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Financial Assistance for Mesothelioma Patients

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A mesothelioma settlement can help victims of asbestos exposure gain compensation to pay for diagnostic and treatment costs, as well as lost income for their families. The amount of compensation awarded can vary greatly, depending on the individual case.

Mesothelioma lawsuits typically settle before going to trial. However, if a settlement is not reached or agreed upon, the case can continue to trial where it will then result in a verdict. Plaintiffs will often receive a favorable verdict with compensation amount determined based on their expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages.

01. Settlement Process

Mesothelioma Settlement Process

There are a variety of routes a patient may take to get compensation after a mesothelioma diagnosis. In many cases, they pursue recovery from asbestos trust funds. However, not all asbestos companies and product manufacturers have trusts set up, in which case patients often pursue a mesothelioma lawsuit.

After filing a lawsuit, patients and asbestos companies often reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. In some instances, a settlement will be reached during the trial itself. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not to accept a settlement. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can discuss the pros and cons for your individual case.

Step 1: Research

After deciding to pursue legal action, your mesothelioma law firm will work to organize as much information as possible to build your case, including:

  • Medical records, including a diagnosis of mesothelioma
  • Employment history, including union membership and military service records
  • Receipts and bills for expenses related to your illness, including travel to see specialists and obtain treatment

Step 2: File a Lawsuit

Once your asbestos attorney has gathered all of the necessary information to build a successful mesothelioma claim, they will then prepare to file a lawsuit against the company or companies responsible for your asbestos exposure. There are many details that your lawyer will work out, including:

  • Venue: Determines which state to file in, which can be where you lived, worked or served (for veterans).
  • Type of claim: The two primary mesothelioma claim types include personal injury and wrongful death. Personal injury pertains to patients filing on their own behalf, while wrongful death pertains to loved ones filing on behalf of a family member that has died.
  • Defendant: One or multiple defendants can be named in a mesothelioma lawsuit, which is the asbestos company or companies responsible for your exposure.

Step 3: Pretrial Activities

Once the lawsuit has been filed, the discovery phase begins. During this time, both parties will file various motions and present information regarding their side of the case.

At any time after the lawsuit is filed, the defendant’s lawyer can present a settlement offer to the plaintiff’s attorney. Your mesothelioma attorney will inform you of the offer and provide advice regarding the advantages and disadvantages of settling. You may then accept or reject the offer. If you accept, you typically sign a printed agreement and the case is settled. If a settlement is offered, you might consider the following:

  • It’s common for the first settlement offer to be much lower than what the client is entitled to, so in many cases, the first settlement is rejected.
  • If there are multiple defendants, some may settle while others are willing to take the case to trial. Each defendant represents a separate entity, so each settlement offer should be considered individually, rather than as a group.
  • Asbestos companies may have faced mesothelioma lawsuits in the past, and if they have lost previously, they may be more willing to quickly settle, rather than risk losing again.
  • Choosing a law firm with experienced mesothelioma attorneys is the best way to ensure your settlement is as large as it can be, based on their knowledge and previous cases.

If you choose to reject the settlement, the case will be taken to court where the jury will decide upon a verdict. Another option is to counteroffer through your attorney, who will negotiate settlement terms with the defendant’s lawyer.

Step 4: Trial

In the case of a rejected settlement offer, the trial will proceed before the court. The defendant is still able to offer a settlement at any time during trial, and in some cases, a settlement is reached after the verdict. One of the largest verdicts ever for a mesothelioma case was $250 million, but the patient ended up settling for less than $50 million afterward.

If the verdict favors the plaintiff (mesothelioma patient or family member), the judge or jury will award compensation. The amount can vary greatly from case to case, but takes various details into account, including expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

02. Settlement vs. Verdict

Mesothelioma Settlement vs. Verdict

As outlined in the mesothelioma settlement process, a settlement is typically reached prior to trial. A private agreement is made between two parties, in which one party provides compensation to another to no longer be liable. In most cases, asbestos companies present a low settlement offer at the start of the lawsuit. It’s up to the patient or surviving family member to reject, accept or counteroffer. Once the settlement is accepted, they are legally binding and must be paid.

