What Is a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
A mesothelioma lawsuit is a form of legal action taken by victims of this rare cancer.
Through a mesothelioma cancer 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.
Video Summary: Dennis, a victim of mesothelioma, talks about his journey from diagnosis to filing an asbestos claim. View Transcript.
The specialist called me one night at 5:30 and I thought, “this is odd time for them to be calling me.”
He said, “Dennis, I have the results for your test.”
And my reaction was, “Oh, good. What do you got?”
He didn’t speak for like five or seven seconds and I thought, “Oh my god, this is it.”
And he said, “The results from the biopsy are you have mesothelioma, you’ve been around asbestos.”
They determined I had peritoneal mesothelioma, that means it’s mostly in my stomach.
I asked her, “How long am I going to live, doctor?”
She told me, “I see five to ten years and I will hope for ten to fifteen.”
So I thought, “Oh my god, I just lose my dad three months earlier, now I got cancer.”
I had fun being a mechanic. The dust from brake jobs, yeah there’s a lot, especially in the hub of the wheel; got to get all the dust away so you can put in the new stuff.
I knew there was asbestos in it but I didn’t know it was harmful. I didn’t know it would cause cancer.
Do I call the attorneys? I didn’t know I would get these benefits. It’s helped complete our – make our living financially, we would have been in Hell in high water without these benefits.
I had a legal team on my side in two or three days I believe, and I was very comfortable.
They were real people and they came to my house. They treated me like a person, not a number. They took care of every step and they explained to me the steps that would be taken and as time went on, they needed to they would call me on the phone and let me know and it was a good experience.
If someone was diagnosed with mesothelioma, as I was. I would tell them, first of all, you need help like I did. We were given something we were never warned about, that asbestos was in the things we worked with.
They made it very personal for me in a good way. For my wife, and kids and my family, they really helped me and they treated me like a person.
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 mesothelioma 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.
Mesothelioma Class-Action Lawsuits and Multidistrict Litigation
Mesothelioma attorneys do not consider class-action lawsuits or multidistrict litigation (MDL) the ideal choice for victims pursuing fair compensation.
In a class-action lawsuit, victims of the same injury or issue are able to file a lawsuit together, and if their case is successful, they all receive the same amount of compensation. An MDL allows one appointed judge to hear all similar cases filed in a federal court.
Both lawsuit types allow the court system to resolve multiple cases at once, but they historically awarded victims of asbestos exposure with much less compensation than a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit would. In turn, they are almost never filed today.
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.
“What convinced me about carrying on with a lawsuit was when I was informed that I wasn’t suing the government, I wasn’t suing the U.S. Navy. I was suing the manufacturer. When I got told they knew many years prior, what it would do to the human being, I got mad.”
– Walter T., Pleural Mesothelioma Victim
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
Successful mesothelioma lawsuits award families with an average of $1 Million or more in financial compensation. Below, learn how lawsuit compensation can help your family.
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.
Over 2,000 mesothelioma lawsuits were filed in 2018 alone.
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.
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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.
Download our free mesothelioma guide today to learn more.