01. Settlements vs. Verdicts
What Is the Difference Between Mesothelioma Settlements and Verdicts?
A mesothelioma settlement is an agreement between an asbestos victim and a company to end a lawsuit before, during or after a trial. A mesothelioma verdict is a decision a judge or jury makes at the end of a trial to determine asbestos liability. Both are possible outcomes of a mesothelioma lawsuit.
Mesothelioma Award Statistics
- The average mesothelioma settlement amount is between $1 million and $1.4 million.
- The average mesothelioma trial verdict award is around $2.4 million.
- One of the largest recorded mesothelioma verdicts was for $223 million against Johnson & Johnson.
Accepting a mesothelioma lawsuit settlement provides guaranteed compensation to asbestos victims. An asbestos company offers settlement money to a victim in exchange for ending the lawsuit against it. An asbestos lawyer can negotiate settlements with companies, but it is the victim’s decision whether to accept any offer.
Mesothelioma patients and family members who win at trial usually receive higher compensation than those who settle. But they also risk receiving no compensation if they lose at trial. Today, most mesothelioma lawsuits settle.
Understanding Mesothelioma Settlements vs. Verdicts
- What? An agreement between a victim and an asbestos company to end a lawsuit.
- When? Can occur before, during or after a trial.
- Who? A victim may decide to accept, counter or reject any settlement offer a company makes.
- How much? Settlement amounts are often smaller than verdict amounts but have the benefit of being guaranteed compensation.
- What? A decision by a judge or jury about whether an asbestos company is liable.
- When? Only occurs at the end of a trial.
- Who? A judge or jury decides the amount of money a company owes to a victim.
- How much? Verdict amounts are often larger than settlement amounts, but victims may not receive any compensation if they lose at trial.
Average mesothelioma settlement amounts range from $1 million to $1.4 million. Mesothelioma verdict amounts average $2.4 million. Actual compensation varies and is based on the unique facts of a person’s mesothelioma case. Factors that may affect award amount include treatment costs, loss of income and pain and suffering.
Settlements may result in faster compensation than verdicts. But the time it takes to receive mesothelioma lawsuit payouts varies. Depending on the case, it may take anywhere from a few months to over a year.
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02. Settlement Amounts
Mesothelioma Settlement Amounts
Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones may receive settlements of $1 million or more. Asbestos settlement amounts depend on exposure history, severity of disease and other factors. Settlements may be paid out within a few months of acceptance. They are usually not taxable under federal or state laws.
Asbestos settlements also have the benefit of providing guaranteed compensation. At trial, juries may side with asbestos companies and not award victims any compensation.
Average Mesothelioma Settlements
The average mesothelioma settlement amount is between $1 million and $1.4 million. The average mesothelioma verdict amount is $2.4 million. Actual mesothelioma settlement amounts may vary from case to case.
A mesothelioma lawyer can explain how much compensation an individual may expect from their case. They can base their opinions on years of experience reaching asbestos lawsuit settlements for clients.
Mesothelioma Settlement Examples by Award Amount
|State||Disease||Occupation / Exposure||Age||Settlement Amount|
|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 Asbestos 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 that may affect an asbestos settlement include:
- Company experience with mesothelioma cases: Many asbestos companies have already lost asbestos lawsuits. These companies may be more likely to settle quickly to avoid an expensive trial verdict.
- Company history of asbestos use: Companies that showed a very high disregard for worker safety may face larger liabilities. This may make them more likely to settle.
- Exposure history: Long-term asbestos exposure may increase a company’s liability and result in larger settlement offers.
- 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 mesothelioma diagnosis.
- Number of companies: Many asbestos victims are eligible to file against several asbestos companies. Each company may choose to offer a settlement or go to trial.
- Where case is filed: Different states have different rules about the way cases proceed. Laws of evidence, awards caps and statutes of limitations may all affect asbestos settlement amounts.
Other factors may also impact mesothelioma lawsuit settlement amounts. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can explain 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. The largest mesothelioma settlements pay over $10 million. Compensation can help cover treatment-related costs, lost wages and other expenses.
An asbestos attorney can negotiate settlements on behalf of their clients. Once a company offers a settlement, it is up to the asbestos victim to accept, reject or counteroffer.
Examples of Compensation From Mesothelioma Settlements
Mesothelioma lawsuit settlements average between $1 and $1.4 million, although individual payments may be much higher. The largest asbestos settlement amounts are over $10 million. Payouts to individuals may vary based on disease severity, work history and other factors.
Some of the highest mesothelioma settlement amounts include:
- $13 million settlement for a plumber: A 50-year-old plumber received $13 million after alleging mesothelioma caused by occupational asbestos exposure.
