01. Settlements vs. Verdicts
What Is the Difference Between Mesothelioma Settlements and Verdicts?
A mesothelioma lawsuit may end with a settlement or a verdict. A settlement is an agreement that the parties to a lawsuit come to among themselves. The details of a settlement agreement are often kept private. Settlements may occur before, during and sometimes even after trial. A verdict is a decision made by a judge or jury at the end of a trial. The decision determines a company’s asbestos liability.
Accepting a mesothelioma settlement offered by an asbestos company provides guaranteed compensation. A settlement is given in exchange for the patient or their loved ones agreeing to end the lawsuit. Those who win at trial usually receive higher mesothelioma compensation than those who settle. But they also risk receiving no compensation if they lose at trial.
Understanding Mesothelioma Settlements vs. Verdicts
- The parties to a lawsuit come up with an agreement to end a lawsuit.
- Can occur before, during or after a trial.
- An asbestos company offers a settlement amount for an asbestos victim or their loved ones to accept, counteroffer or reject.
- An accepted settlement is guaranteed compensation.
- A judge or jury makes a decision about a case to end a lawsuit.
- Only occurs at the end of a trial.
- A judge or jury determines the amount of compensation that an asbestos company owes an asbestos victim or their loved ones.
- Asbestos victims may not receive compensation if they lose at trial.
Mesothelioma lawsuit settlements average $1 million to $1.4 million. Mesothelioma verdicts average $2.4 million. Actual compensation amounts vary from case to case. At trial, judges and juries consider several factors to determine the awarded amount. These factors may include treatment-related costs, loss of income and accounting for pain and suffering.
The time it takes to receive a mesothelioma lawsuit payout varies. Depending on the outcomes of the case, it may take anywhere from a few months to over a year.
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02. Settlement Amounts
Mesothelioma Settlement Amounts
In many cases, a mesothelioma patient or their loved ones may receive a settlement of $1 million or more. A settlement provides guaranteed compensation that may be paid within a few months of settling. Asbestos settlements are usually not taxable under federal or state tax laws.
Another way to receive compensation is from a trial verdict decided by a judge or jury. A judge or jury verdict may result in higher compensation than a settlement would. But if a patient or their family members lose at trial, they may not receive any compensation.
Mesothelioma lawsuit settlement amounts vary from case to case. Different factors may affect compensation, including medical expenses and exposure history.
Average Mesothelioma Settlements
The average mesothelioma settlement amount is between $1 million and $1.4 million. The average verdict amount is $2.4 million. Settlements are usually not subject to federal or state taxation. Actual settlement amounts vary from case to case.
An asbestos attorney can explain what compensation a victim may expect from a mesothelioma lawsuit based on the facts of their case.
Mesothelioma Settlement Examples by Award Amount
|State||Disease||Occupation / Exposure||Age||~ Monies to Date|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Plumber / Mechanic||53||~$13,100,000|
|IL||Mesothelioma||Pipefitter / Household||61||~$11,900,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Bystander / Army||66||~$11,750,000|
|MD||Mesothelioma||Hairdresser / Household||68||~$11,450,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Navy / Dry Wall Sprayer||49||~$9,500,000|
|PA||Mesothelioma||Household / Air Force||53||~$9,350,000|
|IL||Mesothelioma||Coast Guard / Engineer||63||~$8,800,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Maintenance / Construction||56||~$8,650,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Navy / Maintenance||56||~$8,570,000|
|NY||Mesothelioma||Navy Worker / Operating Engineer||61||~$6,900,000|
|NY||Mesothelioma||Navy Worker / Machinist||53||~$6,400,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Navy / Plant Worker||69||~$6,000,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Household / Technician||63||~$6,000,000|
|NY||Mesothelioma||Navy Worker / Plumber||67||~$5,875,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Lumber Yard Manager||42||~$5,200,000|
|TX||Mesothelioma||Navy / Mechanic||68||~$5,000,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Navy / Mechanic||60||~$4,800,000|
|IL||Mesothelioma||JM Plant Worker / Shipyard||51||~$4,600,000|
|IL||Mesothelioma||Navy / Mechanic||51||~$4,300,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Navy / Teacher||70||~$4,200,000|
|TX||Mesothelioma||Carpenter / Marine Corps||71||~$4,100,000|
|IL||Mesothelioma||Army / Engineer||64||~$4,100,000|
|TX||Mesothelioma||Coast Guard US / Shipyard||67||~$4,050,000|
|LA||Mesothelioma||Household / Office Worker||62||~$4,000,000|
|IL||Mesothelioma||Plant Worker / Household||59||~$3,900,000|
|CA||Mesothelioma||Navy / Nuclear Plant||62||~$3,800,000|
|NY||Mesothelioma||Carpenter / Trimmer / Mechanic||64||~$3,750,000|
|IL||Mesothelioma||Painter / Merchant Marine||79||~$3,500,000|
|NY||Mesothelioma||Household / Machine Operator||54||~$3,500,000|
|SC||Mesothelioma||Navy / Powerhouse||62||~$3,400,000|
|PA||Mesothelioma||Navy / Boilerman||54||~$3,400,000|
|NY||Mesothelioma||Pipe Organ Builder||71||~$3,300,000|
|NY||Mesothelioma||Plant Worker / Sales Worker||65||~$3,100,000|
*Please note that individual cases vary based upon a number of factors, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
Factors Impacting Settlement Amounts
Asbestos settlement amounts vary based on several factors. A mesothelioma lawyer can assess how the facts of an individual’s case may affect possible settlement offers. Factors affecting settlement amounts include:
- Company experience with mesothelioma cases: Many asbestos companies have previously been found liable for negligence. These companies may be more likely to settle quickly to avoid an expensive trial verdict.