A mesothelioma verdict occurs when the case is taken to court and a jury or judge determines whether or not the asbestos company is responsible for the patient’s asbestos exposure. Their decision is legally binding, and if found responsible, a separate verdict will determine the compensation amount. Verdicts usually result in higher compensation amounts than settlements, but it’s possible that the defendant will be found not liable, in which case no compensation will be granted.

03. Average Settlement Amount

Mesothelioma Average Settlement Amount

There is no way to accurately predict how much compensation a patient or family member will receive from a mesothelioma settlement. However, reports have shown that compensation amounts have been steadily increasing over the last several decades. In 2000, RAND Corporation estimated the average mesothelioma settlement to be around $900,000. The most recent reports by Mealey’s Litigation Report note an average mesothelioma settlement amount of $1 million – $1.4 million.

One reason that’s it difficult to calculate the average mesothelioma settlement amount is that it can vary depending on the venue, or where the claim was filed. A 2015 report studied how consolidating multiple asbestos lawsuits in a single court can increase the compensation award. Specifically, the report reviewed the effect of the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) court, finding that significantly higher verdict awards were given to consolidated cases than had been previously given to individual cases.

For all these reasons, there is no standard method by which to calculate a trustworthy average amount for mesothelioma cases. When receiving advice that gives you an average amount, or when conducting your own research, the information is typically from recent data and reports.

Examples of Mesothelioma Settlements

Examples of mesothelioma settlements provide insight into how award amounts can vary from case to case. Some examples include:

  • A 50-year-old plumber and mechanic in California received $13 million in compensation after filing a claim for asbestos exposure while on the job.
  • An Illinois pipefitter received more than $11 million in compensation to help pay for medical expenses, as well as lost wages and potential future income, for being exposed to asbestos.
  • An operating engineer who served in the U.S. Navy filed a claim in New York and received $6.9 million after being exposed to asbestos during his career.

Additional cases are listed below, showing approximate amounts of settlements that experienced mesothelioma attorneys have helped negotiate. Please note that individual cases vary based on a number of factors, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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
CA Mesothelioma Pipefitter 66 ~$11,700,000
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
CA Mesothelioma Household 70 ~$7,360,000
CA Mesothelioma Plantworker 59 ~$7,000,000
NY Mesothelioma Navy Worker / Operating Engineer 61 ~$6,900,000
IL Mesothelioma Plantworker 64 ~$6,800,000
CA Mesothelioma Carpenter 63 ~$6,600,000
NY Mesothelioma Navy Worker / Machinist 53 ~$6,400,000
CA Mesothelioma Navy / Plantworker 69 ~$6,000,000
CA Mesothelioma Household / Technician 63 ~$6,000,000
NY Mesothelioma Navy Worker / Plumber 67 ~$5,875,000
IL Mesothelioma Navy 68 ~$5,500,000
TX Mesothelioma Power Plant 71 ~$5,300,000
IL Mesothelioma Household 46 ~$5,300,000
WV Mesothelioma Nurse Aide 49 ~$5,200,000
CA Mesothelioma Lumber Yard Manager 42 ~$5,200,000
TX Mesothelioma Navy / Mechanic 68 ~$5,000,000
CA Mesothelioma Household 67 ~$4,900,000
CA Mesothelioma Carpenter 66 ~$4,900,000
CA Mesothelioma Navy / Mechanic 60 ~$4,800,000
CA Mesothelioma Shipyard 60 ~$4,700,000
IL Mesothelioma JM Plantworker / Shipyard 51 ~$4,600,000
IL Mesothelioma Navy / Mechanic 51 ~$4,300,000
TX Mesothelioma Boilermaker 71 ~$4,300,000
CA Mesothelioma Pipefitter 64 ~$4,300,000
CA Mesothelioma Navy / Teacher 70 ~$4,200,000
CA Mesothelioma Sheetmetal Worker 76 ~$4,200,000
GA Mesothelioma Household 49 ~$4,200,000
TX Mesothelioma Carpenter / Marine Corps 71 ~$4,100,000
IL Mesothelioma Army / Engineer 64 ~$4,100,000
TX Mesothelioma HVAC 66 ~$4,100,000
CA Mesothelioma Plumber 67 ~$4,100,000
TX Mesothelioma Coast Guard US / Shipyard 67 ~$4,050,000
LA Mesothelioma Household / Office Worker 62 ~$4,000,000
IL Mesothelioma Plantworker / Household 59 ~$3,900,000
CA Mesothelioma Navy / Nuclear Plant 62 ~$3,800,000
NY Mesothelioma Carpenter / Trimmer / Mechanic 64 ~$3,750,000
PA Mesothelioma Plumber 79 ~$3,500,000
HI Mesothelioma Plantworker 70 ~$3,500,000
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
OH Mesothelioma Maintenance 62 ~$3,200,000
NY Mesothelioma Plantworker / Sales Worker 65 ~$3,100,000
CT Mesothelioma Electrician 56 ~$3,100,000
04. Verdict Examples

