Lake County Mesothelioma Lawyers

It’s tragic when someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma because, in so many cases, the fatal condition may have been preventable. Because the condition can be so often traced back to exposure to asbestos, this creates grounds for potential legal action against those responsible for the exposure. Lake County mesothelioma attorneys can help victims and their families in their efforts to seek compensation.

Lake County Mesothelioma Lawyers

Obtaining compensation in a mesothelioma case can be especially complicated for a number of different reasons. In particular, the time between exposure to asbestos and a diagnosis can make the identification of the liable party complicated. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced team like that you’ll find at Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley. We understand the unique challenges of these claims and are dedicated to getting our clients the compensation that they are owed.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is commonly developed in the lungs. It’s a particularly aggressive form of lung cancer. Unfortunately, treatment for the condition is very limited, and as of now, it’s a fatal condition. While early detection can have some impact in slowing the progression of the disease, in most cases, the cancer is significantly developed before any symptoms start to manifest.

The initial symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to other respiratory issues like asbestos, leading many people to believe that they have a respiratory virus. Some of the more common symptoms include a dry cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

How Is Mesothelioma Contracted?

Most every case of mesothelioma is the result of exposure to asbestos, which used to be used as a means of fire prevention. Typically, the more the exposure to asbestos and products with asbestos in them, the greater the risk of developing mesothelioma. This is why many people who worked at job sites that had asbestos, had asbestos in their home, or were involved with asbestos-containing products have a greater risk.

The greatest risk from asbestos comes from having breathed in the fibers. These fibers then get stuck in the protective lining around the lungs, which leads to DNA damage. Cancer cells are a result of the DNA damage. However, it usually takes somewhere between 20 and 60 years for the symptoms of mesothelioma to develop.

Seeking Compensation for Mesothelioma

Most mesothelioma claims will fall under personal injury law, even if the condition was contracted at work. This is because it manifests so late that it will usually fall outside the statute of limitations for a workers’ compensation claim. Under personal injury law, you are able to collect compensation for the costs that your injury has caused you to bear.

The key to being able to collect compensation in a personal injury claim is being able to prove that the defendant was liable for the injuries. This first means that the correct at-fault party will need to be identified. This can be challenging with mesothelioma claims, given the time between asbestos exposure and the emergence of symptoms. However, once your lawyer is able to identify the properly liable party, they will need to be able to demonstrate their negligence.

Proving Negligence

In personal injury claims, negligence is determined to exist when the plaintiff’s lawyers are able to prove three elements. If you are negotiating a settlement, then these elements won’t necessarily have to be proven in court. However, your lawyer will still likely want to gather evidence that can be used to prove them in case the claim does go to litigation. These are:

  • A Duty of Care. A person or entity is said to have had a duty of care when they had a responsibility not to put others in unnecessary danger. This generally means that they should have foreseen the potential risks of what they were doing and taken reasonable precautions to mitigate that risk.In the case of a mesothelioma claim, this relates to the relationship that the entity you are seeking to hold accountable had with asbestos. If they knew of the direct involvement with asbestos or of contaminated facilities, they were required to use appropriate safety and protective measures.
  • A Breach of Duty. When someone has failed to meet their duty of care in a given situation, this is considered a breach of duty. This can take a few different forms; however, with something like asbestos, it will likely involve a failure to take proper precautions.In some cases, this could mean failing to follow the safety regulations regarding asbestos, which could also result in government fines as well. In other cases, it may be some other failure to properly handle some asbestos-related risk. It could even be necessary to bring in an expert witness, like someone involved in the same industry, to explain how what the defendant did differed from what should have been done.
  • Cause of Injury. Lastly, the breach on the part of the defendant must be shown to be the cause of the injury. This can be difficult in situations where the gap of time between the cause of the injury and the symptoms is significant. However, because the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma is so well-established, this can help prove the causation, so long as the exposure is clear.

What Might Be Compensated in a Mesothelioma Claim?

In a personal injury claim in Lake County, IL, compensation is limited to those things for which there is a clear connection to the injury. The costs must be shown to be a direct result of the injury. This connects the costs back to the breach of duty, which establishes liability. It’s important, then, for your lawyer to have proof of the costs of the mesothelioma.

Typically, the costs that you are seeking compensation for are proven through things like medical bills, doctor’s notes, and other documentation. You will want to make sure that you keep a good record of these costs so that your lawyer can use them to ensure you get the full amount that you’re owed.