- Company history of asbestos use: Companies that knowingly exposed individuals to asbestos can face elevated financial liability.
- Diagnosis and health history: A patient’s asbestos disease severity and other health factors may impact a settlement offer.
- Exposure history: Long-term asbestos exposure may increase a company’s liability and result in more compensation.
- Medical expenses and lost wages: Settlement offers often include enough money to cover medical bills and wages lost as a result of a patient’s diagnosis.
- Number of defendants: Many asbestos victims are eligible to file against several asbestos companies. The companies being sued, also called the defendants, may each choose to offer a settlement or go to trial.
- Where case is filed: Different states have different rules about the way cases proceed. For example, states may have different statutes of limitations. They may also have different laws about things like evidence and award caps.
Other factors may also impact award amounts. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can explain other possible factors and how they may impact a victim’s case.
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03. Notable Settlements and Verdicts
Notable Mesothelioma Settlements and Verdicts
Mesothelioma settlements and verdicts have provided victims with billions of dollars in compensation. Individual settlements may pay out millions of dollars. Mesothelioma compensation can help cover treatment-related costs, lost wages and other expenses.
An experienced asbestos attorney can negotiate settlements. An asbestos attorney can also help advise victims whether to accept, reject or counteroffer a settlement.
Mesothelioma Settlement Examples
Examples of mesothelioma settlements show a variety of payout amounts. Although settlements average $1 million to $1.4 million, individual payouts may be much higher. The largest mesothelioma settlement amounts are over $10 million.
Notable examples of mesothelioma settlements include:
- $6.9 million settlement for Navy operating engineer: The U.S. Navy operating engineer with mesothelioma in this case received $6.9 million for asbestos exposure during his time in the military.
- $11 million settlement for pipefitter: The pipefitter in this case received $11 million to help pay for expenses resulting from his mesothelioma diagnosis.
- $13 million settlement for plumber: The 50-year-old plumber in this case received $13 million, alleging occupational asbestos exposure that caused mesothelioma.
Information about exact settlement amounts can be hard to come by. This is because many settlements are private agreements. Experts use available information to estimate average amounts.
An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help determine possible settlement amounts. They can use their experience with previous settlements to assess an individual’s case. They can also help negotiate for the higher mesothelioma settlement amounts.
Mesothelioma Verdict Examples
Mesothelioma verdict awards may be higher than settlement amounts. The average mesothelioma trial amount is $2.4 million. But it is not guaranteed that a judge or jury will rule in favor of victims. If asbestos victims lose at trial, they do not receive compensation.
Verdicts also have the potential to be appealed and overturned. These actions can lower the payout from the initial reward. For example, in 2003, a mesothelioma patient received a $250 million mesothelioma jury award, the largest ever. Ultimately, his compensation was reduced in a private agreement.
Examples of mesothelioma verdict awards include:
- $3.72 million verdict for auto products exposure: In 2016, a Minnesota jury granted an award of $3.72 million in financial compensation to an asbestos victim. The victim had been exposed to asbestos-containing products as a child while helping his father with brake jobs.
- $25.75 million verdict for talc products exposure: In 2018, a California jury awarded a woman $25.75 million in mesothelioma compensation. She was exposed to asbestos through talc-based baby powder made by Johnson & Johnson.
- $36.7 million verdict for pipefitter: In 2022, a Louisiana jury granted $36.7 million in compensation to a mesothelioma patient. The patient was a retired welder and pipefitter, likely exposed to asbestos at work.
- $75 million verdict for exposed family: In 2017, a woman and her husband received a $75 million mesothelioma verdict. The woman experienced secondary asbestos exposure through her husband, a mechanic.
- $82 million verdict for auto products exposure: In 2017, a woman received a jury award of $82 million for the wrongful death of her husband. Her husband had been exposed to asbestos through auto products.