Mesothelioma Verdict Examples

When taken to court, mesothelioma awards are often higher than if the plaintiff settles. However, it’s not a given that the court will rule in the plaintiff’s favor, and verdicts can be appealed and overturned, which often results in a much lower settlement amount.

Examples of verdicts in mesothelioma cases include:

  • A 65-year-old construction supervisor was awarded $30.2 million in mesothelioma damages (Fall 2018).
  • A woman was granted a $25.75 million verdict after exposure to asbestos through frequent use of Johnson & Johnson baby powder (Spring 2018).
  • A woman and her husband received a $75 million verdict after she faced secondary asbestos exposure from her mechanic husband and when helping him with car repairs (Winter 2017).
  • $82 million was awarded to a man through a wrongful death lawsuit after his wife died from exposure to asbestos through Napa-brand auto parts (Spring 2017).
  • A Minnesota jury awarded $3.72 million after a man passed away from supposed exposure to asbestos in automobile friction products when helping his father with brake jobs as a child. This lawsuit was filed against multiple asbestos companies (Summer 2016).

Ultimately, mesothelioma victims or loved ones looking to file a lawsuit or considering a settlement should discuss details of their case with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to fully understand what the best route is to get the compensation that they deserve.

05. Common Questions

Common Questions About Mesothelioma Settlements

What is the average settlement for a mesothelioma claim?

The average settlement amount for a mesothelioma claim is between $1 million and $1.4 million, but varies on a case-by-case basis.

How much are legal fees for a mesothelioma case?

Mesothelioma lawyers typically work on a contingency basis. This means they only require payment if compensation is received, in which case they receive a percentage of the compensation awarded.

Is a mesothelioma settlement taxable?

Mesothelioma compensation for lost wages may be taxable, while compensation for treatment costs typically is not. An asbestos attorney can provide the best insight into what may be taxable for a specific case.

What is the average payout time for a mesothelioma settlement?

The amount of time it takes to receive payment from a mesothelioma claim varies for every case. A settlement payout could happen within months after a claim is filed, or may take one year.

Who can receive a mesothelioma settlement?

People who have developed an asbestos illness like mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos may file a personal injury claim. Surviving family members may also receive compensation from a wrongful death claim.
Written by

Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor

Jennifer Lucarelli is a partner at the law firm of Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen, specializing in asbestos litigation.

Full Bio Editorial Guidelines
Reviewed By

Linda Molinari Editor in Chief

Linda Molinari has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and advocate for mesothelioma patients and a ban on asbestos.

Full Bio
Sources [+]
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    Ableman PL, Kelso PR, Scarcella MC. The Consolidation Effect: New York City Asbestos Verdicts, Due Process And Judicial Efficiency. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. May 6, 2015.

  • 2

    Bates C and Mullin C. Show Me The Money. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. December 3, 2007;22(21).

  • 3

    Berenson A. 2 Large Verdicts in New Asbestos CasesThe New York Times. April 1, 2003.

  • 4

    Fisk MC and Booth J. J&J Verdict Reaches Almost $26 Million in Baby Powder Trial. Bloomberg. May 24, 2018.

  • 5

    Inselbuch E and Sackett A. The Continuing Irony Of “Tort Reform.” Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. September 14, 2016;31(15).

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