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Financial Assistance for Mesothelioma Patients

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Mesothelioma lawsuit options include personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. These allow mesothelioma patients or their loved ones to seek compensation from the parties liable for asbestos exposure. The average mesothelioma lawsuit verdict is $2.4 million. The average mesothelioma lawsuit settlement is $1 – $1.4 million.


01. Lawsuit Options

Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits

There are two main types of asbestos lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death. Mesothelioma patients or their surviving loved ones may be eligible to file one of these lawsuits. In addition to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, mesothelioma and asbestos cases may be handled as class action lawsuits or through multidistrict litigation.

The type of lawsuit filed will differ based on several factors, including who is filing and what kind of damages they wish to pursue.

Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal injury lawsuits are filed by the mesothelioma patient after diagnosis. These lawsuits are filed against the parties liable for the patient’s asbestos exposure and resulting diagnosis. Compensation from personal injury lawsuits allows the patient to recover money for treatment, travel, lost income, pain, suffering and related costs.

Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits are filed by a deceased victim’s loved ones. These lawsuits are different from personal injury cases. However, like personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits are filed against the parties responsible for the victim’s asbestos exposure.

These lawsuits claim damages related to a loved one’s death. Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit after death allows the family to recover compensation related to outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income potential, loss of consortium and related costs.

Other Types of Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

Your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may be handled individually. In some cases, lawsuits may be combined with other similar cases through a mesothelioma class action lawsuit or multidistrict litigation.

Class Action Lawsuits

  • One or more plaintiffs file a lawsuit on behalf of a group of people. The plaintiffs have similar injuries and asbestos-exposure histories. The lawsuit can represent anywhere from a small group to thousands of people.
  • Each individual can decide whether to remain part of the class action lawsuit or to opt out. Individuals who leave a class action lawsuit may pursue an individual lawsuit or claim.
  • Most asbestos lawsuits are handled as individual cases or as part of multidistrict litigation.

Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)

  • Multiple people file individual asbestos lawsuits using a process that standardizes similar complaints.
  • The standardized procedure allows the courts to handle a large number of cases quickly.
  • The primary MDL handling mesothelioma cases is MDL 875, In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation. The Eastern Pennsylvania District of the United States District Court manages the MDL. Since its formation in 2006, more than 186,000 cases have been transferred to MDL 875.

Ultimately, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will be able to provide you with information regarding all filing options and advise what is best for you.

02. Why File a Lawsuit?

Why File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

A mesothelioma lawsuit may result in compensation to help with financial hardships caused by a diagnosis. A mesothelioma lawsuit can help families pay for medical and travel expenses, lost wages and other related costs. Financial compensation can also help families provide a stable financial future.

Average lawsuit award amounts vary from $1 – $1.4 million for asbestos settlements and around $2.4 million for verdicts.

Filing a lawsuit can be a solution for mesothelioma patients and families to cover long-term expenses, such as treatment and follow-up care. Although health insurance may cover health-related costs, it typically doesn’t compensate for financial losses. Mesothelioma lawsuit awards will typically factor in historical and expected future expenses.

Mesothelioma lawsuits may provide compensation for:

  • Treatment costs not covered by insurance
  • Lost income
  • Travel expenses
  • Pain and suffering

In addition to compensating victims, mesothelioma lawsuits also hold asbestos companies and other defendants accountable for their negligence. Filing a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit may set a precedent to ensure future victims receive the compensation they deserve.

Ultimately, the decision to file a lawsuit is yours. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you decide the best legal option for your case.

03. Lawsuit Eligibility

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Eligibility

If you choose to pursue a lawsuit, you will need to meet a set of requirements. Criteria may differ depending on the type of lawsuit you file.

Are You Eligible to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

You may be eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit if:

  • You have medical documentation of a mesothelioma diagnosis.
  • You submit the lawsuit within the time frame of the statute of limitations.
  • You and your attorney are able to provide compelling evidence against the defendant, such as proof of asbestos exposure.

Finding all of this information may be a long process, but the correct legal representation can make the process easier. A mesothelioma law firm can help with the entire process. They can help gather the needed documents and ensure the lawsuit is filed by the appropriate deadline.

How the Statute of Limitations Impacts Eligibility

The statute of limitations is a state-specific time limit to file a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death. These time periods begin after a mesothelioma diagnosis or the death of a loved one.

Most states have a one- to four-year timeline after these events to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. Where to file may depend on the state you reside in, the state where the defendant is located or the state where the exposure took place. A legal representative can help you determine which state to file in and if you are within the appropriate time frame.

