Mesothelioma lawsuits that do not reach out-of-court settlements may go to trial. A mesothelioma verdict is the result of a trial and is decided upon by a jury.
What Is a Mesothelioma Verdict?
Mesothelioma verdicts are the result of a lawsuit that goes to trial. Through a verdict, a jury determines the winner of the case after hearing evidence from both sides.
Mesothelioma verdicts can favor:
- The plaintiff (the mesothelioma victim who filed the lawsuit or their family)
- The defendant (asbestos-containing product manufacturers that were sued)
- Neither (if the jury cannot come to a decision)
A favorable verdict allows plaintiffs with mesothelioma to hold manufacturers of asbestos-containing products financially responsible for causing their cancer, as these defendants knew their products were dangerous but denied it to keep making money.
However, mesothelioma trial verdicts may also favor manufacturers. In these cases, the plaintiff may receive little or no compensation.
No matter what verdict, the losing side may be able to take legal action to change the verdict through an appeal. While these actions may help plaintiffs who lose, they may also work in the defendants’ favor.
As a lawsuit progresses, a skilled mesothelioma lawyer can help a plaintiff determine if a trial is in their best interests and, if so, build a trial-ready case on their behalf.
Mesothelioma Verdicts vs Settlements
Most mesothelioma lawsuits are settled out of court rather than through a trial.
In a mesothelioma settlement, the manufacturers named in the lawsuit individually agree to pay the victim money, and the lawsuit against them does not go to trial.
On average, mesothelioma victims receive $1 Million to $1.4 Million in total from mesothelioma settlements. Most mesothelioma lawsuits will have several defendants that can each agree to a settlement.
While mesothelioma verdicts through a trial may award more compensation than a settlement, sometimes the risks often outweigh the drawbacks. This is why lawyers usually try to reach mesothelioma settlements rather than proceeding with a trial.
In fact, some lawsuits are settled mid-trial or even after a verdict is reached, according to the American Bar Association (ABA).
What Are the Risks of a Mesothelioma Trial?
Trying to reach a favorable verdict through a trial is a gamble. Depending on what happens in a trial, you may wind up with less money than you would have otherwise received if the case was settled. You could also lose the trial outright and receive no money.
Learn more about the risks of a mesothelioma trial below.
Wins Aren’t Guaranteed
There is really no way to guarantee a win in a trial. Juries can be unpredictable and may side with either the mesothelioma victim or the negligent manufacturer.
Trials typically cost more than settling a case, and those extra expenses ultimately come out of the award you receive if you win.
Expenses from a trial may include:
- Additional lawyer costs
- Fees for witnesses
- Official court transcript fees
- Hotel room costs
- Other legal expenses
Because of these costs, you may wind up with less money from a successful verdict even if the trial awarded you with more money than if you settled the case.
When mesothelioma lawsuits go to trial, you may have to appear in court and sit through the trial. This can be very draining both for yourself and your family members.
If you have mesothelioma, you probably want to focus on staying as healthy as possible and enjoying time with the ones you love rather than dealing with a trial.
Some trials feel like they may never end, especially when appeals or other actions delay a case after an initial verdict.
On the other hand, a settlement allows you to get money in your pocket in a relatively short amount of time. Mesothelioma lawsuits that are settled out-of-court usually start paying victims in 12 months or less.
Case Managers at Mesothelioma Claims Center can help you learn more about seeking mesothelioma settlement compensation.
Mesothelioma Trial Verdict Process
To determine a mesothelioma verdict, a jury must hear arguments from both the plaintiff’s lawyers and the defendant’s lawyers. Yet as mentioned above, deciding a verdict does not always mean the case is closed. Appeals or other actions may occur before a final verdict is determined.
Below is a breakdown of the mesothelioma trial process.
1. Both Sides Present Evidence
When you work with a mesothelioma lawyer, they will gather as much information (evidence) as possible to prepare your lawsuit in case it goes to trial.
This evidence can include:
- Company documents from the manufacturers being sued
- Information about the asbestos-containing products you used
- Medical records and doctor statements showing your mesothelioma was caused by asbestos exposure
- Testimonies from you and possibly your loved ones
- Statements and records from previous mesothelioma cases your lawyers have handled
- Your work and employment history
During the trial, your lawyers use evidence to show why the defendant is responsible for your illness. On the other hand, the defendant’s lawyers will use the evidence they gathered to argue why their client is not responsible.
2. Verdict Is Made by a Jury
Once all the evidence has been presented, both legal teams will give a closing argument, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The jury then must reach a verdict.
3. Verdict May Be Appealed
Once a jury reaches a verdict, the case is not necessarily over. The losing side may be able to take action to change the details of the verdict or appeal it entirely.
First, a motion for reconsideration may be filed. This asks the judge re-examine the case and possibly issue a new decision. If your lawyers or the defendant’s lawyers are not happy with the outcome after this phase, they may file an appeal. An appeal asks a higher court to review the case and issue a new decision.
Mesothelioma appeals can be both helpful or harmful to your case. If you lost the case initially, appeals may force the defendant to pay. Yet the defendant may also appeal the case so they don’t have to pay.
According to the ABA, the losing side needs to show that there was an error during the trial to successfully appeal the case. They cannot overturn the verdict just because they lost.
Mesothelioma Verdicts and Taxes
Compensation awarded through a mesothelioma verdict or a settlement may be subject to taxes, which can impact the overall amount of money you receive.
Mesothelioma compensation can be awarded for:
- Personal injury: This compensation covers expenses that stem from your cancer, such as medical bills. Personal injury awards are typically tax-free, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- Punitive damages: This type of mesothelioma compensation punishes the defendants for the harm they have done. Punitive damages are subject to taxes, according to the IRS.
These rules are general in nature, and there may be exceptions in each case. A lawyer can help you determine how much of your mesothelioma verdict may be taxed.
Recent Mesothelioma Verdicts
Despite the risks associated with a trial, some juries have awarded high mesothelioma verdicts to victims.
Recent mesothelioma verdicts include:
- $70 Million: A man and his wife were awarded this amount by a Florida jury. The man claimed he developed mesothelioma from asbestos-containing products while he worked as a lab technician.
- $40.3 Million: A jury awarded this verdict to a woman who developed mesothelioma after using Johnson’s Baby Powder. $8 Million: A former Kodak civil engineer received this amount after being exposed to asbestos. The jury determined that Ridge Construction, a subsidiary of Kodak, knew the risks of asbestos but failed to keep the man safe.
Almost all mesothelioma lawsuits reach out-of-court settlements, and not every trial successfully awards victims with a mesothelioma verdict.
Speak with a mesothelioma lawyer to learn if a trial is the best option for your case.
Legal Help for Mesothelioma Trials & Verdicts
To ensure your case is in the best hands possible, work with a mesothelioma lawyer who has handled cases similar to yours. Dedicated mesothelioma lawyers will be able to prepare your case, negotiate strong settlements, and take your case to trial if needed.
For more information about mesothelioma verdicts and trials, get a free case review today.
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.)