01. Asbestos Lawsuit Options
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
People affected by mesothelioma can seek compensation from a few different types of lawsuits. Mesothelioma patients may file personal injury lawsuits. Family members of deceased patients may file wrongful death lawsuits. Successful asbestos litigation can give asbestos victims financial security during a difficult time.
The person filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is the plaintiff and the asbestos companies being sued are the defendants.
Mesothelioma lawyers are available to handle asbestos cases on behalf of victims. They focus on litigation and case details. This leaves patients and their families free to focus on mesothelioma treatment and one another.
Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuit
Mesothelioma patients may file personal injury lawsuits to seek compensation from asbestos companies. Many companies exposed people to asbestos through their products and manufacturing processes. These companies may be liable for exposure that led to injuries like mesothelioma.
Patients should not worry if they cannot pinpoint which companies caused their mesothelioma. Asbestos lawyers can help figure out when and where exposure occurred. These lawyers have resources and expertise to build strong personal injury cases on behalf of their clients.
Compensation from this type of asbestos exposure lawsuit can help pay for costs of mesothelioma treatment. It can also help cover lost wages and lost future income.
What Happens When a Person Dies During Their Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The legal process does not end when a patient dies from mesothelioma during a personal injury lawsuit. A representative of the deceased may continue the mesothelioma case on the deceased’s behalf. Any compensation received from the case may be available to the patient’s family. Family members may also be able to file their own, separate wrongful death lawsuit for the death of their loved one from mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Family members whose loved ones die from mesothelioma may file wrongful death lawsuits. They may bring this type of lawsuit against companies responsible for exposing their loved ones to asbestos. A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed on behalf of the deceased patient’s estate, even if a personal injury lawsuit was filed.
Asbestos lawyers can help families file after the death of a loved one. These lawyers have experience securing financial compensation for families affected by asbestos diseases. They can handle the asbestos lawsuit process on behalf of their clients.
Payouts from wrongful death lawsuits can help cover end-of-life costs, lost income and medical expenses.
Other Types of Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits
Asbestos lawsuits are usually litigated as individual actions. This means that a single person files a personal injury or wrongful death case against the responsible parties. In rare cases, a court may handle asbestos litigation by combining several lawsuits for part of or the entire legal process, for example:
- Class action lawsuits: Class actions allow a small group of injured parties to represent a larger group of people with similar injuries. This type of lawsuit combines all legal proceedings into one case. Mesothelioma class action lawsuits are rare to non-existent. A series of Supreme Court cases concluded that asbestos exposure lawsuits are poor candidates for class actions.
- Multidistrict litigation (MDL): MDL combines similar lawsuits for pretrial matters only. Asbestos cases have their own MDL court at the federal level. Today, almost all mesothelioma lawsuits are filed at the state level. Mesothelioma legal experts maintain that the state court system is more favorable to asbestos victims.
Individual actions have some advantages over combined lawsuits. Individual asbestos lawsuits generally have higher payouts. They also allow for more personalized legal help tailored to the specific facts of a case. A mesothelioma attorney can help patients and their families explore all their legal options.
Did You Know?
02. Who Is Eligible to File?
Who Can File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
You may be able to file an asbestos lawsuit if you or a loved one have been affected by an asbestos-related illness, like mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis. Asbestos attorneys can help you understand your lawsuit options. They can also gather documents and meet deadlines needed to comply with eligibility requirements.
Are You Eligible to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
You may be eligible to file an asbestos lawsuit if you or a loved one develop an asbestos disease. A patient must show proof of a mesothelioma diagnosis to file a personal injury lawsuit. Family members of deceased patients must show proof of death from an asbestos disease to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
A strong case should also show evidence that the party you are suing should be held liable. If you are not sure where or how exposure occurred, asbestos attorneys have resources to uncover this information.
State laws also require filing a mesothelioma lawsuit in a timely manner. Each state has its own timelines for filing different types of lawsuits. Speaking to an asbestos attorney soon after a diagnosis or death can help avoid missing any filing windows.
How the Statute of Limitations Impacts Eligibility
Each state has time frames for filing lawsuits outlined in laws called statutes of limitations. Most states have one- to three-year time frames for filing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Waiting to file asbestos exposure lawsuits can limit legal options.
Different events trigger the statute of limitations for different types of lawsuits, for example:
- Personal injury mesothelioma lawsuits: The time to file a personal injury action begins when a person receives a mesothelioma diagnosis.
- Wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuits: The time to file a wrongful death action begins when a patient passes away from mesothelioma.
Some states set a different amount of time for filing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.
Example Statutes of Limitations Lengths
- In general, states set one- to three-year windows for filing personal injury lawsuits.
- Some states provide more time to file a personal injury lawsuit. For example, Maine and North Dakota both allow six years. Missouri allows five years. Florida and Minnesota allow four years.
- In general, states set one- to three-year windows for filing wrongful death lawsuits.
