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Mesothelioma Settlements and Verdicts

People diagnosed with mesothelioma may qualify for financial settlements or verdicts by taking legal action against the asbestos product manufacturers that made them sick. The average settlement amount for mesothelioma is between $1 million and $1.4 million. Get in touch with our team to learn more about what to expect from a mesothelioma settlement or verdict and how to get started filing a claim.

Legally reviewed by: Melissa Crowe Schopfer

Last updated:

About Mesothelioma Lawsuit Settlements and Verdicts

In a mesothelioma lawsuit settlement, manufacturers of asbestos-containing products (the defendants) agree to pay a specific sum of money to victims of asbestos exposure (the plaintiffs). The amount of compensation is determined through settlement negotiations between each side’s attorneys.

Pursuing a mesothelioma settlement can help you:

  • Fight back against the willfully negligent corporations that made you or your loved one sick
  • Build a financial cushion to cover any future costs related to treatment, home care, or daily living expenses
  • Ensure peace of mind that your family will be taken care of for many years to come

“With the settlement checks, our kids are taken care of. John has peace of mind knowing there’s money there for his kids, and that’s really important to both of us.”

- Quote from Dee Stahl, wife of stage 4 mesothelioma survivor John Stahl

Nearly all lawsuits involving asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer result in a settlement.

In some cases, neither legal team can agree on a mesothelioma settlement amount. When that happens, the case usually goes to trial, where a judge or jury will listen to each side and determine if and how much compensation should be awarded in a verdict.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, you can pursue a settlement or verdict by filing a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a mesothelioma law firm. If your loved one has passed away from an asbestos-related disease, you can still seek a mesothelioma settlement on their behalf through a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you’re interested in pursuing a mesothelioma settlement, get a free legal consultation today with our legal partners. Our experienced team will walk you through exactly what to expect and what to do next.

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Shara Fisher
Shara Fisher Senior Paralegal
17+ years providing legal help to mesothelioma victims

Asbestos Settlements vs. Verdicts

Although both settlements and verdicts are outcomes from a mesothelioma lawsuit, there are key differences between them. Generally speaking, verdicts are more time-consuming and risky than settlements are.

Read more about the differences between mesothelioma settlements and verdicts below.

Mesothelioma SettlementMesothelioma Verdict
Can be reached before, during, or after a trialOnly occurs at the end of a trial
Victim can accept, counter, or reject any settlement offer Judge or jury decides the amount of money (if any) awarded
Guaranteed payout if an agreement is reached Payout is usually higher but isn't guaranteed and can be appealed

Another possible type of lawsuit is a mesothelioma class action settlement. In a class action, the lawsuit is filed on behalf of several people instead of just one. This makes it harder to ensure the highest payout from the lawsuit. Mesothelioma class action lawsuit settlements are almost never advised for most clients as a result.

Working with a lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma will give you the best chance of securing compensation from a settlement as quickly as possible.

What Is the Average Settlement for Mesothelioma Victims?

Mesothelioma settlements award between $1 million and $1.4 million on average, according to Mealey’s® Litigation Report: Asbestos. Some lawsuits may award more or less depending on the specifics of the case.

When you work with a mesothelioma law firm, your legal team will request a certain amount of money based on the case value when the claim is first filed. Your lawyer will ask for sufficient compensation to cover your medical expenses and provide financial security for your family.

Settlement amounts vary by case and depend on each individual’s asbestos exposure, age, diagnosis, and other factors. If the case goes to trial instead of settling out of court, the average verdict is between $5 million and $11.4 million.

  • $30 billion has been set aside in asbestos trust funds to pay mesothelioma victims
  • $1 million to $1.4 million average settlement amount
  • $9+ billion recovered for families by Simmons Hanly Conroy
  • $5 million to $11.4 million average verdict amount

Simmons Hanly Conroy, Mealey’s® Litigation Report: Asbestos, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Settlements Secured by Our Partner Law Firm

Lawyer reviewing a case with his client.

Our partner law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy has more than 20 years of experience handling mesothelioma cases and has recovered over $9.3 billion in financial compensation for patients and families around the country.

Simmons Hanly Conroy has secured some of the largest mesothelioma settlement payouts in history. Their dedication to supporting people hurt by asbestos shows in their results.

