There are two main types of mesothelioma lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death. These lawsuits help victims and families pursue financial compensation from negligent asbestos-containing product manufacturers. Working with an experienced lawyer helps give you a successful chance at receiving lawsuit compensation.
What Is a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
A mesothelioma lawsuit is a form of legal action taken by victims of this rare cancer.
Through a lawsuit, the victim will request a financial payout from the asbestos-containing product manufacturers found responsible for their illness. The lawsuit may be settled out of court or via a trial. Most mesothelioma lawsuits end in settlements.
Successful mesothelioma lawsuits must prove:
- When, where, and how the victim was exposed to asbestos
- That exposure to asbestos caused the victim to develop mesothelioma
- Which asbestos companies are responsible for the victim’s exposure
An experienced lawyer who has handled mesothelioma cases before can research and prove these factors during a lawsuit.
If you or a family member were diagnosed with mesothelioma and would like to pursue compensation, it is best to work with a mesothelioma lawyer.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Depending on the specifics of your case, there may be different legal options available to you. Below, learn more about the main types of mesothelioma lawsuits.
Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuit
In a personal injury lawsuit, the mesothelioma victim is the plaintiff and the asbestos-containing product manufacturers are the defendants. This type of lawsuit is filed when the victim is still living.
Personal injury suits award compensation based on multiple factors:
- Age of the victim
- Number of dependents (such as a spouse and children)
- Cost of medical treatments
- Lost wages if the victim can no longer work
- Number of defendants named in the lawsuit
- Travel expenses
- Pain and suffering
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help determine the potential value of your personal injury case.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you lost a loved one due to mesothelioma, their estate representative may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. This representative can be anyone appointed by the court system, but it is often a family member.
Additionally, if a mesothelioma victim passes away before the conclusion of their personal injury lawsuit, their estate representative can typically continue the lawsuit process. Laws surrounding wrongful death lawsuits vary by state, so contact a lawyer to determine if you may have a case.
Why File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Mesothelioma is an entirely preventable disease. Your asbestos exposure only happened because manufacturers of asbestos-containing products chose to hide the well-documented dangers of asbestos from employers and the public.
Filing a lawsuit may help provide peace of mind that your family will be provided for and that the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products will be held accountable for their harmful actions.
How Much Compensation Do You Get for Mesothelioma?
A mesothelioma lawsuit that reaches an out-of-court settlement typically awards $1 Million to $1.4 Million. In the rare case that a mesothelioma lawsuit goes to trial, victims may win an average of $2.4 Million.
That said, most mesothelioma lawsuits do not go to trial because they are very risky for both the plaintiff and the defendant. There is no way to guarantee a win through a trial, as judges or juries can side with either the victim or the asbestos product manufacturers.
Final compensation amounts depend on various factors, including the victim’s age, diagnosis, and overall health, as well as where and when the case was filed.
Benefits of Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Cover Your Medical Expenses – Mesothelioma requires aggressive treatments from specialized doctors. Many patients owe more than $500,000 in medical bills during their first year of treatment alone. Mesothelioma lawsuit compensation can help ease this potential financial strain.
Provide Financial Security for Your Family – Being diagnosed with mesothelioma creates a significant burden that can be alleviated in part by financial compensation. Even if you or your family members have to take time off of work while you receive treatment, financial compensation can help supplement this lost income.
Hold Manufacturers Accountable – The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew the mineral was dangerous, but used it anyway and put people in needless danger for decades.
Who Can File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma may be eligible for legal compensation.
In some cases, a family member (usually the spouse or adult children) or estate representative may be able to file a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf. This can happen if the victim becomes too sick or passes away due to their cancer.
Only a lawyer can determine your eligibility to file an asbestos claim. Connect with a mesothelioma lawyer to see if you may qualify.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Timeline
Below, learn more about the steps that most mesothelioma lawsuits will follow.
1. Case Evaluation
Before filing a lawsuit, your legal team will conduct a case evaluation, which determines when, where, and how you were exposed to asbestos and which manufacturers may be responsible.
Your dedicated legal team may include an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, a nurse, investigators, paralegals, and other support staff.
