Pursuing Your Legal Rights When You Have Cancer

Pursuing Your Legal Rights When You Have Cancer
This page was originally published June 6, 2023 and updated July 4, 2024.

The diagnosis of a life-threatening disease such as cancer, not only disrupts your everyday life and brings emotional turmoil, but it also invites an array of legal considerations. Legal issues might encompass damage and/or injuries from a car accident, medical treatment decisions, social security disability claims, or compensation claims in the event your disease is linked to a specific cause or incident, such as exposure to hazardous materials at work or a car accident. Understanding and exercising your legal rights as a cancer patient can significantly impact your quality of life and the security of your future. In this post, we’ll cover some of the crucial legal aspects you might face in your journey, from addressing Social Security Disability claims, navigating through personal injury lawsuits, to understanding your rights pertaining to workplace accommodations and protections and three programs that will help you with your legal claims for free. ❤️

Getting Legal Help When Your Dealing With Cancer

When you are diagnosed with cancer, your world turns upside down. Suddenly, the things that used to matter seem insignificant, and your focus shifts to your health and wellbeing. However, amidst the medical concerns, it’s important not to forget your legal rights. It’s essential to remember that your fight against cancer also involves a legal battle – a battle for your rights, your welfare, and ultimately, your peace of mind. That’s where a legal professional can help. Here are three ways to get assistance with legal claims today.

 Social Security Disability Help

If cancer hampers your ability to work, you might be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes many types of cancer as qualifying conditions for disability benefits. However, obtaining these benefits can often be a complex process. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the SSA’s guidelines and consider seeking the help of an experienced disability attorney to navigate the process.

To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits because of cancer, the condition must either meet or medically equal the criteria set forth in the SSA’s Blue Book. This comprehensive guide details the specific medical criteria that SSA uses to determine disability. Cancer-related listings in the book include various forms of cancer, each with its specific criteria. Furthermore, the severity and stage of your cancer, the treatments’ effects, and whether the cancer is recurring or not after treatment are factors that are considered. If your type or stage of cancer is not listed or does not exactly meet the listing requirements, you can still be eligible if your condition limits your functioning to the point that you cannot work.

However, understanding this information and applying it to your situation can be challenging. A disability attorney can clarify these details and assist you in gathering the necessary medical evidence. They can also help prepare your application, ensuring it clearly shows that your condition meets the SSA’s strict disability criteria. Remember, a well-prepared and thoroughly documented application can significantly increase the chances of your claim being approved.

Help With Tort Claims

Torts refer to a body of laws that cover civil wrongs, which may be relevant to a cancer patient in several ways. For instance, if you believe your cancer is linked to exposure to a harmful substance, such as asbestos, you may have a tort claim against the responsible party. Similarly, if you have been a victim of medical malpractice in the course of your treatment, this too may fall under the purview of tort law. It’s crucial to seek legal advice in these matters to ensure you adequately protect your rights.

Tort law is designed to protect individuals from the harmful actions of others. In the context of cancer, there are two primary ways you might find yourself intersecting with this area of law: through a personal injury claim or a medical malpractice claim.

In a personal injury claim, you could raise a case if you believe your cancer was caused by exposure to hazardous substances. For example, prolonged exposure to asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer. If you were unknowingly exposed to asbestos by a negligent party, you might be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

A medical malpractice claim, on the other hand, could be relevant if there was a negligence in your medical care. This could include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or errors in treatment. It’s crucial to remember that medical malpractice involves more than a mere mistake. To have a valid claim, you must typically prove that a medical professional’s care did not meet the standard expected in their professional community and that this negligence directly resulted in harm to you.

Regardless of the type of tort claim, working with an experienced attorney can be invaluable. They can help evaluate your case, collect necessary evidence, and guide you through every step of the legal process.

While battling cancer is undoubtedly challenging, it’s crucial to remember that you have legal rights that can help protect you and potentially provide financial relief. It’s beneficial to consult with legal professionals during this time to ensure you’re fully aware of and can exercise your rights.

Legal Help After a Car Accident

In the unfortunate event of a car accident occurring during your cancer treatment, there are several legal considerations to bear in mind. Primarily, you may be entitled to seek compensation, especially if your ability to work is impaired due to the accident and your ongoing medical condition. You may be overwhelmed with treatment and may be tempted to forgo your rights. It is difficult to fight back when you are not feeling your best. That’s why a legal advocate is so important. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases, particularly those involving car accidents, to understand the extent of your rights and the potential for financial recovery.

