A Resource Guide for Victims of Mesothelioma: Help is Available from a Variety of Sources
For those afflicted with mesothelioma, help can be found in a variety of established sources. Victims’ rights organizations, government assistance programs and even the civil court system all offer support, protection and services to the three-thousand or so American who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis each year. The following article is designed to provide information on various programs and procedures designed to offer those afflicted by mesothelioma help.
Mesothelioma Support Groups and Victims’ Advocacy Organizations
Organizations like the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation provide mesothelioma victims with information and resources regarding treatment, legal options and more. Additionally, these types of non-profit groups raise funds for medical research and lobby politicians for victims’ rights. Another service that victims’ advocacy groups often provide is help matching those in need with support groups in their area.
Support groups are small systems of fellow cancer victims that organize to provide fellowship and emotional support, as well as share common experiences and sometimes resources. Especially for those without extensive social networks or close family, they can be an invaluable source of stability and sanity.
For Veterans with Mesothelioma—Help from the VA
For veterans who were exposed to asbestos while enlisted in the service, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers several types of disability benefits, including disability compensation, which is a monthly payment made directly to injured and disabled veterans to help cover costs of living. Health screenings, as well as treatment for any existing medical conditions, are also offered to veterans with mesothelioma or other related illnesses, free of charge. Local VA offices even provide transportation assistance for those who must travel significant distances in order to receive treatment in a VA health care center.
Financial Recoupment through the Legal System
One of the most important types of mesothelioma help available to those injured by exposure to asbestos is that provided through the civil court system. By filing a claim against the negligent party or parties that caused them to become ill, mesothelioma victims are able to collect compensatory damages that can cover their expenses related to medical care and more. The average asbestos settlement totals between one and two million dollars, and funds are paid out via mesothelioma victim trusts that have been established by now-defunct asbestos manufacturers who once profited off of an industry that has cost thousands of Americans their lives.
In order to file a claim and pursue a settlement, mesothelioma victims will need to retain the services of an attorney who specializes in asbestos injury cases. These types of specialty firms generally offer free consultations and work on what is called a contingency basis—meaning that all fees for their services are collected only if their client is successful in collecting a settlement or court-ordered damages. Mesothelioma victims owe nothing to their attorneys during the course of the case and will never be billed if it is not settled successfully.