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Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones may file a personal injury or wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit to receive compensation for their pain and suffering, medical costs, and the justice they deserve. Settlements for these lawsuits average $1 Million-$1.4 Million, while trial verdicts award $2.4 Million on average.

What Is a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

A mesothelioma lawsuit is a legal dispute brought by an injured party (the plaintiff) against any companies (defendants) they claim responsible for their or their loved one’s asbestos exposure and resulting mesothelioma.

The vast majority — over 95% — of mesothelioma lawsuits end in a settlement. In a mesothelioma settlement, the opposing parties agree on the amount of financial compensation the defendants must give to the plaintiff.

In a trial verdict, a jury or judge determines how much money the defendant owes the plaintiff, if any.

Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Below, learn more about the different types of lawsuits that victims of mesothelioma and their families may file.

Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuits

Mesothelioma personal injury lawsuits are filed on behalf of someone with mesothelioma to seek compensation for the harm (damages) they have suffered.

Personal injury mesothelioma lawsuit compensation may be awarded for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Punishment of the responsible party (punitive damages)

Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wrongful death personal injury claims are often filed by the estate of someone who died from mesothelioma. Families may also file a wrongful death claim if their loved one died before a mesothelioma personal injury lawsuit was resolved.

Wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit compensation may be awarded for:

  • Their loved one’s pain and suffering
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of companionship

Mesothelioma Class-Action Lawsuits

Class-action lawsuits allow groups of people affected by the same problem to file lawsuits against the parties that may be responsible.

Many mesothelioma victims filed class-action lawsuits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

While class-action lawsuits allowed the courts to resolve many mesothelioma cases at once, they typically awarded mesothelioma victims with much less compensation than a personal injury lawsuit would.

Today, class-action mesothelioma lawsuits are almost never heard, but victims and families can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to possibly receive mesothelioma compensation.

Other Types of Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

While mesothelioma lawsuits usually result in the highest amounts of compensation, asbestos lawsuits can be filed by victims who developed other asbestos-related diseases.

Other asbestos-related diseases include:

  • Asbestosis
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer
  • Other lung conditions

Like with mesothelioma, plaintiffs must have a confirmed diagnosis — and trace the cause of their condition back to asbestos exposure — to have a case.

Why File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

  • Cover treatment costs: Medical bills for mesothelioma generally cost over $400,000 in total, which is a significant burden for many families, even with insurance.
  • Sense of justice: Nothing can undo the pain and suffering caused by mesothelioma, but a successful lawsuit can help victims and their families feel like the companies responsible had to answer for and acknowledge their wrongdoing.
  • Discourages future negligence: Asbestos product manufacturers had to answer for their negligence, which may discourage other companies in the future.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Compensation Amounts

Average mesothelioma settlements pay between $1 Million-$1.4 Million, although this amount of compensation varies widely depending on several factors.

Jury awards average around $2.4 Million. However, most plaintiffs avoid trials because they are more expensive, take far longer to resolve, and can end with a ruling in favor of the defendants. If this happens, the plaintiff can leave with nothing.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process

1. Case Evaluation

Mesothelioma law firms offer free consultations to help victims decide if pursuing a lawsuit makes sense for them. During this stage, a legal team determines whether the victim is eligible to file a mesothelioma claim.

Lawyers will look at work and medical records to determine whether the victim was officially diagnosed or had any known history of asbestos exposure.

Clients who can recall their prior exposure have a valuable way of proving their eligibility, but top lawyers can often trace a victim’s exposure for them.

2. Filing the Lawsuit

Mesothelioma lawyers often send a demand letter to the asbestos companies they deem responsible for their client’s mesothelioma. This letter requests compensation from the companies without formally filing a lawsuit.

In most cases, defendants will contest any charges of negligence and reject the demand letter. The victim’s lawyer will then file the lawsuit in a court system that best suits their case.

3. Discovery Phase

During the discovery phase, both the plaintiff and defense attorneys gather information to help support their client’s case.