Notable asbestos settlement amounts secured by our legal partners include:

  • $1.36 million for a brick loader and tanker driver in Virginia with pericardial mesothelioma
  • $1.88 million for a New York laborer and U.S. Army veteran with peritoneal mesothelioma
  • $3.64 million for an Arizona delivery worker with peritoneal mesothelioma
  • $3.75 million to the heirs of a Pennsylvania laborer with pleural mesothelioma
  • $3.9 million to the family of a Virginia auto mechanic with pleural mesothelioma
  • $4 million for a union laborer in Illinois with peritoneal mesothelioma
  • $8 million for a Texas plumber and pipefitter with pleural mesothelioma
  • $10 million for a boiler tender diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma
  • $12 million for an Illinois laborer with pleural mesothelioma
  • $13.1 million for a carpenter with pleural mesothelioma

Get in touch with our team to see what compensation you may be owed and find out if you qualify to pursue a settlement.

Benefits of Mesothelioma Settlements

Many people who file a mesothelioma lawsuit haven’t worked with law firms in the past. Some people have concerns about working with an asbestos attorney, which is completely valid.

However, there are many benefits to be gained from a mesothelioma settlement — particularly, the treatment and peace of mind that compensation can bring.

Mesothelioma settlement benefits include:

  • Money to help pay for treatment. In addition to medical costs – which can be extremely high – patients may need to pay for travel, transportation, lodging, and home care while getting treated. Settlement money can help cover these costs and reduce financial stress.
  • Holding manufacturers accountable. Asbestos companies knew their products were dangerous but covered this up for decades to continue making money. Mesothelioma settlements force these product makers to acknowledge the harm they’ve caused and pay for their negligence.
  • Compensation is often awarded quickly. Settlements typically allow patients to receive mesothelioma compensation in under a year’s time so they can pay their medical bills and keep their families financially secure. Most clients start receiving their first payments in about 90 days.
  • Honoring a loved one’s memory. Compensation from a wrongful death settlement allows loved ones of a patient who passes from mesothelioma to remain financially stable. Next of kin can also use the money to donate to a meaningful cause that their loved one supported or pursue other ways to honor them.

“If it were not for my settlement, I would never have been able to receive the medical treatment I received.”

- Quote from Julie Gundlach, 17+ year mesothelioma survivor

Another reason to specifically pursue a settlement instead of a trial is that unlike a mesothelioma settlement, money from a trial verdict is not guaranteed. If the case goes to trial, a judge or jury may rule on the side of the defendant and determine that you are not entitled to compensation.

However, you should work with your legal team to determine the best path forward for your case.

Download our Free Attorney Checklist for questions to ask a mesothelioma law firm during your consultation.

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6 Factors Affecting Asbestos Settlement Amounts

As you’ve seen above, there are many possible outcomes when it comes to asbestos cancer settlements. Your legal team will look at several factors to determine how much money to request in the agreement and try to negotiate the largest settlement amount for your mesothelioma claim.

Keep reading to learn about some of the key factors that affect mesothelioma lawsuit settlement amounts.

1. Age of Patient

Mesothelioma is typically diagnosed in people over the age of 65, but it sometimes affects younger adults and even teenagers. Settlement amounts may be higher for younger victims, because they may have more years of missed work and lengthy treatments ahead of them.

However, many record-setting settlements and verdicts have been awarded to patients who were already retired when they were diagnosed with mesothelioma — so being older doesn’t mean you won’t receive a significant settlement amount.

2. Severity of Illness

Asbestos attorneys must show not only how asbestos exposure caused their clients to develop mesothelioma but how the disease has impacted their life.

Since mesothelioma is such an aggressive and rare cancer, it can lead to larger settlement amounts than other types of asbestos-related illnesses. This is because mesothelioma patients often need extensive medical treatment and care to fight their cancer, which can quickly become costly.

3. Economic Loss

Mesothelioma patients who cannot work because of their illness may not be able to pay for basic living expenses or support their dependent family members.

If your illness has prevented you from working and earning a living — leading to significant financial hardship for you and your family — it may contribute to a higher mesothelioma settlement amount.