For state-specific information about asbestos laws, choose your state from the list below:

04. How to File a Lawsuit

How to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

The mesothelioma lawsuit process begins with consulting an attorney and gathering information. For instance, victims will need medical records of their diagnosis, employment records and evidence around asbestos exposure. Lawyers will assist you throughout the process, providing guidance and representation.

By filing a lawsuit, plaintiffs may be able to receive compensation.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process

  1. Receive a Free Consultation
  2. Research the Details of Your Case
  3. Determine Your Recovery Options
  4. File the Lawsuit
  5. Begin the Discovery Phase
  6. Reach Resolution: Settlement or Verdict

Step 1: Receive a Free Consultation

Before filing a lawsuit, a mesothelioma law firm typically provides a free consultation to talk about the process. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns you may have.

The consultation also gives your law firm the opportunity to understand more about how you or your loved one might have been exposed to asbestos. You’ll then discuss your medical history, including your diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease.

Step 2: Research the Details of Your Lawsuit

Once the initial consultation is completed, your mesothelioma lawyer will start collecting information and documents. This will help build your case to make it as strong as possible. To build a strong mesothelioma lawsuit, your attorney will assist in collecting:

  • Medical reports: Medical records confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis and provide verification of treatment costs. These records should come from facilities where the patient received diagnosis or treatment for mesothelioma.
  • Employment history: Records from any jobs with potential asbestos exposure are vital for building a case. This may include military service records, union memberships or any other work-history documentation.
  • Witness statements: Statements from coworkers, family members and friends who can testify about your exposure can be helpful. Other parties, such as industry experts and specialists, can also provide strong evidence.

Before filing a complaint, it is also important to choose the most appropriate venue to file. A venue is the state where your case will be handled. Factors that can impact which venue is best for your lawsuit include:

  • Statute of limitations
  • Settlement and verdict history
  • Local and state laws

Plaintiffs may file a mesothelioma lawsuit where they have lived, worked or served in the military. There are also “open forum” states that may allow filing if no other suitable venue is available. A lawyer can help decide the best venue for an individual’s case. Your mesothelioma attorney will help the process of organizing the details of your case go smoothly.

Step 3: Determine Your Recovery Options

Your asbestos attorneys will investigate different possibilities for compensation. In addition to lawsuit verdict awards, compensation may be available through asbestos trust funds, settlements or veterans’ claims.

Your legal team will provide guidance about the best course of action for your case. In some instances, this may include both filing a lawsuit and pursuing trust claims. An experienced attorney will help navigate these options to give asbestos victims the best chance of receiving compensation.

Step 4: File the Lawsuit

After conducting research and determining a venue, your lawyer will file a formal complaint on your behalf. This complaint will detail legal causes of action against the defendants. The number of defendants named in the complaint will depend on your asbestos exposure history. Some individuals may have come into contact with various types of asbestos at several jobs and will name all of these employers in a lawsuit.

Step 5: Begin the Discovery Phase

Upon filing the lawsuit, the legal process will move to the discovery phase. In this phase, your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will present information to support each side of the case. Both sides will file various motions, often with the intent of reaching a financial settlement before the case goes to trial.

Step 6: Reach Resolution Through a Settlement or Verdict

Some complaints will be settled before going to trial. Mesothelioma settlement amounts average $1 million – $1.4 million. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf if a settlement is offered.

If the mesothelioma lawsuit does go to trial, your attorney can guide you through the process. A trial may result in a verdict in your favor. The average verdict for asbestos cases is $2.4 million.

05. What to Expect

What to Expect When You File an Asbestos Lawsuit

Every lawsuit is different. Patients and loved ones should talk to an attorney to get a better idea of what to expect.

How Long Does a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Take?

Mesothelioma patients often ask how long they can expect a mesothelioma lawsuit to last. A number of factors can influence a mesothelioma lawsuit timeline, including:

  • Number of plaintiffs filing
  • Current caseload of chosen venue
  • Number of defendants named in the complaint
  • Lawsuit type
  • Number and type of pretrial motions filed
  • Complexity of facts that need to be determined
  • Scheduling and availability of all involved parties
  • Number of mesothelioma depositions and availability of witnesses

Depending on the case, 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.

Behavioral and Medical Counterclaims

The defendant may try to defend their case by making counterclaims and disputing a case’s validity. Counterclaims can occur before or during the trial. Asbestos companies may try to assert your diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos cancer was caused by other factors, including:

  • Unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking, smoking or using illegal substances
  • Exposure to asbestos elsewhere, such as at home or a different workplace (for those who faced occupational asbestos exposure)
  • Genetic problems or a family history of predisposition for mesothelioma or other forms of cancer

They may also challenge the accuracy of your medical diagnosis or the qualifications of the medical professional who gave your diagnosis. Although disconcerting, an experienced asbestos attorney can address these counterclaims on your behalf.

