What happens if a victim dies before asbestos case is resolved?

Diseases that are caused by exposure to asbestos can be especially devastating because of how aggressive they can be. Further, they are often diagnosed only after they are already in advanced stages, meaning treatment may not be as effective as it could have been and a person’s life expectancy is decreased to a matter of months or even weeks.

Because of this, the grim reality is that victims of asbestos-related illnesses may not see the end of their lawsuits, should they choose to file one. However, this does not mean all hope is lost.

Cases arguing that negligent or reckless behaviors contributed to a person’s asbestos-related illness can continue on as a wrongful death claim and additional damages may be sought by the decedent’s loved ones or estate if someone dies before the conclusion of a trial. For example, if the case continues on as a wrongful death case, plaintiffs may be able to add funeral expenses, loss of support as well as pain and suffering to the list of damages.

However, this doesn’t make time any less of factor in civil asbestos claims. It is typically in the best interests of victims and their families to resolve legal matters as quickly as possible. Dragging out a claim not only puts stress on these parties, it can also make it more likely that the victims and/or their families will decide to settle before the trial even if the settlement seems unfair or inadequate.

Parties who are accused of negligent or reckless behaviors that contributed to a person’s illness are often counting on any one of these things to occur. This is why they may try to delay the case by filing motion after motion, purposefully complicate things during discovery or engage in other delay tactics. They do so hoping they may be able to avoid a trial.

This is why it can be so important to have the guidance and knowledge of an attorney familiar with asbestos litigation. Time is crucial in any legal claim involving asbestos and an attorney who appreciates this can work to avoid needless delays and pursue a fair resolution as quickly as possible.