However, each case is unique, so it’s best to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you seek fair compensation. They can estimate how much your case is worth based on their history of reaching asbestos lawsuit settlements for their clients.

4. Number of Asbestos Manufacturers

Most people are exposed to asbestos through numerous products made by different manufacturers. It is not uncommon for mesothelioma lawsuits to name dozens of defendants.

“I wouldn’t have a thing if it wasn’t for my ability to hold the companies who harmed me accountable.”

- Quote from Forrest Wulf, mesothelioma patient

In general, the more asbestos companies responsible for your illness, the more legal claims you can file and the more mesothelioma settlements you may receive.

5. Medical Expenses

The total cost of mesothelioma treatment can exceed $500,000. Since most patients cannot afford to pay for everything out-of-pocket, it’s important that the mesothelioma settlement amount awarded covers all of the victim’s medical expenses.

Experienced attorneys will account for all the health care costs their client may need to cover and help secure enough in the settlement process.

6. Pain and Suffering

A mesothelioma diagnosis puts a great deal of stress on the entire family. Mesothelioma victims and their loved ones may be entitled to additional financial compensation that addresses the emotional damages of this disease.

An experienced mesothelioma law firm will know how to evaluate these and other factors and secure the highest settlement possible in your case. Get started with a free legal consultation today to see what you may be owed.

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  • Over $30 billion available
  • No cost to file a claim
  • Avoid going to court

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Shara Fisher
Shara Fisher Senior Paralegal
17+ years providing legal help to mesothelioma victims

How Long Does It Take to Get a Mesothelioma Settlement?

Mesothelioma lawsuit payouts can begin in 90 days or less.

The settlement payout timeline for your case will depend on how quickly the asbestos product manufacturer named in your claim reaches an agreement with your attorney. Most lawsuits will sue more than one manufacturer. In this case, you may receive money from one defendant sooner than another.

Learn more about the steps to pursue a mesothelioma settlement below.

Mesothelioma Settlement Process

All mesothelioma settlements begin with a lawsuit. Although each case is unique, most lawsuits follow a similar settlement process.

  1. Find a mesothelioma law firm: Before you file a lawsuit, you’ll need to find an experienced mesothelioma lawyer and law firm you feel comfortable with. Our partner law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy may be a good option for you to consider during your search.
  2. Share your work history and other records: Your lawyer will begin by collecting evidence and details of asbestos exposure to build your case, like work history, medical records, and types of asbestos products handled. You’ll just need to provide any information you remember about your past jobs or employers, and they’ll do the heavy lifting to connect the dots.
  3. Your attorney files the claim: Your legal team will file the lawsuit and request a certain amount of money to be paid to you. All manufacturers named in the lawsuit must respond within 30 days.
  4. Attorneys begin the discovery process: If the manufacturers refuse to pay, attorneys from both sides then collect and share evidence, such as witness testimonies (depositions), to support their arguments. This process is known as discovery.
  5. Receive a settlement or verdict: The lawyers will try to resolve the case through a mesothelioma lawsuit settlement. If the attorneys cannot agree on a settlement, the case proceeds to a trial to be decided by a judge or jury. Some lawsuits may reach a mesothelioma settlement during or even after a trial.

An experienced asbestos lawyer can estimate how long it may take for your lawsuit to settle out of court and handle every aspect of your case to make the legal process as easy and stress-free as possible.

John Stahl Testimonial Video Thumbnail

Dee and John Stahl reached out to Simmons Hanly Conroy, a mesothelioma law firm, to pursue justice after John’s stage 4 mesothelioma diagnosis. View Transcript.

Duration: 4 min 40 sec

Dee Stahl:
The day started out fine. We got up and John, which is unusual for him, just came out of the bedroom
and just sat down and he said, “I just don’t feel good,” and I knew something was wrong because John
doesn’t complain. I said, “Well, I think we should probably go to the ER.”

They found out that there was over two liters of fluid on his left lung and they were amazed that he was
even able to breathe, period. They did a CAT scan then that’s when he just said, “You have stage four
mesothelioma, John.”

John Stahl:
I was kind of blank. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t realize that my job had exposed me to this.

Dee Stahl:
We’re the Stahls. I’m Dee, and this is my husband, John.