The compensation that’s awarded in these claims is paid in different forms of “damages.”

Economic Damages

The losses that have an evident financial component are compensated through economic damages. In a mesothelioma claim, this will include the medical bills associated with treating the condition. This includes the diagnostic tests, doctor’s visits, surgeries, medication, therapies, and other medical expenses.

In addition to medical bills, if the person who has contracted mesothelioma was still working at the time, the wages that weren’t earned will also be covered. This could involve considering what the person would have made throughout the rest of the career and compensating for these losses.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are a critical component of something as emotionally devastating as a mesothelioma claim. These damages address the costs that don’t have a clear financial element. This primarily consists of the psychological and emotional impacts of the condition. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and other concerns are addressed through these damages.

Of course, this compensation can never really replace what is suffered and lost in a mesothelioma case. These damages largely serve to recognize the injustice that occurred.

Punitive Damages

A third type of damages, punitive damages, is not typically awarded in these claims. These damages are generally awarded as a kind of punishment and deterrent for the defendant. However, that means that they are only given in situations where the actions of the defendant are considered to have been malicious or particularly egregious.

In a mesothelioma claim, unless the defendant was intentionally trying to cause harm by refusing to follow proper safety protocols, punitive damages being awarded is unlikely.

Wrongful Death Claim

Because mesothelioma is almost always a fatal condition, there is a possibility that the claim will be brought by surviving family members after their loved one has passed. In these cases, the claim is not a standard personal injury claim but rather a variation of it in the form of a wrongful death claim.

A wrongful death claim will generally function very similarly to a personal injury claim, with the primary difference being the compensation that’s awarded. Generally, everything that would be awarded in a standard personal injury claim is awarded, with the addition of compensation covering those costs directly related to a person’s death. For instance, burial costs, funeral costs, and loss of consortium are all costs that could be compensated in a wrongful death claim.

How Modified Comparative Negligence Could Impact Your Claim

For personal injury claims and wrongful death claims, Illinois operates under a set of rules referred to as “modified comparative negligence.” These rules address the question of what should happen if the plaintiff in a claim is responsible, or even just partially responsible, for their own injuries.

Under these rules, the defendant has the opportunity to attempt to show that the plaintiff was negligent in a manner that directly caused or contributed to their own injuries. In the case of a mesothelioma claim, this could mean something like failing to make use of the safety measures that were provided.

If the plaintiff is found to be at fault, the court will determine what share of fault both parties have. The plaintiff will then have their damage award reduced proportionately to their share of fault. However, if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault for their own injuries, then they will not be able to collect any damages at all.

For instance, if you consider a claim where there is a $1 million damage award, but the plaintiff is determined to have been 25% at fault, then the final total that they can collect is $750,000. However, if the plaintiff were found to have been 51% at fault, they would have been prevented from collecting any damages at all.

What Lake County Mesothelioma Lawyers Can Do for You

It’s critical that you work with Lake Country mesothelioma lawyers if you or your family are seeking compensation in a mesothelioma case. These are some of the most complicated personal injury claims, and it’s critical that you have a lawyer who understands the different issues involved. It’s also important to have someone who can work diligently to seek your compensation so that the family can focus on spending time with and caring for the person suffering from mesothelioma.

As your lawyer, it’s our job to represent you and serve as your advocate as you seek compensation in a mesothelioma case. In service of this objective, we can perform a few specific functions, starting with investigating your situation.

Investigating the Source of the Condition

Investigating mesothelioma claims is particularly complicated. Most personal injury claims stem from an accident or other incident that clearly connects with the injuries, and it is usually relatively recent. In mesothelioma cases, though, lawyers are often looking for asbestos exposure that occurred decades ago. This can require thorough searching.

In many cases, your lawyer will need to sit down with you and review decades of work history, housing, product use, or other potential sources of exposure. Once they have this information, they can seek to identify the source of the asbestos exposure and who may be liable for creating it. They will also need to identify ways in which better safety measures and protocols should have been put in place to address the risks.

Because of the complexity of these cases, there can be significant benefits in working with someone who has a strong understanding of mesothelioma claims. At Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley, we have experience with performing these kinds of challenging investigations and understand where we will most likely find the information and evidence that we need to make your case.

