Settlements help mesothelioma patients and their families pay for medical expenses.
Other compensation options include verdicts, workers' compensation, and more.
Settlement amounts depend on various factors: exposure, diagnosis, expenses, etc.
Eligibility for claims also varies based on the type of compensation being sought.
A mesothelioma diagnosis is difficult in itself, not to mention when facing the growing costs for treatment and care. Mesothelioma settlements are one way that patients and their families seek compensation to help will medical bills and other financial burdens. Typically, an individual files a legal claim against an asbestos company or trust fund, and either a settlement is reached or the case is taken to trial for a verdict. Settlements are the main way in which mesothelioma victims gain compensation, though there are other compensation options available.
Mesothelioma Settlements vs. Verdicts
If a mesothelioma victim or their loved one decides to take legal action through a mesothelioma claim in response to their diagnosis, the claim can end with a settlement or with a verdict. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual whether or not to accept a settlement, if one is offered. There are a variety of points to keep in mind when making this decision and when preparing for the legal process.
Mesothelioma & Asbestos Settlements vs. Verdicts
- A private agreement between two parties, in which one party provides another with compensation in exchange for a release from liability.
- Most asbestos companies will make a low settlement offer early in the lawsuit process.
- The decision to accept a settlement offer always resides with the mesothelioma patient (or their surviving family members).
- Settlements are legally binding and must be paid.
- A legally binding decision by a jury or judge that determines whether a company is liable for a victim’s asbestos exposure.
- If the defendant (asbestos company) is found liable, a separate verdict will determine the amount of compensation they must pay to the plaintiff (mesothelioma patient).
- Verdicts usually end in higher amounts of compensation. However, if the defendant is found not liable, then the plaintiff receives no compensation.
For those questioning whether or not to accept a settlement or continue towards a verdict, there are some factors to keep in mind, including:
- Compensation Amount: For mesothelioma patients who have solid evidence, they may wish to take the case to trial in the hopes of receiving greater compensation.
- Cancer Progression: Individuals with late-stage mesothelioma may accept a settlement that will help them pay for needed cancer treatments now.
- Risk Aversion: Some mesothelioma patients may wish to accept a settlement for a guaranteed amount, rather than risk getting nothing from a jury verdict.
- Strength of Evidence: Asbestos companies may wish to go to trial rather than offer a settlement if they believe that a mesothelioma victim cannot make a good case.
- Timeliness: Settlements typically are paid right away, whereas a verdict award may take years to acquire as the case goes through appeal after appeal.
Average Mesothelioma Settlements
Understanding compensation options is often a determining factor for mesothelioma patients and their families as they consider a mesothelioma lawsuit. Ultimately, each case is going to be different, so average numerations aren’t applicable to everyone. However, they can provide an idea of what patients in the past have received for their pain and suffering.
According to recent reports, the average mesothelioma settlement amounts fall between $1 million and $1.4 million, with trial verdicts falling around $2.4 million. Although this is an average, actual compensation amounts of mesothelioma cases can vary greatly, as seen through the highlighted cases below.
Noteworthy Mesothelioma Verdicts
2003: Largest mesothelioma jury verdict ever recorded, for retired steelworker Roby Whittington in a lawsuit against U.S. Steel. Though the actual amount is undisclosed, claims state that Whittington settled for less than $50 million after the verdict was released.
2016: George Walker, a former naval shipyard worker developed mesothelioma after being exposed to gasket materials that contained asbestos.
2017: Marlena and Ed Robaey were awarded a large verdict after Mrs. Robaey was exposed to asbestos for years.
2018: Johnson & Johnson faced yet another verdict after Joanne Anderson developed pleural mesothelioma from using their baby powder, which has been found to be contaminated with asbestos.
For those trying to determine what their compensation might look like, there are factors to keep in mind that can greatly influence settlement amounts, including:
- Place and duration of asbestos exposure
- Mesothelioma diagnosis
- Diagnosis and treatment costs
- Lost income/expected income
- Legal venue
- Other related expenses
Mesothelioma Settlement Process
Any legal process can be lengthy, and oftentimes individuals want to know what to expect when considering filing a claim. The best idea is to seek out an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to better understand all of your options and discuss any questions you might have about the process, outlined below.
Mesothelioma Settlement Process
- Research: Gather all of the documentation you have showing your eligibility to file a mesothelioma claim. This can take time, and lawyers are a helpful resource.
- Filing: Once you have the information to backup your claim, your lawyer will prepare and file your claim in a court of law. Your lawyer will help you choose the venue (state or federal court), type of claim (personal injury or wrongful death), and defendants.
- Pretrial Motions and Discovery: Before a trial begins, both sides will submit a number of motions and engage in sharing of information relevant to the case (known as “discovery”). A settlement is often offered before ever going to trial.
- Trial: If the case goes to trial, each side will present evidence before the court. At any time leading up to the verdict, the parties may agree to a settlement.
Negotiating with other parties can be difficult, which is when an experienced lawyer is crucial to earning mesothelioma victims and their families the compensation they deserve from wrongful exposure to asbestos. They can also help navigate important time frames, such as the statute of limitations and a length period of trial, motions and appeals.
Other Types of Mesothelioma Compensation
Aside from seeking a settlement or verdict, there may be other forms of compensation that asbestos disease victims and their loved comes can seek out.
It’s important to keep in mind that eligibility requirements vary based on the type of compensation. Patients should look into all options before deciding which mode of compensation to pursue, while also seeking help from a lawyer.