John Stahl:
My name is John Stahl. I was first exposed to asbestos poisoning through the construction business,
through Sheetrock, through gaskets and piping all through my career, and I worked 43 years in construction business. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. The first treatment was with chemotherapy and I went every two weeks. It didn’t take long, an hour or so, but it’d take me seven to 10 days to recover. That was hard for me because I’m a pretty active person.

Dee Stahl:
Asbestos is poison and it’s a prescription for death.

John Stahl:
Yeah.

Dee Stahl:
I don’t know …

John Stahl:
It’s not curable.

Dee Stahl:
Right.

John Stahl:
Well, at first it didn’t really sink in. The longer and longer I thought about it, it’s going to end my life
eventually, but I’m going to live it as well as I can.

Dee Stahl:
It made me mad and sad to think that these manufacturers could continue knowing that there was
asbestos that could hurt people, continued to make these products for how many years, years and years, and look what it’s done to the love of my life.

It’s heartbreaking. We filed a mesothelioma lawsuit because John deserves it. We found out about
Simmons Hanly Conroy when we received a letter introducing us to Todd, and within days, couple of
days, Todd called and we just clicked.

John Stahl:
Filing the lawsuit was easy because Todd made it easy. He explained what was going to happen. It was
pretty simple.

Dee Stahl:
It’s been fantastic. I can’t put into words because anytime Todd would call, it was, “How’s John doing?
How’s my buddy John doing and how are you doing?” He just made you comfortable. It was a great
experience.

John Stahl:
My kids are gonna be taken care of, Dee’s gonna be taken care of, so it’s a peace of mind knowing that I
don’t have to worry about them going down the road.

Dee Stahl:
I want people out there to realize that there is help and they can get assistance and get a settlement
from these manufacturers that continue to use this and know that it was dangerous for people.

John Stahl:
We filed a mesothelioma lawsuit to hold companies accountable. It’s important people understand that
there’s help and there’s people there willing to help them go through this process of making these
companies liable for what they’ve caused.

Other Mesothelioma Payout Options

Mesothelioma lawsuit settlements are not the only option you have to pursue financial assistance. Even if you aren’t interested in taking legal action right now, know that you deserve to be supported – financially and otherwise – during your journey with this challenging and preventable cancer.

Learn more about other sources of mesothelioma compensation below.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Asbestos trust funds were established by product manufacturers so victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses could get compensation without filing lawsuits. These manufacturers were ordered by the courts to set aside large sums of money into trust funds after they had filed for bankruptcy.

These trusts currently contain over $30 billion in available compensation, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

All asbestos trust funds have established rules that allow mesothelioma victims to access compensation. Victims who meet these criteria are eligible to receive a payout from the trust fund. Many qualify for payouts from multiple trust funds.

Our partner legal team can file trust fund claims with the asbestos manufacturers responsible for your illness. See if you qualify for trust fund compensation right now.

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Military Compensation

All U.S. military branches used asbestos from the 1930s until the early 1980s. Today, more than 30% of all mesothelioma victims are veterans.

For this reason, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established a number of programs to compensate veterans with mesothelioma and their family members.

Examples of VA compensation for mesothelioma include:

  • Disability compensation: Veterans with mesothelioma usually qualify for tax-free disability payments of nearly $4,000 a month.
  • VA Health Care: Allows veterans to get free or low-cost mesothelioma treatments from top doctors.
  • Other VA benefits: Some veterans may qualify for Aid & Attendance (A&A), burial compensation, pension, and other forms of financial assistance.

Veterans and their loved ones can apply for VA compensation and health care benefits with legal help from a VA-accredited mesothelioma lawyer or claims agent.

Download our Free Veterans Guide to learn more about your options for military compensation.

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Travel Grants, Insurance, and Other Financial Support

In addition to the options listed above, you may also be eligible for other types of financial assistance.

Our caring Patient Advocates can help evaluate your situation and let you know about travel grants and other options that may be available to help pay for treatment or treatment-related expenses.

Additionally, we can help you navigate your insurance plans and determine how to maximize your coverage.

Find Out If You Can Get a Mesothelioma Settlement

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the last thing you should be worrying about is how to pay your bills.