- $11 million settlement for a drywall sprayer: A 48-year-old U.S. Navy veteran and drywall sprayer received $11 million from companies that made and sold asbestos drywall.
- $11 million settlement for a pipefitter: A pipefitter received $11 million to help pay for expenses resulting from his mesothelioma diagnosis.
Mesothelioma lawyers can use their experience negotiating settlements to determine possible payouts for individual cases.
Examples of Compensation From Mesothelioma Verdicts
The average mesothelioma verdict amount is $2.4 million. While this is higher than the average mesothelioma settlement amount, juries may decide in favor of asbestos companies at trial. Settlements provide guaranteed compensation without the risk of losing to a pro-company jury. A lawyer can advise whether a specific case may succeed at trial.
Trial verdicts may also be overturned or lowered after trial. For example, in 2003, a jury awarded $250 million to a steel plant worker with mesothelioma. At the time, this was the largest mesothelioma verdict ever awarded. However, a private agreement between parties after the trial reduced this jury award.
Examples of notable mesothelioma verdicts include:
- $120 million award for talc exposure: In 2019, a jury awarded $325 to a woman who developed mesothelioma after using Johnson & Johnson’s talc products. In 2020, a judge reduced the award to $120 million.
- $82 million jury verdict for auto products exposure: In 2017, a Washington jury awarded a woman $82 million for the wrongful death of her husband from peritoneal mesothelioma. Her husband had been exposed to asbestos through auto products.
- $52 million jury verdict for talc exposure: In 2022, a California jury awarded a woman $52 million in her case against Avon. She developed mesothelioma from exposure to Avon’s asbestos-contaminated talc products.
- $43 million jury verdict for secondhand exposure: In 2022, a California jury awarded a woman with pleural mesothelioma $43 million. The jury found she had experienced secondhand asbestos exposure when her husband, a carpenter, brought home asbestos fibers from installing Algoma Hardwoods doors.
- $36 million jury verdict for occupational exposure: In 2022, a Louisiana jury awarded $36 million in compensation to a mesothelioma patient. The patient was exposed to asbestos while working as a welder and pipefitter.
Mesothelioma patients and family members looking to file a lawsuit can talk to experienced attorneys. Asbestos attorneys can help victims explore legal options for compensation. They can also explain the legal process for pursuing a mesothelioma settlement or verdict.
Did You Know?
04. Settlement Process
Mesothelioma Settlement Process
Mesothelioma settlements are a part of the lawsuit process. The mesothelioma settlement time frame varies on a case-to-case basis. Asbestos companies may offer settlements before, during and even after trial. It is up to the asbestos victim to accept, decline or counteroffer.
Asbestos companies can offer to settle in exchange for ending a lawsuit. Put another way, an asbestos victim must first file a lawsuit to receive a settlement.
What Do You Need for a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Settlement?
To get a mesothelioma lawsuit settlement, victims must file a lawsuit first. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help victims throughout the entire legal process. Top mesothelioma law firms generally offer free consultations. If a patient or family member decides to hire the firm, their legal team will begin building their mesothelioma case.
Information Needed for a Mesothelioma Case
- Evidence of work history, like union membership cards and military service records
- Medical bills, including travel expenses to receive mesothelioma treatment
- Medical records, including a diagnosis of mesothelioma
- Witness statements from co-workers, friends, family members and experts
Asbestos attorneys can handle the entire legal process on behalf of their clients. Services provided by asbestos attorneys include:
- Determining the most favorable location to file a lawsuit
- Determining the type of lawsuit to file, usually either a personal injury lawsuit or, if filing a lawsuit after a patient’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit
- Identifying and gathering documents needed to build a strong case
- Negotiating mesothelioma settlements and arguing cases at trial
Asbestos victims should not worry if they do not know the source of exposure. Recalling how exposure occurred can be difficult because of mesothelioma’s long latency period. Mesothelioma attorneys have experience identifying potential exposure sources.
What Is the Average Mesothelioma Settlement Time Frame?
The time frame for a 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.
It is common for cases to go through several rounds of settlement negotiations. This may increase the amount of time it takes to receive a settlement, but often results in a higher amount of compensation.
Mesothelioma 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 asbestos settlement plan.
Are Mesothelioma Settlements Taxable?
Typical mesothelioma settlements are not taxable under federal or state law. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code states that compensation related to physical injury or death is not taxable. This means the IRS does not tax things like medical bills, lost wages and even attorney’s fees.
The IRS will tax an asbestos lawsuit settlement and verdict in the same way. Settlement agreements should itemize costs to clarify how much of the money 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. Judges and juries usually award them at their own discretion to punish asbestos companies for bad behavior.
