure to a toxic substance at home or work, you may qualify for financial compensation. Reaching out to an experienced legal specialist who can answer all of your questions is the first step towards compensation.