Determining liability and calculating damages in car accidents can be complex, particularly when the victim is already dealing with a serious health condition like cancer. Liability, or who is at fault for the accident, is generally established by considering the negligence and actions of the involved parties. However, when it comes to measuring damages, factors such as medical expenses, lost wages, and potential future income loss due to both the accident and the impact of your cancer on your working ability, will be evaluated. Non-economic damages like pain, suffering, and emotional distress are also considered.

Remember, each case is unique and requires careful analysis. A legal expert can guide you through the process, ensuring that your claim accurately reflects the full scope of your losses and that your rights are adequately protected.

3 Free National Legal Assistance Programs

Legal Services Corporation (LSC)

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is a nonprofit corporation that provides financial support for legal aid to low-income Americans. The LSC promotes equal access to justice by providing funding to 132 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Their services range from providing legal advice and assistance to full representation in various areas such as housing, employment, and education. You can discover more about their services and find a program near you on their website.

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) plays a vital role in ensuring that legal aid is not a privilege confined to the affluent, but a right for all Americans, irrespective of their economic status. Funded by Congress, it is the single largest funder of civil legal aid designated for low-income individuals in the nation. LSC grantees handle civil cases that concern fundamental human needs such as safety, shelter, and income. These services can range from legal advice and counsel, through representation in court and administrative proceedings, to community education and outreach.

American Bar Association Free Legal Answers

American Bar Association Free Legal Answers is an online portal, where qualifying users post civil legal questions. Volunteer attorneys then provide advice, explain relevant legal concepts, and guide users through their legal problems. The service covers a wide range of civil legal matters but does not extend to criminal law. Eligibility is generally determined by income, and the specifics vary by state. More about this program can be found on the ABA website here.

The ABA Free Legal Answers is a virtual legal advice clinic. Qualifying users can ask civil legal questions which are answered by volunteer attorneys. This exceptional platform has been developed to increase access to advice and information about non-criminal legal matters for those who cannot afford it. The user-friendly interface allows users to both ask questions and receive answers directly on the site. Volunteer attorneys will log in to the site, choose questions to answer, and provide legal information and advice. Importantly, all interaction is anonymous and takes place entirely within the platform, offering a secure and confidential environment for those seeking help.


LawHelp.org is another valuable resource for individuals seeking legal assistance, particularly those with low income. A project of Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to justice, LawHelp.org provides state-specific information to help people find local free legal aid programs, learn about their legal rights, and navigate various legal processes.

The site features an array of resources, including interactive forms, videos, and legal information in over 30 practice areas. It also hosts a comprehensive directory of legal aid programs across the country, making it easier for individuals to find the right assistance in their locality. The resources offered by LawHelp.org cover a broad range of legal issues, from family law and immigration to housing and employment issues, ensuring that individuals have the tools necessary to navigate their legal challenges.


In the face of cancer, you are not only battling a disease, but also navigating a complex network of legal matters. Whether you’re dealing with personal injury claims due to car accident complications, evaluating Social Security Disability benefits, or staking a claim in tort law for civil wrongs, it’s crucial to remember that you are not alone. Legal professionals specializing in these areas are ready to help protect your rights and guide you through these processes.

The legal landscape can seem daunting, especially when dealing with a severe health condition. However, understanding your rights and accessing professional help can significantly reduce the stress and potential financial burden. It’s important not only to focus on your health but also to ensure that your rights and interests are being protected within the legal framework. Despite the challenges, remember that you’re more than a patient; you are a person with rights and legal recourse. Equip yourself with the right knowledge and professional support to navigate your journey with confidence. ❤️

More Specialized Legal Help

For a comprehensive list of legal assistance options, please visit this page for current programs. Here, you’ll find an extensive directory of resources designed to help you navigate your legal journey. These include additional programs related to social security disability, bankruptcy, vehicle accidents, product liability, and more. We also offer detailed descriptions of each service, including eligibility requirements and application procedures, to help you identify the programs that best suit your needs. Access to legal assistance should be a right, not a privilege. Explore the full range of programs we support, and find the help you need and deserve today.

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