2. Filing the Lawsuit
After your lawyer has reviewed your case and determined eligibility, they will file the lawsuit in a court system that best suits your case. Some courts may be more favorable to mesothelioma lawsuits than others, maximizing your case value and helping you receive compensation quicker.
3. Defendant Response
Once the lawsuit is received by the court and processed, the defendants will be notified. The defendants then have a set time limit — generally 30 days or less — to agree or refuse to pay. If they refuse, both legal teams will continue gathering evidence to strengthen their cases.
4. Discovery Phase
During the discovery process, your legal team will collect documents, photos, and historical records to try and prove the defendants are at fault.
Evidence gathered during this process may include:
- Employment history and related documents
- Medical records that confirm your mesothelioma diagnosis
- Military service records
- Which asbestos-containing products you used
- Witness statements
Lawyers may also call witnesses to give testimony under oath through depositions.
5. Settlement or Trial
In most cases, your lawyer will work with opposing counsel to try and reach an out-of-court settlement. Settlements can happen at almost any stage of a mesothelioma lawsuit, but most occur shortly before your trial date.
During an asbestos trial, both legal teams present their cases before a jury that will eventually decide the winner. Although a jury trial could get you more compensation, trials are often unfavorable when compared to settlements for a number of reasons.
|Risk||Assuming your lawyers and the defendants’ lawyers can reach an agreed-upon amount, settlements guarantee compensation.||Trials are incredibly risky because if you lose, you most likely won’t receive compensation from the defendants you are suing.|
|Time/Energy||Your lawyer will be able to handle most, if not all, of the legal work involved in reaching a mesothelioma settlement.||You may have to appear in court during a trial, taking time away from your healing and spending time with family.|
|Cost||When you opt for a settlement, you won’t have to worry about the legal fees that come with a trial and a potential appeal.||Trials add additional legal fees to your case, which will be deducted from any potential winnings.|
Another drawback of trials is that a successful verdict may be appealed by the defendants.
During the appeals process, a higher court is asked to review the jury verdict and potentially issue a new one, adding even more time and expense to your case. Getting a transcript of your original trial can cost tens of thousands of dollars alone.
6. Receive Compensation
After your legal team reaches a settlement, you will receive compensation in less than a year in most cases. If you decide to take your case to court, it can take a year or even several years to reach a verdict and potentially get compensation.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
Mesothelioma lawsuits are bound by statutes of limitations, which define how long you have to file your claim. Because statutes of limitations vary by state and case type, only an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can give you the most accurate and reliable information about your case.
Contact a lawyer even if you became sick a long time ago, as there may be other ways to receive compensation.
Alternatives to Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Sometimes, mesothelioma or asbestos lawsuits may not be the best option for victims looking to receive compensation, but other options may be available.
Other ways to access mesothelioma compensation include:
- Asbestos trust funds: Larger manufacturers of asbestos-containing products were court-ordered to establish bankruptcy trusts to compensate those harmed by their products. Over $30 Billion has been set aside in asbestos trust funds to help current and future victims.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claims: One in three people affected by mesothelioma are veterans. If you developed mesothelioma due to your service in the United States military, you may be able to receive compensation through VA benefits.
- Government Programs: Mesothelioma victims may be able to access financial assistance through programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
An experienced lawyer can recommend which of these options will work best depending on your individual circumstances.
Lawsuits for Other Asbestos-Related Diseases
If you were exposed to asbestos and developed another type of asbestos-related cancer or non-cancerous disease, you may also be eligible for lawsuit compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
How long does a mesothelioma lawsuit take?
The total length of a mesothelioma lawsuit depends on whether the case settles or goes to trial. Trials usually take longer to award compensation, but most asbestos cases reach a settlement. Mesothelioma lawsuits that settle out of court may start to award victims with compensation in one year or less.
How much does a mesothelioma lawyer cost?
Mesothelioma lawyers work on what is known as a contingency basis, meaning you do not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses to work with them. You will only be responsible for paying your lawyers if they secure compensation for you.
Will I have to travel for my mesothelioma lawsuit?
Lawyers at national mesothelioma law firms can travel to you at your home or hospital room to gather evidence and testimonials. If your case settles, you may not even have to step foot in a courtroom.
Experienced lawyers understand that mesothelioma requires intensive treatments and will not ask you to travel if you are not well enough to do so.
