Mesothelioma takes a long time to surface, but when it does, it usually takes everyone by surprise. And typically, there are one or two family members or friends who, in a sense, “come to the rescue.” They take on responsibilities, search for answers, keep the ball rolling. They are caregivers, in the broadest sense of the word. They are not necessarily helping with health care tasks, but they care and help in other ways.
This may mean anything, from running errands to helping research for the latest mesothelioma treatments. One of the untold stories about caregivers, though, is the role they can play in helping mesothelioma victims get financial compensation.
Why help with a mesothelioma lawsuit or claim?
- Just as caregivers can be instrumental in finding medical options for the person affected by mesothelioma, they can help here too. They can be the ones to research legal options, while other family members help with health related issues
- The mesothelioma patient may be too overwhelmed by medical considerations and stress to contemplate an asbestos lawsuit or claim
- Mesothelioma victims with a solid asbestos exposure case could obtain a substantial financial compensation. This is reason enough to consider the matter, as the cost of mesothelioma is high
- Some victims may be in denial about the financial struggles they or their families will face because of mesothelioma
- Even harder to accept can be the fact that asbestos exposure -which is the most common culprit of mesothelioma-, could have been maliciously caused by the asbestos industry. This knowledge causes stress, and thus, avoidance. A caregiver may help the victim shoulder this pain
- Assisting a victim -even marginally-, to get financial compensation is a tangible way of expressing your support for a person you love. It can be a way to help when other “roles” are taken
- There are time limitations to initiating a claim. Other family members or the victim himself may be too busy to notice such deadlines
- Sometimes, a third party is necessary to keep a clear head and help with decisions. Especially if that third party is a trusted family member or friend.
Keep in mind that only the person who suffers mesothelioma can file the claim. Sometimes, affected family members can file claims as well. If the mesothelioma victim passes away, the claim can be continued through family members, by becoming a “wrongful death claim”.
How can a caregiver help?
Research. Learn about the causes of mesothelioma, the history of asbestos, and the reason why asbestos trust funds were created
Make an appointment. Before anything else, the patient must find out if they are candidates to receive compensation. The easiest way to do it is to schedule a free consultation with a mesothelioma lawyer and go from there.
Help find a mesothelioma attorney. The Internet is flooded with mesothelioma lawyer’s website. And you may recall a couple of mesothelioma attorney TV ads, or two… or three. You can help sort out the candidates and find the best mesothelioma attorney. You want to get an experienced professional who can obtain the most compensation. Here are some guidelines for choosing a mesothelioma attorney.
Relieve stress. It is normal for most people to experience anxiety when faced with any kind of legal proceedings. Something as simple as going to court to fight a traffic ticket can cause stress. Some mesothelioma victims fear that they will spend the rest of their lives embroiled in a legal battle. However, the reality of asbestos lawsuits is very different. By researching how an asbestos claim works, and what mesothelioma lawyers do, you could help calm your loved one’s fears. Even setting up an appointment with a lawyer could relieve some anxiety, as the lawyer can explain how the process really works.
Offer a realistic perspective. Contemplating any issue that involves the words “lawsuit” or “claim” can trigger instant fear in some people. Most of those fears can be unwarranted. Here are some of the thoughts that could pop up in the patient´s mind:
- How am I going to pay for a lawyer?
- Will I have to stand trial in front of a hostile jury?
- Do I want to spend the rest of my life embroiled in a legal battle?
- I don’t even recall any asbestos exposure!
The caregiver’s role here could be to remind the person that most mesothelioma claims never see a courtroom. Client and mesothelioma attorney may choose the course of action from the beginning of the process. The lawyers take care of most of the tasks; they strive to keep the interruptions to the patient’s routine to a minimum. Moreover, mesothelioma attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means the lawyer will only charge a fee if the result of the claim is positive for the client.
Lend your Organizational Skills. It can be a huge relief for the mesothelioma victim to have someone in charge of record keeping. However, make sure that the meso patient feels comfortable sharing personal documents with you.
These are some of the documents that an asbestos lawyer may need:
- Pathology reports and other medical records. This is proof that the mesothelioma diagnosis was confirmed by a medical authority.
- Occupational records. Usually, an asbestos attorney can obtain public records of employment, no one else is burdened with that task. But you could help the mesothelioma victim recall their work history, remember the names of old co-workers. If you can help them find employment records, such as pay stubs or tax forms, better yet.
- Proof of residence. Sometimes there is a suspicion that the mesothelioma victim was exposed to asbestos in their place of residence. One way would be through asbestos containing materials, the other, by living in proximity to an asbestos mine or manufacturing plant.
Contact and Follow Up. The mesothelioma patient could ask you to become the lawyer’s contact person. Be aware, though, that the law firm will probably need a written consent to share information with you.
Caregivers can be a lot of things, and not one role is more valuable than the other. Every person is different, every mesothelioma case is different, everyone reacts differently. Sometimes, the only thing we can do is try to help.