Mesothelioma is a usually terminal, painful cancer of the lung and organ linings caused by long term exposure to asbestos-containing materials. Most people who are diagnosed with the disease are usually in the later stages, with many not living more than a year.
While mesothelioma is a rare cancer, it usually is very expensive to treat. From many rounds of chemotherapy to multiple surgeries and ongoing medical care, medical bills can soon pile up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also, deductibles, co-pays and various out of pocket costs can pile up rapidly. Funeral expenses and unpaid medical bills can leave grieving families with immense financial challenges.
Fortunately, it is possible with effective legal representation to obtain a mesothelioma settlement in a lawsuit. Below is more information about settlements that can come from asbestos and mesothelioma actions.
Types of Asbestos Lawsuit Compensation
Compensation for a mesothelioma case can come in several ways:
- A class action lawsuit, where terms of the settlement have been established. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff and their attorney to prove he is qualified for compensation and sign up.
- Out of court settlement, where the employer responsible for the asbestos exposure pays before or during the trials.
- A court award where the jury or judge orders the responsible company to pay.
Why Time Is of The Essence
For many people with mesothelioma, time is running out. This is especially true for people who suffer from malignant, end stage mesothelioma. Time is often short for these patients as they many only a few months to live.
Most mesothelioma compensation packages are done in carefully negotiated settlements handled by lawyers who specialize in mesothelioma and asbestos litigation. Courts have set up complex legal frameworks over the past several decades so that people suffering from these terrible diseases could obtain compensation to help them with their bills, pain and suffering, and provide for their families.
Asbestos Lawsuits and Settlement Framework
The major purpose of compensation in a mesothelioma settlement or judgement is for serious damages, which usually consist of
- Extensive medical and healthcare costs – past, ongoing and future
- Lost wages due to inability to work
- Living and care expenses that are ongoing
Some plaintiffs have seen large settlements after the jury rendered a verdict. But many claimants would prefer to not go through a months-long trial and get their settlement done as soon as possible. After all, most patients with this dreaded disease have urgent healthcare needs for which they need compensation now.
Mesothelioma Settlement Examples
In terms of amounts, a recent survey by Mealey’s Litigation Report found the average mesothelioma trial award was $2.4 million. (Gnarus Llc.com) The average mesothelioma settlement was between $1 million and $1.4 million and was often paid by several defendants. Also, a RAND Corporation estimate in 2000 found the average settlement was about $900,000. (RAND.org). It can be challenging to calculate the average settlement for a mesothelioma case because it can vary upon the court and where the case was brought. A 2015 report showed that consolidating several asbestos lawsuits into one case can actually boost the compensation away.
That said, there are some real-world examples of mesothelioma settlements from across the US:
- A plumber and mechanic in California received $13 million compensation for asbestos exposure.
- A pipefitter in Illinois got more than $11 million to cover his medical expenses, lost wages and future income
- An operating engineer in the Navy filed a NY claim and received $7 million after he was exposed to asbestos on ships for years
How To Get a Mesothelioma Settlement Quickly
The best way to get the compensation you deserve is to hire an experienced mesothelioma law firm that specializes in these complicated litigations.
When you hire a firm to handle your mesothelioma and asbestos claim, this is what you can expect to get you the best compensation quickly:
- Medical review: Record your health and work history to assess how much damage you have and who the responsible parties may be. The overall circumstances here will decide the best legal course to take, as well as determine the urgency necessary to get the best compensation.
- Research: Lawyers who work on mesothelioma cases often have a large amount of case research in their files. They can match your circumstances and symptoms with past cases, as well as the known asbestos companies that already have been sued for negligence. Based upon your situation, attorneys specializing in this field usually can quickly recommend how to proceed in the best way to obtain compensation.
- Litigation: Filing suit and taking it to a jury is possible, but it takes a lot of time. It could not be in your best interest if you are terminally ill. Large settlements are common with a court-ordered verdict. But good mesothelioma attorneys know that doing a negotiated settlement with a company is faster and much less stress for the client.
- Trust funds: Mesothelioma attorneys know that the client’s situation matches with an existing asbestos trust fund that was already set up by large asbestos companies who reorganized their finances under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This cash can be tapped immediately if you can prove you are eligible. Trust funds do not pay as much as a lawsuit settlement, but they do pay quickly.
- Workers compensation: Some states have set up workers’ compensation programs that produce income assistance and support for expenses for people with mesothelioma. This type of compensation is fast and reliable, but it may not be as much as some plaintiffs would prefer. Private healthcare insurance also may be tapped for a payout.
- VA: All military veterans in the US can be compensated via healthcare benefits where it can be proven that their disability resulted from a duty hazard, such as asbestos exposure. If the veteran had an honorable discharge, they can apply to the VA for compensation.
How to Negotiate the Best Settlements for Asbestos Exposure
Attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant work in the best interest of their client. For you the patient, you want to get the most amount of money in the shortest period. But for the company on the defense, the wise strategy may be to drag their feet and force the plaintiff to settle for much less.
It is an unpleasant truth, but it is not uncommon for the defendant company to drag out court proceedings until the plaintiff dies from the disease. However, skilled mesothelioma attorneys know this tactic. They also know the company may offer a lowball settlement offer from the start to get the case finished. It is the plaintiff’s attorney’s job to know the best way to get the best compensation for a settlement in a mesothelioma case.
Also, experienced mesothelioma law firms have connections and experience to speed compensation settlements for their clients. Most mesothelioma lawsuits follow a strict timeline that starts within a statute of limitations to start an action once the disease diagnosis was made. Then there is a period of information exchange by both sides.
It often can take two or three years before a civil trial can commence on a mesothelioma case. The trial could last only one or two weeks. But waiting to get a settlement can take months or years. Few patients have that luxury of time. The best option to get the best settlement quickly is to hire an experienced mesothelioma law firm to get the case expedited.
Talk to a Mesothelioma Attorney Now
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are dealing with a cough and other cancer symptoms, you may be entitled to compensation. If a company is found liable for exposing you to asbestos on the job, you can receive damages including medical costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Please contact us for a no-obligation legal consultation.
- Rand.org Report. (2000). Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2011/RAND_MG1104.pdf
- Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. (2015). Retrieved from http://gnarusllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/ASB121615cm.pdf