- Popular states for filing asbestos lawsuits have a mix of time frames for wrongful death cases. Missouri and Michigan allow three years. Illinois and New York allow two years. California only allows one year to file.
Learn About Mesothelioma Laws in Your State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
03. Why File an Asbestos Lawsuit?
Why File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Mesothelioma lawsuits are an important resource for asbestos victims. Litigation can help provide financial security and a sense of justice to people affected by asbestos diseases. Lawsuits are a way to hold asbestos companies accountable for their actions and relieve the burden they placed on their victims.
The choice to file a lawsuit is yours. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you decide whether to pursue legal action during a free consultation.
If you decide to pursue legal action, your legal team can handle filing and litigating your case. This leaves you free to focus on treatment and time with your loved ones.
Reasons to File an Asbestos Lawsuit
- Cover lost earning potential
- Cover lost wages caused by inability to work
- Cover medical bills and other treatment-related costs, like travel expenses and follow-up care
- Hold companies responsible for their actions and set a precedent for future accountability
- Provide future financial stability to loved ones
Resources for Mesothelioma Patients
04. Steps to File a Lawsuit
How to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you want to file a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, an attorney at a qualified law firm can provide a free case review. If you decide to hire the firm, their legal team will handle filing and the other parts of the legal process.
Mesothelioma legal cases may vary in some ways, but the process typically involves the following steps:
- You receive a free consultation to decide whether to hire a law firm.
- Your lawyer researches the details of your case.
- Your lawyer determines recovery options.
- Your lawyer files the lawsuit.
- The discovery phase of litigation begins.
- The lawsuit reaches a resolution through a settlement or verdict.
Asbestos attorneys can explain how you can expect your individual case to proceed. After filing, they will keep you updated on any developments in your case.
Step 1: Receive a Free Consultation
Top mesothelioma law firms offer free case reviews. A consultation is an opportunity to ask questions and learn about a firm and their lawyers. It does not come with any obligation to hire the firm. After the case review, you decide whether to hire the firm or seek representation elsewhere.
Step 2: Research the Details of Your Lawsuit
Your legal team will begin building your case in preparation for filing. If you do not know how exposure occurred, your lawyers can help figure this out. A strong case will connect an asbestos-related disease to exposure caused by an asbestos company.
Relevant evidence in an asbestos cancer lawsuit may include:
- Employment records showing work history at asbestos jobsites
- Medical records confirming a diagnosis with an asbestos disease
- Witness statements attesting to asbestos exposure at jobsites or from asbestos-containing products
Top mesothelioma law firms have the resources and experience to collect information to build your case.
Step 3: Determine Your Recovery Options
Your lawyer can determine the best options for securing mesothelioma compensation. They can figure out the best place to file that will be most favorable to your lawsuit. Factors such as a court’s asbestos litigation history, states’ statutes of limitations and other laws can affect this decision.
Your lawyer can also explore additional options for compensation. You may be eligible to file claims against asbestos trust funds set up by bankrupt companies. If you are a veteran with mesothelioma, you may qualify for veterans benefits. Pursuing these mesothelioma claims does not prevent filing a lawsuit.
Step 4: File the Lawsuit
Once your legal team builds your case and determines recovery options, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf. The filing will detail the legal case against the asbestos companies you are suing. This step is the official beginning of the lawsuit.
Step 5: Begin the Discovery Phase
Once your lawyer files a lawsuit, the legal process moves on to the discovery phase. Both sides will present and ask for information from other parties to support their case. The discovery phase continues until a settlement is reached or the case goes to trial.
During this phase, asbestos companies may also challenge your case with legal maneuvers like counterclaims and procedural motions. Counterclaims challenge the facts of a case, while procedural motions challenge the process for handling the case.
Step 6: Reach Resolution Through a Settlement or Verdict
A mesothelioma lawsuit may end with a settlement or trial verdict. The average mesothelioma settlement amount is between $1 million and $1.4 million. Your lawyer can negotiate a settlement on your behalf. But it is your decision whether to accept any offer.
Cases that do not settle go to trial. A trial may result in a verdict in your favor. The average mesothelioma verdict amount is $2.4 million.
Other Legal Alternatives to Asbestos Litigation
Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones may have compensation options in addition to lawsuits, such as:
- Asbestos bankruptcy trust fund claims: Many companies have gone into bankruptcy because of all the asbestos litigation they have faced. These companies have established trusts to pay out all present and future asbestos claims.
- Veterans benefits claims: The military commonly used asbestos during the 20th century. Veterans with mesothelioma and their families may be eligible for monthly benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- Workers’ compensation claims: Most states require businesses to have insurance to cover jobsite injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance may cover mesothelioma patients exposed to asbestos on the job.
Asbestos claims generally result in less compensation than lawsuit payouts. A mesothelioma lawyer can help determine your eligibility to file different asbestos claims. They can also file any claims on your behalf.
