The annual Asbestos Litigation: KCIC Industry Report 2021 found mesothelioma patients are waiting longer to file their lawsuits. The report looks at many factors to analyze trends in asbestos litigation. Its conclusions are based on thousands of mesothelioma lawsuits filed over several years.
The Washington, D.C.-based firm found mesothelioma patients wait on average over seven months after their diagnosis to file a lawsuit. Filing sooner after diagnosis may help patients receive compensation earlier. It can also help avoid missing filing deadlines that may limit compensation options.
Filing Lags for Mesothelioma Lawsuits Have Increased in Recent Years
The 2021 KCIC report highlights information about filing lags in mesothelioma cases. A filing lag is the time between a person receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis and filing a lawsuit. Between 2017 and 2021, the average filing lag for a mesothelioma lawsuit was over seven months after diagnosis.
According to the report, this lag has increased in recent years. Between 2019 and 2021, the time it took for mesothelioma patients to file a lawsuit increased 13%. This means that over the last couple of years mesothelioma patients are, on average, waiting longer to file lawsuits.
The report also breaks down filing lags by biological sex. Looking at lawsuits for all asbestos-related diseases, the report found that male patients tend to wait longer to file.
There can be consequences to waiting to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. For example, there are deadlines for filing defined by states’ statutes of limitations. Missing a deadline can limit compensation options. Waiting to file a lawsuit can also increase the time it takes for patients to receive their compensation.
Mesothelioma patients may have different reasons for waiting to file a lawsuit. Talking to a lawyer soon after diagnosis can help address any concerns about filing a case. It can also help avoid any negative consequences of waiting to file.
Why Is the Mesothelioma Filing Lag Increasing?
As of now, it is unclear why the mesothelioma filing lag is increasing. The Asbestos Litigation: KCIC Industry Report 2021 does not suggest reasons for this trend. The increase in filing lags may be caused by several factors, including:
- Delays in the legal system related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Delays caused by mesothelioma patients feeling overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Economic concerns over the cost of the legal process
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process Places Minimal Stress on Patients
A mesothelioma lawsuit can allow patients to receive compensation without an extensive time commitment. With help from an experienced lawyer, the lawsuit process allows patients to focus on important things like treatment.
A mesothelioma lawyer can handle the day-to-day aspects of the case. In general, mesothelioma patients can expect to be involved at the following points of a case:
- Initial consultation: This consultation will allow patients to ask an attorney any questions before they decide to file.
- Gathering information: An attorney can help patients locate and request information, like medical records.
- Deposition: A mesothelioma deposition is an interview, usually lasting from an hour to a day. It will be used at trial to help explain the patient’s case.
- Settlement approval: Patients must approve any asbestos settlement offer their lawyer negotiates.
A mesothelioma lawyer can handle all other aspects of a case, including:
- Organizing information about the case
- Writing up any written material needed for the case
- Determining other compensation options, such as trust fund claims
- Finding the best place to file
- Filing the lawsuit
- Gathering information from the parties being sued
- Filing motions
- Negotiating a settlement
- Litigating at trial
Most of the work of a mesothelioma lawsuit is done by lawyers. Filing a lawsuit soon after a mesothelioma diagnosis should not prevent patients from receiving treatment. Mesothelioma lawyers and courts can work around a patient’s treatment schedule. The mesothelioma lawsuit process also leaves time for patients to be with their loved ones during a difficult time.
Mesothelioma Patients May Be Able to Fast-Track Their Lawsuit
Depending on where a patient files, their lawyers may also be able to fast-track their case. Certain states allow patients who are ill or over a certain age to ask for trial preference. This means the date of the trial will be prioritized.
Filing a lawsuit soon after diagnosis can help patients receive compensation faster. Compensation can help pay for treatment-related costs and loss of income. It can also help provide a sense of justice by holding companies accountable for asbestos exposure.