Mesothelioma Case Values Explained
Mesothelioma law allows two avenues for receiving compensation: lawsuits and asbestos trust funds. Case values for mesothelioma patients vary greatly.
Mealey’s Litigation Report states that the average claimant can expect to receive a total of $1 Million to $1.5 Million from these two sources, broken down to “an average of $560,000 in tort recoveries and about $600,000 from 22 trusts.”
Lawyers will consider the case values of historical mesothelioma cases in giving advice to their clients. Using their personal experience and case law research, mesothelioma lawyers can identify the value of a potential case and the likelihood of a positive verdict. Lawyers will use this information to make an educated guess of what a case may be worth.
Types of Mesothelioma Case Values
There are three types of mesothelioma cases that have values: settlements, jury verdicts and asbestos trust funds. People diagnosed with mesothelioma can often pursue payment from any of the three.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos trust funds were set aside by companies that manufactured asbestos products when filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The companies were fully aware that litigation was impending and filed for bankruptcy protection to avoid the lawsuits, but before they could do so, these companies had to set aside significant trust funds to pay out existing and future mesothelioma victims.
Manufacturing Asbestos Products
To this day, any company that manufactured asbestos products, that pursues bankruptcy protection, will be required to create a trust fund to compensate victims.
Mesothelioma victims can file claims to access portions of these trust funds. Asbestos trust fund executors will look at a “case valuation matrix” to determine what each payment will be, considering each of the case value factors in their decision-making. Minimums can range from a few dollars to a few million dollars, one example is Western Asbestos Company paying an average of $524,025 to mesothelioma victims in California.
When a mesothelioma victim takes an asbestos company to court, they rely on a jury and judge to determine their case value. These cases are considered “high risk, high reward,” as they can have immense payouts–or they may result in no payout at all.
Proving that a company knowingly gave a person mesothelioma is challenging to do, the evidence has to exist, a strong case has to be made and personal opinions have to be in the plaintiff’s favor. If all these factors align, the case value can be immense. However, courts are fickle and, sometimes, even genuine victims will go through all the stress and hardship of trial only to walk away with nothing.
A talented and experienced mesothelioma lawyer will help their clients determine whether a jury verdict is in their best interest. Alternatively, a settlement may be advised.
Most mesothelioma lawsuits are settled before they go to court. Plaintiffs tend to favor settlements because the results are swift and avoid the courtroom, with fairly steady case values. Meanwhile, companies that manufactured asbestos products appreciate knowing their exact losses early in the process.
It’s estimated that most settlements have a case valuation of $1 to $6 million.
Mesothelioma Case Value Factors
It’s clear that mesothelioma case values can be life-changing amounts of money. Every patient’s circumstance is unique, and there are many factors considered when payments are calculated.
Case Value Factors Include:
- Diagnosis: Even with a severe disease like mesothelioma, some diagnoses are more serious than others. Mesothelioma diagnosed in later stages tend to have a worse prognosis, while sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells are tougher to beat than epithelioid cells. The exact diagnosis, including stage and cell type, are all considered when determining any case’s value.
- Medical Costs: In an ideal scenario, a mesothelioma case value will consider the medical costs endured or likely to be endured.
- Exposure Level: The amount of asbestos exposure that caused mesothelioma is also considered in the case value. The longer a company knowingly exposed a person to asbestos, the higher their negligence. A person is more likely to develop mesothelioma after lengthy, repetitive exposure, and companies that manufactured asbestos products were fully aware of this fact.
- Age and Health: The age and pre-existing health of a mesothelioma victim are also factored into a person’s case value. A senior man who smoked and previously battled other forms of cancer may not receive as much compensation as a young worker with a historically clean bill of health.
- Dependents: Mesothelioma victims often have dependents who rely on them for financial, physical and emotional support. Patients with mesothelioma may no longer be able to provide the support needed. Mesothelioma case values consider these tangible and intangible costs to those dependents.
- Loss of Income and Damages: Being unable to work can be devastating, both financially and emotionally. Mesothelioma case values consider the income that a victim can no longer make, as well as the damages from emotional suffering.
- Location: Some jurisdictions are more favorable to mesothelioma victims than others. Therefore, the location in which a lawsuit is filed is a factor in case values.
Seeking Legal Justice
If you retain an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, he or she will help you complete a risk and reward analysis to determine the best legal course of action.
Your lawyer will consider all of the factors to develop a legal strategy and come up with an anticipated mesothelioma case value. From there, your mesothelioma lawyer will walk you through every step of the process, ensure you understand what’s happening, and help you receive the highest payment possible.