Procedural Motions

When faced with an asbestos exposure lawsuit, the defendant may also challenge how you filed your complaint. Some possible claims defendants may make include:

  • Expiration of the statutes of limitations
  • Other technical problems with the petition, even if it is filed within the right time frame
  • Problems with the venue chosen or reasons why a different venue is more suitable
  • Your authorization to file on behalf of someone who has died from mesothelioma

When handled by an established law firm that has spent time researching and building all aspects of your case, these types of counterclaims are rarely successful.

06. Notable Lawsuit Verdicts

Notable Mesothelioma Lawsuit Verdicts

Mesothelioma lawsuit verdicts may result in more compensation for the plaintiff than a trust fund claim or settlement. The amounts won in these cases vary based on a number of details, such as disease severity and exposure history. Many patients and families receive millions of dollars through favorable verdicts.

For trial verdicts, jurors will determine the amount of compensation awarded. Trial verdicts can also be appealed or overturned.

Some notable mesothelioma lawsuit verdicts include:

  • In 2010, a California jury awarded a 71-year-old woman $208.8 million in total damages. She developed mesothelioma caused by secondary exposure to asbestos fibers on her husband’s clothing. The trial award included $200 million in punitive damages against CertainTeed Corporation and $8.8 million in compensatory damages.
  • In 2017, a jury awarded $82 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. The plaintiff’s wife was exposed to asbestos in auto parts sold by NAPA Auto Parts.
  • In 2015, a man won a $7.5 million verdict in his personal injury case. His lawsuit alleged asbestos exposure during his work on boilers and furnaces in the 1970s and 1980s. The total award included $5 million for pain and suffering, $1.5 million to his wife for loss of services and $1 million in punitive damages.

Verdict amounts can vary widely based on the details of specific cases.

07. Common Questions

Common Questions About Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Can I file a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one?

Family members can file lawsuits on behalf of a lost loved one. This is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced lawyer can help with your mesothelioma lawsuit and determine if you are eligible.

How do I choose a defendant if I don’t know how I was exposed to asbestos?

Your mesothelioma legal team will thoroughly research your personal and occupational history to pinpoint potential instances of asbestos exposure. This research will include your employment records, service records and other details.

Even individuals exposed at home, school or in other ways are often able to find data to support a case. Based on these details and documents, your lawyer can determine where and how you were exposed to asbestos.

Is it too late to get compensation if a company has been bought or no longer exists?

You can file claims or lawsuits against companies that no longer exist. For example, companies that have ceased operations are often required to set up asbestos bankruptcy trust funds to pay current and future claims brought against them.

If an asbestos company has been acquired by another company, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against the parent company.

Will I need to travel if I file a lawsuit?

You will likely not need to travel. Mesothelioma lawyers typically travel to you for interviews, research and other tasks pertaining to the case. They will also appear in court on your behalf, allowing you to avoid travel.

How long does a mesothelioma lawsuit take?

Each mesothelioma lawsuit is unique, so there is no exact time frame of how long it will take. Depending on the case, a mesothelioma lawsuit may take several months to one year or longer.

Can you sue if you have asbestosis?

Individuals with asbestosis may be eligible to file a lawsuit against liable parties. This means victims can sue companies responsible for their asbestos exposure and resulting diagnosis. If the court finds the company liable, the victim may receive compensation.

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. Award amounts vary depending on the unique details of a case and what type of compensation you choose to pursue.

What are my asbestos lawsuit options if the liable company filed for bankruptcy?

If the liable asbestos company filed for bankruptcy, victims may still have compensation options. Many bankrupt asbestos companies create trust funds to compensate victims. Depending on their case, victims may also be able to file a Veterans Affairs claim, workers’ compensation claim or claims through private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or disability insurance.
Sources [+]
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    Ableman PL. The Time Has Come For Courts To Respond To The Manipulation Of Exposure Evidence In Asbestos Cases: A Call For The Adoption Of Uniform Case Management Orders Across The Country. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. April 2015.

  • 2

    Ableman PL, Kelso PR and Scarcella MC. The Consolidation Effect: New York City Asbestos Verdicts, Due Process And Judicial Efficiency. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. May 2015.

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    Bates CE and Mullin CH. Show Me The Money. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. December 2007.

  • 4

    Redding B. Los Angeles Jury Awards $200 Million in Punitive Damages for Secondhand Asbestos Exposure. Lexis Nexis. April 2010.

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    Van Gelder SE and Linton AM. Non-Traditional Asbestos Litigation: New Products And Industries In The Crosshairs. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. November 2014.

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