Connect With a Top Mesothelioma Lawyer
Get help identifying and contacting a top mesothelioma lawyer near you.
05. What to Expect
What to Expect When You File an Asbestos Lawsuit
You can expect your asbestos lawsuit to follow the general steps from filing to resolution. This includes filing, discovery and either a settlement or verdict. Your lawyer can explain how various factors can affect how long your unique case may take.
How Long Does a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Take?
Asbestos lawsuits may take anywhere from several months to one year or longer. Lawsuits settled without going to trial may be shorter, but the duration can still vary. A mesothelioma lawsuit timeline depends on several factors that may be different from case to case, including:
- Availability of parties to the lawsuit
- Availability of witnesses for depositions
- Complexity of case
- Court caseload
- Number of parties involved
Your mesothelioma lawyer can explain how different factors may affect how long your lawsuit may take.
06. Notable Lawsuit Verdicts
Notable Mesothelioma Lawsuit Verdicts
Patients and their families have received millions of dollars from mesothelioma lawsuits. Throughout the country, victims continue to win at trial against asbestos companies. Lawsuit trial verdicts can result in higher compensation than settlements or mesothelioma claims.
Notable mesothelioma lawsuit verdicts include:
A jury awarded almost $16 million to an electrician with mesothelioma. The electrician maintained asbestos-containing motor starters and controllers manufactured by Eaton Corporation. The jury found Eaton liable for the electrician’s mesothelioma.
A jury awarded $20 million to the family of a man who passed away from mesothelioma. The man worked scraping and removing asbestos-containing window glazing. The jury found Vanderbilt Minerals and DAP Inc. liable for his death.
History of Asbestos Litigation and Famous Mesothelioma Cases
The history of asbestos litigation stretches back several decades. The 1973 case Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation marked the first major victory of a mesothelioma patient against an asbestos company. Today, patients and their families continue to win cases against asbestos companies.
The Borel case came 13 years after scientists definitely linked mesothelioma to asbestos exposure. It involved an insulation worker who developed both mesothelioma and asbestosis. He claimed that several manufacturers failed to warn him of the dangers of handling asbestos.
Other major mesothelioma cases include:
- In 1997, the Supreme Court rejected a major settlement in an asbestos class action lawsuit. The court noted several issues with filing asbestos cases as class actions. After this, the trend has been for asbestos victims to file their cases individually.
- In 2003, a jury awarded $250 million to a former U.S. Steel employee who developed mesothelioma. This verdict is one of the highest awards ever in a mesothelioma case. However, a post-verdict settlement decreased the award by an undisclosed amount.
Trends in asbestos litigation change over time. Court rulings, asbestos laws and new information and research all affect litigation trends. For example, a 2018 report revealed evidence that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) knew about asbestos in its talc products. The report resulted in thousands of victims of asbestos exposure filing lawsuits against J&J.
The asbestos litigation landscape continues to change and develop. Thousands of asbestos lawsuits are still filed every year. Trends in the kinds of asbestos lawsuits and the people filing asbestos lawsuits continue to change. Dedicated asbestos attorneys stay on the forefront of trends in asbestos litigation.
07. Common Questions
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Can I file a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one?
- Family members can file their own lawsuits when a loved one dies from mesothelioma. This is called a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can determine eligibility and file after a death on your behalf.
How do I choose a defendant if I don’t know how I was exposed to asbestos?
- You do not have to worry if you do not know how you were exposed to asbestos. It can be difficult to determine exposure history. But mesothelioma lawyers have the resources and experience to figure this out. They will look into your personal and occupational history to determine which companies may have caused your exposure.
Is it too late to get compensation if a company has been bought or no longer exists?
- Often, you can file lawsuits or claims against companies that no longer exist. For example, out-of-business companies may have set up asbestos trust funds to pay current and future claims against them. It may also be possible to sue existing companies that bought the one that caused exposure.
Will I need to travel if I file a lawsuit?
- You will likely not need to travel for your lawsuit. Mesothelioma lawyers usually travel to you for case-related matters. This includes interviews, research and other tasks. They will also appear in court on your behalf, allowing you to avoid travel and stress.
Can I sue if I have asbestosis?
- Patients with asbestosis, lung cancer and other asbestos cancers may be able to file asbestos lawsuits. You may file against companies responsible for your asbestos exposure. An asbestosis lawsuit may result in compensation from a settlement or trial verdict.
How much money can I expect from an asbestos case?
- The average mesothelioma verdict award is around $2.4 million. The average mesothelioma lawsuit settlement ranges between $1 million and $1.4 million. Mesothelioma compensation varies depending on the unique details of a case, the type of lawsuit or claim and other factors.
What are my asbestos lawsuit options if the liable company filed for bankruptcy?
- If an asbestos company filed for bankruptcy, you may still have compensation options. Many bankrupt asbestos companies create trust funds to compensate victims. Veterans may be eligible for monthly veterans benefits. Private health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and disability insurance may also cover expenses.