What Is a Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuit?
A mesothelioma class action lawsuit is a legal case in which a group of people who have been diagnosed with this cancer come together to file one claim against the companies responsible for their asbestos exposure.
Instead of filing individual mesothelioma claims, the group collectively seeks financial compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Why Class Action Claims for Mesothelioma Are Rarely Filed Today
Before the late 1990s, it was thought that a mesothelioma class action lawsuit could compensate asbestos victims fairly. However, legal experts later learned that individual lawsuits are the best way for victims to obtain compensation since no two cases of asbestos exposure are exactly alike.
Further, mesothelioma class action settlements are unlikely to award each victim enough money to cover the high cost of treatment, which can exceed $500,000 in many cases.
As a result, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1997 that asbestos cases could no longer be heard as class action lawsuits at the federal level and could only be filed with U.S. state courts.
Wondering if you’re eligible to file an individual mesothelioma claim? Connect with our expert legal partners for a free case evaluation today.
Asbestos Class Action Lawsuit vs. Individual Lawsuit
Class action lawsuits allowed victims of malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases to join a larger lawsuit instead of having to file one on their own.
Despite their convenience, the disadvantages of mesothelioma class action lawsuits far outweigh the potential benefits.
The chart below shows the main differences between a mesothelioma class action claim and an individual lawsuit.
|Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuit
|Individual Mesothelioma Lawsuit
|One person (or a small group) represents the larger class of victims
|Victim gets personalized legal representation from a asbestos lawyer
|Everyone in the class receives the same amount of money regardless of the individual facts of each case
|Victim may receive more or less money depending on the severity of their injury and illness
|Can take several years to award compensation
|Victims may start receiving compensation within 90 days
Request a free case review to see if you’re eligible to pursue compensation through an individual lawsuit.
Alternatives to Class Actions for Mesothelioma Victims
Since mesothelioma class action suits are usually not a viable option, asbestos victims are encouraged to explore other legal options.
Learn more about individual lawsuits, asbestos trust funds, and other alternatives to mesothelioma class action claims.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Since the late 1990s, most mesothelioma cases have been filed as individual personal injury lawsuits. Personal injury lawsuits allow victims to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, at-home care, and other expenses.
“Filing a lawsuit has greatly impacted my family’s life. It has allowed me to seek the medical treatment that I absolutely need without the fear of losing my home.”
Today, individual mesothelioma settlements award an average of $1 million to $1.4 million, according to Mealey’s® Litigation Report: Asbestos. The average verdict from an individual lawsuit is between $5 million and $11.4 million.
In contrast, a group of Ohio rubber workers and their heirs are receiving payments of between $4,000 and $300,000 as the result of a 2020 class action talcum powder lawsuit against a supplier that sold industrial talc products containing asbestos from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.
Nearly all personal injury lawsuits end in a settlement. This means that the likelihood of you having to step foot inside a courtroom is extremely low.
Wrongful Death Settlements
If you’ve lost a family member to mesothelioma cancer, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit to help cover travel costs, unpaid medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.
A personal injury lawsuit can become a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim passes away before their claim is resolved.
Asbestos Trust Funds
When a company files for bankruptcy, all legal action against them stops. In the late 1980s, many manufacturers of asbestos-containing products that declared bankruptcy to avoid mesothelioma lawsuits were forced to establish asbestos trust funds to compensate asbestos victims.
An estimated $30 billion is currently available in asbestos trust funds for present and future victims of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos trust funds have fixed payouts for different types of asbestos-related diseases. A mesothelioma diagnosis awards the most money in almost every case. Mesothelioma victims might be able to access a portion of this money if they worked with or around asbestos products made by manufacturers that established these trusts.
We can help you determine which asbestos trust funds you may qualify for and take the legal steps needed to secure this compensation. Get started right now.
VA Benefit Claims for Mesothelioma
Veterans with mesothelioma typically qualify for financial and medical benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
VA benefits can be used to cover:
- Home health care and nursing
- Burial and memorial services
- Living expenses
- Medical treatment
- Mobility and other medical equipment
- Pension plans for survivors
- Therapy and mental health counseling
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or an asbestos trust fund claim doesn’t impact your ability to receive VA benefits. A mesothelioma lawyer can walk you through the process to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.
How to File an Asbestos Claim
Asbestos victims should reach out to an attorney to determine the best way to pursue compensation. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help victims file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit or seek compensation through asbestos trust fund claims.
Learn about the process of filing an asbestos claim below.
1. Legal Consultation
Schedule a free consultation with a law firm experienced in asbestos cases. A lawyer from the firm will evaluate your situation and guide you through the legal process.
2. Asbestos Exposure Assessment
Work with your legal team to determine your asbestos exposure history, providing details about where you lived, worked, or served.
3. Document Collection
Gather relevant documents such as medical records and employment history to support your case and provide important information for your attorney. Your attorney can help with this step if needed.
4. Claim Filing and Resolution
Your mesothelioma attorney will file your claim. In the case of a lawsuit, they will negotiate a settlement or proceed to trial. If your claim is successful, you will receive compensation for damages caused by asbestos exposure.
Remember, each asbestos claim is unique, and working closely with an experienced attorney will ensure you have the necessary guidance and support at every step.
Get our Free Attorney Checklist to find the right mesothelioma lawyer to handle your asbestos claim.