This may involve collecting historical records and government reports on asbestos use, witness testimony, employment and medical documents, and more.

4. Pre-Trial Settlements

During a pre-trial settlement, attorneys and their clients attempt to negotiate a settlement to avoid a longer, more expensive, and uncertain trial process.

Settlements may be negotiated at any time during a lawsuit before the jury or judge reaches a verdict.

5. Trial Process

If the opposing parties cannot agree on a settlement, they will prepare for a trial.

During the trial process, the plaintiff’s attorney and the defense generally present their arguments to a trial jury. This jury will decide if the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s harm and, if so, how much compensation the plaintiff will receive.

6. Appeals Process

The losing side in a mesothelioma lawsuit may try to appeal the judge or jury verdict. During an appeal, the case is sent to a higher court, which will either uphold the original court’s decision or rule against it.

Appeals are usually expensive and extend the trial process, so most attorneys will work hard to get their clients a settlement, which cannot be appealed.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations for mesothelioma lawsuits usually start when a victim receives a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Depending on the state and other factors, plaintiffs usually have 1-3 years to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. Once this time limit expires, a victim can no longer pursue legal options.

Individuals should reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible to see if they are still eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Alternatives to Mesothelioma Lawsuits

  • Asbestos trust funds: Individuals eligible for one or more asbestos bankruptcy trusts can work with an asbestos attorney to file for this compensation.
  • VA claims: Veterans with mesothelioma may qualify for disability compensation and other financial support through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
  • Health insurance claims: Many medical costs for mesothelioma may be at least partially covered by private or government health insurance policies.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Some victims of asbestos exposure can file for Social Security benefits, which may help them with certain struggles like loss of income.

Common Questions About Mesothelioma Lawsuits

How long does a mesothelioma lawsuit take?

Mesothelioma lawsuit settlements may compensate victims in less than 1 year. Lawsuits that go to trial generally take longer to award compensation.

How much does a mesothelioma lawyer cost?

Most mesothelioma attorneys work on a contingency-fee-basis, which means that victims pay no out-of-pocket expenses and do not owe any money unless their case is successful.

Contingency fees may range from 30%-50% of everything collected after a trial or settlement. In return, the plaintiff does not need to worry about affording a lawyer upfront. The law firm assumes the risk of the lawsuit’s outcome.

How time-consuming is a mesothelioma lawsuit?

Experienced lawyers understand that mesothelioma requires intensive treatments and will not ask you to travel if you are not well enough to do so.

Lawyers at national law firms can come to your home or hospital room to gather evidence and testimonials. If a case settles, you may not even have to step foot in a courtroom.

Can I file a mesothelioma lawsuit on behalf of someone else?

Yes. The plaintiff in personal injury asbestos cases must be the person with mesothelioma, but someone else can file on their behalf. Your lawyer will let you know who can file a lawsuit in your particular case.

How many mesothelioma lawsuits are filed each year?

Of the 4,000+ asbestos lawsuits filed in 2018, more than 2,000 were related to mesothelioma.

Learn More About Your Mesothelioma Lawsuit Options

If you or your family member have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, now is the time to locate an attorney.

You may still be on the fence about whether to take legal action, however, consulting with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer for free can help you make the best decision for your family.

To learn more about mesothelioma lawsuits — or to get connected with an attorney — contact the Mesothelioma Hope team today.

Mesothelioma Support Team

Mesothelioma Hope was founded by a team of advocates to educate people about this aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects thousands of people each year. We help give hope to those impacted by mesothelioma.

View 3 References
  1. U.S. Government Publishing Office (2017, Feb. 24.) House Report 118-15. Retrieved June 3, 2020 from https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CRPT-115hrpt18/html/CRPT-115hrpt18.htm

  2. American Cancer Society (na). Key statistics about malignant mesothelioma. Retrieved June 3, 2020 from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/about/key-statistics.html

  3. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (na). Asbestos-related lung diseases. Retrieved June 3, 2020 from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asbestos-related-lung-diseases

Learn More About Filing a Lawsuit

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