Some parts of mesothelioma compensation may be taxable. For example, a few states do tax compensation for physical injuries and death. The IRS also considers punitive damages as taxable income. They treat punitive damages this way because they are meant to punish companies, not compensate victims for injuries. In certain situations, punitive damages in wrongful death cases may not be taxable.
Asbestos lawyers 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?
It is a mesothelioma patient or family member’s decision whether to accept an asbestos settlement. An asbestos victim’s lawyer will come to them with any settlement offers to approve or reject. Their lawyer can also offer opinions about whether to accept an offer.
People have different reasons for accepting or rejecting mesothelioma lawsuit settlement offers. For example, some people may choose to accept a settlement to avoid trial or to receive guaranteed compensation. But they may choose to reject an offer because the proposed amount is too low to properly compensate them or because they want their day in court.
Factors to Consider Before Accepting an Asbestos Settlement Offer
- High-risk, high-reward trials: The average asbestos settlement is generally lower than the average asbestos verdict award. But asbestos victims may risk getting no compensation from pro-company juries if a case goes to trial.
- Multiple settlement offers: Asbestos cases often involve a victim suing several companies. Each company can offer its own settlement to end the legal action against them. Accepting a settlement from one company does not end a victim’s case against the other companies.
- Negotiation process: Asbestos 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.
- Speed of case resolution: Settlements often resolve cases before a trial. This can help avoid drawn-out asbestos litigation proceedings.
Asbestos companies may also have their own reasons for wanting to settle, including:
- Avoiding negative publicity: A public trial can draw attention to the fact a company endangered workers or sold asbestos-containing products. Private settlement agreements can help them avoid negative publicity.
- Faster case resolution: Asbestos companies often face thousands of lawsuits. Settlements may help them resolve a large number of cases more quickly.
- Lower costs: Mesothelioma settlements may cost asbestos companies less than a trial verdict.
- Previous trial losses: Many asbestos companies have already lost at trial. Previous losses may make them more likely to try to settle before the case goes before a judge or jury.
Asbestos victims can accept, counter or reject any settlement offer. Accepting ends the case against the company. Counteroffering kicks off another round of negotiations. Rejecting causes the case to continue toward trial. Companies may present another settlement offer at any time, which victims are again free to accept, reject or counter.
Benefits of Accepting an Asbestos Settlement
Benefits to accepting an asbestos settlement include getting guaranteed compensation and the potential for a faster case resolution. Settlements can help asbestos victims pay off debts from mesothelioma treatment and provide financial security for the future. Different asbestos victims may have different goals in pursuing a lawsuit, including:
- Getting as much compensation as possible
- Getting compensation quickly
- Having an opportunity to have their case heard in court
- Winning at trial against asbestos companies
A mesothelioma lawyer can offer advice about whether accepting a settlement will help in the pursuit of an individual’s goals. But it is ultimately up to the victim to decide whether to accept a mesothelioma settlement.
Other Mesothelioma Payout Options
Patients and their families may be able to seek compensation from sources in addition to lawsuits. An asbestos attorney can help victims explore other compensation options, including:
- Asbestos trust fund claims: Many companies have set up trust funds to pay out present and future asbestos claims.
- Veterans benefits claims: Veterans may be entitled to monthly veterans benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- Workers’ compensation claims: On-the-job asbestos exposure may make mesothelioma patients eligible for payouts through companies’ workers’ compensation insurance.
Asbestos claim payouts are generally much smaller than lawsuit payouts.
Asbestos victims can seek legal help from experienced mesothelioma lawyers. They can ask these lawyers about different options for filing asbestos claims and lawsuits. In addition to filing lawsuits, mesothelioma lawyers can also file any claims on behalf of their clients.
06. Common Questions
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Settlements
What is the average settlement for a mesothelioma lawsuit?
- The average asbestos settlement ranges from $1 to $1.4 million. The type of lawsuit, number of companies involved and state laws can all affect settlement amounts. The average asbestos verdict is $2.4 million. Asbestos victims may settle with some companies and go to trial against others.
How much are legal fees for a mesothelioma case?
- Asbestos victims usually do not pay legal fees until after a mesothelioma settlement is reached. Most mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means lawyers only receive payment if their clients receive compensation. The terms of payment are usually established at the beginning of a case.
Is a mesothelioma settlement taxable?
- Payouts from mesothelioma settlements are generally not taxable under federal or state law. According to the IRS federal 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.
Does everyone with mesothelioma get a settlement?
- Most mesothelioma patients and families of deceased patients are eligible to seek compensation. Many companies wish to avoid a trial and so the majority of lawsuits end in mesothelioma settlements. Patients with other asbestos-related diseases, like lung cancer and asbestosis, may also be eligible to file lawsuits.