Why Were Asbestos Class Action Lawsuits Filed Originally?
Before 1997, class action lawsuits were viewed as an easy way for victims of asbestos exposure to receive compensation from negligent asbestos manufacturers.
Despite these benefits, there were many downsides for mesothelioma victims.
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Class Action Lawsuit for Mesothelioma
Class action lawsuits allowed victims with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases to join a larger lawsuit instead of filing one on their own.
Benefits of a class action lawsuit include:
- Consistency: Once an outcome is determined, everyone in the class receives the same amount of money.
- Consolidation: The court system can handle thousands of mesothelioma claims in one lawsuit.
- Convenience: Since one person (or a small group) represents the larger class, individual lawsuits do not have to be filed, built, and tried in court.
Drawbacks of a class action lawsuit include:
- Lack of personalized representation: Each case of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma is vastly different. A class action lawsuit cannot represent all victims’ interests in a fair way.
- Length of time to resolve: It may take several years for victims to be compensated through a class action lawsuit. In many cases, personal injury lawsuits start awarding compensation within 90 days.
- Less money awarded: Plaintiffs may not get as much compensation as they would if they had filed personal injury claims or a wrongful death lawsuit.
Because of these disadvantages, mesothelioma class action lawsuits are rarely filed today. To learn about your alternatives to filing a class action claim, give us a call today at (866) 608-8933.
History of Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits played an important role in asbestos litigation.
The following is a brief timeline showing the history of mesothelioma class actions:
- 1933: Scientists discover lung and pleural cancer in workers with asbestosis, a disease caused by asbestos exposure.
- 1973: Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corp. sets a legal precedent allowing injured workers to sue asbestos manufacturers. Thousands of lawsuits follow.
- 1991: Over 26,000 asbestos claims are consolidated in federal court but prove difficult to handle.
- 1993: The Center for Claims Resolution offers class action settlements for asbestos victims, binding future victims unless they opt out.
- 1994: Mesothelioma cases are deemed unfit for class action settlements due to unique individual circumstances.
- 1997: The U.S. Supreme Court rejects a proposed class action deal in Amchem Products Inc. v. Windsor, citing the varied interests of claimants.
Since the Supreme Court’s 1997 ruling, class action mesothelioma lawsuits are no longer heard in federal courts and must instead be tried in state courts.
Our legal partners can help you get more compensation for your family through individual mesothelioma claims. Take the first step now by requesting a free, no-obligation case review.
Can You Still File an Asbestos Class Action Lawsuit Today?
Yes, but mesothelioma class action lawsuits are almost never filed today. Personal injury and wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuits are much more common.
While it may be technically possible to file a mesothelioma class action lawsuit in a state court, it is highly unlikely that you will actually be able to do so. And even if you can file a class action lawsuit, it is not likely to be in your best interest.
State-Level Asbestos Litigation
In rare cases, some class action lawsuits have been filed at the state level. For example, an asbestos class action class lawsuit filed in Missouri settled for $80 million in 2016.
This lawsuit sought to create a fund to cover medical expenses for people exposed to asbestos while they worked in a courthouse that was being renovated. The renovations allegedly disturbed dangerous asbestos fibers. Two plaintiffs represented a class of up to 7,500 possible victims.
Explore Your Options for Mesothelioma Compensation
While we advise victims against filing a mesothelioma class action lawsuit, there are many other legal options available to help your family obtain justice.
Through an individual mesothelioma lawsuit, asbestos trust fund claims, and/or a VA benefits claim, you may be able to receive compensation and hold negligent manufacturers accountable.
Get a free case review today to learn more about your legal options.
Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuit FAQs
Is mesothelioma a class action lawsuit?
In most cases, mesothelioma lawsuits are not filed as class actions. Instead, they are typically filed as individual personal injury or wrongful death claims.
What is a class action lawsuit for mesothelioma?
A class action lawsuit for mesothelioma is a legal action taken by a group of individuals (the plaintiffs) who have been affected by this asbestos-related disease.
The plaintiffs in a mesothelioma class action lawsuit allege that the defendants — usually asbestos manufacturers, suppliers, or employers — were negligent in exposing them to asbestos or failed to provide adequate warnings about its dangers.
In return, the plaintiffs seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from their mesothelioma diagnosis.
What is the average settlement for mesothelioma victims?
Mesothelioma settlements award between $1 million and $1.4 million on average, and many victims start to receive compensation in as few as 90 days.
However, it’s important to note that these settlements almost always come from personal injury or wrongful death suits and not mesothelioma class action claims.
Can you claim for mesothelioma after death?
Yes, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim if your loved one has passed away from mesothelioma.
To do this, you’ll want to talk to a lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma cases. They will guide you through the filing process and help you gather information to show that asbestos exposure ultimately led to your loved one’s death.
Filing a wrongful death claim is preferred to filing a mesothelioma class action lawsuit after death since individual suits take less time to resolve and usually result in more compensation if your claim is successful.
Does everyone with mesothelioma get a settlement?
No, everyone with mesothelioma does not get a settlement from a class action or any other type of asbestos claim.
However, if you were exposed to asbestos during a particular time period and it caused you to develop cancer, you may be eligible for some type of compensation, whether it’s from settlements, asbestos trust funds, and/or the VA.
Contact our caring and knowledgeable Patient Advocates at (866) 608-8933 to learn more and discuss your options.