Mesothelioma settlements tend to be rather large given the seriousness of the cancer, the amount of medical bills involved as well as the extensive pain and suffering the patient endures. Recent reports have found the typical mesothelioma settlement ranges between $1 million and $1.4 million, with verdicts averaging around $2.4 million. (gnarusllc.com). These averages can give you an idea of what you may be entitled to, but the compensation you receive could vary a great deal, as the follow mesothelioma settlement amounts will show.
This case by retired steelworker Roby Whittington against US Steel was the largest mesothelioma verdict of all time. The verdict amount was $250 million, but it is estimated that the steel worker eventually settled for approximately $50 million.
In 2011, a judge in Missouri approved a settlement of $10 million for Nancy Lopez. The woman was a Jackson County courthouse employee who was exposed to asbestos during a reconstruction and renovation project that was being done by US Engineering Company. A few years after she passed away from mesothelioma, two of her former co-workers filed a class action lawsuit against the county and the company. The case netted an $80 million settlement.
Thomas Brown was awarded over $300 million for his future medical costs, pain, and suffering and punitive damages after the jury decided that Union Carbide Corp and Chevron Phillips Chemical were responsible for his asbestosis. Brown worked in the Mississippi oil fields. The case was famous for being the largest asbestos verdict in history, but it was overturned on appeal.
The huge amount of asbestos exposure from the asbestos mines in Libby, Montana resulted in two large settlements. In 2011, a judge in district court approved a settlement of $43 million to cover at least 1300 miners and their families. Another class action lawsuit gave $25 million in settlement to 1000 people in early 2017. Future settlements regarding the Libby mine are likely to come out as more victims come down with cancer.
A New York boilermaker obtained a $3.7 million settlement after he developed lung cancer from being exposed to asbestos. In 2006, the man, Alfred D-Ulisse, a former brake worker and police officer, obtained a settlement of $35 million from Daimler-Chrysler. The company exposed the worker and many others to asbestos dust in brake pads and shoes.
Another New York case involved the jury giving $190 million to five clients of Weitz & Luxenberg in July 2013. The jury determined that the boiler companies Burnham and Cleaver-Brooks were negligent and reckless, which led to the plaintiffs to develop cancer. W&L also made legal history again in 2017; a jury awarded a couple $75 million in the largest asbestos case in New York history.
A jury in Virginia awarded a naval shipyard worker named George Parker $6.5 million in 2016 The jury decided that John Crane Inc. was responsible for the exposure of Parker to asbestos. This led to his mesothelioma. Parker worked heavily with gaskets that contained asbestos while he was employed at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
In 2016, a superior court jury in Los Angeles awarded $18 million to Philip Depoian, who was suing over asbestos in talcum powder that led to his mesothelioma. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. He claimed that he was exposed to the talcum powder products used at the barbershop where his dad worked.
Factors That Affect The Amount of the Mesothelioma Settlement
Anyone who wants to file an asbestos-related lawsuit should understand the various factors that affect the settlement. Some factors are more important than others, as the defendant will decide whether they should settle or not.
Medical Costs and Lost Earnings
The majority of mesothelioma patients who are dealing with the difficulties of cancer also are dealing with major financial problems as the cost of their medical care goes up. Alos, because patients need to focus on their treatments, they could be unable to work, which could lead to a loss of wages and other types of income.
In a situation where the product manufacturer knew their asbestos products could harm people, the possible financial liability can be large. Some cases of mesothelioma have netted awards above $10 million. For many companies, settling with the plaintiff can be the best way to reduce expenses.
How Many Companies in the Lawsuit
In some situations, more than one company could be found negligent. Because of this, plaintiffs may file claims against several companies that manufactured the asbestos-containing product. In case of a settlement, several defendants could be required to participate in paying the patient with mesothelioma.
State of the Case
The key to the success of the case and getting a large settlement is proving negligence, liability, and wrongdoing. This may not be easy. It depends on where you file the claim and how your exposure occurred. Different states have various amounts required for proof and evidence. Your mesothelioma attorney can help you to understand the requirements and trends for the state in which you live.
It is common for asbestos companies to set up asbestos trust funds. They used a legal document in this case known as a case valuation matrix. They refer to the matrix to decide how much money you should receive. Each type of asbestos-related disease has a baseline level of compensation. For every claim, this will be adjusted according to such factors as your age, cancer diagnosis specifics, the degree of asbestos exposure, and your past health records.
If the defending company has lost cases or settled in the past, they could want to settle your mesothelioma claim without having to go through a long case process again. But settling early one may not give you the compensation that you deserved for your medical costs and damages. Talk to your mesothelioma attorney to determine if this is the best move for your situation.
Most defendants will offer very low settlements at first. Your attorney can advise you about your legal options and whether you should hang on for a better offer. The attorneys for the defense are allowed to make settlement offers before or during the trial, up to the time the jury makes its verdict.
Mesothelioma Trial Settlements
In a lawsuit where several defendants have been named, it is not unusual for some companies to settle before the trial starts. This can avoid high expenses, poor PR and a long legal case.
Settle or Seek Verdict?
A jury award in a mesothelioma case can net you a larger award, but there is no assurance that the jury will agree with you. It is possible to go through a months’ long trial and get nothing. Juries can be quite surprising, and many attorneys will tell you there is nothing for certain in a trial. While you may get less in a settlement than you think you deserve, at least the money is guaranteed.
The decision in a mesothelioma case to settle or go for a trial is best made with the counsel of your experienced mesothelioma attorney. These specialized attorneys understand the complexities of mesothelioma diagnoses and litigation and can help you to make the best decision.
- Mealey’s Litigation Report on Asbestos. (2015). Retrieved from http://gnarusllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/ASB121615cm.pdf