These awards represent a few individuals who successfully received compensation for harm caused by asbestos. Mesothelioma patients or family members looking to pursue a lawsuit should talk to an attorney. An asbestos attorney can help victims explore legal options for compensation.
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04. Settlement Process
Mesothelioma Settlement Process
Mesothelioma settlements are a common part of the lawsuit process. An asbestos company may offer a settlement before, during or even after a trial. It is up to the asbestos victim to accept, decline or counteroffer a settlement. A mesothelioma lawyer can help explain the settlement process. They can also negotiate a settlement and help advise whether to take an offer.
What Do You Need for a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Settlement?
Mesothelioma settlements are a part of the lawsuit process. An asbestos company offers a settlement to a victim in exchange for ending a lawsuit. Put another way, an asbestos victim must first file a lawsuit to receive a settlement.
A mesothelioma lawyer can help victims throughout the entire legal process. A patient or their family members first decide on a law firm to represent them, usually after a free consultation. The firm’s legal team then helps gather the required documents needed to file a lawsuit. The victim’s attorney then files the lawsuit on their client’s behalf.
Information Needed for a Mesothelioma Case
- Evidence of employment history, like union membership cards and military service records
- Medical records, including a diagnosis of mesothelioma
- Receipts and bills for expenses related to the illness, including travel to see specialists to obtain mesothelioma treatment
- Witness statements, including co-workers, friends, family members and experts
Attorneys can use their experience and knowledge to work with mesothelioma victims and their families to build a case. For example, an asbestos attorney can:
- Determine the best place to file the lawsuit, taking into consideration things like whether a court is favorable for asbestos victims
- Determine the type of lawsuit to file, usually either a personal injury lawsuit or, if filing a mesothelioma lawsuit after the death of a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit
- Identify and gather documents necessary to build a strong case
Because mesothelioma has such a long latency period, it may be difficult for victims to recall the details of their exposure. An experienced asbestos attorney can also help:
- Identify potential asbestos companies responsible for a victim’s asbestos exposure
- Identify potential sources of asbestos exposure
A mesothelioma lawyer can also help victims explore other potential sources of compensation. For example, a victim may be eligible to receive compensation from both a lawsuit and an asbestos claim.
What Is the Average Mesothelioma Settlement Time Frame?
The time frame for mesothelioma settlement varies. Cases that go to trial can take 12 months or less. Victims may receive settlement offers at any point during this process. Once a settlement is reached, victims may begin receiving compensation within 90 days.
Settlement payouts may be received all at once as a lump sum or in installments. The way a person receives their settlement depends on the terms of their individual settlement plan.
It is common for cases to go through several rounds of settlement negotiations. This may extend the settlement time frame, but often results in higher compensation amounts.
An asbestos attorney can explain possible settlement time frames for an individual’s case. For example, some asbestos companies may be more likely to settle earlier than others.
Are Mesothelioma Settlements Taxable?
In general, mesothelioma settlement compensation is not taxable under federal or state law. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code, compensation for physical injury is not taxable. This means that compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages and even attorney’s fees are not taxable as long as they relate to a physical injury. Some parts of a mesothelioma award may be taxable, including punitive damages.
The IRS taxes mesothelioma settlements and verdicts in the same way. A settlement should note how much of its compensation is for physical injuries. This will clarify how much of the mesothelioma settlement is taxable income. An asbestos attorney can build and negotiate a case to ensure the largest amount of non-taxable compensation.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages provide additional financial compensation to victims. Courts usually award them at their own discretion to punish asbestos companies for bad behavior.
It is possible that some forms of asbestos lawsuit compensation may be taxable. For example, the IRS considers most punitive damages taxable income. The reason for treating punitive damages this way is because they are not meant to compensate for a personal injury. Instead, they are meant to punish an asbestos company for bad behavior. In certain situations, punitive damages from wrongful death cases may not be taxable.
A lawyer can assess individual cases to determine how much of a mesothelioma lawsuit settlement may be taxable. They can also answer any questions victims may have about asbestos settlement taxation.
05. Accepting a Settlement
Should You Accept an Asbestos Settlement?
Mesothelioma patients or their families decide when and if they want to settle. Asbestos attorneys help negotiate the settlement and offer advice, but the decision to accept the settlement resides with the victims.
People have different reasons for accepting or rejecting a mesothelioma lawsuit settlement offer. For example, some people may choose to accept a settlement to avoid trial or to receive guaranteed compensation.
Factors to Consider Before Accepting an Asbestos Settlement Offer
- Faster resolution of case: Settlements often resolve cases before a trial verdict. This can help avoid drawn-out legal proceedings.