Compensation from mesothelioma settlements or verdicts can be used for anything, from treatment costs and unpaid medical bills to in-home health care and living expenses. You can also gain much-needed peace of mind and ensure your family’s financial security well into the future.

Working with a trusted mesothelioma law firm gives you the best chance of securing the highest settlements in your case. Get a free consultation with our legal partners to start the process today.

Mesothelioma Settlements FAQs

What is the average settlement for an asbestos claim?

The average mesothelioma settlement is between $1 million and $1.4 million, according to Mealey’s® Litigation Report: Asbestos. Some cases have settled for even more than this.

Your settlement amount depends on several factors, and no two cases are exactly the same. An experienced mesothelioma law firm can help you maximize your settlement.

How long do I have to pursue a mesothelioma lawsuit settlement?

It depends where you file your claim. Statutes of limitations, which vary by state, put a limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit.

In most states, the mesothelioma statute of limitations for personal injury claims ranges between 2-3 years. A mesothelioma lawyer can determine the state that’s likely to result in the best possible outcome.

You may lose your right to sue if you wait too long to file. Fortunately, even if the deadline in your case has passed, you may still be able to access compensation from asbestos trust funds, VA claims, and other sources.

How long does it take to settle a mesothelioma case?

The exact time frame for settling an asbestos case depends on several factors such as how quickly the defendant agrees to the settlement, the number of manufacturers being sued, and where the lawsuit is filed.

Most settlements from asbestos claims are paid out within one year — with the first settlement checks often arriving in 90 days or less.

Contacting an experienced mesothelioma attorney is the best way to get an accurate estimate of the amount of time your claim may take. Call (866) 608-8933 today to connect with our trusted legal partners.

What is the highest mesothelioma settlement?

The highest mesothelioma payout on record is $250 million, which a jury awarded to a man who developed mesothelioma after working at U.S. Steel for 30 years. Our legal partners at Simmons Hanly Conroy handled the man’s case.

This payout was a trial verdict and not a settlement. Settlements are kept confidential, so the highest amount isn’t publicly available. However, many mesothelioma settlements award at least $1 million.

Simmons Hanly Conroy can help you secure the highest mesothelioma settlements or verdicts in your case as well. They can assess the details of your case and provide you with the most accurate information on how much you may receive. Get a free legal consultation now to find out more.

Do you pay taxes on mesothelioma settlements?

Not in most cases. Some portion of mesothelioma settlement amounts may be considered taxable income, but that portion will likely be very small.

Mesothelioma lawsuits may include compensation for personal injury and punitive damages — though punitive damages are only awarded in jury trials. The American Bar Association says that punitive damages are always taxable.

On the other hand, personal injury compensation (which is how settlement money is classified) is not taxable, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Attorney Melissa Crowe SchopferReviewed by:Melissa Crowe Schopfer

Partner, Simmons Hanly Conroy

  • Fact-Checked
  • Legal Editor

Melissa Crowe Schopfer is a partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy. Over the past 10 years, Melissa has worked on over 500 cases and recovered more than $100 million in settlements and trial verdicts on behalf of her clients. She has represented families impacted by mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases in almost every state.

  • Asbestos Trial Team Leader
  • Practicing Attorney for 15+ Years
  • Has Recovered Over $100 Million
Laura WrightWritten by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

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References
  1. Conlin, M., Levine, D., & Girion, L. (2019, December 19). Why big business can count on courts to keep its deadly secrets. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-courts-secrecy-lobbyist/
  2. Internal Revenue Service. (n.d.). Settlements — Taxability. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4345.pdf
  3. Mealey’s. (2021, July 30). Mealey’s litigation report: asbestos. Retrieved June 23, 2023, from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/65302/asbestos-verdicts-settlements-january-2020-december-2020
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “2023 VA pension rates for Veterans.” (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/pension/veterans-pension-rates/
  5. Veterans asbestos exposure. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/asbestos/
  6. Wood, R. (2017, April 27). Ten Rules Every Lawyer-and Client-Should Know about Taxes on Legal Settlements. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/business_law/publications/blt/2017/04/05_wood/
  7. St. John’s University School of Law. “The Features and Limitations of Asbestos Settlement Trusts: A Primer.” Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/bankruptcy_research_library/306/
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