Find Out If You Have a Case
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma and would like to hold the companies at fault responsible for their wrongdoings, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
The first step in the legal process is seeing if you have a valid mesothelioma claim. Our team is here to listen to the details of your case, answer any questions you may have, and determine if you can take legal action.
Get a free legal case review today to learn if you may have a case.
- Carroll, J., S., Hensler, et. al. (2005, May 9). Asbestos-Related Claims Exceed 730,000, Cost More than $70 Billion. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG162.html
- Bates, C. E., & Mullin, C. H. (2007, December 3). Asbestos: Show Me The Money. Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://www.bateswhite.com/media/publication/59_media.285.pdf
- Hendricks, M. (2016, October 26). $80 million settlement reached in Jackson County Courthouse asbestos case. Retrieved January 17, 2020, from https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article110543787.html
- KCIC. (2019). ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW. Retrieved January 21, 2020, from https://www.kcic.com/media/1918/kcic-2018-asbestos-report.pdf
- Mealey’s Litigation Report. (2016, May 31). Asbestos Verdicts & Settlements: January 2015 – December 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2020, from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/8734/asbestos-verdicts-settlements-january-2015-december-2015
- Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Social Security. Retrieved January 21, 2020, from https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/qualify.html
Easier Than It May Seem
Your individual situation may merit an actual lawsuit. However, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Trusts have been set up to benefit victims of mesothelioma in such a way that lawsuits and court appearances aren’t needed. Contact us today and you’ll see how easy it can be to get the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a mesothelioma claim?
A person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma – as well as their spouse, child, or family member – may be able to file a claim to recover compensation from manufacturers of asbestos products. If the mesothelioma patient passes away, a family member or estate representative may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
How much money is in the asbestos trust fund?
An estimated $30 billion has been set aside in asbestos trust funds to compensate mesothelioma patients. Many companies that made asbestos products later filed for bankruptcy, so they created these trust funds to pay out future mesothelioma claims. If the company responsible for your asbestos exposure no longer exists, you may be entitled to money from their trust fund.
How do I file a mesothelioma claim?
To file a mesothelioma claim, contact an attorney who is experienced with these types of lawsuits. They will know where and when to file your claim, how to build the strongest case possible, and the best way to maximize compensation on your behalf.
What is the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims?
The statute of limitations (deadline to file) for mesothelioma claims will vary depending on the state in which you file. In many states, it’s 2-3 years from the date of the mesothelioma diagnosis – though it may be longer if the mesothelioma patient has passed away. A mesothelioma lawyer can make sure your claim is filed within the required time frame.
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
Every mesothelioma claim is different, with circumstances and factors that are unique to that mesothelioma patient’s story. Though there’s no way to predict exactly how long a claim will take, an experienced mesothelioma attorney will ensure the process is handled as efficiently as possible.
Many claimants start to receive compensation in as few as 90 days after settling their mesothelioma claims.
What is the average payout for mesothelioma?
There is no guarantee of compensation when you file a mesothelioma claim, and countless factors affect how much money you might be able to recover (assuming your case settles). That said, 95% of these lawsuits are settled out of court, and the average settlement amount is $1-1.4 million.
How much is my mesothelioma claim worth?
Your mesothelioma case value depends on the specifics of your situation, such as the duration of your asbestos exposure, and the total cost of your mesothelioma treatment (as well as travel expenses and other related losses). The best way to figure out how much your claim is worth is to speak with a mesothelioma lawyer.
What type of mesothelioma claim do I have?
Most mesothelioma claims fall under one of four categories:
- Personal injury: You were exposed to asbestos (often through your job, or your loved one’s), so you file a lawsuit against the company that made the asbestos products.
- Asbestos trust fund: Similar to a personal injury claim, only the company in question went bankrupt, so you can’t sue them – but you may be able to access a trust fund they set aside for mesothelioma victims.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits: U.S. military veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their service may qualify for related health care benefits through the VA.
- Wrongful death: When a mesothelioma patient passes away, their family member or estate representative may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf, seeking money to pay for past medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, etc.
A mesothelioma attorney can determine which type of claim makes the most sense for you and your family. (Some clients qualify for more than one.)