- High-risk, high-reward nature of trials: Settlements often provide less compensation than trial verdict awards. At the same time, settlements are guaranteed compensation. A victim may not receive any compensation if they lose at trial.
- Multiple settlements from multiple defendants: Many asbestos cases involve multiple asbestos-company defendants. Each defendant can choose to offer a settlement to end the legal action against them. Accepting a settlement from one defendant does not affect the case against other defendants.
- Negotiation process: Settlements often go through several rounds of negotiation. Many victims do not accept the first offer. This may draw out the case but may result in higher settlement amounts.
Asbestos companies may also have their own reasons for wanting to settle, including:
- Avoiding negative publicity: A public trial can make a company look bad. Private settlement agreements can help them avoid negative publicity.
- Faster resolution of cases: Companies that manufactured asbestos products often face thousands of asbestos lawsuits. Settlements may help them resolve more cases more quickly.
- Lower costs: Settlements may cost asbestos companies less than a trial verdict.
- Previous losses at trial: Many asbestos companies have already faced mesothelioma lawsuits. If they lost at trial in the past, they may be more likely to settle quickly in the future.
Once a company offers a settlement, the victim’s attorney will inform their client of the offer. The attorney can offer advice about whether to accept, after which the victim can decide to accept, reject or counteroffer. A counteroffer will set off another round of negotiations. A rejection will cause the case to continue proceeding toward trial.
The asbestos company may present another settlement offer at any time, which victims are again free to accept, reject or counter.
Benefits of Accepting an Asbestos Settlement
There are several benefits to accepting an asbestos lawsuit settlement. Mesothelioma patients or their families may want to accept a settlement before a trial verdict for the following reasons:
- Faster compensation: Asbestos victims who settle before a trial verdict may receive compensation faster than if they wait for a verdict award.
- Guaranteed compensation: A settlement agreement is guaranteed compensation. An asbestos victim may not receive any compensation if they lose at trial.
It is up to the patient or their family to accept a settlement offer. An asbestos attorney can provide advice and answer any questions during this decision-making process.
Other Mesothelioma Payout Options
Patients and their families may be eligible to seek compensation from several sources. An asbestos attorney can help victims explore other compensation options. Receiving compensation from one source does not prevent a person from receiving it from another.
Other possible sources of mesothelioma compensation besides lawsuits include:
- Asbestos trust fund claims: Many companies have set up trust funds to pay out present and future asbestos claims.
- Veterans’ benefits claims: Veterans with mesothelioma may be eligible for benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- Workers’ compensation claims: On-the-job asbestos exposure may make a mesothelioma patient eligible for a payout through a company’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Asbestos victims may have questions about different options for filing their personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, such as filing as part of a class action. Class actions are rare to non-existent for mesothelioma lawsuits. Victims can ask their attorney about all of the options for their case.
06. Common Questions
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Settlements
What is the average settlement for an asbestos lawsuit?
- The average asbestos settlement amount is between $1 million and $1.4 million. The type of lawsuit, number of defendants and state laws can all affect settlement amounts. The average verdict award is higher than the average settlement. However, verdicts are not guaranteed mesothelioma compensation the way settlements are.
How much are legal fees for a mesothelioma case?
- Asbestos victims usually do not pay legal fees until the end of their lawsuit. Most mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that lawyers only take payment if you receive compensation. You and your legal team will agree to the terms of payment at the beginning of your case.
Is a mesothelioma settlement taxable?
- A mesothelioma settlement is generally not taxable under federal or state law. According to the IRS tax code, any compensation directly related to a mesothelioma diagnosis will not be taxed. An asbestos attorney can answer tax questions about your specific case.
What is the average payout time for a mesothelioma settlement?
- The amount of time it takes to get a mesothelioma settlement payout varies by case. Patients and their loved ones may receive compensation as soon as 90 days after settlement. Some lawsuits may settle more quickly than others, which can affect the payout time.
Does everyone with mesothelioma get a settlement?
- Most mesothelioma lawsuits end in a settlement rather than a trial verdict. Asbestos companies have many reasons that they may want to offer a settlement. For example, they may have a history of losing asbestos trials or wish to avoid negative publicity. When a company offers a settlement, a lawyer can help negotiate for the best possible compensation.
What’s the difference between a mesothelioma trust fund claim, case, settlement and verdict?
- Settlements and verdicts are part of the asbestos case process that go through the court system. Trust fund claims are a separate process that goes through a trust. These claims often result in faster, lower compensation than settlements and verdicts. A lawyer may suggest seeking compensation from trusts in addition to filing a lawsuit.
What is the highest mesothelioma settlement?
- One of the largest verdicts for a mesothelioma case was $250 million. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma after occupational exposure at U.S. Steel. Following negotiations, the case later resulted in a mesothelioma settlement of less than $50 million.