Negotiating a Settlement

Once we’ve thoroughly investigated the claim and understand how we should be seeking compensation on your behalf, there is often an attempt to negotiate a settlement for the claim. The majority of claims are settled before going to court because there can be advantages for both sides in doing so. In particular, there are two primary advantages:

  • In many situations, people need or desire the funds that will come from the claim quickly. A negotiated settlement has the advantage of possibly allowing you to receive funds much sooner than going through a trial, which could take months or even years. How quickly a negotiated settlement is reached will depend on the interests of both parties in wrapping the matter up quickly.However, there are some situations where a settlement could be reached within weeks. The funds are usually then paid within thirty days of the agreement being finalized.
  • Another major advantage of a negotiated settlement is the way that it negates the inherent risk of litigation. Any time a matter goes before a court, there is no way to be certain of how it will end. Even the strongest of cases can come back with an unexpected ruling.By going to trial, both sides are putting the decision in the hands of the court and risking a ruling against their interests. With a negotiated settlement, though, that risk is eliminated, as both parties reach a plan that is acceptable to them rather than being subject to the whims of the court.

Negotiating on Your Behalf

When negotiating a potential settlement, there are some significant advantages that come from having an experienced lawyer representing your interests. These advantages will often serve to maximize the potential value you could receive from a settlement.

One of the advantages of having a lawyer represent you is that it offers some protection from mistakenly saying something that could be used to reduce the compensation awarded. Comparative negligence could be used to argue that you were at fault for your condition and shouldn’t receive full compensation. It’s possible to say something that could be misconstrued this way, but having a lawyer represent you can avoid that risk in negotiations.

Another significant advantage is that your lawyer has experience in the negotiation process. Like so many other skills, negotiating legal settlements is a skill that improves with practice and experience. At Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley, we have that experience and can use it to benefit our clients. We understand how to put pressure on the other party to get the fair compensation that you need.

One more benefit of having a lawyer representing you is that the other side will likely take the situation more seriously. Their lawyers may try to take advantage of someone they view as naive, but they’ll recognize that they can’t get away with the same tactics with a lawyer. Having us represent you also demonstrates the likelihood of the claim going to court if an agreement isn’t reached. A desire to avoid that possibility may also lead to more serious and quick negotiation on their part.

Representing You in Litigation

Despite the benefits of settling, there are times when a fair offer can’t be obtained from the other side. If that happens, we’re prepared to take the claim to court to seek the compensation that is owed.

In the process of doing so, we handle the paperwork and documentation involved in the process. When it comes time to go to trial, we can make a strong case that demonstrates the defendant’s negligence and why you deserve the compensation that you’re owed.

What to Do if You or a Loved One Has Been Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

A mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating news. It’s an emotional and challenging time. There are, though, a few things that can be critical to remember through the process to preserve your and your family’s opportunity to obtain fair compensation.

  • Consider Where You May Have Come in Contact With Asbestos. One of the most challenging parts of a mesothelioma claim is identifying who should be held liable. It can be helpful to consider when you may have come into regular or significant contact with asbestos in the past. This can provide a solid starting point for seeking a settlement.
  • Document Your Costs. It’s important to have thorough documentation of the costs that the mesothelioma diagnosis has created, as you will only receive compensation for those costs that can be proven. Keeping a good record of the medical costs, in particular, can be essential to getting full compensation.
  • Contact a Lake County Mesothelioma Attorney. The sooner that you contact an attorney in Lake County area, the better off your claim will be. The more time we have to research the situation, gather evidence, prepare your case, and negotiate for a settlement, the more likely it is that we will be able to maximize your compensation.

Help Seeking Compensation in Your Mesothelioma Case

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating for a family, and of course, there are more important things at that time than seeking compensation. However, the reality is that mesothelioma can be an expensive condition. The medical bills will often be steep, and in some cases, it can also mean a significant loss of income for the family if the person who developed the condition was still working.

At Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley, we believe in the importance of obtaining the compensation that families need and deserve when mesothelioma can be traced to the negligence of a specific party. While we are prepared to doggedly pursue that compensation, we also understand the emotional toll these situations take on a family, which is why we approach these situations with the appropriate sensitivity as well.

Mesothelioma cases can be incredibly complex. The condition can often emerge decades after whatever caused it. This means investigative work looking at potential issues with previous workplaces, homes, products used, and other risks is necessary. Our team understands how to conduct these investigations and seek the critical information we need to hold the right parties liable.

We are dedicated to helping our clients and their families get what they are owed. If that means we can negotiate a fair settlement, we are happy to do so. However, if we need to go through litigation, we are prepared to do so as well. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are looking for help seeking the compensation that you believe you deserve, contact our team today.

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