A mesothelioma diagnosis changes a person’s life. Patients and their loved ones can quickly get overwhelmed by massive medical bills, aggressive treatments and emotional distress.
Under these circumstances, financial remedies can be a critical resource to struggling families. Thus, it can be crucial to know what may be available.
Workers’ compensation benefits
If your illness results from work-related conditions or accidents, which is often the case with mesothelioma, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation. These benefits allow workers who get sick or hurt on the job to collect a portion of their income and cover medical expenses while they recover.
However, complications can arise when it comes to seeking these benefits. Statutes of limitations restrict people from collecting payment after a certain period. Because there may be decades between asbestos exposure and diagnosis, mesothelioma patients may not be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Instead of workers’ compensation, or sometimes in addition to it, people can seek financial relief with a lawsuit against the party responsible for toxic exposure.
Through settlement or litigation, victims and their families could collect economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages address:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Household services
- Rehabilitation costs
These financial demands can be extensive, and having them covered can be of great relief.
But economic demands are not the only toll mesothelioma diagnoses take on people. There are also non-economic damages, or damages that may not come with a receipt but still have a tremendous impact on individuals. These include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of support
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
Together, economic and non-economic damages allow mesothelioma patients and their families to cover illness-related expenses and recover after a devastating diagnosis or loss.
In some cases, courts might award plaintiffs punitive damages. This money is on top of other damages and is in place specifically to punish gross negligence and willful misconduct.
That said, courts do not always award punitive damages. Often, parties settle out of court, or there is no direct link between defendants knowingly or maliciously exposing others to asbestos, meaning punitive damages would not apply.
Money is not going to undo a painful diagnosis or turn the clock back. However, it can help mesothelioma patients get the care they need and make it a little easier for loved ones to cope with a loss and eventually move forward.