Filing an Asbestos Claim After Death of a Loved One (2024)

When you have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other illnesses caused by asbestos exposure, there are some cases where you can file a wrongful death claim. Unfortunately, filing an asbestos claim after the death of a loved one is not easy. It is legally complex and very emotionally hard to do. It’s still important to file this claim, both to provide your family with financial support and to hold an at-fault party liable for their negligence or misconduct.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

After someone has died from mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, or pleural disease, a wrongful death claim could be filed. For a valid wrongful death claim due to asbestos exposure, the following must be true:

  1. The individual was diagnosed with a disease related to asbestos exposure, and this was the cause of their death.
  2. The disease has a clear link to extended and/or severe asbestos exposure in the person’s life.

There are specific criteria for who is able to file a wrongful death claim, and these vary from state to state. In North and South Carolina, the executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate is the only party allowed to file a wrongful death claim. The representative is either named in the deceased’s will or is appointed by the court. While this can be a family member, it is not always so.

In other states, specific family members can also file a wrongful death claim, such as a surviving spouse, surviving children, a financial dependent, parents, or other relatives. Regardless of who files the claim, the compensation obtained in a successful claim benefits the estate of the deceased and is distributed to family members, or it is awarded directly to the family members. This depends on the state.

What Options Are There for Filing Asbestos Wrongful Death Claims?

A civil wrongful death claim is not the only option for surviving loved ones. Depending on the unique circumstances of asbestos exposure, family members could file one of the following:

  1. An asbestos trust fund claim
  2. A workers’ compensation death benefits claim
  3. Veterans benefits claim

An attorney can review the case and determine if the deceased was an employee or military member when they suffered asbestos exposure. They can also see if that makes family members eligible for unique forms of compensation.

What Compensation Can You Recover in an Asbestos Wrongful Death Claim?

A settlement for an asbestos-related wrongful death claim can recover any compensatory damages suffered, including:

  • Medical bills for the deceased’s illness prior to their death
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased
  • The family’s loss of the deceased’s income
  • Reasonable funeral expenses
  • Loss of support and companionship

In addition to compensatory damages, some asbestos claims result in punitive damages. The criteria for punitive damages can be different in each state. Typically, the person filing must prove that the at-fault party acted with gross negligence or a disregard for the well-being and safety of others. Such damages are awarded to punish the at-fault party for their actions.

Punitive damages are not always available, but many companies and employers deliberately fail to take precautions for asbestos exposure or try to cover up information about the dangers. These may be grounds for punitive damages. Your attorney can review your individual case to determine if you qualify.


Q: What Is an Asbestos Claim After Death?

A: An asbestos claim can be filed after an individual’s death if they were eligible for a personal injury claim or workers’ compensation claim while they were alive. An asbestos wrongful death claim holds negligent parties liable for illnesses and deaths that are related to asbestos exposure.

If the individual’s death was caused by mesothelioma, lung cancer, or a non-cancerous respiratory illness, family members may be able to benefit from a wrongful death claim. In some states, family members can file this claim, while in others, the estate’s representative can.

Q: What Is the Average Compensation for Asbestosis?

A: The average compensation for a wrongful death or personal injury asbestosis claim relies on many factors, and it can range from several hundred thousand to millions of dollars. Primarily, a settlement’s value relies on the exact damages suffered by the injured or deceased individual, such as the cost of medical bills, emotional trauma, and lost income. Other factors, such as whether the case goes to court and the skill of an attorney, also impact the final settlement amount.

Q: How Much Does a Family Member Get for Mesothelioma Compensation?

A: Family members could receive mesothelioma compensation ranging from several thousand dollars to much higher. Family members typically obtain compensation in these claims for one of two reasons:

  1. Their loved one was exposed to asbestos and has died from the resulting mesothelioma, which allows family members to benefit from a wrongful death claim.
  2. Their loved one worked in or was otherwise exposed to asbestos and brought home asbestos fibers on their clothes or skin, leading to illness in family members.

Q: How Do You Prove Asbestos Exposure?

A: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an illness related to asbestos exposure, it is important to document and gather information, including:

  • Employment or housing history related to asbestos exposure
  • Medical documentation regarding a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness
  • Medical reports of asbestos fibers in the individual’s lungs
  • Testimony of the injured party or others in their life

An attorney can help you gather this information, as they know what documentation is relevant. If you have lost a loved one, this aid is important, as certain forms of evidence can be harder to find.

Wallace & Graham, P.A.: Filing Wrongful Death Claims for Asbestos Exposure

For many families, the idea of filing a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one can be overwhelming. It can be much easier when you’re working with a skilled asbestos attorney, as your attorney can gather evidence to build and negotiate your claim.

Wallace & Graham, P.A., has more than 40 years of collective experience working on asbestos-related claims, including personal injury, workers’ compensation, and wrongful death. When your loved one is killed because another party failed to take proper care, they must be held accountable. Contact our firm today to see if you have a viable claim.