Can You File Asbestos Claims After Death of the Victim?

Many people who are immediate family members and loved ones of victims suffering from asbestos related diseases worry that time is running out not just for the victim, but also for their ability to pursue any sort of asbestos claims after death.

Fortunately, courts discovered that the death of a victim should not be the conclusion of the at-fault party’s liabilities. Governments created wrongful death suits in response, starting with the Fatal Accidents Act of 1846. Now, certain parties who were reasonably close to the victim can bring forward legal action that seeks punitive and compensatory damages for the deceased victim and their mourning survivors.

The major caveat is that only certain individuals can be deemed to have had a close enough relationship to the deceased victim in order to file a wrongful death suit. Learn more about what the typical legal requirements are and what options people close to the victim have for filing asbestos claims after death.

Who Can File Asbestos Claims After Death of the Victim?

Jurisdictional law determines who can legally file a wrongful death suit based on their familial or personal relationship with the victim. These eligible individuals most often include:

  • Spouses
  • Children
    • Adopted children
    • Stepchildren
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents

Many other states include individuals who were financially dependent on the victim. California, for instance, allows those who obtained at least half their income from the deceased victim to file a wrongful death claim. California also permits putative spouses to file wrongful death suits, which refers to individuals who genuinely believed that they were the spouse of the victim despite nullifying circumstances like bigamy.

Estate Survival Actions

Under some circumstances where the victim arranged for management and representation of their estate prior to death, some parties may be able to take action for wrongful death or other claims on behalf of the deceased estate-owner. Review California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30-377.35 for more information on this type of filing.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is cause for immediate concern among people who are considering filing a wrongful death suit. A “statute of limitations” refers to a period after which a case can no longer be filed in that jurisdiction.

Some states like Florida have statutes of limitations as short as two years, meaning the family and/or estate representative has a small window of time to form their case before officially filing.

For this reason, surviving parties are urged to begin their process of filing a lawsuit as soon as possible, perhaps even assembling documentation during the palliative stage of the victim’s care.

If you have reason to believe that an immediate family member or someone who has granted you representative power over their estate has died from asbestos-related illness as a result of negligence or recklessness, you should act quickly to bring forth legal action before your statute of limitations expires. Connect with some the leading asbestos attorneys in the country to fight for the rightful compensation your loved one would have deserved.

Rachel Sasser

Author

Rachel Sasser is a lawyer, blogger, and freelance writer with an interest in the international politics of asbestos. She believes that the United States has a lot to learn about public health priorities from the way that other countries have handled their own asbestos issues and mesothelioma victims. She has a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and practiced law in North Carolina.